A Bernese Mountain Dog with urinary issues.
JULY/AUGUST 2016: While on a camping/packing trip with Sesi, she began stopping and peeing about every 2-3 minutes, or at least attempting to pee. Very little urine, if any, was being eliminated. It became obvious that Sesi was in some distress so the trip was cut short so that Sesi could return home and visit our veterinarian.
At that time, the Vet ordered a urine test which was also sent for a culture. It was determined that there was both blood in her urine as well as a bacterial infection. Sesi was treated with antibiotics as well as a urinary tract (cranberry based) supplement. She was already being fed Answers Pet Food’s fermented goat’s milk, but the amount was increased.
SEPTEMBER 2016: A follow up urine test and culture was scheduled. The results showed that there was still blood in the urine but the bacterial infection was clear. The Vet recommended an "ultra sound" to check her bladder.
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016: The ultrasound was performed and it was determined that there was a "bladder stone". (Please see the ultrasound report in Sesi’s labs linked below for all of the information). The Vet recommended that an X-Ray be done of her bladder to determine the type of stone. The rule-of-thumb being if it is a struvite stone, it will generally show on the radiograph. If it is an oxalate stone, they generally do not show on the radiograph.
Sesi's stone did not show on the radiograph so the determination from both Sesi’s regular Vet and the Specialty Vet was that the stone was most likely an oxalate stone. As these stones are regarded as not likely to be dissolved medically, the determination was made that bladder surgery was the likely outcome. Sesi’s owners declined surgery for the 8 year old Bernese Mountain Dog.
DECEMBER 2016: Sesi’s owner contacted Answer's Raw Pet Food to discuss doing a “raw milk fast” with Sesi. Sesi’s vet agreed and monitored the progress. Complete bloodwork, calcium, ph and another urine culture were completed create a baseline (linked below in Sesi’s Labwork). Everything was normal other than blood in her urine.
Sesi’s owner also couldn’t understand how her "Answer's-raw-fed-goat-milk-fed" dog developed a bladder stone" so she discussed this with Roxanne Stone and Jacqueline Hill at Answer's Raw Pet Food. The hypothesis developed was interesting, and for Sesi’s owner, it was intuitively accurate. Sesi has not always been a raw fed dog. At the time of diagnosis Sesi was fed 8oz of Answer's Detailed (rotated proteins) and 1 cup of Goat's Milk per feeding (I.5 cups since diagnosis). She also got some treats, but not many. She is supplemented with a joint supplement and cranberry chews. Up until about 1-1/2 years ago Sesi was fed part dry, part raw, along with Raw Goat's Milk. The suggestion was that maybe the stone had been there for a while (which my Vet agreed was possible). Once Sesi was switched to all raw and goat's milk the stone started to dissolve on its own. As oxalate stones are "spikey,” as it dissolved it irritated the bladder eventually causing the infection and blood in the urine.
THE MILK FAST:
12/11/16: Sesi began her raw milk fast. Below is a diary that her owner kept during the fast.
WEEK ONE: December 11-17, 2016
Sesi was started on 144 oz of Answer’s Raw Fermented Goat's Milk per day. She was served three cups, six times a day; 7:00am, 10:00am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm, 7:00pm, 10:00pm. Sesi seemed completely satisfied with this milk diet. She went to work with her owner every day (four days per week). She was able to take frequent walks (once an hour) and she was urinating in good amounts each time. Sometimes she would urinate 2-3 times in a potty break but each time there was significant elimination. After her 1:00pm feeding, she would go out for a long romp at Emigrant Lake. During this time, Sesi did not eliminate other urination.
WEEK TWO: December 18-24, 2016
On Tuesday, December 21st, her owner stopped at the Vet and had Sesi weighed; she had gained a pound! Sesi continued to enjoy her feeding and seemed very comfortable and satisfied. She seemed pretty sluggish though and she still had not pooped. Because she had not pooped in nearly two weeks, her owner contacted Roxanne Stone, who said she may be constipated and to watch her.
Sesi also cut herself back one feeding. It seemed that she no longer desired the last feeding of the day (10:00pm). So she went from 144 oz a day to 120 oz a day. She also really seemed to look eagerly towards her first two feedings of the day. She would actually tell her owner when it was time.
On December 23rd, Sesi finally pooped. And she was prancing with glee afterwards, almost as if to say “FINALLY!” After that, she began to eliminate regularly. Some of it was a softer consistency, but began to solidify properly.
WEEK THREE: December 25-31, 2016
Sesi is still thriving on the Goat Milk Fast. We have a great routine and I find that following the protocol is really quite easy. She is creating actual "solid poop.” Sesi seems very content and I see a level of activity that I haven't seen in her for a while.
WEEK FOUR/FIVE: January 1 - 14, 2017
Sesi is doing exceptionally well. Her 30 days are up, but until she goes in for her follow up ultrasound, she will remain on the Goat Milk Fast. One of the mid-day feedings has been switched to Answers Raw Kefir to add a little variety. She loves all of it. It is like she is younger in some ways.
WEEK SIX: January 15-21, 2017
Friday, 1/20/17, the ultrasound is done. The stone is gone! In total, Sesi lost six pounds and is at a great weight for her.
POST-FAST UPDATE - FEBRUARY 2017:
Sesi continues to maintain a high amount of Answers Fermented Raw Goat’s Milk in her diet. Currently, she is fed two cups of the milk and 6 oz of Answer’s food, twice per day. Occasionally, she gets a cup of kefir midday. Another urine test and culture was complete and it also came back all clear.