"I did then, what I knew then, & when I knew better, I did better."
From the time Spike started cramping I have fed him several different diets. I started with kidney diets as I mentioned earlier. Spike didn't do well on kidney diets.
After Spike was examined at Utrecht University in January 2002 and the results proved that Spike's liver was ok, we left the low protein (kidney diet) foods behind us.
I started to experiment
with different diets.
First I started with Bento Kronen Premium Regular a normal dog food (kibble, ingredients: chicken and hypo-allergen cereal), where cramping dogs did well on.
At that time it was believed the animal protein 'beef' was the trigger to the cramping dog's episodes. I got interested in ingredients in dog and cat food. After surfing the Internet and reading a lot about dog food I grew uncomfortable with kibble. (articles about dog and cat food)
I decided to start cooking for Spike myself. The Kronfeld diet (lambs liver, lambs heart, corn oil and cooked rice) Spike did well on this diet for almost a year, after this, he gradually started to have more episodes, probably caused by the rice and corn oil in the Kronfeld Diet.
Back to the kibble again: Waltham Sensitivity Control Capelin/Tapioca. Spike did well on this food, but I still was uncomfortable with feeding kibble to him. My other two dogs ate a ready-made raw meat diet and I wanted this for Spike too.
In November 2003, I started to feed Spike a ready-made frozen hypo-allergen raw-meat diet: duck based. I still thought beef was the trigger of Spike's episodes. Spike did very well on this raw meat diet.
In March 2004, I started adding other meat varieties, such as lamb, chicken and beef to Spike's diet. No grains/gluten were added. Spike is still doing well.
Karin, the owner of the cramping Border Terrier Britt, and I often discussed the reaction of our dogs to certain ingredients and talked about what might be possible triggers in our cramping dogs food. We finally figured out the episodes of Spike and Britt are not triggered by the meat-protein beef in their food, but by the gluten. Lots of cramping dogs were and are doing well on a hypo-allergen cereal, rice or tapioca based food (kibble), but we never linked this fact with absence of gluten in the food. We always thought the meat-protein beef was the trigger. There are more owners, who are discovering gluten is a trigger for their dog's episodes.
(There are cramping dogs who don't tolerate beef. I stopped feeding it to Spike in March 2005 because he had always bloodshot eyes after a beef meal.)
If you are interested in gluten and how it can affect humans and animals, you might like to go to the site of the Veterinarian Dr. John Symes: www.dogtorj.net
Dr. Symes' Diet Recommendations:
Choose foods WITHOUT the following ingredients:
*Wheat, barley and rye. Dr. Symes
regards oats are as the safest grain, as far as
allergies are concerned. He says that oats contain high levels of glutamate and can contribute to pain and epilepsy in some animals.
*Dairy. This includes milk, cheese, whey, casein, etc.
*Corn (including corn gluten meal), if allergies persist. Dr. Symes thinks this is especially important with asthma, pain, lower GI problems and epilepsy.
*Rice, if allergies persist after removing the grains listed above. At this point an owner is down to dry foods that use potato or sweet potato for carbohydrates. (n.b. or raw grain free BARF, Joke)
*Beef, fish and eggs, only if allergy systems are present
and persist after eliminating the above ingredients. In Dr. Symes'
experience, some dogs have secondary allergies to
these proteins and improve on other protein sources.
*Artificial preservatives and colours.
Before Karin and I noticed
the impact of grains on our cramping dog's health, we fed them sometimes
bread (sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident).
I didn't suspect grain as a trigger so I didn't link cramping with gluten, neither did Karin. Our dogs were a very long time (Karin's Britt almost 13 years, Spike about 7 years) on the 'wrong' food because we didn't know otherwise. In those years Spike never was a healthy dog . Always bloodshot eyes, grumpy, growly, ADH, sometimes cramping three times per week.
Since Karin and I stopped feeding our cramping dogs grain (products) we noticed they are doing much better. Karin once said to me : "We are not satisfied with our dogs doing better, we are always trying to get the 100% improvement". By this trial and error we discovered Britt and Spike also don't tolerate rice, corn and Spike also no soy gluten. We think because Britt and Spike were on a 'wrong' diet for such a long time there is a lot more damage done than in cases a cramping dog is put on a gluten free diet right away.
Twice I have fed Spike the chicken variety of a ready-made raw meat food, he had an episode. The manufacturer of this food has told me, chicken and duck stomachs are added to the chicken and duck variety. The chickens and ducks have been fed grain, so it is possible there are traces of grain in these varieties.
This theory was proved to be right, by a friend, who was going to feed some chicken stomachs to her dogs. She cut the stomachs open at my request and discovered traces of grain in them.
The ready-made raw meat food I am feeding Spike is a complete food with meat, ground bones and vegetables.
April 2004, I have started to prepare the food for the dogs myself. They still get the ready-made frozen raw meat diet for breakfast (for Spike the lamb variety), for dinner they get homemade Barf (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods).
A close friend of Dr Billinghurst (B.V.Sc.[Hons], B.Sc. Agr., Dip Ed.) sent him the information and the link to Spike's site. Dr Billinghurst was so kind to take the time to read the information. He advised to work off a typical BARF diet ensuring there is no gluten in the diet - at least until there is more information on raw fed dogs with this disorder.
In September 2004 I have started to prepare all meals for the cats and dogs myself. No more ready-made. For this purpose I have bought an
electric meat grinder.
The grinding of meat and bones has become a piece of cake ;-)))
When I feed the dogs meat without bones, they get a raw bone AFTER they have eaten their meat or I add ground chicken or hare carcasses to their meat for calcium.
I prefer to feed whole prey animals like hare, goose, duck and rabbit varied with goat, lamb, foal and deer.
N.B. Since March 2005 I don't feed Spike beef anymore. He always had bloodshot eyes when he had been eating beef.
Spike is looking well, the whites of his eyes are not bloodshot anymore but white, he is more relaxed, less grumpy. He even started to play with Penny! Other people have started to notice the changes in him too! He still has episodes but they are less frequent, less violent and he seems to recover quicker then before eating a raw food diet.
If you are going to feed your cramping Border terrier raw foods please avoid necks and stomachs of all grain fed animals this includes cows, lambs and goats tripe. They can hold traces of grain. Organ meats like livers and hearts are ok. Some cramping dogs don't tolerate beef.
If you want to learn
more about raw feeding your Border terrier (cramping or not) you are
welcome to join our e-mail list at:
the Barfing Border Terriers