Let's play ball!

Let’s play ball!

I’m sitting in Starbucks enjoying a non-fat latte and an oatmeal breakfast. Weather-wise, It’s a cold and gloomy day and I felt like a treat after I dropped my four-legged love off at the vet’s office. The Poodle was scheduled for his annual dental cleaning and a routine physical. In California, he received anesthesia-free dental cleanings. I really liked that. I felt good about not subjecting my dog to additional drugs in his body (not to mention the after effects) and it helped to keep costs down as well. Unfortunately here in Alabama, I haven’t found a vet that does anesthesia-free dental cleaning. The doctor understands my reticence over putting my dog under and he assured me that my dog would be OK. And, he added, since he performs blood work before the procedure if there was anything to be concerned about, he would call.

He called.

As I sipped my coffee and read the book I had brought along, I received a phone call from the vet’s office.

“We’ve got the results of Brando’s blood work,” said the doctor. Most everything is within normal range except for his kidneys….his blood work indicates early kidney disease.”

I can tell you that all the Starbucks chatter around me seemed to immediately cease. The world stopped and everything was silent.

“Kidney disease,? I all but choked out. He’s only six years old.

He went on to explain that my dog is otherwise in good health but he is “middle-aged” and since my poodle is on a high-protein diet it may be causing kidney problems. This vet is not a proponent of high-protein diets; he’s told me so during our very first visit to his practice two years ago. He isn’t a work dog he had advised. But I don’t like the plethora of brands that contain more chemicals than natural food and lots of grain as fillers I had countered. Most dogs (poodles especially) shouldn’t be eating corn (which is often the third ingredient in the list) because it often leads to allergies and skin problems.

So, naturally the vet wants to change my dog’s diet from his high-protein kibble (Taste of the Wild) in an effort to reduce his elevated creatine and BUN (blood urea nitrogen ) levels.

“Of course,” I say bewildered and just a bit ….um….scared.

I’m in a daze as I leave Starbucks to pick up my love. Once there, I’m greeted by my bundle of joy with that familiar get-me-out-of-here-PLEASE crazy enthusiasm. The doctor writes a prescription for Hill’s K/D dog food (Kidney Disease food) and advises against the dental cleaning until a follow-up visit in four weeks, and another round of blood work to check his creatine and BUN levels.

Naturally, I’ve showered my boy with lots of extra love today. I also tried to do some digging on the internet and my eyes were glazed over in less than five minutes. It’s hard to sift through the quackery and the truth! I also texted my boy’s breeder who is über-knowledgeable (she runs a great Poodle breeding business and our lovely in all ways poodle is a testament to that!) to get her opinion. She was quite sympathetic and provided some links for me to sift through.

I’m not sure low-protein is the answer. There sure seems to be considerable conflicting opinions by vets and dog professionals on that subject. But I am going to try this low-protein approach for one month and I’m praying that my boy responds favorably.


all prayers are welcomed.