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Hydrolyzed Food - What Is The Deal?


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Any nutritionists in the house??

 

We're feeling a bit overwhelmed by the recent recommendation by our vet to put our grey (4yo male) on a hydrolyzed diet. He was found to have low levels of folate and cobalamin; he wasn't/isn't really having notable GI symptoms but had lost some weight so on a hunch they tested his absorption along with a bunch of other things [other tests negative/normal]. So they've recommended supplements as well as trying a hydrolyzed (veterinary) diet for a while to let his gut heal up.

 

Now I'm hitting a wall in my research and having a hard time finding good answers to my questions; so I'm hoping someone here might be able to weigh in. Especially since we can't really talk to the vet again until Monday.

 

There are a limited number vet diets, and they all seem to either be hydrolyzed chicken or hydrolyzed soy. He had previously been on chicken food (stupid, in hindsight, but with no obvious bowel issues we had no reason to change it), so I'm wary of chicken as it is more likely to be something he's sensitive to. Is this a logical assumption? Or is it moot because it's hydrolyzed?

 

The truly burnin question: I've noticed some of these vet foods have other, plant proteins (usually potato or pea) that are not hydrolyzed. Does this not matter? Is it only animal protein that really matters??

What about the protein in grains and other non-animal sources (thinking about treats)? Does all the protein need to be hydrolyzed for this kind of diet to work??

 

I've also found one food with hydrolyzed protein that actually isn't prescription-only, and is much more affordable - which is hard to ignore. It also gets a lot closer to nutrient percentages that we'd like him to be at, but maybe those are too much for a dog in this situation? This food also has peas, which do contain protein and it's not hydrolyzed.

Should this option be dismissed out of hand because it's not a prescription food?

 

https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/wholehearted-grain-free-skin-and-coat-care-pea-and-salmon-recipe-dry-dog-food#pdp-ingredients

 

Does anyone have any experience with these foods? Any knowledge or experience to share?

Grateful to any and all :)

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If I'm remembering correctly (and it may be I am not!) it's not the actual protein, but an antigen or histamine part *of* the protein that causes the trouble for some dogs. Hydrolyzation just removes that particular part of the protein to make it more digestible by the body.

 

I can't comment on the efficacy of hydrolyzed diets in malabsorption problems, but for issues where the body *can't* process, say, chicken, due to IBS or some other allergic/immune system reaction, a hydrolyzed diet is essentially a short cut to doing a full blown food trial.

 

I don't remember if you tried a food trial, or had it suggested, but it's usually the way to figure out a food that the dog can process. Lots of dogs have allergies/intolerances to chicken. Our vet told us corn and chicken are the two most allergic foods. Some dogs can't tolerate any "normal" protein, which is why there are so many novel (non hydrolyzed) protein diets out there like venison, kangaroo, bison, and rabbit. There's even a hydrolyzed diet made out of chicken feathers that's supposed to be completely non-allergenic.

 

FWIW, our chicken intolerant dog cannot tolerate *any* chicken, even hydrolyzed chicken protein. She cannot have the hydrolyzed food preservative made from chicken fat (which is in nearly everything). Fortunately for us, she is not intolerant of any carb source, or other protein, so finding a food she would eat was more about her pickiness and nausea than being intolerant and reactive to it. Once we found a food she began to get better immediately, but it took a long time and LOTS of intense label reading. We've had to switch foods twice due to recipe shifts that began to include chicken, usually in the preservative.

 

So, ultimately, you need to talk with your vet about the purpose of a hydrolyzed diet for your dog, and if he might be better served by a novel protein diet, or even just one without any chicken.

 

PS - Lilly won't eat kibble so she just gets canned food. There's no law that says a dog *must* eat kibble, it's just cheaper and more convenient. She gets two cans of Blue Turkey Meatloaf, and one 5 oz can of albacore tuna in water every day.

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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I do not have any medical info to share, but my Poodle mix vomited daily for almost a year before a vet suggested hydrolyzed food for her. After thousands of dollars of tests, I finally realized she is allergic to chicken. Right before finding out the hydrolyzed food was going to work, and she would eat it, I was down to feeding her boiled organic chicken. I was basically killing her. Since the new food, both canned and dry, she has not vomited in almost 6 months. Poor girl, she really suffered. I tried every single food on the planet I think.

We do Science Diet dry and canned, and Purina HA. There were a couple others that she wouldn't try.

Good luck

Karen

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I would not feed the Wholehearted food as it contains a high volume of peas -- and ingredient of suspicion in causing heart disease -- and hasn't undergone digestibility trials. Work with your vet.

 

 

Hydrolyzing a protein breaks it down into pieces that are usually too small for the body to recognize them as an allergen. Yes, a dog can be allergic to other, nonhydrolyzed ingredients. But it's most commonly the meat protein that causes issues.

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Hydrolysis is a process using water that breaks the protein molecule into small segments. Most food allergies are related to the protein because they are such a large molecule. Smaller molecules tend to attract less attention from the immune system. Since the body actually uses the amino acids that make up the protein, it doesn't matter if the protein is whole, halved, or in a million pieces since all the amino acids are still present in the smaller segments.

 

Most hydrolyzed idets use very common proteins such as chicken or soy as they are inexpensive while being nutritionally complete. The hydrolysis process itself is quite expensive so it makes sense to use a cheaper, easily acquired protein source.

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Thank you to all! Our vet (internist) recommended starting with hydrolyzed as opposed to trialing novel proteins/elimination diets because hist test results heavily hinted that he had some upper GI damage and that this would be the best way to help it heal quickly. Our understanding was the only downside was cost of prescription food, which we were fine with. The goal is to find a normal or novel kibble once his folate/cobalamin levels are back up where we want them.

 

(Un)Fortunately, whether it's medical or not, this guy is always starving and will literally eat anything we give him, so that's not a problem.

 

However, we started the transition to a veterinary hydrolyzed food [with no un-hydrolyzed protein] almost a week ago and cut out all animal-protein treats but have had consistently worse poops (pudding) than the entire the time we've had him! :weep His poop hasn't been like this when positive for hookworm, when transitioning to other foods, or even at diagnosis.

 

He seems/acts fine, he's still eating & drinking, there's no urgency or messing in the house, etc, but we're feeling really discouraged. We're giving olewo carrots to help firm him up and they help, but it doesn't seem like they should be necessary with this kind of food.

Or is this to be expected with the hydrolyzed food?

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Did your vet okay the carrots? And are you sure you got rid of the hooks?

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Did your vet okay the carrots? And are you sure you got rid of the hooks?

I think we'd discussed with the vet that we've used the carrots in these situations, but did we ask specific permission - no. We've only just given some this morning with breakfast after waiting almost all week for poops to improve. They usually work nicely (no verdict yet today) but they're basically just a band-aid.

 

As for hooks, ugh. We did the Prison Protocol for almost six months and got one negative in Nov and are due for another test soon, now that we're just on the maintenance recommendation (just Advantage Multi as monthly preventative). We'll definitely get a sample over to the vet for another test asap, but it's hard to ignore that this turn of events was perfectly timed with this food switch.

 

I guess I'm just questioning whether I'm totally overthinking this/should have expected this? Has anyone else run into this issue on a veterinary diet?

I (maybe naively) figured this food, while expensive and not particularly nutritious, would at least not have this problem.

Especially when no other food switches with him have had the same effect.

Or, should I just assume it's definitely something else - like hooks or a bug?

I'm hopefully going to talk to either of our vets today, but no one is easy to get ahold of :riphair

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I don't think you can assume anything. It's been too little time to really assess whether the diet will help. If gut healing is what you're after, I highly recommend Vetri-Science Vetri-probiotic BD. It has probiotics, but has so many other things for gut healing, including L-glutamine. I have IBS and take the human version (made by the same company) for myself and it has been a life saver. Of course, I'm pretty sure they have the tiniest bit of chicken in them so there's that to consider. Though fwiw, my chicken sensitive girl eats them without issue.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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