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Tried raw, ended up with $750 vet bill

July 19th, 2006, 10:34 AM
Aaargh! Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking a raw diet, but my Benny (9 year old Greyhound) did not do well on it. I had both dogs on raw for almost 3 weeks and they loved the taste. I gave them only chicken during that time and was about to start introducing new foods when it all went downhill. Benny ended up with pancreatitis AND bloat, both at the same time. My vet feeds her dogs a partial raw diet, but says that some dogs just can't tolerate it at all and feels that Benny is one of them, especially since he wolfs his food really fast. Anyway, he almost died. :sad: Like I said, I'm not knocking raw, and my female did well on it, but I don't think it's right for every dog.

July 19th, 2006, 10:54 AM
awe that is terrible, i am so sorry for your Benny... i hope he is well now? :confused:

as a note though, IMO most likely Benny had an existing milder case of pancreatitis and a change in diet brought forth visible changes. Years of kibble does damage a body. Also, fatty foods (such as chicken skin) can aggravate an existing pancreatic problem, and a weaker immune system has a harder time dealing with meats that are not entirely fresh (unless you kill the chicken yourself, you can never know how fresh it is...) and one little bacteria, that is normally killed by the dog's acid digestive juices, passes through and voila... Did you have him tested for pancreatis (blood test) before you started the diet? specially with dogs who are older, it's always a good idea to get a complete blood panel done before the diet change, and again 6 months down the road to make sure everything is ok. And I agree that there is no one magic diet for every dog, it can take alot of tweaking and experimenting to find that perfect match. I am happy that your girl is doing well on it!

Also, it is not a good idea to let a gulper just wolf down raw meaty bones, this does increase chances for all kinds of problems. Many raw feeders deal with this in a manner of ways: grinding the meat & bone, feeding really big peices, feeding frozen or partially frozen big peices to slow the dogs down, holding the food to teach the dog to eat slowly. No matter the food (raw, home-cooked, commercial), if a dog gulps and inhales alot of air with their food, they can bloat.

hopefully others can learn from Benny's misfortune, so it does not happen to their dogs. Thank you for sharing! :angel:

July 19th, 2006, 11:13 AM
Thanks technodoll! Benny is fine now but will be on anti bloat medication for a few more weeks until we are sure his system is back to normal. He was tested for pancreatitis about 10 months ago because his poops were runny all the time and it was negative. I switched his food to Holistic Blend at that time and his poops became more solid. The vet says he needs to be on a diet that's low in fat (she recommended Medi-Cal:eek: ). For now he's back on Holistic Blend which has the same fat and fibre content as the Medi Cal gastro diet but with much better ingredients. He loves to chew on beef marrow bones, should I still give him one of those every so often? They're great for his teeth, but I'm so afraid of this happening again.

July 19th, 2006, 11:27 AM
well, marrow is very rich... maybe give him a big raw knucklebone instead, for recreational chewing? also friendlier on the teeth (not as hard, but hard enough to be safe, unless Benny is an aggressive chewer?). dogs who have bloated have very sensitive tummies for a while, thank goodness you caught it in time! i am terrified it will happen to my boy someday, his father and uncle both bloated :sad:

good thing you had him tested 10 months ago :thumbs up what you COULD do... mind you this is just a suggestion... is give him a ground, low-fat raw diet... you can grind the meat & bones yourself. super easy to digest, low bloat factor (no grains), great for gulpers, and make it low-fat to help with pancreatitis... you get to control exactly what goes in the food... just a thought. but if he does well on the HB, then by all means stick with it! :fingerscr that benny's back on his feet and his chipper self again. :)

did you have his stomach tacked, as a precaution?...

July 19th, 2006, 11:46 AM
I am so glad that Benny is okay I have been through bloat Boo had his stomach tacked because he had to undergo surgery anyhow. Luckily Bud has not had this problem but I watch when he is eating that he does not eat too fast or drink to much while eating. Glad you caught it in time

July 19th, 2006, 02:04 PM
Poor doggy. I'm sorry you had to go through all this.

It could have been the raw- a lot of kibbles have digestive aids and things to help with digestion and it could be that he just couldn't do it on his own. Just like some dogs need the beet pulp to harden the stool even though we'd prefer it if they didn't.

July 20th, 2006, 09:59 AM
wow! Thank god you caught it in time

July 20th, 2006, 10:00 AM
It could have been the raw- a lot of kibbles have digestive aids and things to help with digestion and it could be that he just couldn't do it on his own.

We had a very difficult time switching my older guy to the raw diet and my vet said the same thing. It's as if poorer quality kibbles allow the dogs digestive tract to get lazy, it doesn't have to work very hard to digest the foods so when you make the switch to raw it shocks the system for a while.

Also, (and this is just more of a general statement not directed towards yourself) problems with the raw diet can arise as people try to wean their dogs off kibble and feed a partial raw/partial kibble diet. This is a sure way to bring on problems. The switch to raw should be made cold turkey as kibble and raw digest at different rates.

Glad to hear your guy in doing better!

July 21st, 2006, 11:04 AM
When we switched over to raw we did it cold turkey (or cold chicken, tee hee). I didn't give them too much stuff with skin on it because I wanted to keep the fat content down. It's too bad because he really loved it, but I think his system is just too sensitive, maybe from being on kibble all his life (he's 9). Anyway, I think I'll still give him a knuckle bone every so often for his teeth as the bone chewing seems to really help. How often should I give him a knuckle bone? Once or twice a week? I would like to give them as often as is safe because his teeth are really bad. I brush them every day and I still have to get the professionally done at least once a year, I'd do it more often if I could afford it and if they didn't have to put him under for it. Funny eh? Sophie (my female Greyhound) eats the same things as Benny and she's got the pearliest white teeth; I've never had to have hers done.

July 21st, 2006, 09:52 PM
yeah... genetics plays a huge role in tooth & gum health, just as with humans. you can give your boy the knucklebone to chew on every day, just make sure he's not breaking off any large bits and that his tummy is OK with all of this... store in the fridge or freezer when he's done (after rinsing the floor dirt & dog hair off it, LOL) ;) are you keeping your girl on raw?