Dissolution Diets for Patients with Pancreatitis

Diets available for dissolution/management of canine uroliths (struvite and urate) are commonly higher in fat and have lower protein content (Hill’s s/d, u/d, and Royal Canin SO). On average, these diets contain 40-50% of their metabolizable energy content from fat and 5-15% from protein. Normal adult maintenance dog foods contain approximately 30% of the metabolizable energy from fat; therefore, extra care should be used when prescribing these diets to overweight dogs or breeds already predisposed to pancreatitis (Miniature Schnauzers, Bichon Frises, Yorkshire Terriers, Malteses, Shelties, Chihuahuas, Jack Russell Terriers and Labrador Retrievers).

The feeding of a high fat diet (more than 40% ME) can be associated with the onset of pancreatitis. Although no direct evidence is available to prove this association, several theories are proposed and clinical experience alludes to such a relationship. It is recommended that serum triglyceride levels be evaluated before initiating a dissolution diet. An obese, hyperlipidemic or patient with a history of pancreatitis should probably not be fed this type of diet. For example, a potential alternative may include Hill’s w/d, k/d or Purina NF with the addition of potassium citrate or a tailored homemade diet.

Should an animal develop pancreatitis while receiving a dissolution/management diet, the treatment remains the same: supportive care (IV fluids, anti-emetics and pain management) while withholding food. When food is offered, it should be of a lower fat content than before — a food with moderate-fat (30% ME) could be fed rather than the more stringent low fat (20% ME) options.

To learn more about Angell’s Nutrition service, please visit www.angell.org/internalmedicine. To refer a patient, please contact Referral Coordinator Eleanor Cousino at 617 522-5011.