At age 2 Bondi developed chronic diarrhea, began losing weight quickly, and after blood tests was ultimately diagnosed with Protein Losing Enteropathy (PLE) secondary to IBD.
After multiple IBD novel protein diets Bondi did not improve and continued to lose weight. With each diet change, we had to wait several weeks to see improvement, but Bondi only worsened. He lost 20 lbs (25% of his healthy body weight) in 3 months. His blood proteins (albumin and globulin) plummeted dangerously low, and as a result he developed pleural effusion (fluid around heart and lungs). We tried every IBD diet and when vets ran out of suggestions they recommended euthanasia. I refused, and was taking Bondi in for blood plasma transfusions just so I could keep him alive long enough to find an answer.
Bondi was miserable. He had lost the will to live, but I couldn't lose him. I tried everything from Hills RX I/D to prednisone, $100 powders that reeked of rotten fish to homeopathic concoctions of every shape and form. Life was rough, as I frantically searched for an answer. There were long nights with multiple emergency trips to the bathroom. Bondi was barely hanging on.
Finally, after extensive online research, I learned of lymphangiectasia, a rare autoimmune intestinal disorder triggered primarily by fat and treated only with diet. Though Bondi was too weak for an endoscopy to confirm diagnosis, I immediately switched him to a non-fat gluten-free diet known as the "White Diet" and his appetite improved. There was hope! With TLC and twice-a-day home cooked chicken breast, rice, non-fat cottage cheese, tuna fish, and potatoes, I brought Bondi back from the brink of death. He slowly gained weight and his disposition improved.
Fast forward two years. Bondi had been eating the White Diet, supplemented when possible by vitamins and minerals. However, I knew it was not a nutritionally 'whole' food and you could tell. Bondi often developed flaky skin and sores, and would chew on himself endlessly. His stools were regular and his weight was stable, but there were other issues - obviously his diet was the culprit. We could not supplement with fish oil or anything fatty so there were limited options to help his coat. I just used various topical salves and treatments to try and make him more comfortable.
One day, I was shopping at my local All the Best Pet Care in Redmond. As I was talking with one of the associates about Bondi's skin issues and intestinal disorder, she introduced me to the Honest Kitchen, and specifically Zeal for "sensitive tummies". It was attractive because I wouldn't have to cook more frequently for Bondi than myself, AND it would be nutritionally whole. However, I was skeptical because Lymphangiectasia dogs generally do not tolerate higher fat content than 3-5% and Zeal was at 7%. Nevertheless, since Bondi was stable I figured it couldn't hurt to try. We bought a mid-sized box and started switching over Bondi's food.
The first thing I noticed was that Bondi devoured it like it was his last meal. I kept waiting for loose stools or upset tummies but to my surprise, Bondi tolerated it. Not only that, but Bondi's dandruff had disappeared after about a week. After 2 weeks, I bought my first big box of Zeal. We haven't looked back since!
Now, Bondi is happy and healthy with a beautiful shiny coat and tons of energy. At 7 yrs old, Bondi has a new lease on life - people are constantly asking if he's a puppy, and wondering what he eats because his coat is so shiny... of course, this just tickles me, and I tell them all about HONEST KITCHEN.
I drink the Koolaid, and sing your praises everywhere I go. I am your biggest fan because Zeal has literally saved my dog's life. Most lymphangiectasia dogs that returned from the brink are lucky to live a couple years before another 'bout' that takes them, but I think Bondi has many more happy years in him. He thinks so too!