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Raw or Cooked Liver For Dogs Who Have A Low Hemoglobin

December 23rd, 2010, 05:24 PM
Sadly it appears that Raggs has an hemangioma or hemagiosarcoma in his spleen. His hemoglobin is quite low and the only thing I can think of to do is to feed him vitamins and liver. My question is whether it should be raw or cooked for best absorption of the iron. I know we are fighting a losing battle here but I want to give him the longest chance for survival possible. He does not appear to be in pain or I would make other choices.

Does anyone know about the absorption of nutrients in dogs?

December 25th, 2010, 10:27 PM
I have no idea! I do know I would go with either young liver (calf) or organic. I think beef liver is the highest in iron???? Not sure...

Some dogs may tolerate one over the other - my girl couldn't tolerate anything raw. If he's not used to it, start slow, it's very rich.

Vit C is needed to absorb iron. My dad just had an operation and is anemic, and they put him on vit C in the rehab center.

December 26th, 2010, 12:18 PM
Thanks maxalisa I just found a link that compares chicken liver with beef liver.
How does chicken liver compare to beef liver in nutritional value ( tritional_value)

The bottom line seems to be that chicken liver is higher in both iron and Vitamin C than beef liver. However, it still does not say whether raw or cooked is better. I am using cooked because I don't want him having the stress of diarrhea on top of everything else. But i'd still like to know if raw would be better for nutrient absorption because if it is I may give it a try.

December 26th, 2010, 04:06 PM
If Raggs isn't used to raw at his age and with his illness, then raw probably isn't the way to go. If he gets diarrhea, he wouldn't be absorbing much nutrients from it. I'd stick with cooked. Just be careful not to overdo it; too much iron can be dangerous. How much does Raggs weigh? I can find out the NRC's (National Research Council) recommended allowance for him.

December 26th, 2010, 05:53 PM
Are you giving Raggs digestive enzymes? Wouldn't they help with the absorption of nutrients from food?

December 26th, 2010, 06:08 PM
Are you waiting for biopsy results? If Raggs does have cancer, a high protein low carbohydrate diet is best.

December 26th, 2010, 06:18 PM
I just found this website about dog nutrition and digestibility .....

December 26th, 2010, 06:33 PM
And, here's a website with someone's diet for her dog with hemagiosarcoma. It also lists a few links to other websites at the end of the page .....

December 26th, 2010, 08:04 PM
Thanks to everyone!

@luckypenny Raggs weighs 62.2 lb so it would be great if you could get me the NRC's guidelinees. His ideal weight is about 57 lbs.

@Rainbow Thanks so much for those links they have lots of info there. I have gone to a high protein low carb diet with him as that seems to be what's recommended for dogs with cancer. We have not had anything other than blood work done because my vet thought he would probably die during the surgery if even just to do a biopsy. I don't want to stress him out with any more tests as my vet said a lot of the internal bleeding will be based on a rise in his blood pressure. So anything that would cause his BP to spike, I'm avoiding. If by some miracle he doesn't have cancer, I still have to get his iron level and hemoglobin up because it is low.

From what I've read it seems they don't last very long with hemangiosarcoma so in my mind it's better to let him go peacefully without more tests. Some may not agree with me about that decision, but I can't see the point in getting a firm diagnosis just to lose him while they're getting the specimen.:( :cry:

Thanks for all the support, Raggs and I need it :(

December 26th, 2010, 08:44 PM
The recommended daily allowance for Raggs' weight is 11.92 mg. To give you an idea, 1 oz of simmered chicken liver provides 3.3 mg. 1 oz of pan-fried chicken liver provides 3.6 mg. Fed with fish and/or poultry aid in absorption. Fed with grains and sweet potatoes inhibit absorption. Other meats high in protein include beef, pork, lamb, and turkey (dark meat). What do his meals consist of?

I stand 100% behind your decisions...I just wish there was no need to make them :grouphug:.

December 27th, 2010, 03:21 AM
I think you are making sound decisions. I have a breed where hemangiosarcoma occurs frequently, and many do exactly as you are doing.

Chicken liver higher in iron, thanks for clearing that up. I know I read it somewhere, no wondering what my (wrong) source was!

January 3rd, 2011, 03:44 PM
ooops I forgot about this post and was answering my other post. I posted what I have put together for his diet there:

Raggs has been dx'd with Hemangioma or Hemangiosarcoma (

Thanks Luckypenny for the recommended daily allowance for liver and the conversions. It really helps when deciding how much to give him. I will be altering the amount of liver to reflect his weight.

Also thanks to Maxalisa for her support and everyone's positive thoughts :) :grouphug:

I have changed the diet somewhat depending on how he's reacting to it. He's still very hungry every day and I find that very positive. I am only feeding him once a day, unlike before I had him diagnosed where 2 meals a day was the norm. Now he takes his time eating his food and has been taking a few hours to eat all of it. I have approximately doubled the amount of food but it is hard to tell going from kibble and canned food to a mostly people food diet. His gums appear pinker than they were and he has as much energy. Every day he is now demanding to go outside despite the fact he has to use 4 stairs to get there and is handling them well.

I am still cooking the meat, some of it partially, others fully depending on the meat. I have not added any veggies because the ones that are recommended all produce gas. At his age I don't want to cause him more problems with a diet he doesn't like or will give him gas that might be painful.

Rainbow I am going to buy digestive enzymes to add to his diet because I just realized their importance in the cancer diet. I may add a few veggies after I add the digestive enzymes.

The one cancer diet for dogs that I have tried to follow with a few additions is the one that was recommended by the Veterinary Information Network. Homemade Cancer Diet For Dogs reposted with permission of VIN (
I know there are many diets on the internet to treat cancer in dogs but most have something to gain by recommending and getting people to use their diet.

Yesterday I started wondering if I was giving him too much protein that might send him into kidney failure. Everything I've found on the internet says that won't happen, but I would be horrified if I caused him to go into kidney failure. I wondered if I should add more complex carbohydrates to lower the protein concentration. Anyone know if this is possible? :shrug: I honestly don't know. There hasn't been any recent blood work to show what his kidney status is.

Thanks again everyone while Raggs and I go through this :grouphug:

January 3rd, 2011, 07:25 PM
I would add some broccoli/cauliflower to his diet cooked and mashed or pureed. I would not add any more carbohydrates. All the information I have read shows that high protein (provided it is high quality meat protein) will not cause kidney failure.

Sending lots more :pray: :fingerscr :goodvibes: for Raggs and you. :grouphug:

January 3rd, 2011, 08:51 PM
Thanks Rainbow, I plan to buy the veggies tomorrow and start them slowly to make sure he doesn't react to them in a negative way. Whst I've read about protein tells me exactly the same thing. I just wondered if it was possible. I know the protein has to be high quality or it won't do what I want it to. I didn't want to add any more carbs because his diet would probably not be as balanced with them.

Thanks again you have been very helpful :grouphug:

January 6th, 2011, 04:18 AM
Do add the vegetables, use digestive enzymes if there is gas.

I don't think you have to worry about too much protein at all, from the diet previously posted. Typically the problem food is too much fat since a real cancer diet should be high in DHA/EPA.

It takes a lot more "real food" to equal the same amount of kibble, since kibble is so processed and condensed.