A Pancreatitis Journey

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

It’s been almost four years since a wonderful client named Linda asked for some help. She gave me permission to write her story in hope that it can help others, so here it is:


Linda has a 40 pound dog named Buzz.  A calorie burning machine with intelligence and curiosity, Buzz never seemed interested in eating anything but a raw diet. Linda used to buy one that was pre-made and everything seemed fine until Buzz had a pancreatitis attack. Whether the fat content of the diet was a problem, or a bacterial load caused it…Linda wondered and was given all sorts of opinions, but I felt that the cause would never be known and it was best to deal with today rather than look back.


Cooked diets are best in cases of pancreatitis because we need a very low fat diet and by cooking meats, we have the opportunity to skim fat. So, even the leanest raw diet can be made leaner when we cook and skim. Despite this fact, Buzz was a raw food eater and Linda suspected that changing his ways wouldn’t be easy. At first, he felt too sick to eat, and much as this was heartbreaking, it served a purpose. His pancreas was resting and healing, and as he started feeling better and more hungry, he seemed more willing to try something new.



We started the journey to recovery by making a potato slurry. Potatoes were boiled in chicken broth (home-made by boiling skinless/boneless chicken breast, and skimming the bit of fat from the broth) and mashed with enough broth to make them very sloppy. Buzz wasn’t very impressed, but he ate. After 72 hours of this slurry being offered 5 times daily, he was fed a little of the boiled chicken. Slowly, as the days and weeks went by, the diet included skim milk yogurt, hard-boiled egg white, and a little chicken liver and gizzards.



Buzz made a full recovery, but became a repeat offender once Linda started feeding him raw chicken instead of cooked. It was hard to believe that the difference in fat content could have been the cause, but regardless of the reason, Buzz was in trouble again. And so, we worked together once more and brought Buzz back to his normal self. Or, as I call it, his “new normal” because the vet suggested that Buzz would likely develop the same problem again and again. It hasn’t happened. Buzz has been doing very well for years now, and today is his third anniversary of good, stable health. His diet remains cooked and he doesn’t seem to mind. It consists of fresh cod, beef liver, white rice and appropriate supplements to balance the diet. Why these foods? Because cod is a lean source of high quality protein, beef liver provides vitamin A and copper ( a little of other nutrients as well, but not enough to mention), and white rice is low in residue. A simple plan that suits his needs has agreed with Buzz and kept him healthy. So, happy anniversary Buzz! You’ve proven that pancreatitis can be kicked to the curb, and Linda’s proven that a determined and careful owner with an open mind is a great advocate for any dog. What a pleasure to work with both of you!