Kidney failure and High Protein grain free dog food

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

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Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 9:59am PST 
Toto, 7 yrs old, has ALWAYS had chronic UTI's, at least one every month. We have done cultures and ultrasounds and xrays and never come up with anything.
This time we did another round of blood work and he is showing some signs of kidney issues with elevated BUN and also elevated Cl. While elevated, they were both not terribly higher than high normal.
His urinalysis showed quite high EOS, whatever that is.
He has been on Earthborn Holistic, a grain free meat based dog food for a number of years, but now my vets are convinced he needs to be put on a senior dog food with MUCH lower protein.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't high protein been disproven as creating/harming kidney function??? I would like your thoughts before I talk with the vet. I have copies of the blood work and urinalysis but only a message from her on my answering machine.
She did suggest that these problems COULD come from teeth issues and since he has recently fractured three teeth it was possible that is the cause.
Any ideas???

Lab/Rottie/Chow/- Shepherd Mix!
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 10:17am PST 
It's my understanding that high protein diets DO NOT CAUSE kidney failure, but high protein diets may not be recommended once kidney failure is diagnosed. The reason for this has to do with levels of nitrogen (low protein = low nitrogen)... however, some sources state that it doesn't matter the LEVEL of protein so much as the SOURCE of protein. Your goal is for low nitrogen via easily processed proteins that do not give off so many nitrogen by-products.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?dept_id=0&siteid=1 2&acatid=284&aid=459

It's also my understanding that there's a difference between plant proteins and animal proteins, one being easier for the kidneys to process than the other.
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 10:28am PST 
Aha, that DOES make sense. So, meat is HIGH in nitrogen byproducts, therefore, vegetable protein would be more desirable, correct?? I guess I will go see what's out there for decent senior diets. At least she didn't suggest SD!!!!

Scruffy (RIP)

In Loving Memory
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 10:40am PST 

Here are some links that may be helpful to you.

Is a Low-Protein Diet Desirable or Necessary for Dogs with Kidney Disease?

Non-Presc ription Commercial Diets for Dogs with Kidney Disease. http://dogaware.com/health/kidneynonprescription.html

Edited by author Wed Aug 29, '12 10:52am PST

Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 11:34am PST 
I remember when my vet and I discussed appropriate foods for kidney related diets. There is documentation and studies that show that protein levels aren't important. My vet was surprised to hear that. For years and years, vets have learned low protein, low phosphorus diets. She did ask that we share the article which came from a vetirinary school. I can't remember, but I think it was Penn State. She said she would look into it more and she did admit that Penn State had a good vet program. (I think it was Penn State so forgive me if I'm wrong)

I went ahead and followed my vets advice because the evidence is still kind of new. I didn't want to take a chance. I eat Wellness senior which is low in protein and phosphorus.

I like the site Scruffy suggested on dogaware.com.

Edited by author Wed Aug 29, '12 11:36am PST

Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 12:16pm PST 
Thanks, Scruffy and Scooter... I seemed to remember that Penn study which was hanging out in the back of my mind, but, gosh, I AM old and old beliefs die hard!
I DO have a wholesaler for our business but don't order again for two weeks so I searched high and low and finally found 4 Health "Mature" health, which had the best numbers of what is available in our town. Pet stores and Petco, etc., are all over an hour one way so I will use this until I can order him something else, maybe the Wellness??
I plan to get some wet food as he is very difficult to convince to eat... not sure that isn't part of the problem!!!
All my dogs have been on grain free for their whole lives with me and it does kind of scare me, BUT he was a rescue of sorts and didn't have a very good or nutritionally sound first year so that probably had more ill effect than the grain free, although it makes me NERVOUS to keep the rest on the grain free after being taught for years and years that any protein levels above 28 were way too high.

Cheese? PLEASE!
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 12:28pm PST 
Just wanted to send
Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 12:44pm PST 
I feel ya. Wellness senior isn't grain free. If you visit the dogaware site you will find some great info. I ate grain free until I started the wellness senior and I adjusted really well. There are other dog foods available too. I went with Wellness because I trust them and I had been on grain free Wellness before switching over.

I'm glad you are doing your research to make sure you get the best diet possible too. Mom is going to see our vet in a couple of weeks and mom is curious to know if she did more research on whether high protein diets effect kidney function.

Good luck and I'm sending you PoP that you get those numbers down way to gohug

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 1:34pm PST 
Toto...hug I'm sorry to hear this.
The Orijen White Paper cites and discusses studies about the high protein-kidney issues.


I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 1:48pm PST 
Hydration, hydration, hydration. Feed wet stuff! Sassy had trouble drinking enough water but for some reason could clean out her food dish if I added water to meals. Like you don't know that already!

I concentrated on lowering phosphorus levels in Sassy's food but that is mostly to prevent acidity which makes the tummy hurt and the dog doesn't want to eat. Sassy stopped eating for a scary couple of days early on but the vet gave her a simple antacid and she ate again! Ask your vet, it might help. I thought it was the end, nope - just had a tummy ache.

The bad values could be the teeth or tick disease or..... Lew Olson suggests that kidneys don't just go bad, something happens to them. As well as reading dogaware, there are a couple of articles here that may give food for thought.
http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/age-in-senior-dogs-do es-not-cause-renal-failure/

Egg white is the best low phosphorus protein but she stopped tolerating it so she got mostly stewed chicken and glutinous rice. Dog food has lots of phosphorus because the meat meals used are rich in bone and bone has oodles of phosphorus. Vegetable proteins have lots of phosphorus too. A random ounce of tofu from nutritiondata has 15 calories, 28 mg of phosphorus and 2.1 grams of protein, an ounce of stewed chicken with skin has 61 calories, 39mg of phosphorus and 7 grams of protein. So getting 5.5 mg of phosphorus per gram of protein with stewed chicken and 13.3 mg of phosphorus with that particular tofu! Since I mentioned egg white, an ounce has 13 calories, 3.1 grams of protein and 4.2mg of phosphorus for a whopping 1.34 mg of phosphorus per gram of protein!

After the best hydration you can get into the dog protein is a huge help. Sassy didn't lose muscle mass once I figured out how to get 27-28% protein into her daily so she stayed on her feet and happy to take a walk until her last week or so. She had always been on 22% protein food before that and maintained good muscling until she was a senior but she was burning through the calories and protein when she was a geriatric dog.
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