Repost: Canine Intestinal Lymphangiectasia 102

Louie’s mom:  This is a repost of a post I made several years ago.


Canine Intestinal Lymphangiectasia 102:  

First, please read Canine Intestinal Lymphangiectasia 101 .


I love that we’re all talking about this disease, but it’s good to read everything here, too.

I don’t have a lot of time to spend here, so I’ve tried to put the information that I’ve learned in a place where it is available to everyone.  If I don’t respond to every question here, it might be due to the fact that your answer is already here.

A few quick reminders:

  • Don’t feed a dog with primary CIL a high fat diet.  ULTRA low fat and HIGH protein is the way to feed.  If your dog improves on a fatty diet, your dog does not have primary CIL, but may have CIL secondary to IBD.
  • If things aren’t working, eliminate chicken.  It’s often not tolerated well.  Lists of well-tolerated, low fat foods can be found in several posts here about feeding.
  • Protein loss causes muscle wasting and you will not get weight on a CIL dog until you get the intestinal protein loss under control.  DO NOT feed fatty foods to put weight on.  You will kill your dog quickly that way.
  • STOP worrying about grains and raw foods and corn-free and every other trendy feeding advice you’ve ever heard.  NONE of that will help your CIL dog, and holding fast to those trends while refusing to feed what does help will quickly kill your dog.  Feed what works and stick with that until they day they die– hopefully from something other than CIL.
  • It can take several months to find what works and get your dog stable.  Don’t overreact to a lack of progress.  Steady wins this race.
  • Mashed potato flakes (just plain potatoes, nothing fancy) are your best friend.  They contain no fat, therefore you can cut back the fat content of any meal simply by adding potato.  If your food isn’t working and you think it’s the fat content, you can experiment with adding potatoes until you find a ratio of food-to-potato that works for your dog.
  • What you’ve really found by doing that is a percentage of fat that is tolerable for your dog.  You may not have a number, but you do have a feeding success, and that is what counts.
  • Once you reach stability, you may have to add one or two meals per day to keep your dog from losing weight.
  • If your dog does not eat his/food, it’s probably because of indigestion.  DO NOT start swapping foods to encourage eating.  Instead, give a little pepcid to control the tummy ache.  You probably wouldn’t eat, either, if you felt as bad as this disease makes your dog feel.

Louie’s mom is now retired from her previous work at the University of California, Davis.  She works part-time as a pet sitter, caring for others’ pets in their absence, and functions as the admin of the Canine Lymphangiectasia Educational Support Group on Facebook.  Donations through PayPal help her find the time to continue to provide information and research to others struggling with CIL.  If you find this information helpful, please consider a small donation.  Thank you.


1 comment to Repost: Canine Intestinal Lymphangiectasia 102

  • Karen Hoehne

    Amen!! Once I found the foods that worked with my dachshund, Lola, — 99% fat-free turkey, sweet potatoes (both recommended by the vet), rice and pasta (work well instead of the sweet potatoes when her tummy is a little upset) — her vet set up a consult with a veterinary nutritionist to analyze those foods as to whether they were appropriate for her and give us appropriate amounts for each item per meal, suggested daily amounts for weight gain and maintenance, and additional supplements (Balance-It, taurine, sunflower oil, and fish oil) to take care of all her daily needs. He also suggested using tilapia which she loves as a change once in a while. Now I feel so much better about her diet and don’t worry if she doesn’t eat it right away — she will come back to it and I know it’s good for her as she has gained weight and muscle.