Introducing Vinny to RAW

Postby HappyChick » August 2nd, 2009, 10:43 am

Several of you may have seen my Vincenzo's thread in Canine Cancer. I am looking into making some significant changes to help him be healthier while he is fighting cancer. I am seriously thinking of introducing him to a raw diet, at least rotating some raw feeding into what I can get him to eat now. Part of our current problem with his eating is that he decided he doesn't want to eat some of the very same foods he was eating very well a few days ago. I think this may be due to the fact that he is on Doxycyline right now for Lepto. He isn't vomiting with the Doxy, but I have a feeling it is upsetting him stomach a bit which he may be associating with the food he ate prior to me giving him the Doxy. Does that make sense? I feed him then wait a little bit to give the Doxy. Anyway, he had lost 10 lbs. in just a couple of weeks and we are trying to put that weight back on before we start Chemo. He doesn't look as though he is gaining or losing right now.

Does anyone have suggestions about starting the raw with him? Should I start with a little chicken and see how it goes? I don't want to switch him full blown to raw right now because I'm afraid he has enough going on. I also have to consider not giving too much protein at this point because of his kidneys. I would like to introduce it especially now to get some more variety into his diet hoping to get some weight on him. I'm willing to ask Vinny's vet, but I'm not sure she's going to like the idea.

Thank you!
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Postby amazincc » August 2nd, 2009, 10:51 am

HappyChick wrote: Part of our current problem with his eating is that he decided he doesn't want to eat some of the very same foods he was eating very well a few days ago. I think this may be due to the fact that he is on Doxycyline right now for Lepto. He isn't vomiting with the Doxy, but I have a feeling it is upsetting him stomach a bit which he may be associating with the food he ate prior to me giving him the Doxy. Does that make sense?


Makes a LOT of sense... :)
You could start him off on some ground chicken/turkey maybe, and see how he does? Then gradually go to necks/backs... and if he tolerates those, go from there.
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Postby Pit♥bull » August 2nd, 2009, 11:27 am

Our vet encouraged us NOT to make dietary changes prior to starting or during chemo. :|
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Postby HappyChick » August 2nd, 2009, 11:54 am

Pit♥Bull wrote:Our vet encouraged us NOT to make dietary changes prior to starting or during chemo. :|


What kind of diet were you using at the time? You all probably had a healthier diet going on in the first place. Before all of this started, Vinny diet consisted of Purina dry dog food with a little bit of canned food just for flavor (I know now it's not good, but Guido has been eating it for 12 1/2 years and he is just fine). We can't go back to the Purina because it will feed the cancer.

I think there are probably many schools of thought out there amongst veterinarians.

Actually, our vet encouraged us to try about anything that Vinny would eat. She suggested the Prescription Diet k/d and n/d canned food she has available. I told her about the cancer "recipe" I found in a sticky in the Canine Cancer section here and she asked me to change to beef fat instead of the pork fat it calls for. She mentioned staying low on salt and protein until his kidneys are better. I'm just not sure she will like this raw thing.
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Postby amazincc » August 2nd, 2009, 1:08 pm

Well, like I told you in your other thread already... our Oncologist was/is very "pro-RAW". She hands out info to all her cancer patients, and she was very happy to hear that Mick was already on it.

I'd say GO for it, because... yeah... it will be tons better/healthier than Purina. :wink:
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Postby amazincc » August 2nd, 2009, 1:20 pm

Forgot to mention... :rolleyes2:

There are also many excellent grain-free kibbles on the market, and one some of those days when Mick wasn't in the mood for RAW I offered those as an alternative. :)
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Postby hugapitbull » August 2nd, 2009, 3:36 pm

HappyChick wrote:
Pit♥Bull wrote:Our vet encouraged us NOT to make dietary changes prior to starting or during chemo. :|


What kind of diet were you using at the time? You all probably had a healthier diet going on in the first place. Before all of this started, Vinny diet consisted of Purina dry dog food with a little bit of canned food just for flavor (I know now it's not good, but Guido has been eating it for 12 1/2 years and he is just fine). We can't go back to the Purina because it will feed the cancer.


Trouble has allergies so feeding her has been a challenge almost from the beginning. She has been on prescription diet duck and potato (or venison and potato) for many years. I can appreciate where you are coming from on the healthier diet. Check with your vet before you change anything. I too, wanted to change Trouble's diet the minute I new we were dealing with cancer. Our vet's concern was that if we started making changes to the food, we could get a reaction. Then we wouldn't know whether the reaction came from the food change or the chemo. He was not opposed to us changing her diet if we thought something different would be more healthy, he just didn't want us to do it until the treatments were completed. He is not one to tell me not to do something, but he is one to strongly encourage me and back up that encouragement with valid reasoning.

My biggest, strongest, most reliable advice at this point is to have a vet you trust. Know that he/she has the best interest of Vinny at heart, then trust them to give you the guidance you need to make educated decisions. Each and every cancer dog is different. What works for one, may not be what the next one needs. Do as much research as you possibly can, and bounce everything off the vet. Be an active owner. If the vet doesn't like it, look for one who does. The cancer journey is no picnic. Having the right resources for treatment, education, and moral support all play a huge role.

PBT can take care of the emotional support, and those of us who have been down the cancer road can give you tons of information, but I don't think there are any of us here (except maybe Dr Blabs) who won't preface that information with "pass this by your vet" before you decide it applies in your case.
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Postby HappyChick » August 2nd, 2009, 3:56 pm

hugapitbull wrote:My biggest, strongest, most reliable advice at this point is to have a vet you trust. Know that he/she has the best interest of Vinny at heart, then trust them to give you the guidance you need to make educated decisions. Each and every cancer dog is different. What works for one, may not be what the next one needs. Do as much research as you possibly can, and bounce everything off the vet. Be an active owner. If the vet doesn't like it, look for one who does. The cancer journey is no picnic. Having the right resources for treatment, education, and moral support all play a huge role.

PBT can take care of the emotional support, and those of us who have been down the cancer road can give you tons of information, but I don't think there are any of us here (except maybe Dr Blabs) who won't preface that information with "pass this by your vet" before you decide it applies in your case.


This is why I'm so glad I'm asking the questions!

You and Christine both have great advice.

You are absolutely right. I do trust my vet so maybe I shouldn't be so worried that she won't like raw feeding. As I said in the other thread I believe she really cares for Vinny and has his best interest at heart. I will try to consult with her tomorrow about feeding it to him and if she is not strongly opposed to it we are going for it. If/when we go for it I'm going to try Christine's suggestions for starting him out and if anyone else has any input I'm still interested. I guess it just scares me when Vin won't eat because I know he needs to build up his weight and strength (he is so gawd awful skinny), and I want to do everything in my power to help him. Additionally, Vinny has never had any allergy problems, but he's always been on the same kind of dry food with some variations to the canned food. He's never had any health problems till now and then POW!! we get some BIG ones! I'll let you guys know what Dr. Blakeley says tomorrow.

I'm glad I have PBT to go to because I need you all's guidance and support. We are definitely in an unfamiliar place with this canine cancer. I'm learning as I go. Unfortunately, we do have some experience with human cancer, but that is a story for another day...

Thank you!
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Postby hugapitbull » August 2nd, 2009, 4:07 pm

He's a funny story about RAW. I decided to try Trouble on it at one point in time. I was feeding her chicken wings with her veggies for breakfast one morning. As always, I tucked the wing ends so it would be all nice in the bowl (like the dog cares!). Trouble stuck her nose in the bowl and one of the wings untucked. She jumped back like she'd been shot. Thought her food had come to life. I still giggle every time I think about it. That was one surprised little animal :rolleyes2:
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Postby amazincc » August 2nd, 2009, 4:41 pm

My funny RAW story... I had a chicken foot flung at me. It landed on my lap and I shrieked... the dog almost passed out from laughing so hard. :oops: :P
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Postby cheekymunkee » August 2nd, 2009, 10:31 pm

I gave Munkee a cut up Talapia once. He ate all but the head and was acting pretty weird while he was eating. Slowly taking a piece, taking a step back & intensely watching his bowl. When he finished eating he looked in his bowl at the remaining head. Hiked his leg and peed on it
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Postby TheRedQueen » August 2nd, 2009, 10:44 pm

cheekymunkee wrote:I gave Munkee a cut up Talapia once. He ate all but the head and was acting pretty weird while he was eating. Slowly taking a piece, taking a step back & intensely watching his bowl. When he finished eating he looked in his bowl at the remaining head. Hiked his leg and peed on it


I gave all my guys raw fish once too...Ripley nibbled at it, made a "blech" face and threw himself down to roll on it instead. He had raw fish alllllll over his fur. :puke: (I hate fish!)
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Postby HappyChick » August 3rd, 2009, 9:13 pm

You guys have some funny RAW stories! I wish I could have some of those too, but not for now.

Dr. Blakeley is very nervous about feeding RAW to Vinny in his condition. She feels that as RAW has the risk of Salmonella and E-Coli, Vinny does not need to have to deal with those along with what he is already dealing with. She did go into a detailed explanation of her take on it. She said if I really want to do RAW she would prefer steak to anything else as far as raw meat goes. So for now I will still give him meat, but I'll cook it. That is a compromise Vinny, Dr. B, and I can live with.

As always, thank you all so much for your input.
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Postby amazincc » August 5th, 2009, 8:34 pm

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Postby kera09 » August 6th, 2009, 9:53 pm

i just saw this....maybe this is why the vet says no for now?? duge is on antibiotics so im unsure if i should start it now............................ Note: Dogs with compromised immune systems should not be started on a raw diet. Their bodies may not be capable of handling the load of bacteria that are present in this type of diet. If your dog is ill and you are looking into alternative feeding options, you may consider cooking for your dog.
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Postby HappyChick » August 6th, 2009, 11:24 pm

kera09 wrote:Note: Dogs with compromised immune systems should not be started on a raw diet. Their bodies may not be capable of handling the load of bacteria that are present in this type of diet. If your dog is ill and you are looking into alternative feeding options, you may consider cooking for your dog.


Yes, Kera I'm sure this is why. At some point later, maybe after the chemo, I will revisit RAW for Vinny with our vet. Because she gave a little on the raw steak thing, I will be giving Vinny raw steak fat. We will also be giving him supplements to boost his immune system, but for now I imagine Vinny's immune system needs to concentrate on fighting the cancer and doesn't need the introduction of a bunch of "bacteria" to deal with too. It's a balancing act with him right now...I have to fatten him up and he is being very picky so...he really likes raw steak fat, but not cooked fat, and I'm running out of foods that are good for him that he will actually eat. I'm still cooking his chicken and he is still eating it most of the time. Vinny does not like veggies!

Here is my question, though, if Vinny had been on a RAW diet BEFORE he got cancer what would the experts say about the "load of bacteria" then? This note does say "should not be started on a raw diet". Is there scientific proof that dogs build up extra immunities by being fed RAW in the first place? I really want to know cause I've started Reno on RAW in case he would happen to get cancer too. I'll leave G and Kai on their regular food because it's worked for them for a long time.

Thanks Kera!
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Postby amazincc » August 7th, 2009, 7:51 am

Mick wasn't on RAW for long before he got diagnosed, and our Oncologist wasn't at all concerned about bacteria, since she recommends a RAW diet for all cancer dogs... :|

Also, if you feed cooked meat... it actually loses most of its nutritional value during the cooking process.

I'm sorry the answers/solutions aren't any clearer, or easier.
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Postby TheRedQueen » August 7th, 2009, 8:40 am

I'm glad to hear that you and your vet are reaching a compromise. :) I used to feed a raw diet, but switched back to kibble for multiple reasons. I would say that raw is not as easy as throwing down some raw meat for the dog at times...it is a bit time consuming in the beginning. So it might be the best choice to avoid that type of diet for now, while you're dealing with the diagnosis of Vinny...esp. since you don't have the support of your vet. :hug3:
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Postby Pit♥bull » August 7th, 2009, 8:59 am

This should be taken into consideration.
hugapitbull wrote:Our vet's concern was that if we started making changes to the food, we could get a reaction. Then we wouldn't know whether the reaction came from the food change or the chemo. He was not opposed to us changing her diet if we thought something different would be more healthy, he just didn't want us to do it until the treatments were completed.
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Postby Marinepits » August 7th, 2009, 9:36 am

Pit♥Bull wrote:This should be taken into consideration.
hugapitbull wrote:Our vet's concern was that if we started making changes to the food, we could get a reaction. Then we wouldn't know whether the reaction came from the food change or the chemo.


Exactly. Plus, Vinny is also dealing with Lepto right now. If he's switched over completely to another diet right now and has a reaction, you won't be able to tell if it's the cancer/chemo, the Lepto/doxy, or the new diet, OR any combination of the three.

And it's not just the cancer/chemo that is lowering his immune system -- the Lepto is also going to play a large part in that. I personally would wait for any major diet changes until after the chemo and doxy treatments are done and Vinny's system stabilizes.
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