Pricey pet food could save you surgery cost (re: prescription diets)
posted at 2/19/2012 11:47 AM EST
Photo by Marina Maslennikova
Dear Dr. John,
Our 5-year-old white terrier mix dog has had a problem with chronic oxalate bladder stones and now our 12-year-old cat has hyperthyroidism!
We are writing to see if you have thoughts on diets for our animals. Our dog has been eating a prescription food from Royal Canin and our cat takes medication daily. Now the vet tells us there is a new diet for hyperthyroidism. Do these diets really work? Because the cost seems to get a little crazy.
Though we love our animals a lot, we wonder if you can suggest alternatives? What will happen if we don’t feed our pets these diets?
You have a twofer on your hands. Canine oxalate stones are difficult to manage due to an inborn error of metabolism that creates these bladder stones. My guess is that your dog has been on Royal Canin Urinary SO for the prevention of stones from recurring. Did the dog have surgery initially and is your dog male? These stones are almost always found in male dogs and usually need to be surgically removed.
Other problems that lead to high calcium can also lead to the formation of these stones. Hill’s Pet Nutrition u/d is also a diet made for prevention of these stones. Dogs with this problem need to be on strict diets to prevent recurrence. I once treated a patient who had four or five surgeries in about six to seven years to remove these recurring stones, despite a special diet.
That was years ago and I would trust the diets today because so much research and development has gone into them. You can also look online at homemade diets that may work — but those may be labor-intensive to make, and unproven. Not feeding your dog a special diet will most likely lead to expensive surgeries that cost more than the prescription food. Make sure your dog drinks plenty of water, too.
As for your cat, hyperthyroidism is usually treated with daily methimazole or a costly single treatment of radioiodine. The new diet is Hill’s y/d and I am told that a strict diet (six to eight weeks) for cats with this condition eliminates the disease. There are not as many homemade diets for this condition.
Bottom line — I would take a veterinarian’s advice and use the prescription diets. There are many different prescription diets for many different disease conditions and they have made for longer and healthier lives.Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/lifestyle/view.bg?articleid=1404614