Several years ago, I wrote a column about our dog Luna, who suffered from canine pancreatitis and required a visit to the intensive care unit. After over a week in ICU, she came home to my care. My experience with pancreatitis was rather extensive, since I had spent a good deal of my career as a registered nurse in both the emergency room and intensive care units. I understood the dynamics of pancreatitis and the importance of a low-fat diet. Between the change in her diet and the addition of a supplement known as “Denamarin,” which helps to support liver health and function, we were able to get our pup back to optimal health.
When the pancreas is affected, the liver and gall bladder are often affected in illness, basically due to anatomy. These organs reside near each other, which is why Luna’s gall bladder and liver enzymes were completely out of whack during her bout with pancreatitis. The pancreas aids in digestion with enzymes, which is like the liver’s function in the body. The pancreas and liver are connected by the common bile duct, which was occluded during our puppy’s illness. Milk thistle, one of the components of the supplement Denamarin, helps to support the liver in canines. It must be monitored by a veterinarian to prevent toxicity.
I monitor Luna’s diet well, although I will often catch my husband offer her a treat from the table, much to my consternation. She remains on a low-fat prescription diet, which is costly but worth every penny. To see her jump around and get excited over small things like a walk through the neighborhood or a trip in the car makes me grateful for another day, thanks to the massive change to her diet.
I have been ordering Denamarin from Amazon since Luna was discharged in 2019. We were advised by the veterinarian to continue this regime because her hepatic and gall bladder enzyme levels were now within normal limits and he wanted them to stay that way. You see, once a dog has experienced pancreatitis, they are more likely to experience it again. Risks of developing this painful disorder include a high-fat diet, treats from the table, surgery and trauma. Our dog drank water from the stream in Massapequa Preserve when our daughter brought her there for a hike, which is what contributed to her bout with it. Pancreatitis is an emergent situation that requires immediate veterinarian intervention. It can be fatal if untreated.
Amazon has been carrying Denamarin for quite some time. However, last month I received an email that notified me that the item was “out of stock.” I contacted Petco and Chewy, who were also out of stock on the item. It was then that I realized the need to do a little more investigative work.
I contacted Nutramax Laboratories, the manufacturer of the medication. They advised me that the item was on “national backorder” and they had no idea when the situation would be resolved. I contacted my veterinarian immediately, who advised me that they still had several boxes of Luna’s dosage in stock. I picked up a box, filled with relief that I could continue the task of keeping my dog’s liver healthy.
I received a phone call from my veterinarian’s technician, who advised me that she only had three boxes left in stock. She inquired whether I wanted to purchase the other two boxes so I wouldn’t run into a jam. However, those boxes were almost $30 more expensive than the price I paid through Amazon. I politely declined with the intention of returning to the veterinarian’s office in Plainview within the next two weeks to purchase another box. Hubby and I bit the bullet because Luna is worth the sacrifice.
Three weeks ago, I received a notification from Amazon that a “subscribe and save” item would be delivered to my home on Aug. 14. When I checked the notification, I was relieved to find that Denamarin had returned to their shelves and I would receive a box in about 10 days. Imagine my relief when I opened the package from Amazon and found a sealed box of Denamarin inside. I almost cried with relief.
I do not recommend purchasing this item without the approval of your veterinarian. It is not something that healthy dogs can take randomly. This is an item that can be given to support the liver of dogs with risk of a repeat episode of pancreatitis. That said, if your dog has suffered from this malady, ask your veterinarian about the supplement. It has brought our dog back from the brink and I am so grateful for it.
Patty Servidio is an Anton Media Group columnist.