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Old 06-17-2017, 12:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default HELP! Need Advice on Protein Ratio Dog Food for 18 Month NIKO with asymptomatic MVD

Hi Everyone,

Just got back from a one week stay in NY. Our nephew died in a motorcycle accident, just 22 years old. Very sad time for our family. My maltese, Niko-Denali went to a Bed & Breakfast / Boarders home for a week. He lost 1 pound even though our sitter said he ate very well and all his food! He must have been extremely active while there to lose this kind of weight. He was 6 lb. 8 ounces before we left, came home one pound less.

Niko Denali was recently dx with MVD (May 2017). High ALT's, and we had a Bile Acid Test and Protein C Test, so he has a high probability it is MVD. He has zero symptoms that I can see. I did not pursue any further testing at this time. He seems very healthy at this time. He is an excellent eater too.

Here are my questions:
Should he be on a low protein diet? My vet say's no, I have read the contrary on many sites.

If so, what is the Protein Fat Carb percentages supposed to be for an MVD dog? Should I only be concerned with his PROTEIN amount only? It seems dog foods vary greatly on the P/F/C ratios. So confusing!!

I bought some trial size The Honest Kitchen, Zeal (Fish) he isn't loving it. He loves all food, but this was just ok to him. It also is kinda watery. I added the recommended about of water to the 1 ounce dry packet and waited 5 minutes. It was super green and watery. He ate some, left some and came back later to finish. That is not my Niko. He loves to eat and always looks for more at every feeding. He eats fast and leaves nothing on his plate ever. So I know he isn't loving this Zeal recipe. Also he had green food face after he ate.

Niko is only 5 lbs. 8 ounces. He feels kind of thin and a little bit boney. I normally feed him a total of 3/4 cup food (wet) per day. He gets 1/4 cup M N and Night. He would eat more if I let him. He is 18 months old and I am wondering if I should feed him more if he is still hungry? This is my first and only Maltese dog, so I don't know if he is getting enough food or not. It seems he should have more meat on his bones than this. I don't mind his weight being what it is, I am wondering if he should have more fat on him? Should I free feed for a while to add a little fat on him? Or put on a higher fat food like a Wellness Puppy Brand? I know you are supposed to decrease food when they become an adult but this boy really likes to eat a lot so I am surprised he feels so thin. Even before he lost the one pound, he felt thin. Maybe I am just worried for nothing???

I also give him The Honest Kitchen dog treats, Pumpkin and Fish Cuddles bite size cookies. Maybe 4 a day. They only have 8 kcals each. He does like these little treats. Started these 2 weeks ago. Also loves Cheerios. I limit this snack. He also loves raw fresh green beans.

I would prefer to get him on a dog food that is dry kibble. Maybe give the same brand of Wet food once a day and or mix it. Something I can buy at my local PetSmart, PetSupermarket, or PetCo. I've read the Dog Food Advisor web site and they have great 5 star foods, but I want to choose one best for a dog with MVD. Again, he has NO symptoms right now. I can give test result numbers if that would help you to see a better picture of his MVD.

Are these good for MVD dogs? 1) Merrick Dry 2) Wellness Complete 3) Wellness Toy Breed look like they got excellent 5 STAR ratings, but I am concerned about what his protein level intake should be. These are available at my local pet stores. There must be some excellent dry & wet food there that has 5 STAR ratings AND good for an MVD dog.

Also, he is given Denmarin Chewable Tablets, and Animal Essentials Plant Enzyme Probiotics Supplement.

Any food recommendations are greatly appreciated. I value each and every opinion from all of you. This forum has been a Godsend to me.

Photo attached is one I took of our boy on his 1st Birthday, 12/26/16. He is pure sweetness & joy to our family.

Sincerely,
Niko-Denali's Mommy, ~Jamie
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Old 06-17-2017, 01:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Very controversial topic. All I can tell you is what I do for Luck. He gets RC hepatic because of its mineral content along with Natural Balance vegetarian. I was interested in v-dog, but the bag is too big. He also gets dairy protein. According to Cornell some proteins are better than others for dogs with liver problems. RC hepatic is not a good food for a dog with MVD. Luck has a shunt. To supplement his proteins, he gets dairy and plant based proteins. He loves most of the tofu dishes I make, he gets feta cheese, he get frozen yogurt and ice cream, he gets peanut butter as a treat. He does not get meat protein.

I know your situation is different, but I would say ND should not get less protein, but be careful of what kind of protein it is. Most dogs foods have too much protein for a maltese. With MVD and a shunt what happens is the meat proteins are turned into ammonia in the digestive system. This ammonia is filtered through the liver into urea acid which is safer for the body. Dogs with liver issues can not filter the ammonia, so it goes into the bloodstream causing problems (attacking) the organs including the brain. Darker meats are more problematic than lighter ones. Honestly most vets know little about liver disease in small dogs.

Cornell was concerned that Luck was not getting enough protein, so they told me to increase the low fat dairy I give him. He literally has a prescription for ice cream with each meal.

Hope that helps. Word of caution, just like humans, dogs can be allergic to milk or peanuts or soy, etc. Low fat cottage cheese a couple of times a week is a great protein as is a scrambled egg once or twice a week.

Good luck.
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew. What a tragedy for such a young man. Condolences.
This is what I feed Riley who was diagnosed with MVD 3 years ago. And at the time his body was so polluted with ammonia, he was very sick. But with diet, lactulose, and good food he is thriving. For breakfast and dinner he gets The Honest Kitchen Keen, which is turkey protein. First thing when we get up he gets his denamarin, then we wait an hour before breakfast. He gets lactulose on his breakfast and dinner. For lunch he gets a teaspoon of cottage cheese, and for afternoon snack he gets a chicken and apple cookie. It took a while to get all the ammonia out of his system, and then probably several more months before he started acting normally.
You are way ahead of the game finding this out before he got sick. It sounds like maybe he could stand to eat a little more, maybe add a scrambled egg or some cottage cheese or ice cream and see if he gains some weight back.
I really don't have advice on any other foods as this is what works for me and he and Sissy love it. Oh, I forgot to mention I boil chicken thighs and put about a teaspoon on their meals.
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Old 06-17-2017, 05:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Jaimie...honest kitchen zeal is very low fat. It's 8% on a dry matter basis which is very low. Fiber is also very low being under 7%. I feed this to my one girl because she has IBD/pancreatitis issues. If you want ND to gain weight, it's not going to happen on this food.
Also, I make THK food on the thicker side so it's not soupy. My girls would never eat it if I was to follow their directions on how to make.
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Old 06-17-2017, 06:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Jaimie...honest kitchen zeal is very low fat. It's 8% on a dry matter basis which is very low. Fiber is also very low being under 7%. I feed this to my one girl because she has IBD/pancreatitis issues. If you want ND to gain weight, it's not going to happen on this food.
Also, I make THK food on the thicker side so it's not soupy. My girls would never eat it if I was to follow their directions on how to make.
I also make this thicker @ Riley and Sissy's instructions. The Keen is 19 % protein and I think would be much better for Rico. And like I said, I top it with some organic chicken thigh. What I do is buy a pack of it and boil it. Then I shred it and put it in baggies and freeze. Thaw out as needed. It is not a big deal.
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks. I think I will do that and give him an egg and or cottage cheese in addition to his food. At least until he gains that pound back. Do you buy low fat cottage cheese? Also, what kind of ice cream can you give a dog? Do you mean dog ice cream? They sell that at our local Public grocery. I think it is called Frosty Paws by Purina. I am leaning towards getting him Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Grain-Free Salmon Tunalini Recipe Dry. I believe the protein is 28%. Do you think that is good for him with the MVD? I know it got excellent reviews and a lot of Maltese owners buy this food and say their dogs like it. Right now I have some Wellness small breed complete health that I am giving him. I stopped with the Purina Benefuls, although he loved that food. Today I gave him some of the Wellness moistened with warm water, added a few fresh blueberries and later as a snack I gave him a healthy cookie from the Honest Kitchen, Fish & Pumpkin kind. This dog eats anything I put down for him. He is so small and eats like a big dog LOL. He always looks at me like "is that it Mom"? Funny little furrball.
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherry View Post
I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew. What a tragedy for such a young man. Condolences.
This is what I feed Riley who was diagnosed with MVD 3 years ago. And at the time his body was so polluted with ammonia, he was very sick. But with diet, lactulose, and good food he is thriving. For breakfast and dinner he gets The Honest Kitchen Keen, which is turkey protein. First thing when we get up he gets his denamarin, then we wait an hour before breakfast. He gets lactulose on his breakfast and dinner. For lunch he gets a teaspoon of cottage cheese, and for afternoon snack he gets a chicken and apple cookie. It took a while to get all the ammonia out of his system, and then probably several more months before he started acting normally.
You are way ahead of the game finding this out before he got sick. It sounds like maybe he could stand to eat a little more, maybe add a scrambled egg or some cottage cheese or ice cream and see if he gains some weight back.
I really don't have advice on any other foods as this is what works for me and he and Sissy love it. Oh, I forgot to mention I boil chicken thighs and put about a teaspoon on their meals.

Thanks Sherry. I think I will do that and give him an egg and or cottage cheese in addition to his food. At least until he gains that pound back. Do you buy low fat cottage cheese? Also, what kind of ice cream can you give a dog? Do you mean dog ice cream? They sell that at our local Public grocery. I think it is called Frosty Paws by Purina. I am leaning towards getting him Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Grain-Free Salmon Tunalini Recipe Dry. I believe the protein is 28%. Do you think that is good for him with the MVD? I know it got excellent reviews and a lot of Maltese owners buy this food and say their dogs like it. Right now I have some Wellness small breed complete health that I am giving him. I stopped with the Purina Benefuls, although he loved that food. Today I gave him some of the Wellness moistened with warm water, added a few fresh blueberries and later as a snack I gave him a healthy cookie from the Honest Kitchen, Fish & Pumpkin kind. This dog eats anything I put down for him. He is so small and eats like a big dog LOL. He always looks at me like "is that it Mom"? Funny little furrball.


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Old 06-17-2017, 07:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Why do you want to use dry kibble? Dry food is actually harder for the kidneys and liver to process. If you think you want to use dry, make sure you allow it to soak in warm water for 10 minutes or so before feeding to make it more digestible and to make sure his little body has enough fluids to process the kibble.

What does your vet say about his weight? If you can feel the ribs but they feel like they have a thin layer of fat over them, then the weight is appropriate. If it feels like there is no fat, then he should gain a few ounces, and it you have to work at feeling ribs, then he needs to lose weight. My girls eat about 1/8 cup of food twice a day and Tessa who is a little bigger gets another tablespoon midday.
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Luck gets organic vanilla or blueberry or strawberry ice cream or frozen yogurt - the human kind. Low fat or no-fat. His favorite is coconut milk ice cream that I eat, but it does not have enough protein for him. Just make sure there are no sugar substitutes in it. Sugar and honey are fine, others substitutes may be deadly.
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Why do you want to use dry kibble? Dry food is actually harder for the kidneys and liver to process. If you think you want to use dry, make sure you allow it to soak in warm water for 10 minutes or so before feeding to make it more digestible and to make sure his little body has enough fluids to process the kibble.

What does your vet say about his weight? If you can feel the ribs but they feel like they have a thin layer of fat over them, then the weight is appropriate. If it feels like there is no fat, then he should gain a few ounces, and it you have to work at feeling ribs, then he needs to lose weight. My girls eat about 1/8 cup of food twice a day and Tessa who is a little bigger gets another tablespoon midday.
Maggie, I'm glad you mentioned how hard it is to digest kibble, this is very true, for all breeds.
Also, once a bag of kibble is open, it must be used up within a month otherwise it loses its nutrients, as well as it grows all kinds of mold. Buying a smaller bag at a time would be wise. Storing in the freezer is an option and will help maintain its freshness, if you choose a kibble.

I've noticed you mention that ND eats quite a bit, like a big dog, yet hasn't maintained his weight. I think a pound is a lot of weight to lose in a week. That being said, if it continues, I would have some bloodwork done to see if he has a condition called PLE or EPI. These dogs do not digest the food properly and lose the nutrients needed in a diet, so they tend to waste. They have a hard time gaining or holding on to weight and always being hungry are symptoms.
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