Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Supplements, medications and calorie replacements

This post ''Supplements, medications and calorie replacements'' is part of a series of posts designed to share with you tips, tricks and experiences encountered by us with our 15 year old female cross breed Marley who was diagnosed with Chronic Renal failure (CRF).
Canine Kidney Disease
can be quite frustrating to deal with and if your family dog suffers from it make no mistake, you're in for a rough ride but know this; there are so many things you can do to improve your dog's quality of life and maybe perhaps slow down the progression of the aliment.
The key is to take a broad approach, the more things you do to help your dog's well being the better your dog will feel and with some work and time invested on your end, you will enjoy your animal friend for some time to come.

Every dog being different, they will respond differently to medications your vet prescribes, we have found that a trio of meds seem to work well for our dog Marley.
  • Lotensin or Fortekor: Benazepril hydrochloride is used for humans as well as animals to treat and slow down Chronic renal disease, this medication can be used in humans under the name Lotensin to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), congestive heart failure, and chronic renal failure. In animals under the brand name Fortekor, benazepril hydrochloride is used to treat congestive heart failure in dogs and chronic renal failure in cats and you see it mostly used with cats and they seem to respond better than dogs to treatment for kidney disease, nevertheless we have found that our dog Marley begun showing signs of improvement after a few days on the drug, she stopped drinking so often, needed to urinate less often and stopped having as many accidents in the house. Dosage will vary according to your dog's weight, consult your vet for the proper dosage.

  • Azodyl: Azodyl is a probiotic that claims to work by having the beneficial bacteria feed on the toxins that accumulate in the bloodstream due to renal disease, the claim is that this process will reduce BUN and creatinine levels. This is referred to as enteric dialysis and is often used with another product called Epakitin (see below).
My experience with this product remains inconclusive since we started our dog on this at the same time as Fortekor and sub-Q fluids, therefore I cannot say with any certainty that it made a difference either way but we did not want to mess with things so we continued it's usage and there seems to be a lot of info online that is favorable to warrant it's usage. My advice is to perhaps introduce this last in your treatment to determine if it does make a difference. And also to get it at your local vets since ordering this online may be tricky since it needs refrigeration at all times.

  • Epakitin (Calcium Carbonate) acts as a phosphorus binder used to reduce the absorption of phosphate and taken with meals and snacks, this avoids accumulation of excess phosphorus in the bloodstream by diverting it's metabolism to the intestines from the kidneys. This is a tried and tested approach for humans as well and there are other types of Phosphate binders. We decided to simply use s Tums, Tums are also Calcium Carbonate and much cheaper in price, this will become a concern as you continue treatment for your pet believe me. It is also suggested that you add the Epakitin or Tums to your dogs food, But we found that counter productive since it turned OUR dog off the food and since you will also be battling loss of appetite we suggest crushing the Tums and putting it in a eye dropper with some water and feeding it through the corner of their mouth in much the same way you would feed a small puppy. Ideally right after of before the meal.


  • Vetri-Science Renal essentials for dogs is a multivitamin geared for dogs with kidney disease and is formulated to help maintain optimal kidney function. Again this is something be started to do at the same time as everything else so I cannot say if this is for sure beneficial, but it stands to reason that dogs with bad appetite that are perhaps not eating always properly with kidney disease will have use for supplements, you may also want to look into human multivitamins for seniors since they are low in Phosphorus. the best place I found for purchase of this product was an online store called Cattyvet http://www.cattyvet.com/Renal_essentials.html

Dietary supplements

  • Nutri-Cal or Nutri-Stat: Nutri-Cal is a high-calorie palatable dietary supplement used for stressed or debilitated pets, pets suffering from illness, surgery or whelping, aging pets or picky eaters, who need increased caloric and nutritional intake. This product was a life-saver! one of the or perhaps the biggest challenge you will encounter is the lack of appetite most likely due do a metallic taste in their mouths or nausea due to the increased levels of toxicity in their systems.
You most likely wont always be able to feed your dog adequately or as balanced as you may have wished and even though there are several kidney diet canned dog foods available at your vet's, there is no guarantee your dogs will like or eat it on a consistent basis. We found that things were cyclical when it came to feeding, our dog would like something for a few days and then out of the blue would not touch it again, so my suggestion is to change the menu often and bring back things that you dog has liked in the past a few weeks or months later.

That being said a high calorie paste like Nutri-cal (there are others and all are very much the same so shop around!) will be essential to keep your dog well nourished especially during those days that eating was low.
There are many places to find products like these and your vet will sell these for a lot more than what you can find them online for if you shop around a bit. The best place I found that delivered to Canada is http://www.petcarerx.com the website is a bit annoying with many pop ups but they do give you coupons and rebates and deliver quickly. if you are in the United States, look for Nutri-stat, it is less expensive and has the same ingredients, many online stores will sell it.
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  1. Kidney disease is a horrible dog disease. I recommend visiting DoggedHealth.com for more information on the disease including tips for prevention and treatment.

  2. How many tums should I give a 35 lb dog?