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Candy, Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 11619
Experience:  Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
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This is going to be a bit lengthy, so I apologize in advance.

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This is going to be a bit lengthy, so I apologize in advance. Our dog is just one month shy of 14 years old. She is a mixed breed cocker spainel/border collie mix who weighs about 24 pounds. If you'd see her, you would never believe she is 14. She is active and happy (and loves to sleep). Over the past few months, we had noticed that my dog was licking her belly quite a bit. Since she is allergy prone (she is a typical foot chewer and ear scratcher), we didn't think much about it at first. Another factor we suspected was that we have been in 3 homes the past 6 months (our first home, a temporary while ours was being built and our now new home). We thought perhaps it was stress. I took her to the vet and showed her the dogs belly which had actually darkened from the licking. She didn't think much about it and life went on. After a few weeks, I could tell her belly was still bothering her. In addition, she was drinking a lot of water and having accidents in the middle of the night, unbeknownst to her. I took her to the vet immediately. We did a urinalysis and blood work. The vet saw some bacteria and white cells in the urine, but nothing that alarmed her. Her blood work revealed a decrease in kidney function from the previous year. Her BUN was 46 last year, 56 this year. All of her other levels were okay for a dog her age and not of concern. The vet suggested a 2 prong approach and wanted to tackle a potential UTI first and the incontinence. She prescribed an antibiotic (I can't remember the name, but it began with a "c") and Proin. I had read horror stories about Proin, so I told my vet that I really didn't want it. She did not like my answer of "I read on the internet it could be dangerous". She said she never had issues with it. I bought the Proin knowing I would never use it. After one antibiotic pill, she felt immediately better. The licking stopped, the accidents stopped, it was wonderful and no Proin was needed. The next subject to tackle now is the kidneys. We are going to discuss supplements at our next visit and weekly fluid injections. She was put on a renal diet (Royal Canin Renal MP), which she does not like at all, so feeding has been touch and go lately. After I could not get her to eat the new food, I started preparing white rice and hamburger with a little chicken broth. She seems to like this and it does not upset her stomach or make her sick. We have noticed a significant decrease in her water consumption (she still drinks more than she did in years past, but nothing like in the previous months). The only real symptom left is that her stomach seems much more sensitive in the last week. We went from eating Little Cesar food 4 times a day with no issues for 13 years, to suspecting kidney failure, changing her food and now it seems that everything out of the normal that she eats makes her throw up. Her eating was fine until we went to the vet 2 weeks ago and started all of this. Now, a tiny piece of pizza crust makes her belly upset. I want to get a second opinion here from you so that I'm armed with something when we go to the vet tomorrow. How do we know when we're at the point where she needs weekly fluids? Why the sudden change in belly sensitivity? I'm simply concerned that because my dog is 14 years old, she will be written off. I will cook for her each day if that will help the situation. I just don't want to be poisoning her kidneys without knowing. Thank you!
Hello,I am so sorry to hear that Jaycie is having some trouble. I would love to help I just have a few additional questions.

Other then the BUN were there any other abnormalities in the blood work even slight ones, specifically how was the Crea and ALKP if you know?

Is the skin issue clearing up?

What renal diet was she placed on and was it canned or dry?

When you say everything upsets her stomach exactly what symptoms is she showing?

Is she on any supplements or medications at the moment?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello! I will be sure to ask for a copy of the bloodwork tomorrow, but from what I remember, everything else was okay. (at least that's what the vet told us)

The skin issue is clearing up. She has less dark skin and it's lightening back up.


She was put on Royal Canin Renal MP. We bought both dry and canned. She attempted the canned and didn't care much for it, now won't touch it and we could never get her to eat the dry. She loves Royal Canin Mini Special Dry, but not the Renal MP Dry.


When I give her something other than the burger/rice combo, her usual Pupperoni treats when she comes in from outside or the Royal Canin Mini Special, she will become lethargic, then throw up a bit. She then shivers for a while. I usually hold her during this time until it passes. Later, she is back to normal. I have not given her her normal Little Cesars food for fear that it was hurting her so I don't know how she'd react to that, but up until 2 weeks ago, everything was fine.


Now that we are done with the antibiotics, she is not on any supplements or meds. She has been on Glyco-Flex for about 2 years for joints, but I stopped that once she started having issues with everything else. My dog is an expert at detecting pills. Even if they're crushed she'd turn her nose up at food if she knew it was in there. If I gave her fresh food, with no pill, she'd immediately eat it right up!

Thank you for the additional information please give me just few minutes to type up your answer
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No problem! Thank you!

I asked about the Crea because normally with renal failure this will be elevated as well. Elevated BUN is a precursor and tells us that we have to monitor the kidneys but it is not to the point that fluids are needed.

One thing you may want to try if a different brand of renal food and see if she will eat this or you can home cook. If you opt t home cook I would suggest consulting with a veterinary nutritionist and have a diet designed specific for her needs. There is a really good site where you can do this online and they will consult with your vet to get a full medical history so they know her specific needs. Click on the following link. LINK

I would also suggest getting her on a omega fatty acid supplement which are good for all organs including the brain. You an get these at your vet or any pet store.

As for the stomach upset this could be a result of the declined kidney function, the antibiotics or the recent food changes. Pepcid AC may help to calm the stomach. This is dosed at 0.25-0.5mgs per pound of body weight every 12 hours.

I would also ask your vet if supplements to support the kidneys will be helpful for her. One we often recommend at our clinic is Renal Essentials by Vetri-Science. LINK

I hope this helps give you some things to discuss with your vet. Please reply back if you have additional questions or concerns.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much! Would it be alright if I continue this tomorrow after our visit to the vet? I understand it will cost more and I have no issue with that. I will be sure to have lab results tomorrow. What is high for crea?

Absolutely we can continue this tomorrow and there will be no extra charge. Normal Crea levels depend on what ab your vet uses our lab high normal is 1.4.

I will be on all day tomorrow please let me know how things go at the vets and please give her a good belly rub from me.
Candy and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Good Morning! Well, we returned from the vet last night with some new information and actions. I didn't get a chance to ask about crea because we discussed so many other things.


Even though her eating has been less consistent over the last 2 weeks, there was no weight loss. I was happy about that. She was put on 2 meds and I wish I'd have brought the paperwork with me to remember what they are, but one began with an "A" and required refrigeration and one began with an "R".


I still cannot get her to eat the Renal Diet food so I'm going the home cooking route.


The vet also recommended weekly IV fluid treatments. She had the first one last night and by the time we got home, she seemed to feel so much better. I just hope she gets used to the needles because she didn't enjoy the actual process at all!

If they have started fluids then I suspect the Crea is elevated as well. This does make a huge difference in how they feel when in kidney failure. They normally do adjust in a very short time so hopefully she does as well.

I am not sure if you are using a specific diet but here is some great information on home cooking for dogs with renal failure. LINK

Thank you so much for the update and please do not hesitate to come back to this thread if you have any questions along the way . There is no charge for follow up
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Good Morning! I wanted to give you an update on Jaycie and ask a question or two. We had our second fluid treatment this past Tuesday. Aside from a little jolt with the needle stick, she did great. Her behavior hasn't changed,although she seemed a little sluggish this week. It was our first week in PA with temps at 80+ degrees - so I chalk it up to that. She still wants to take walks and play, just at a little slower pace. I don't think I mentioned this before, but Jaycie is a SLEEPER. My husband and I both work so she is used to being alone 8 hours a day. When we're home during the day for a vacation or holiday, she's completely annoyed that we're interfering with her sleep time. Because of this, it's hard for me to tell if she's sick or just her standard old, tired self. I don't think we're anywhere near the point where we need to consider putting her down, but what are some symptoms of dogs with CRF who are nearing the end? Just want to be able to look for them so that she isn't suffering when the time comes.
She is still eating well. Drinking her water and peeing normally. Hasn't missed a meal in over 2 weeks and hasn't lost any weight. She is taking her Azodyl and Rehmannia daily. No issues there either. I was reading online about a place called Five Leaf Pharmacy. They claim to specialize in helping dogs with Canine Kidney Failure. While I don't intend on doing the 3 week program they suggest is a miracle worker for dogs with kidney disease (because we all know that it's irreversible anyway), I was intrigued by a product they had called Dog Greens. I had read on other sites about certain greens that are good for dogs with kidney issues and this seemed like it might be a good alternative to actually trying to feed her greens as humans would eat them. The description is below:
"Dog Greens

Ingredients: Spirulina, Chlorella, Alfalfa, Barley Grass, Wheat Grass, Kelp and Irish Moss.

Dog Greens provides your pet the following nutrients:

• Coenzyme Q10

• Omega 3 fatty acid

• GLA (gamma-linolenic acid)

• Mucopoly saccharides

• RNA & DNA (nucleic acids)

• Chlorophyll and Xanthopyll

• Alpha-linolenic

• SOD (Super Oxide Dismutase)

• B vitamins including B-12, pantothenic acid, choline, folic acid and others.

• Vitamin A (beta carotene), C, D, E, F, K and others.

• Array of minerals and microminerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, iodine, selenium, silicon, silver, sulfur, iron, boron chromium, cobalt, copper, germanium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, vanadium and more.

• Full of Enzymes and amino acids

This special blend of super foods is all plant based so it ensures total absorption of vitamins and minerals and is completely safe to take in large amounts. The super foods in Dog Greens will help rebuild the flora that has been lost in your dog’s intestines due to poor nutrition and pharmaceutical drugs including antibiotics. It ensures your dog will meet his nutritional needs so he can stay healthy and fight off diseases naturally. Once you begin supplementing your dog with Dog Greens you will notice many improvements in your dog’s looks and overall health.

WARNING: Always buy organically grown super foods (spirulina, kelp, barley grass etc.) If not grown in pristine monitored conditions, they could contain high levels of heavy metals and toxic poisons thus making your dog sick. We only use the highest quality organically grown ingredients in Dog Greens.

SPIRULINA AND CHLORELLA – not only are these two algae full of nutrients, ounce per ounce spirulina has twelve times the digestible protein than beef and one ounce of chlorella contains more calcium than once ounce of milk.

ALFALFA, BARLEY & WHEAT GRASS – grasses are full of vitamins and minerals, they have been making animals healthy and strong since the beginning of time.

KELP – a seaweed used for centuries to cure many ailments. It is also an anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory. Kelp helps balance out the thyroid and contains 20 key amino acids.

IRISH MOSS – a sea vegetable that fights respiratory diseases and has amazing anti-microbial and anti-viral effects. Irish moss is very effective for digestion problems and will strengthen your dog nails and hair.

All ingredients are either organic or wild harvested."

It would only requires about 1/2 a tsp a day according to the package (it comes in a powder form)that I could mix in with her food. Do you think there might be any benefit to this? Is there anything in it that would be harmful to my dog?
Hello. I am so glad to hear she is continuing to do well and that she is adjusting to the sq fluids.

I have worked with a holistic vet for may years and many products on the market simply take advantage of pet owners who are tying to do anything to hep their pets. I always tell people to remember that with supplements like this what you see may not be what you get as there are no regulations on supplements nor are the any official studies. We have seen some supplements that actually have ingredients that are not approved for pets and it is very important that we remember they are not little humans and can react differently then we do.
I am going to point out some things that are huge red flags with me as far as this specific product go though I do not have actual experience with this specific one.

1.Every living being has the ability to heal itself of any disease if given the chance.If this was the case there would be no death either in pets or humans. This statement just makes no sense and is in my opinion providing false hope when pet owners need it most.
2. No where do they give actual levels of their vit or minerals. They also never mention that Vit A, Vit D, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Iodine,sliver and nickle can all be toxic if given in to high of levels. They can also build in the body over time. When the kidneys are not functioning properly they are not filtering properly and this further increases the risks of dangerous build up in the body.
3. They claim that All ingredients are either organic or wild harvested yet there is no way to know this for sure
4. ounce per ounce spirulina has twelve times the digestible protein than beef . Actual medical studies have proved that low protein is what we want

THe above are just a few things I see that worry me. That first statement alone would be enough for us to tell our clients to stay clear of this product and do not buy in to their hype.

Now the Coenzyme Q10 and Omega 3 fatty acid are supplements that we do recommend for our patients in kidney failure.
Here are the products we trust and carry in our office
Renal Essentials
Coenzyme Q10

My suggestion if you want to mix conventional and holistic then I would look for a vet in your area that practices either homeopathic or Chinese medicine.If you need help finding one let me know.

As for what to watch for to know she is suffering.
1. Stops wanting to go on walks and is not interacting with family
2. Vomiting
3.Decreased drinking and or urination
4. She stops eating.

I hope this helps please do not hesitate to come back if you have additional questions. Give Jaycie a good pet from me.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the input! While I was reading the actual "3 week miracle" program for dogs on the Five Leaf website I felt sorry for people who thought it was going to cure their dogs. I'll pass on the Dog Greens. She is responding really well to the ground beef and rice combo along with the meds she's on, so I hate to disrupt that. Thanks again!
You are very welcome ad thank you for not getting upset with my honesty. I too feel sorry for the pet owners, so many companies get rich off their hope.

Please keep me posted on how she is doing and remember do not hesitate to come back if you have any questions along the way