Jamie started on some pretty heavy duty prednisone last night, as well as a limited ingredient food with a single protein and carbohydrate source. Figuring out what food to give him was nearly as complicated as the IBD diagnosis itself.
The vet wanted him to eat a "novel" protein source, one he's never been exposed to before. Definitely easier said than done. At his age, he's been there, ate that.
Commercial dog food manufacturers are including a much wider variety of protein sources in their off-the-shelf formulas these days. Ten or 15 years ago, the shelves were stocked with your basic beef, chicken and lamb formula kibble. The more exotic proteins were reserved for vet-prescribed diets, apparently with good reason. Nowadays, you can find buffalo, rabbit, venison, duck and a variety of fish formulas on the shelves of any big box store or pet supply boutique.
And that was the problem. I have always subscribed to the "rotate your protein source" theory. In other words, don't feed your dog the exact same thing his entire life because that could set him up for developing a food allergy. My vets at our local clinic supported this. (I say "vets" plural because in the 23 years I've gone to our local clinic, there have probably been 5-6 different small animal vets. They come. They go. They've all been great but due to the constant staff turnover, there hasn't been a great deal of continuity in treatment over any of my dogs' lifetimes. Worth a post in itself.)
Back to Jamie's diet - he has enjoyed a variety of "people food" over the years. He ate table scraps along with his regular food. Yes! Horrors! Table scraps! (This is the dog who has never been overweight in his life.) And canned mackerel and salmon. And hard-boiled eggs. And lots of cheese and hot dogs in training. And pretty much anything else he wanted. He was a goat.
Now, after nearly 12 years, Jamie has been exposed to so many different proteins, finding a novel one is nearly impossible. His vet at the emergency clinic was understandably frustrated.
"I wish people would just pick one food and stick with it," she said. "There's absolutely no reason to switch."
Yikes. Well, too late for us.
Jamie is eating potato and venison, even though he's already been exposed to venison. We'll see how it goes. Thanks to the mega dose of pred, he would probably eat the table legs, too, if he had a chance.
Here's a pic of me and Jamie from a long time ago. A very long time ago. (Sorry it's so small, I stole it back from the ABTC Web site.)