Low fat foods for pancreatitis


This is sort of a combo medical/food discussion but moreso food related.

So it's looking more and more likely Riley has pancreatitis... she had another "episode" yesterday of bloody diarrhea and this time vomited blood too.  We took her to the vet - got a different vet this time (who was much more reasonable I think).   Awaiting blood test results for a definitive answer but it's now been 3 incidences of sudden onset bloody diarrhea/inappetance since January and the vet is pretty convinced and says she would classify it as "level 1" pancreatitis whatever that is.  The last time her blood test revealed elevated pancreatic enzyme levels but the levels were back to normal after 2 weeks of a bland diet. 

DH and I agree that it's pretty likely what is going on, Riley has always needed frequent feeding since reaching adulthood or she gets digestive upset (vomiting) and frequent feeding is one of the ways to help manage pancreatitis.  We may have been accidentally "Treating" it somewhat with frequent meals 4x a day.  It would also explain why she is "lazy" and tires easily. 

For now just to get Riley stabilized she is eating the Royal Canin low fat GI prescription food (barf) but I'd like to try to find something that we could use long-term.  At Riley's follow-up I will ask the vet what exactly are the criteria I should look for in a "good" brand that would satisfy the medical requirements.  

The other prescription option is a Purina low fat food, they are both ~5% fat on a dry matter basis.  I wasn't sure which one to pick in the spur of the moment because I know they are both garbage and I'd like to try to find something better long-term.  The nutrition in the purina looks better (more protein, more fibre) but it has that awful "animal digest" stuff in it.

Royal Canin:  https://www.royalcanin.com/us/dogs/products/vet-products/canine-gastrointestinal-low-fat-dry-dog

Purina: https://www.proplanveterinarydiets.ca/consumer/products/en-gastroenteric-low-fat-dry-canine-formula

I am going to hunt around and start comparing using these criteria is there anything else I should be looking at?  I'll make an excel sheet for the vet so that she can compare.

- Fat % (10-12% or lower cutoff to make the list)
- Protein % (higher is better)
- Omega 6:3 ratio 
- Fiber
- Kcal/cup
- Protein sources (in case Riley does also have some kind of food sensitivity)
- Carbohydrate sources 

Poor Riley, she is feeling much better since yesterday afternoon and has been wolfing down the kibble (apparently she likes junk food).  


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  • Update: 

    Vet suggested Rayne low fat kangaroo as an option they could order. I see it's on the recommended brands list and I would feel a lot better about that than the royal canin/purina that they have been pushing.


    It's 8.4% fat on a dry matter basis which is really not that far off from Fromm weight management gold (11% dry) and Wellness simple healthy weight (10.2% dry).

    I'm going to propose the Wellness simple healthy weight + blood test in a couple weeks to the vet and see what she says.  Rayne is astronomically more expensive ($61 for a 3 kg bag), not the most important concern because Riley's health trumps all... but as a lifetime diet change it definitely factors in.  


    Low Fat Kangaroo-MAINT™ canine dry diets contain a limited number of highly digestible, low-fat ingredients that provide a nutrient profile that is a…
    • Rayne is definitely a much better choice than the typical vet brand Rx foods, but it IS extremely expensive, especially for a large dog. 

      • $190 for an 11 kg bag O_O  That would proably last a month or so, roughly double the price of her current kibble.

        I need continue this E-mail conversation with the vet tech a bit more because after I proposed those Wellness/Fromm formulas she said things about "contaminated equipment" at commercial pet food places (why do we care about that if she doesn't have IBD?).  She said nothing about the fat % being too high.  Also she said they don't recommend grain-free because of the link to heart disease... which as we know has been disproven AND the Rayne formula is grain free unless I am completely failing at reading AND the Fromm formula has a bunch of different grains sooooo...What the doodle?! Sigh.  I want my unicorn vet back that we had with Luna haha.  Darn retirement.  

        • Okay, so the comment about contaminated equipment is the dead giveaway that the vet tech is getting all of her info/knowledge about pet foods and pet nutrition courtesy of the marketing department at Purina. That's in their brochures, as well as the informmercials they spread all over social media about grain free food causing DCM. It's one of their scare tactics to kill the competition.  Ignore her, and take no advice from her about anything. Any stranger in the pet supply store knows as much about these things as she does. 

          • I am certainly not taking her advice, I'm just trying to get the information out of her that the foods I proposed won't do any harm to Riley... I don't even know if she is relaying any of this to/from the vet or if she is just communicating with us by herself (I suspect the latter).  Since she mentioned nothing about the foods being too high in fat I am guessing they are probably fine and she is just trying to get us to buy the Rx food (which if that is true that is pretty shady to me).

            In any case I'm going to call into question her statements about grain-free and provide her some information including the article from last year... and bring up the similarity between the carb sources in the Rayne food and the Wellness food (they're almost the same).   Oh and that grain-free foods have added Taurine these days probably to help placate the DCM-scared crowd.

            I suspect we'll just be going rogue on the food choice and looking for a new vet soon but I was hoping to avoid that since we may just land up with the same story at another place with the Rx food pushing.

            • Food and nutrition are just subjects that can't be discussed with most GP vets. We don't really talk with our kids' pediatricians about food, other than whether or not the kid is eating enough, lol. It should be the same with vets. If the dog (child) is overweight or underweight, or has food related illness, we talk about calories, or supplements, or nutrient proportions (more protein, less sugar, etc) or eating problems. We don't talk about brands or specific ingredients. Allergy issues are referred to specialists. I follow that model with vets. 

              • It's just hard to believe that most of them are so brainwashed by the big Rx food companies that they can't consider alternatives that could work... or maybe they are just used to people always going "Ok!" and just following their advice without questioning it that they get somehow offended when questioned.

                It's almost like there's some sort of "magical thinking" around the Rx food that they have developed.  

                I understand that maybe there is more rigorous quality control in the Rx food facilities but unless your dog has a REALLY serious digestive issue/allergy then that really doesn't matter.  

                In any case I think we'll go with the Fromm weight management gold for now since our local pet store stocks it regularly (instead of special ordering).  If it doesn't work out we'll try Wellness, I think one of the stores a bit further away carries it (or the store owner of our local shop said she'd special order for us).



                • I don't believe there is more rigorous quality control in the Rx food facilities. That's just what the companies say. These are huge companies making these foods; Nestle is the largest food corporation in the entire world, and that's who owns Purina. Mars Inc, which owns Royal Canin as well as Iams , is also huge; 40 billion in sales/year. And Science Diet is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, also a huge multinational, multi-billion dollar comapny. That's a lot of marketing power. 
                  It's important again to remember that there is really no nutrition curriculum in vet school. This has been documented. They take one basic entry course in what the nutrients actually are and that's it. It's the same for medical doctors. They are studying medicine, not nutrition. I took the same required entry level Nutrition 101 course when I got my physiology degree that the future doctors, dentists, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, etc. take. And that's about as far as most of them go in the nutrition area. It's all that's required. Most human doctors will refer patients to dieticians when needed, and that's also who designs the meal plans in hospitals; dieticians, not doctors.
                  Doctors are influenced by drug companies. Vets are influenced by food companies as well. The salesmen are in there all the time. Since companies like Fromm or Wellness don't have the budgets to pay thousands of salepeople to spend their days visiting vet offices, the vets (and the vet techs) are getting their nutrition info from Big Dog Food, period. 
                  With vets, it's been documented that the Rx food sales account for a very large percentage of their practice income. In some cases, they make more $ from food sales than they do from actually treating patients. 
                  'Nuff said.

                  • I have no education in nutrition whatsoever (except the excellent advice you have given me!)... but I can read an ingredients list and nutritional analysis!

                    The Fromm weight management gold is a 52% fat decrease from what Riley was previously eating and only about 1.5% more fat than the Rayne formula.  It's probably going to be just fine.

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