The Rip Van Wrinkler, Volume XX, Issue 3, August 2016

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Adventures in Pilling
by Jackie Dering

Back in mid April Harley had a abcess and the vet gave me two weeks of antibiotics. Now Harley is not a foodie, but she is a very good food inspector and a very independent thinker. She also hates pills. I knew I was in trouble.

 Day 1 - All I had was cream cheese so I made six balls, pill in one and called both dogs for tricks. Harley was suspicious from the start. She did her trick, carefully examined her cream cheese ball, chewing (yes, chewing) very carefully. Luke did his trick and happily snarfed his cream cheese.

Luke the rock star.

Her second trick was rewarded with the cream cheese with the pill. She refused the treat, left the room and went and hid.

In order to force a pill into her one has to manage to get her mouth opened (not easy) and then put your fingers in a dog’s mouth that is trying to stay shut, not for the faint of heart, but it had to be done,

Day 2 - Bought ground beef and braunschweiger and made 8 little balls out of the braunschweiger, put the pill in one, washed my hands, called both dogs as before and was alternating tricks. The pilled one was third up for her. As soon as I picked it up she went and hid.. aaargh.

Day 3 - First attempt was with raw ground beef. As soon as I got the beef out of the refrigerator she went and hid under a desk upstairs. Different time of day and different delivery medium. Later that day I got the meat out again while she was in the yard. This time she smelled the air in the house before she came in and went to the far end of the yard and laid down.

Day 4 - Again outsmarted by Harley I waited until dinner and put the pill in a braunschweiger ball, rolled it in parmesan, put it on a salad plate and set it next to her dinner, and she ate it. The rest of the week went smoothly with her nightly appetizer.

I write this because I find her entertaining and clever, but also as a warning to those who say Fanconi isn’t a big deal because of the protocols. They only work if you can get pills into your dog. Thankfully she is not going to get Fanconi, but if she did she wouldn’t make it.


Here's a discussion about pilling: Page 14, August 2009 Wrinkler. Scroll down. This is, in part, about pilling thyroid meds, which should not be given with meals, or with calcium or soy. I think you'll find it informative and amusing! {Ed. - Steamed yams hide pills pretty well, too. I also fixed a bunch of typos.}

Here's a bit of what you'll find there, in case you are in a hurry:

Cheryl Silver - Per Dr. Dodds, the active ingredient in your dog's thyroid meds gets bound up by soy and calcium reducing effectiveness, therefore, she recommends peanut butter which is low in calcium. Please realize that in Hank's case I changed the food I used to give him his pills + I started giving him the pills an hour before his meals.

Anne MacMillan
Eddie approves of the switch from low fat cream cheese to peanut butter! Thanks for the explanation.

Marj Baker
I do know if you have to pill a Basenji it can be very difficult. You can stuff a pill halfway down a B's throat and he will bring it right up, no problem. You can hide a pill in almost anything and they will find it, eat the good part and spit out the pill. Pill pockets are yummy and chewed up, pills spit out. With pills other than thyroid pills you can use something they like - soft cheese with the pill buried inside but then, this is important, you have another goodie to give them right away. They swallow the first goodie with the pill in it to get the second goodie. I think someone mentioned that her vet taught her to do this. It has worked like a charm for our old boy who needs his pills twice a day.

I don't know why peanut butter is ok with thyroid piling? Peanuts are goitrogenic which interfere with thyroid production and absorption because they block the absorption of iodine. Peanut butter would be no better than cheese. I would think a very small amount of meat or fish would be a better wrap for a thyroid pill. Actually the stomach should be empty so the pill can be absorbed and nothing afterward for an hour or two.

With humans who are hypothyroid (like me), goitrogenic phylochemicals restricts iodine which is essential to the thyroid. Dairy products, soy, pine nuts peanuts, beans, oats, rye, flax, vegetable such as cabbage, corn, broccoli, turnips, mustard greens, kale and spinach if uncooked as well as fruits such as strawberries, peaches and pears are goitogens. Most Basenjis don't often eat any of these however; oats dairy and soy are often found in dog foods. High fiber is good for hypothyroid humans.

So what's up with peanut butter?
We should ask Dr. Dodds why she suggested it. {Ed. - I suggested Marj do that & report back}

About using peanuts, etc.
by Karen P. Christensen

First glance, two factors occur to me that this is not a problem: first, that the amount of peanut butter being administered is pretty tiny, probably 1/4 teaspoon, and thus unlikely to be a significant factor in iodine absorption and second, that in a hypothyroid dog being supplemented with levothyroxine, no iodine absorption is required. Levothyroxine (T4) is tetraiodothyroxine, already contains the maximal amount of iodine in the molecule that is distributed. Processing to T3 (levothyroxine, triiodothyronine) involves removing, not absorbing, iodine. Chemicals that compete at the thyroid gland uptake site for iodine, including bromide, fluoride, and perchlorate, would not be a factor in a dog receiving a thyroxine supplement because the thyroxine manufacturing process of the thyroid gland is effectively bypassed.

The same should hold true for humans receiving a levothyroxine (Synthroid) or liothyronine (Cytomel) replacement for T4 or T3 -- to the extent that the supplement replaces all of the thyroid function. If there is still some endogenous thyroid hormone production, that could be affected by those foods, but if the dose is replacing all endogenous thyroid hormone including goitrogens in the diet should have no effect -- the manufacture process of T4 in the body is circumvented, and the supplement goes in fully loaded with as much iodine as it will need.

Yams are good for hiding pills.

Marj Baker - Jean Dodds' answer to my question about peanut butter:

Dear Marj,


Thyroxine binds to calcium and soy in foods, so if one needs to give a treat to hide the pill in, we suggest only something like putting it inside a cooked green bean, a tiny marshmallow or smooth peanut better. So meat and cheese are "out"

Best wishes, Jean


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