Saturday, March 15, 2008

Unforseen Danger in the Garden Dogs Garden

The beginning of February, Basil got very sick. He had been spitting up water right after drinking, we thought he was just drinking too fast so we didn't worry about it; then one day he started to throw up food and lost some of his appetite, not a good sign for a dog who LIVES for food. We rushed him to the vet clinic and after a couple of visits and some blood tests we learned he had Pancreatitis!

The Pancreas secrets digestive enzymes into the stomach to help digest food...Pancreatitis is a malfunctioning or inflammation of the pancreas where it releases the enzymes improperly causing the body to start to digest it's self...the Veterinary Partner website has a thorough description of pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is a very serious condition, it can be brought on by eating too much fat; veterinarians often see a lot of it around the holidays when people feed their pets extra table scraps. We don't feed our dogs table scraps and are reasonably careful of what they eat. Training treats are tiny pieces of low fat cheese or hot dogs along with pieces of their kibble and veggies (especially frozen peas). Our veterinarian quizzed us on what food Basil was eating, she asked us if he had gotten into something he shouldn't have, she also asked us if he could have gotten into poison in the garden...we said no, we have been feeding good food, our garden is safe...Then it dawned on us!

We put suet in a feeder for the birds. In mid-January we had a spell of very cold weather, When the suet is very cold it crumbles when pecked at by the birds. The dogs first stop in the garden is always to lap up any bits of suet the birds have so kindly dropped for them. SUET IS FAT!

We moved the suet feeder to the front yard (away from the dogs) and started Basil on a bland diet of boiled chicken breast and white rice; he started to feel better, and we transitioned him to a low fat kibble designed for over-weight or senior dogs. Other than missing some treats and being a little hungry on the food made for slow, fat, dogs, Basil seemed to be improving.

Then a few weeks later Berry got sick! He had colitis and a mild case of pancreatitis. Berry has since had a second attack of colitis and Basil has had a flare up of the pancreatitis. For now the poor Min Pins are restricted to a bland diet (boiled chicken breast and rice), are not allowed to eat anything in the garden, and I am becoming something of an expert on examining dog poop for signs of digestion we just have to figure out what they can eat!

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