- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Blood work differences raw and grainfree diets

December 14th, 2006, 09:55 AM
There are noted differences in bloodwork with dogs that eat a raw diet and possibly high protein grain free diets, which is considered normal two of which refer to kidney function which are urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine which will show as elevated and does not mean the dog is going into kidney failure, though some vets may jumped the gun and order a low protein kidney prescription diet as a result, elevated BUN and creatinine is okay as the ratio between of the 2 is normal. so make sure to ask the vet about the ratio, let the vet know you are feeding a raw diet. The article below shows the normal parameters for dogs being fed raw and you may want to keep a copy of it and one for your vet if they are not familiar with raw diets and the effects on bloodworl

There has been a lot of testing of raw fed dogs and likely in the future bloodtests will not only concern itself just with breed type(example sighthounds have much different bloodwork values/parameters than other breeds) but will also ask about diet as well to be noted.

Raw Food Diet Study:
In collaboration with Dr. Susan Wynn, we investigated the basic clinical laboratory parameters of 256 healthy adult dogs of varying ages and breed types being fed raw food diets for at least 9 months. The same laboratory (Antech Diagnostics) analyzed the samples from 227 of the dogs. From this group, there were 87 dogs fed the classical BARF diet of Dr. Ian Billinghurst, 46 dogs were fed the Volhard diet of Wendy Volhard, and the remaining 94 dogs were fed other types of custom raw diets.

There were 69 dog breeds represented, including 233 purebreds, 16 crossbreds, 1 mixed breed and 6 of unknown breed type. The predominant breeds represented included: 28 Labrador Retrievers, 21 Golden Retrievers and 21 German Shepherd Dogs, 10 Whippets, 8 Shetland Sheepdogs and 8 Bernese Mountain Dogs, 6 Rottweilers, 6 Border Collies, 6 Doberman Pinschers, and 6 German Pinschers, and 5 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, 5 Australian Shepherds, 5 Borzoi, and 5 Great Danes. Most of the dogs were neutered males (73) or spayed females (85), whereas there were 31 intact males and 32 intact females. Another 6 dogs were of unknown sex. The mean age of the group was 5.67 3.52 years (mean SD); and the mean length of time fed a raw food diet was 2.84 2.54 years. The data from this group of dogs were compared to the same laboratory parameters measured at Antech Diagnostics from 75 healthy adult dogs fed a commercial cereal-based kibbled diet. Preliminary statistical comparisons of results for the raw and cereal-based diets found them to be essentially the same with the following notable exceptions:

Higher packed cell volume (hematocrit) in all raw diet fed groups (range of 51.0 6.6 53.5 5.6 %) versus cereal-based kibble (47.6 6.1 %).
Higher blood urea nitrogen (BUN) in all raw diet fed groups (range of 18.8 6.9 22.0 8.7 mg/dL) versus cereal-based kibble (15.5 4.7 mg/dL).
Higher serum creatinine in the Volhard raw diet group only (1.20 0.34 mg/dL) versus cereal-based kibble (1.07 0.28 mg/dL).

While a more detailed analysis of other parameters has yet to be completed, initial results indicate that dogs fed raw meats (natural carnivores) have higher red blood cell and blood urea nitrogen levels than dogs fed cereal-based food (obligate omnivores). Thus, the normal reference values for dogs fed raw food diets should probably be revised.

December 14th, 2006, 10:11 AM
thanks for posting that OG! :thumbs up

what i would love to know is: which blood values are the closest to nature and the most healthy?.. have any studies been done to measure healthy wild wolf bloodwork to determine what is really "right" if no human tampering was involved? meaning, are the basic accepted parameters based on cereal-kibble fed dogs and how can those be regarded as "correct" since it's not natural?

we need better testing IMO :D

ps: next time i get bloodwork done on my two, I'll ask for a printout of the results, you have my curiosity piqued now :dog:

December 14th, 2006, 11:37 AM
Thanks for posting this OG. I was thinking about getting some bloodwork done on Rosco in the spring, and this gives some good information to present to my vet.

December 14th, 2006, 01:44 PM
I had Jemma tested about a month ago and everything was normal (still don't trust the evo 100% though).

December 15th, 2006, 12:33 AM
Had blood work come back with kidney problems yesterday, we are doing a urine test tomorrow morning so now Im really interested as Shadow is generally a raw eater (lately kibble though, only 2 weeks due to kitchen renos)

December 15th, 2006, 12:38 AM
Good luck Sarahlynn.:fingerscr :fingerscr

December 15th, 2006, 09:10 AM
sarahlynn, what is shadow's history?... i mean if you want to share :grouphug:

December 16th, 2006, 06:40 AM
Researcher Jean Dodds, the writer of the article above has been researching bloodwork in animals for 40 years now, she was one of the ones who started started the push for changes in vaccinating every 3 years instead of yearly. She is the founder of Hemopet a non profit animal bloodbank which she started in 1980, and is currently pushing for changes to rabies revaccinations and also well famed for her research on thyroid function and how it relates to seizures and behaviour, including the differences in greyhound thyroid values which labs across North American now take into account when doing thyroid testing, though she does most of her research work in the US she is a graduate with honors from the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Toronto. So I have no doubt if she says "normal parameters" should be established for dogs that are fed raw, I am sure she has done more than enough hematology research to support this, I had first heard about the differences approximately 5 years ago from those who had been feeding raw for several years prior, they are not out of norm necessarily but the BUN and creatinine are on the high side of norm, and some vets have insisted that their dogs be put on low protein diets as a result, without looking at other numbers/ratios or doing further tests to confirm that kidneys are indeed failing

Even though elevated BUN and Creatinine may be signs of kidney problems, but if it was as a result of kidneys starting to fail the PCV/packed cell volume (hematocrit) would be low and you might see increased phosphorus. PCV would not show as higher like in dogs that are eating raw, and that is important in distinguishing the difference, urine tests should also be down to help confirm

PACKED CELL VOLUME/HEMATOCRIT - This is a measure of red blood cell amount. More literally it represents the percentage of the blood made up by red blood cells. The hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells is made by the kidney. The failing kidney does not make this hormone in normal amounts and anemia can result.

December 16th, 2006, 08:18 AM
Goodluck SarahLynn, :fingerscr
Even if it is, it does not mean the raw diet caused, the incidence of kidney disease occurs more frequently in kibble fed dogs than in raw, so there is some underlying factor to the disease other than protein percent.

I would suggest doing some online research yourself a lot of recent research is changing views on how dogs with moderate kidney disease should be fed, most of that newer research suggests maintaining protein levels to prevent malnutrition, you may want to look into phosphorus binders for later stages as an alternative . The old and new research clashes quite a bit in how to treat so doing your own research may help you with how to treat that has you feel the most comfortable

THere are forums for owners of dogs with kidney disease and I have heard of a raw diet forum having a section for dogs with kidney disease.

The first article was written by J Dodds in 2003 more research has continues showing other levels can be different in dogs fed raw

If you feel that you need a second opinion and don't have a holistic vet near you, might be worth getting hold of Jean Dodds through the Hemopet website link I have above and getting a blood sample to her(has info about testing and sending) and email link , she then sends to sample to Antech diagnostics lab from the last link which recognizes there are differences in dogs fed raw, she will then interpret the results and can provide a consult and can suggest treatment if necessary

December 16th, 2006, 02:26 PM
OG, thanks for both your posts......definitely something to keep. :thumbs up