A freak first ask forgiveness later incident happened involving Gracie Friday night, and we spent some time at the vet. Gracie was and remains fine.
I on the other hand really need to stop seeing fatal diseases around every corner. As long as we were at the vet, may as well make it worth it, so a blood test was ordered to see how Gracie is doing on the home made diet plan. Gracie has been on the plan for 15 months and this is her second blood test. This time, we ran a urinalysis as well.
Humor me! Actually click on the link to see what we found!
The elevated Creatinine doesn’t concern me since everything else was within normal limits. Gracie was gassy – probably from scarfing her way late dinner – possibly from eating something that didn’t agree with her in the back yard that morning – who knows. If she was bloated with gas most of the day, she might not have drunk as much as she should have, especially when the temperature had risen to the un-holy measure of 88 degrees. Remember, none of the Run A Muck Ranch dogs can survive in temperatures above 82 degrees, and we have the electric bills to prove it! Nothing like a little dehydration to elevate the Creatinine levels from time to time.
Other than that one measure, Gracie is straight A’s within normal ranges for everything.
To date, no vet, not even the “nutritional specialists” I have actively sought out and paid for consultations, has asked me what I feed my dogs. The constant recommendation from the ‘specialists’ is that I change all the dogs back to a commercial diet. Any commercial diet, they say, would be better than a home made diet.
Am I stupid? You be the judge:
AAFCO, which writes the guidelines on commercial dog food, has 3 ways to bring a dog food to market (overly simplified descriptions):
1. The proposed food may be analyzed by a laboratory. If the nutrient content meets the minimum requirements set forth by AAFCO, the food is considered adequate. Digestibility or useability of the nutrients are not guaranteed. As long as the correct molecules are present, you’re good to go.
2. A list of ingredients for the proposed food is imputed into a computer program. If the combination of ingredients meet the minimum requirements set forth by AAFCO, the food is considered adequate. It is possible this way to produce food that has little or no nutritional value, i.e. it is possible to meet the ‘protein requirement’ with plant material alone and be considered adequate. However, there is no guarantee that all essential amino acids are provided. The food does not have to be analyzed in a laboratory, or fed to a single dog, to pass muster.
3. 8 dogs start, but only 6 need finish, a 26 week feeding trial. At the end of the feeding trial, hemoglobin, packed cell volume, Alk Phos and serum albumin are tested. If those blood parameters are within normal range, and the dogs in the trial have not lost more than 15% body weight since the beginning of the trial, the food is declared adequate.
There is actually a 4th way available to manufacturers of several foods, but isn’t relevant since the original food had to pass one of the 3 tests described.
Morty, Willy and Slugger are only on a taste of home made with the bulk of their meals being commercial due to cost and cooking time issues. That leaves 11 Run A Muck Ranch dogs being fed the diet plan solely. 9 have been maintained for longer than AAFCO’s 26 weeks (Pablo and Gertie are recent residents and not included in the dog count which exceeds AAFCO protocols – at least for now). Blood tests are ongoing, and I check a whole lot more than the 4 parameters required and accepted by the experts. OK, so I don’t test every dog each time, but every dog is tested and tests are repeated for each dog.
To date, there have been no health issues that can be linked to nutrition. Remember, when Vito started having his seizures, I immediately bared my wrists, both to the regular vet and to the ultrasound vet, offering up diet as a cause. Neither would bite. Ultimately, it was verified diet was not a factor.
Will I convert back to commercial, any commercial? Nope! Until I have a veterinary nutritional expert, heck, just any vet for that matter, actually ask me what I feed (none have, believe it or not), and tells me specifically what is wrong with it, I will stay with what I’m doing, with the ultimate goal of getting the ‘neglected 3’ (Morty, Willy and Slugger) on the plan as well.