This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about choosing the right food for a dog with SARDS and a dog developing fatty nodules.
Q: We have a 10-year-old daschund that has Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) and is also excessively hungry. We are feeding her Complete Health® Super5Mix® Just for Seniors, but it is hard to keep her satisfied and keep her weight down. Any suggestions?
A: Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) causes loss of visual function in any breed of dog; blindness results in days to weeks. The cause is still being investigated.
Before the onset of permanent blindness, the dog may exhibit clinical signs similar to Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) increased food and water intake, urination and body weight.
When you go to the veterinary clinic for follow-up; have your vet measure the body weight and estimate the body condition score. Then, based on examination findings, a program can be established to help control body weight.
Don’t free choice feed (leave foods out all the time); rather feed a premeditated number of calories per day in a meal fashion– two to three times per day. This increases digestive function and satiety.
Here are 3 feed management suggestions for a 15 pound dog (desired weight) that needs about 350 kcal of energy per day:
#1 Feed 1/3 cup of Just for Senior dry kibble three times per day. (340 kcal)
#2 Feed ½ x 6 ounce can of Senior Recipe wet food in the morning. (90 kcal)
Feed ½ x 6 ounce can of Senior Recipe wet food at noon (90 kcal)
Feed ½ cup of Just for Senior dry kibble in the evening. (175 kcal)
#3 Feed 1/3 cup of CORE® Reduced Fat kibble three times per day. (350 kcal)
Monitor your pet’s progress by measuring the body weight twice a week. Adjust the caloric intake depending depending on the desired effect on body weight. Encourage your dog to exercise by going for a daily walk.
Q: My lab eats Wellness® Large Breed Adult Health, is 9 years old and has begun to develop fatty nodules. Is there a special food to prevent and reduce fatty deposits?
A: A lipoma is a benign fatty tumor commonly found subcutaneously in overweight dogs. They should be evaluated by your veterinarian. Many times a “watch and see plan” is adopted; you measure the lumps monthly and record the results to monitor change; then discuss findings with your vet at the next wellness exam.
Adipose (fat) tissue was historically thought of as inert storage of energy for later use. Current research has shown an important secretory role for adipose tissue. Adiposites (fat cells) have the ability to release high levels of chemical mediators called adipokines. Adipokines influence appetite, energy intake and expenditure, satiety, insulin responsiveness, and inflammatory response. In addition to interference with movement and structure, lipomas are metabolically active and can impact overall health.
There is not a special “low lipoma” diet but since your dog is probably overweight, you should discuss a weight reduction program during your veterinary appointment. Walk your dog onto a scale at the clinic and get an accurate body weight. With the vet’s help, learn to assign a body condition score.
Also, measure how much food and treat calories (energy) the dog eats every day.
Because weight loss is desired, decrease the current total amount of Wellness Large Breed Adult Health dry kibble and treat calories offered by 20% daily. One 8 oz. measuring cup of Wellness Large Breed Adult Health kibble contains almost 340 kcal. Feed small frequent meals (three daily) of measured amounts of food. Do not free feed and use treats sparingly.
Keeping your pet active will also help achieve weight loss goals. Walking your lab regularly and encouraging active play can help your pet get fit and stay fit. Be sure to weigh your pet frequently so that you can monitor progress and continue to adjust the diet as needed.