Vet Things My Raw Diet is Giving Large Breed Pup Pano

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Member Since
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 8:24am PST 
Hey Everyone,

I'm an avid raw feeder and follow the prey model raw diet. I strongly believe that this is the proper nutrition for dogs and have seen amazing results in our pup. Everyone comments on how healthy he is.

Lately he's been limping a lot and our vet suspects its pano (growing pains). He's a cane corso so he's a large breed puppy.

I remember hearing the vet and breeder say not to feed these dogs puppy chow or puppy kibble because it has too much protein and these dogs grow and put weight on so fast that we don't want to put extra stress on their joints, I'm sure you've all heard this before.

So our dog is on a raw diet and is perfectly healthy, yet lean. His kibble fed siblings (living with other families) have always weighed more than him and he's at a perfect weight. So naturally our vet knows we feed raw and is trying to say the high protein intake is causing the pano. I don't buy this b/c experienced raw feeders know that dogs are carnivores and don't have a need for carbohydrates - fruits/veggies/etc - all they eat is protein so how does a high protein diet (which they're supposed to eat) hurt them?

What do you all think? Is this true? Do you think he has pano because of his raw diet? I know most dogs on a raw diet are super healthy so I just don't think this can be true. But any insight would be appreciated.

Where can I run- today?
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 8:33am PST 
I would be looking at the calcium/phosphorus ratio before protein.

So naturally our vet knows we feed raw and is trying to say the high protein intake is causing the pano.

Raw is not higher protein than most kibbles. It is very, very moisture rich which makes its protein percentages more comparable to the numbers found in the very very concentrated dry kibbles.

I would analyze your diet and make sure your calcium/phosphorus is not too high (or too low). This is important for growing large breed dogs.

Member Since
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 8:44am PST 
We feed him more than the 10% bone he should be getting. We find that if we don't do more bone he has soft stools all the time. Everything I've read says that dogs are individuals and some may need more bone than others, etc.

That could be the issue. If we cut back the bone and he has soft stools all the time what do we do? Because they are supposed to be harder and well formed on the raw diet.

Member Since
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 8:50am PST 
You made a great point so I just starting looking up some information on this and I'm finding conflicting view points.

This page here http://rawfeddogs.org/rawguide.html is saying "Meats are high in phosphorus, bones are high in calcium. When meat is fed with 10% bone you have the exact ratios of calcium to phosphorus required by a dog."

Then this page http://gratefulpet.com/calciumtophosphorusratio.aspx says "In humans and animals Calcium to Phosphorus balance is essential to the development and maintenance of a strong and healthy skeletal structure.It is important to have more Calcium than Phosphorus in your pet’s overall diet."

Everything I read is conflicting, any clarification would be helpful!
Crash- Dynamite

Live up to your- Name!
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 11:08am PST 
In humans, we suggest a calcium/magnesium supplement to help ease leg cramps. Also potassium (found in bananas) what in the dog world would accomplish the same?
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 12:55pm PST 
Those two pages don't have conflicting information... your calcium to phosphorous balance is a certain ratio of one to the other, not half and half, (sorry, I can't remember the ratio), and both state you need to follow the correct ratio to balance them. AND...that ratio is different for growing pups than it is for adult dogs. Adding more calcium without keeping the correct balance with the amount of phosphorous is where the trouble begins.
Is this anti-raw vet the same one that was treating your pup with antibiotics for lyme without testing to see if he in fact HAD lyme in a previous post??? If so, I wouldn't have a lot of faith in him, anyway.

Member Since
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 8:32pm PST 
Okay, stop the presses just a bit. Let's de-confuse ourselves.

FACT: Large breeds go through a massive growth spurt. Now, a large breed is any breed with an average adult size of over 55 lbs. A giant breed is even more massive spurt than regular large breeds.

FACT: Contrary to what we've been told in the past about our pets, power feeding to make our pets big is HARMFUL to their physiology - any size dog. What we should be going for is a controlled, balanced growth.

So, the reason there is a separate Large Breed Puppy Kibble is because the commercial dog food business have to add tons of minerals to the regular kibble to compensate for all the minerals lost in the food processing. The Large Breed Puppy Kibble is designed to have a lower mineral content and lower calorie content than the regular puppy kibble to achieve a controlled, balanced growth throughout the massive growth spurt undergone by a Large Breed Puppy. Large Breed puppies need a relatively lower calorie intake as well as the Mineral intake as compared to their smaller counterparts. But, this is where the commercial dog food is not very good... In the process of creating a Large Breed Puppy formulation, they also lower the Protein content. We DON'T WANT to lower the PROTEIN ratio. And here's why (in overly simplified terms):

High calories contribute to big mass. A dog with a bigger mass than its skeleton can support is going to result in growth problems.

Minerals contribute to faster bone growth. Bones that are growing faster than its ligaments will cause lesions on the bone and other bone abnormalities contributing to a weak bone structure.

Protein is the main energy source for a dog. Lowering the protein ratio in a dog's diet will cause a protein deficiency that is detrimental to growth.

So, this is what you need to be going for in large/giant breeds - low mineral ratio, high protein ratio all contributing to a low calorie intake.

BUT - In PMR-fed dogs the 80-10-5-5 ratio is just fine for any breed, any size dog (this is not a high mineral diet at all). Raw food is also less calorie dense than the corresponding kibble in volume. So,the 2% volume guideline is a good starting point. Then you need to observe the dog to watch his growth - if he's getting too fat, cut back the amount of food (keeping the ratio), if his ribs start to stick out, increase the amount of food. This is really nothing different than all the other PMR fed dogs. Don't use mineral supplements as the dog is growing. Introduce minerals only when the dog shows signs of mineral deficiency (which can be genetic).

Edited by author Thu Feb 7, '13 8:51pm PST


Member Since
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 9:08pm PST 
P.S. Now, about the Pano. Yes, I would go look for another vet. How does he explain Pano in kibble-fed dogs, huh??? Because - it's not that kibble-fed dogs don't get Pano!

Now, I'm not a vet. But, if this was my dog, I'd reduce the amount of food I'm giving the dog. Pano is an indication of growth imbalance and large/giant breed dogs with Pano are better off slightly thin than slightly overweight. Even just 5 lbs over could be painful. And the best way to gauge whether the dog is carry extra weight is by the way the dog looks. So, I would go for the more defined indentation between the ribs and the loins. Please make sure you monitor your dog closely. In raw fed dogs, the change in food volume can affect a drastic weight gain/loss so do the reduction gradually. I would also reduce the bone content of his meal. Better to be on the low bone content side than the slightly more bone side to balance the growth.

Hope this helps.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 11:13pm PST 
I would be feeding the 10 percent bone requirement and no more. Feeding too much bone has probably pushed the calcium phosphorus ratio out leading to too fast growth and pano.

Measure everything out and make sure the bone is absolutely correct. Sloppy stools are preferable to a large breed growing too fast. That is dangerous territory.
Bam-Bam, CGC

Lil' Rubble
Barked: Fri Feb 8, '13 5:51am PST 
Honestly, pano is one of those things that can just happen. Vets love to blame things on diets they don't understand, but realistically, nutrition has never been proven to be the cause of pano. Some dogs just genetically grow faster. It happens.

I did nutrition consults for two Mastiff pups a few months ago. Both were down on their pasterns, but not all the time, only sometimes. After crunching a bazillion numbers and going over everything, I finally said, "Hey listen, it isn't the food. It's your pups." The pups were siblings, bred from VERY heavy-boned lines. And they only went down on their pasterns when they had too much exercise. Their vets didn't pick up on that, I did. Exercise cut back, and the pups went back up on their toes.

So what I'm saying is, you could do everything exactly right, and still have pano because for some pups, it just happens. You can do some things to help with inflammation like add fish oil and MSM, but overall, it might be something you just have to wait out.
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