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Trevor's Supplement Regime

Trevor's Diet and Supplements

This page describes the dietary and supplement regime I devised for Trevor in the hopes of delaying the onset of his PRA. For background on how I arrived at the decisions I did, see How I Began My Research.

Bottom line: no one knows what works. No one knows if anything works. We're all part of a giant, collective science experiment.

I expect to continually tweak this over time as I gather more information.
 

Diet

I feed Trevor a raw diet consisting primarily of beef and chicken. I also feed canned salmon, mackerel, or sardines several times a week.

In every meal I include veggie mash. I used to make it by putting the veggies through my juicer and adding pulp back, but now I make it using my fabulous Vitamix. Worth every penny. The mash includes carrots, spinach, parsley, dark leafy greens, broccoli, and blueberries. I make it in batches and freeze it in ice cube trays. Dogs can't extract the nutrients from raw veggies (they can't digest cellulose), so you either have to cook veggies or pulverize/juice them to break down the cell walls.

Prozyme. I used to mix this into Trevor's food since digestion (lack of absorption) is suspected to be a contributing factor with RP/PRA. However, he didn't tolerate it well even in fractional doses, so I've discontinued it. Still, it's worth considering.

Supplements (Updated 4-16-10)

This list is likely to keep changing over time.

In December 2009 I made some major changes. This was largely driven by the fact that at long last, an eye supplement designed for dogs came on the market. It's called OcuGLO. From the OcuGLO website (I believe this text has since been taken down):

We are very excited about Ocu-GLO Rx Vision Supplement for dogs! We conducted a one-year-long clinical trial on our patients in Washington and Florida in 2007/2008 and we have seen wonderful results, especially in patients with retinal degeneration. Please keep in mind, however, that the goal of this nutraceutical is not to cure anything—it is to help lessen ocular damage caused by disease and hopefully “buy some time” in which your pet still has functional vision.

This is exciting, because it's a validation of what I have been trying to do with Trevor on my own over the last year. But whereas I was often taking my best guess as to supplements and dosages, OcuGLO is formulated specifically for dogs, and there is some science behind it.

Here is some more information about OcuGLO from the Animal Eye Care clinic website.

Because OcuGLO is a multi-ingredient product, it overlaps with many of things I was giving Trevor before. This required me to drop some supplements I was using previously.

Trevor's regime:
  • OcuGLO. Canine antioxidant eye supplement. Includes the following ingredients:
    • Lutein
    • Zeathanthin
    • Grapeseed Extract
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin E
    • B Vitamin blend: B1, B3, B6, Folate, B12, Panthothenic Acid
    • Zinc
    • Alpha Lipoic Acid
    • CoQ10
    • Lycopene
    • Biotin
    • Green Tea Extract
Dosage: Trevor weighs 61 pounds, so he is right on the cusp between the recommended dosage of 2 capsules/day and 3 capsules/day. When I give him 3 capsules every day it tends to cause a loose stool, so I alternate between 2 one day and 3 the next.
  • Saffron -- Dr. Silvia Bisti and her fellow researchers have seen positive results in using saffron to combat retinal degeneration. See this study: Saffron May Stop Vision Loss, and Dr. Bisti's earlier study of using saffron to counter the effects of damaging light. Also, see Dr. Bisti's clinical trial that showed positive results in using saffron to treat AMD (Jan. 2010). I am currently giving Trevor 30 mg (i.e., 2 pills) of the saffron supplement EXIR. Do NOT overdose your dog.
    • Note about saffron (5/20/2014): In early 2013, I learned that the saffron supplement Dr. Silvia Bisti used in her clinical trials was Zaffit Plus. This product is manufactured in Italy. When I heard about it I seriously considered switching to it, but 2 things stopped me. First, it is prohibitively expensive. Secondly, because it is considered a food substance, you have to file "prior notice" paperwork with the FDA to import it. I made a few attempts to order it, but the FDA paperwork and website were a nightmare. Ultimately I decided to stick with EXIR. I may try to order Zaffit Plus again in the future.
  • Astaxanthin?? Astaxanthin is a super antioxidant derived from algae. It is the primary ingredient in a Japanese supplement targeted at PRA, Meni-One Eye. I tried giving AstaReal Astaxantin-V as a standalone supplement but Trevor didn't tolerate it well. It turned his stool to black sludge. I may try again later at a lower dose. Astaxanthin has not gotten that much scientific attention yet in the west, but here are a few studies:
  • Grizzly Salmon Oil.
  • Standard Process eye supplements (recommended to me by a vet--no data on how effective Oculotrophin PMG or Cruciferous Complete are in helping eye problems, whether human or canine):
  • Taurine
  • Goji Berry oral supplement.
  • Dasuquin (glucosamine joint supplement unrelated to eyes).

Supplements I am Discontinuing

  • RetinaComplex -- This antioxidant formula (lutein, zeaxanthin, L-glutathione, Alpha-lipoic acid, wolfberries) showed so much success in rodent trials that it's currently being used in a clinical trial for human RP patients. Early unofficial results are promising. Scientific background for this product is available upon request from the company. I was giving Trevor one capsule with breakfast and one with dinner. He weighs about 61 pounds, so he got half the human dose.
    • Why I'm discontinuing it: It overlaps with OcuGLO, an antioxidant supplement designed for dogs.
    • What I will be losing: L-glutathione and goji berries.
    • How I'm going to make up the missing ingredients: 
      • L-glutathione is tricky. Studies suggest it can't be assimilated by the body as a supplement, so you see a lot of L-glutathione "precursors" on the market, which are supposed to help the body produce its own L-glutathione. For now, I am not planning to replace this ingredient.
      • Goji berries: I'm giving it as a standalone supplement.
  • OPC Synergy: contains Bilberry, Grapeseed Extract, Red Wine Extract, Green Tea Extract (all substances commonly used by people with AMD or RP).
    • Why I'm discontinuing it: It overlaps with OcuGLO, an antioxidant supplement designed for dogs.
    • What I will be losing: Bilberry, Red Wine Extract.
    • How I'm going to make up the missing ingredients:
      • Bilberry: I will give it as a separate supplement.
      • Red Wine Extract: I will not give this as a supplement. As a grape derivative, it is considered potentially toxic to dogs. Raisins and grapes are known to be toxic to dogs, but no one knows exactly why. However, the skin is believed to be the source of the toxicity. Grape seeds are not believed to be toxic to dogs, so grape seed extract is okay.

Supplements to Avoid

Remember, dogs are not the same as people. Here are some supplements to AVOID:
  • Vitamin A: Giving a high dose of Vitamin A palmitate is a standard part of the supplement regime for human retinitis pigmentosa. However, it has not shown the same positive effects for dogs, and may actually be harmful. It is not recommended to use Vitamin A to delay the onset of PRA.
  • Red Wine Extract (resveratrol): Raisins and grapes are toxic to dogs, and it is hypothesized that the skin is the source of the toxicity. So resveratrol should not be given to dogs. Grape Seed Extract does not seem to have the same problem, so it is safe to give to dogs.

Lifestyle

Minimize sunlight exposure. There are certain eye diseases where exposure to light dramatically accelerates the degenerative process. This is NOT the case with PRA. However, sunlight is an oxidizing agent. RP patients are encouraged to wear sunglasses outdoors to minimize exposure to UV rays. So I try to take common sense precautions to minimize Trevor's time out in the sun. We take our big daily walk at sunrise, and during the day I don't let him hang out in the yard for long periods of time. The highest risk for UV ray exposure is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Low carb diet. Sugar is also an oxidizing agent.
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