Lazy Casey

Lazy Casey

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Liver disease in dogs

Hopefully you will never have to experience your dog having liver disease.  When the vet told us that Jake's liver was failing, I felt so helpless.  My thoughts went to everything we ever gave him, all the allergy shots, the pills, the food, the treats, you name it.  Right after we got him from the pound we found out about his disc damage and all we cared about was to give him a happy, pain-free quality life.  That came at a price and we knew that the meds would damage his liver at some point, but when it happened it still was a shock.

I immediately went into research mode and read everything I could find about liver disease in dogs. Jake had extreme food allergies in addition to the other health problems, but I was convinced I could cure him with food.  It's the European blood in me I guess.....

I started him on a strict regime of milk thistle, Denosyl, Cosequin, burdock root and a powder called Vitamineral Green that I found at the health food store.  Because of his allergies, he was on a home-made diet.

I cooked ground turkey and mixed it with steamed (then pureed) butternut squash, green beans, baby carrots and peas.  Mixed that with some plain mashed potatoes for a meal twice a day, the goal was to give him immune boosting foods that were easy to digest so that his liver did not have to work at it.  I also made a mixture of lightly cooked and pureed peeled potatoes, peeled apples, artichoke hearts (no marinade), broccoli, peas, celery, peeled cucumber, asparagus stalks and banana.  I added blueberries and mixed with low-fat cottage cheese for a once-a-day treat.  He also got a spoonful of Greek yogurt with a spoonful of cut boiled chicken before bed.

He had to have a lot of mini-meals because of all the prescription meds he was on.  You would think with all that food he would have weighed a ton, but he didn't and he sure loved his food.  He would watch me cook his meals on the weekends and just start shaking with anticipation, because he always got to have a special treat of the turkey mixture once it cooled.  I would devote one weekend a month to cook and mix everything up so I could bag it and put it in the freezer.  It was a lot of work, but it made me feel like I was doing something.  I kept up the research too, always surfing the web to see what foods helped heal the liver, buying books on the subject, asking other people what they did.

Then one day the vet called, I remember it so clearly, it was a Sunday night, around 9 PM.  He just got to look over the latest lab results and couldn't wait until Monday to call.  Jakes liver condition improved, by 20%!!  He said he never saw that and was so excited to tell us.  Needless to say, I had a renewed sense of purpose and energy to keep doing what I was doing. 

I think it was the predisone that got him in the end.  One day we came home to find him going into shock.  The vet said he was bleeding internally so we ended up putting him down.  He fought a good fight, always a trooper and always so happy.  We gave him a good life and we never regret adopting him for a second.  He is still missed.

I hope the food tips help, but please check with your vet first.  I am not trained in nutrition, I'm just a animal lover that will do whatever it takes to help my furry kids.

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