NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: Recently, our 8-year-old miniature schnauzer was diagnosed with pancreatitis. She is now on a diet of Hill’s Prescription i/d low-fat and high-fiber dry food, alternating with w/d. She has about 1 teaspoon cooked sweet potato and 1 teaspoon pumpkin per day. I was giving her two to three drops of fish and flaxseed oil, but I have been told to stop all oils. She can have pain medication twice daily as needed.
Is there a better diet that you would suggest? I understand that schnauzers are prone to get this condition. My daughter has a healthy 3-year-old schnauzer, and she wonders if she should change her diet to the above even though she seems healthy and active.
— V.B., McLean, Va.
Dear V.B.: Pancreatitis is an acute inflammatory condition that may be triggered when dogs are fed fatty table scraps or are on a diet high in fats. Concurrent liver dysfunction also may be evident, as bile from the liver backs up into the pancreas.
Milk thistle and dandelion root herbal products can help improve liver function, and probiotics (always given on an empty stomach) along with a low-fat diet can help improve pancreatic function. Digestive enzymes like those from papaya and pineapple extracts can help compensate for any pancreatic insufficiencies in production of digestive enzymes.
There are home-prepared diets for your dog’s condition available on balanceit.com. Your daughter should steer clear of fatty foods and treats for her dog and consider a raw food diet and probiotic supplements.
Dear Dr. Fox: My soon-to-be 11-year-old cocker spaniel, Chance, was diagnosed with congenital heart disease in June. He is on several heart medications and seems to be tolerating them well.
We have blood work taken every three months for kidney valuations. So far, so good — even though his heart specialist told me his life expectancy would be only 1 1/2 more years.