My blue female Doberman named Misty has been living with Chronic Active Hepatitis for several years now. When she was first diagnosed, she was in really bad shape. She is now a healthy, happy and slightly on the porky side. If you are finding this post because you are searching the web for answers on this very frightening disease in your dog, you may also want to click here to read a previous post that describes what Chronic Active Hepatitis is and how my dog has dealt with it over the years. Note: I created a Chronic Active Hepatitis in Dogs Google group on 9/21/11 – Click here to visit it and join us.
The following information is based on my own personal experience with my dog that has CAH. You must consult your own veterinarian for the specific needs of your dog. There are many different forms of Hepatitis in dogs that require a different form of treatment. Do not follow the advice below without the approval from your vet!
According to my vet and much research I have done over the internet, one of the keys to managing copper toxicity Chronic Active Hepatitis is to drastically reduce the amount of copper in your dog’s diet. To maintain control over this, I have been feeding my dog a diet of half homemade low-copper foods and half Innova brand dry dog food. She was initially on strictly a homemade diet when she was first diagnosed. This diet consists of chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, rice, green beans, hard boiled eggs and flax oil. If you are making your own food for your dog, you may want to click here to see a list of the copper content in common foods. Once her liver levels were under control, I decided to add in some kibble to give her teeth something to crunch on and to give my kitchen stove a bit of a break! I chose Innova because I had heard that it was one of the best foods with the lowest copper content. My dogs love it and Misty’s liver levels have remained under control for as long as I have been using it.
Even though Misty’s current diet has done wonders to keep her CAH in check, I have decided to completely change it. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Two reasons…. 1.) Cooking homemade food for your dog is a pain in the ass. 2.) I found some premium dry dog foods with a much lower copper content than Innova.
I have been on a quest to find a convenient yet comparable substitute for the homemade diet for several years now with no luck. I have looked at dehydrated foods, raw foods, canned foods and freeze-dried foods and all of them seemed to have either a copper additive (good for most dogs, not dogs with CAH) or they had organ meat in them (organ meat is high in copper). While exhibiting at the 2010 Phoenix Pet Expo, I stopped by the Pawsitive Foods booth to see if they had any suggestions for me. They gave me a brochure on N-R-G dehydrated dog food. I was excited to see that the Optimum Diet line did not contain a copper additive nor did it have any organ meat. Woooo Hooo! Perhaps this is the homemade substitute that I have been looking for??
A few days after the show, I got a call from Pawsitive Foods. Not only did they remember to follow up with me, but they also took the time to search through all of their available foods and prepare a breakdown of the copper content in each of them for me. Click here to read a recent blog post describing their remarkable customer service. Here is the breakdown that they gave me of premium dog foods and their nutrient contents, sorted by copper content lowest to highest:
|Dog Food||Protein %||Min Fat %||Max Fiber %||Copper Mg/Kg||Zinc Mg/Kg|
|Great Life Chicken Grain/Potato Free||33.00%||12.00%||4.00%||7.79||251.00|
|Great Life Salmon||22.00%||12.00%||4.00%||7.79||243.00|
|Great Life Salmon Grain/Potato Free||30.00%||14.00%||4.00%||8.00||256.00|
|Natures Logic Beef||31.50%||17.50%||6.00%||9.00||94.00|
|Great Life Buffalo||22.25%||9.47%||3.64%||10.03||180.60|
|Great Life Buffalo Grain/Potato Free||29.00%||12.00%||4.00%||10.18||248.90|
|Fromm Chicken ala Veg||24.00%||15.00%||4.00%||11.00||135.00|
|Fromm Duck & Sweet Potato||24.00%||15.00%||3.00%||11.00||135.00|
|Fromm Salmon ala Veg||25.00%||16.00%||3.50%||11.00||135.00|
|Fromm Surf & Turf||30.00%||19.00%||3.00%||11.00||135.00|
|Fromm Whitefish and Potato||23.00%||11.00%||3.50%||11.00||135.00|
|Fromm Gold Adult||24.00%||16.00%||3.50%||11.00||135.00|
|California Naturals GF Chicken||36.08%||13.08%||3.94%||11.85||180.00|
|California Naturals GF Venison||21.50%||16.10%||3.91%||13.07||180.97|
|Innova Large Breed Adult||25.85%||14.21%||2.93%||13.79||192.20|
|Innova Adult Dry||25.42%||14.28%||1.92%||14.40||193.43|
|Fromm Gold Puppy||27.00%||18.00%||3.50%||14.70||135.00|
|Fromm Gold Lg Breed Puppy||26.00%||14.00%||3.50%||14.70||135.00|
|Earthborn Holistics Primitive Natural||38.00%||20.00%||2.50%||15.00||147.00|
|Earthborn Holistic Ocean Fusion||22.00%||12.00%||4.00%||15.00||166.00|
|Natures Logic Chicken||38.30%||18.10%||6.00%||15.00||73.00|
|Natures Logic Lamb||32.00%||18.10%||6.00%||15.00||73.00|
|Natures Logic Venison||38.30%||18.10%||6.00%||15.00||73.00|
|Natures Logic Duck/Salmon||38.30%||18.10%||6.00%||15.00||73.00|
|California Naturals GF Lamb||25.10%||13.50%||4.00%||15.27||180.00|
|Innova Adult Red Meat||24.24%||19.00%||2.08%||16.35||200.00|
|Evo Wt Management||52.46%||15.26%||1.73%||17.95||231.24|
|Earthborn Holistics Adult Vantage||22.00%||12.00%||4.00%||18.00||163.00|
|Great Life Lamb||22.00%||11.00%||4.00%||18.66||223.00|
|Evo Red Meat||44.17%||23.13%||2.50%||19.69||218.73|
|Great Life Chicken||24.25%||14.47%||3.44%||19.76||234.20|
|Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage||28.00%||20.00%||5.00%||26.00||241.00|
Here’s a photo of my Misty Blue looking happy and healthy. She’s missing most of her hair because she also has Color Dilution Alopecia (also common in Blue Dobermans) but it doesn’t seem to bother her much.
Update – March 2014:
Last July, my sweet girl Misty passed away from cancer. At almost 13 years old, she lived a very long life for a Dobereman. I am happy to report that in the end, she won her battle with Chronic Active Hepatitis. We managed to keep the condition under control for many years through proper diet, medication and advice from an excellent vet. Since this post gets so much attention from people areound the globe that are looking for answers for their own pet with CAH, I created a forum for you to communicate with one another. Please visit this Google Group to ask questions. The comments on this page are not regularly monitored. You will get answers much quicker by visiting the link below. Best wishes to you and your best friend: