I am worried because today I found last night’s 1⁄4 pill and she didn’t eat her breakfast. By 4 p.m., she was exhibiting all her old symptoms.
I have seen three different vets, and they have run out of options. I am looking for a suggestion.
— J.C., North Potomac, Md.
Dear J.C.: Clearly, the attending veterinarians have done their best to treat and cure your poor dog. You give no indication of liver and pancreatic function tests, nor the judicious use of probiotic supplements, digestive enzymes, special low-fat diet or elimination diet testing to rule out food allergy. Dysbiosis — a bacterial imbalance in the digestive tract possibly complicated by pancreatic and hepatic dysfunction — can lead to inflammatory bowel disease, which the Prednisone temporarily alleviates.
Above all, I would suspect that your dog has a congenital abnormality called a portosystemic shunt, which your veterinarians need to rule out before trying the following diagnostic elimination and detox dietary approach. This entails a 24-hour fast on rice or hemp milk, then another 24 hours on boiled rice, quinoa or buckwheat with probiotics and digestive enzymes. After this detox, begin an elimination dietary regimen, adding an animal protein ingredient under veterinary supervision. Let me know the outcome.
Dear Dr. Fox: I see that you have dropped kelp as an ingredient in your home recipes for making cat and dog foods. I recently read a feature article in a pet wellness magazine about the benefits of giving seaweed to dogs. So why are you not using seaweed in your recipes or recommending it as a treat?
— K.V., Silver Spring, Md.
Dear K.V.: I decided to drop the seaweed ingredient in my home-prepared pet food recipes when it is not the only food given to dogs and cats. I made this decision after my veterinarian friend Dr. Jean Dodds alerted me to recent research that indicated a connection between high dietary iodine and thyroid disease in dogs and cats. Seaweed is high in iodine, so it would be advisable not to include this in the diet of companion animals.