Food Disorders

  • Infected Skin

    Puppy doing well on Maxhealth Puppy Junior

    Signs frequently connected to food disorders

    From the theoretical point of view we are able to distinguish allergy from intolerance, the former being immune-mediated whilst the second is not. In practice this distinction is not obvious. Allergy and intolerance have similar appearance but the first may be easier to understand because lots of research has been and is currently being published and mechanisms of action proved.

    On the other hand intolerance is a more difficult field to investigate as the cause and the mechanism are not well understood, though, as mentioned before, the symptoms are similar. It is important to remember that true food allergy in dogs is very rare and does not affect more than 3% of presented cases. Itching can start at a very young age. Puppies may be itchy at 50-60 days of age, shortly after weaning (when the dog food is introduced). An intensive farming meat and animal by-products free diet control the itch. The presence of itching in puppies which did not have the time for sensitization, could lead to the hypothesis that indeed we are dealing with a non-allergic reaction.

    Before Maxhealth

    Before Maxhealth

    After Maxhealth

    After Maxhealth

    This Boerboel puppy 4 months old presented lesions on the ventral thorax and abdomen attributable to contact allergy or allergy to grass. Diet was changed, treatment provided but to no avail. The owner found the Maxhealth web site and then contacted the Maxhealth Vet. The diet was changed again, this time to Maxhealth, two weeks later the owner took more pictures of the lesions. The puppy is now doing well on the Maxhealth Puppy Junior formula.

    • Red and watery eyes
    • Dull, dry and rough coat
    • Dandruff, patchy loss of hair
    • Foul skin odor
    • Constant scratching
    • Dry, moist, dorsal and ventral skin inflammation
    • Paw licking
    • Chronic inflammation of the ear/s
    • Excessive desire to eat grass
    • Halitosis (bad breath)
    • Blocked anal glands (resulting in scooting)
    • Severe summer itch
    • Excess of body fat (obesity)


    9 months old spaniel, note the ear, eye and skin. A case of food-related disorder which started at a young age

    9 months old spaniel, note the ear, eye and skin. A case of food-related disorder which started at a young age


    Common in sensitive dogs and although is not of clinical importance it may not be well tolerated by dog owners.

  • Benji Suffering also from a chronic ear problem, treated after ear flushing with topical medication for 5 days and diet change

    3 weeks later


    Inflammation: it is important to remember that the prevention of ear/s problems in dogs does not depend solely on cleanliness and application of detergent agents, but also on a correct diet that will allow the production of the ear wax to be controlled.

    Avoiding a change in the auricular environment which leads to an excessive development of yeast (i.e. Malassezia spp) and pathogenic bacteria (Staphylococcus pseudo intermedius).

    The use of a diet with fish and their naturally present fish oils can provide just that.

  • Suffering from chronic acral lick dermatitis/granuloma for more than a year

    3 weeks later


    Another very common problem seen in practice in the dog is anal glands impaction which results in “scooting” behaviour, believed to be caused by worms.

    We believe instead that this is connected to metabolites/residues in the food which cause the content of the glands to become dense and therefore capable of blocking the small duct through which the glands are normally expressed when stools are passed. In extreme cases we see abscesses and ulceration of the area which mean that the duct has been completely blocked.

    Do dogs eat grass? Yes sometimes they do but what about an excessive grass eating behavior? Dogs do eat grass and then they do vomit but they are otherwise well, grass can also be found in stools. Sometimes the excessive desire to eat grass is associated to another common behavioral problem namely constant paw licking. This is a very frustrating problem for the dog and for the dog owner. The licking could be so severe that it causes a chronic skin lesion (called lacral lick dermatitis/granuloma) sometime connected to deep skin infection. Nothing seems to cure it and the final diagnosis may be a sort of obsessive compulsive-like disorders (as seen in humans) which has to be treated with “brain medications”. Some cases presented were “treated” with the Maxhealth diet only and the results were significant. We have no doubt that some of these cases (constant paw licking) are connected to food.

    Sasha, 7 years old suffering from chronic acral lick dermatitis/granuloma for more than a year. The condition was complicated by deep Pyoderma.  Sasha also had a high fever, treated with antibiotics for one week, buster collar and diet changed to Maxhealth. Our experience in this type of problem has shown that about 50% of the dogs do very well on the diet, therefore a simple dietary modification may be a reasonable first line of intervention

  • Rafael 1 year old, before Maxhealth

    After 3 weeks on Maxhealth

    Chronic Lacrimation

    Also common in dogs suffering from food disorders is a unpleasant smell of the skin known as Seborrhea. By using special shampoos and the Maxhealth diet or the diet alone, both seborrhea and dandruff were significantly reduced and controlled in less than 3 weeks.

    Dry and moist dermatitis, redness of the skin, eczema, erythema of the labial region

    These are also common in sensitive dogs and just the change of diet to a “fish diet” will help with these sometime difficult skin problems. Sometimes we observe a particular area, namely the chin, which is affected by foruncolosis presenting a typical black (very sticky) exudate, this is noted particularly in young subjects.

    Another common problem in sensitive dogs is the constant lacrimation and “redness” of the eyes with matted hairs around the nasal cantus of the eyes particularly in the morning. This may be related to anatomical conformation of some breeds but in dogs with normal nasal conformation we can see excessive lacrimation which is treated but will reoccur after medication is withdrawn. A period of “fish diet” may be rewarding in such cases.

  • Excess of body fat

    Excess of body fat is a common problem in companion animals. Up to 30% of dogs presented to vets are overweight. Dietary fats exceeding the requirements are stored as triglycerides in subcutaneous fat, in fat surrounding vital organs (i.e. heart and kidneys) and intestine. Excess of body fat has been linked to a variety of conditions including osteoarthritis (1), respiratory distress(2), hypertension (3) insulin intolerance (4), pancreatitis (5), decreased heat tolerance, insulin therapy failure (6), diabetes (7), increased risk of anesthetic complications (8). There is no doubt that most dog foods on the market contain to much fat which if associated with elevated environmental temperature and very little activity could easily accumulate causing obesity. Maxhealth fat content is low (6%) and none of it is of land animal origin. Although high dietary fat is not the only cause of obesity, a low fat diet will be always desiderable to prevent and reduce overweight and decrease hyperlipidemia (9).

    1. Marshall W, Bockstahler B, Hulse D and Carmichael S. A review of osteoarthritis and obesity: current understanding of the relationship and benefit of obesity treatment and prevention in the dog. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2009; 22: 339-45.
    2. Bach JF, Rozanski EA, Bedenice D, et al. Association of expiratory airways dysfunction with marked obesity in healthy adult dogs. Am J Vet Res 2007; 68: 670-765.
    3. Rocchini AP, Yang JQ, Smith MJ and Supiano MA. Serial changes in norepinephrine kinetics associated with feeding dogs a high fat diet Clin Hypertension (Greenwich) 2010; 12: 117-24.
    4. Slavov E, Georgiev IP, Dzhelebov P, et al. High-fat feeding and staphylococcus intermedius infection impair beta cell function and insulin sensitivity in mongrel dogs. Vet Res Commun 2010; 34: 205-15.
    5. Lem KY, Fosgate GT, Norby B and Steiner JM. Association between dietary factors and pancreatitis in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2008; 233:1425-31.
    6. Kolka CM, Harrison LN, Lottati M, et al. Diet-induced obesity prevents interstitial dispersion of insulin in skeletal muscle. Diabetes 2010; 59: 619
    7. Lonut V, Liu H, Mooradian V, et al. Novel canine models of obese pre-diabetes and of mild type-2 diabetes. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Oct 20.
    8. Weiss M. How does obesity affect residence time dispersion and the shape of drug disposition curves? Thiopental as an example. 2008; J Pharmacokinet Pharmacodyn 2008; 35: 325-36
    9. Xenoulis PG and Steiner JM. Lipid metabolism and hyperlipidemia in dogs. Vet J; 2010: 183: 12-21.
  • Jozi with chronic skin condition

    Jozi after Maxhealth

    Jozy’s story

    Jozy was presented because of her chronic skin condition. After a basic clinical examination was conducted she was placed on a course of antibiotic for 10 days, bathed with a medicated shampoo twice a week for 3 weeks and steroids were administered for only 4 days, just to control the terrible itch she was experiencing. Finally her diet was changed to Maxhealth.

    After this initial treatment I did not see Jozy until one year later when she was presented with an upset tummy. Honestly I did not recognize her immediately, only near the end of the consultation I did ask the owner if she was the same Jozy that had been treated for a skin condition a year before and the diet then changed to Maxhealth. Well the owner confirmed that she was still eating Maxhealth and doing so well with it. I took few more pictures to confirm that we were dealing with the same dog as I could not believe the great condition she was showing.

    Jozy before Maxhealth

    Jozy before Maxhealth

    Jozi after Maxhealth

    Jozi after Maxhealth

  • Brandy before Maxhealth

    Brandy after Maxhealth

    Brandy’s story

    Brandy was adopted from the SPCA. She suffered from a terrible itchy skin and consequent skin pathology. This problem was more severe during summer. The owners (Mr and Mrs Shapiro) went as far as purchasing a tailor-made coat to protect Brandy from the contact with environmental allergens and to prevent the self-skin damage caused by continuous scratching. Brandy was also kept on steroid/antihistamine/antibiotic medications.

    When I met Mrs Shapiro (November 2005) she told me about Brandy’s condition. Subsequently I did examine Brandy and decided that a change of diet was needed. She started eating Maxhealth and she enjoyed the new food immediately. She was still on medications and although some improvement was noted within the first month, it took a few more months to see an almost complete healing.
    While personally delivering Maxhealth every month I could keep an eye on Brandy since November 2005, I was, and still am, impressed by the long- term effect of Maxhealth on her. She has never recurred once, the itch is gone and her condition is optimal. She is now over 13 years of age.

  • Benji 9 years old suffering from Pyoderma "hot spot", treated with antibiotics for five days, diet changed to Maxhealth

    3 weeks later

    The Skin

    Mostly affected because we believe that the animal uses it as a burner to try to eliminate these metabolites or residues and does this through an inflammatory process which ultimately is a healing process. Itching is just a low grade chemical stimulation of the same fibers which also start pain (very small, also known as C-fibers). So the dog reacts by scratching and subsequently there could be a secondary infection of the scratched areas.

    Bacteria normally live on the skin and a scratch/lesion can help them penetrate through it. The most familiar of these cases is called “hot spot” many of which are seen in practice.

    The skin can be inflamed and itchy but can also present bold areas where the coat can be smelly, rough and dull.

Verified by ExactMetrics