Newsletter - October 2014

Although you'd never have known it to look at her, Tori relapsed a few weeks ago. This is her 5th IMHA (immune mediated hemolytic anemia) relapse, and there was talk about the possibility of it being lymphoma instead. She's lost a lot of weight despite being fed almost double the calories, so it was natural for everyone to be wondering about it.Just to add to the mystery, her stool was awful which is unheard of for Tori. If there's one thing this dog has always had it's an iron gut.

I changed her diet to pork tenderloin (lean meat is important) and potato. Her stool is beautiful (only dog owners can understand the preoccupation with poop) and she's gained some weight. Her medications for IMHA were increased, and her test results are dramatically improved. For all of these achievements, Tori has earned a Best in Show ribbon from her vets, and we award her with the Best Dog In This House smooch. The fact that she is the only dog in this house has nothing to do with it.

Save $1 per bottle of Plant Digestive Enzymes (while supplies last) 60 capsules per bottle

An excellent choice for dogs with food sensitivities, or allergies to certain proteins as each enzyme is derived from plants.

Can Your Dog Benefit From Digestive Enzymes?

As most people know, I'm not a big fan of feeding supplements on a just-in-case basis. In my world supplements should serve a purpose and in the case of digestive enzymes, the line between a true need for them, and simply a benefit to the dog can be a bit blurry. An actual, undeniable need is evident in dogs with EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency) because these dogs produce no enzymes on their own. But what about dogs that test normal when checked for EPI, or pancreatitis, or those that may be borderline for the latter? What about dogs with seemingly good digestion? Should they be supplemented with digestive enzymes?

Digestive enzymes lower the burden on the pancreas to produce enzymes, therefor making digestion (and absorption) easier. Not every dog is in need of this kind of help. Healthy puppies and young adults don't need it. But as the body ages and becomes slower at doing some things, digestion should be on our radar. Consider that older dogs benefit from having more protein in their diets, and studies prove it. Why is that? Most agree that the body simply needs more of it in order the maintain the levels it once had. The same can be true of digestive enzymes. It's not that the dog necessarily has a problem, but that bit of help from a supplement can indeed make a positive difference. I've seen middle aged and older dogs gain muscle, and become friskier just from having digestive enzymes added to their food. I've seen stool become smaller, and less odorous regardless of the diet being fed. Of course, any underlying factor should be evaluated by a vet, but in general, digestive enzymes can help. A lot!

The question of which sort of digestive enzymes to use comes up every week in my in-box. There are three types. The first is a very potent Rx that only dogs with EPI tend to be fed. I'm going to ignore that one because it doesn't apply to the great majority of dogs. The other two are regular digestive enzymes which provide protease (the enzyme that breaks down protein) from pork, and plant digestive enzymes which are free of animal product, therefor better suited to dogs with sensitivity to pork. The regular digestive are stronger. The plant-based product is weaker, but provides enough of a boost to help many dogs (and people!). I use the plant enzymes for many middle aged and older dogs. Even those that don't seem to need enzymes manage to show their owners what a difference the product can make.

Some people confuse probiotics with digestive enyzmes. A probiotic seeds the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria, and acidophilus is at the top of the list (in dogs) as a good thing. But, it's not going to relieve the pancreas in any way. You can use both products of course, but it's important not to confuse them.

Personally speaking

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Monica "It's all about consistency, and what makes a child or a dog secure: order, clarity - all those things." ~ Jane Siberry

 
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