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    Dogs, Diet, and Disease: An Owner’s Guide to Diabetes Mellitus, Pancreatitis, Cushing’s Disease, and More

By Caroline D. Levin RN

ISBN #0-9672253-2-9, Lantern Publications, 2001
Paperback, 8.5″x11″, 182 pp., illustrated. bibliography
$35.90 (including shipping)

Out of Print

The evidence Levin offers is compelling, thought-provoking, and worth exploring. Our dogs are worth it.

— Dachshund Club of America Newsletter


Dogs, Diet, and Disease delves into some of today’s most troubling canine illnesses, the factors that really cause them. It examines options for treatment, and provides detailed instructions on how to care for chronically ill dogs.With this book, readers can help their dogs have a better quality of life, and spare future pets a lifetime of chronic disease.This award-winning book makes an excellent companion to Living With Blind Dogs if your pet is dealing with diabetic cataracts, or Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration, the sudden blindness associated with adrenal exhaustion.



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

  • Abnormal Canine Metabolism – Diabetes
  • Types of Diabetes
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Diagnosing Diabetes Mellitus

Chapter 5

  • Abnormal Canine Metabolism – Cushing’s Disease
  • Types of Hyperadrenocorticism
  • Prevalence
  • Diagnosing Cushing’s Disease – Understanding the tests

Chapter 6

  • Abnormal Canine Metabolism – Pancreatic Disease
  • Types of Pancreatitis
  • Other Pancreatic Diseases
  • Diagnosing Pancreatic Disease

Chapter 7

  • Protein Sources in Commercial Foods
  • Enzymes – as related to pancreatitis, liver function and cortisol release
  • Altered Amino Acids
  • Bioavailability – as related to kidney degeneration
  • Fiber in Commercial Foods
  • Chemicals in Commercial Foods
  • Grains and the Endocrine Pancreas – theories in autoimmune disease and cortisol production
  • Fats in Commercial Foods – as related to malabsorption problems and pancreatitis

Chapter 8

  • Wholesome Options for Feeding
  • The Benefits of Feeding Homemade Diets
  • The Drawbacks of Feeding Homemade Diets
  • Variations in Homemade Diets
  • Switching Diets
  • Snacks, Treats, and How to Hide Medications
  • Water Consumption
  • Changes in Body Weight
  • Other Oral Aids

Chapter 9

  • Types of Insulin
  • Syringes and Needles
  • Preparing and Giving Insulin Injections
  • Injections Gone Wrong / Complications
  • Hypoglycemic Incidents
  • Regulating Glucose Levels
  • Urine Glucose Testing
  • Home Blood Glucose Testing
  • Exercise and the Diabetic Dog
  • Traveling With a Diabetic Dog

Chapter 10

  • Surgical Treatment
  • MedicalTreatment – Anipryl, Lysodren and Ketaconazole
  • Comfort Measures, Dietary Management and Oral Supplements

Chapter 11

  • Treating Acute Pancreatitis
  • Treating Chronic Pancreatitis
  • Treating Pancreatic Enzyme Insufficiency (PEI)

Chapter 12

  • Infections – Skin, Ear, and Bladder
  • Renal (Kidney) Problems
  • Treating Incontinence
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Calcinosis Cutis
  • Surgical Considerations
  • Ophthalmic Issues – Dry Eye Syndrome, Uveitis, Diabetic Cataracts
  • Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration (SARD)

Dogs, Diet, and Disease now includes a detailed plan for managing the signs and symptoms (hunger, obesity, insomnia, agitation, elevated liver enzymes, confusion, depression, panting, etc.) that frequently accompany SARD. This book covers simple lifestyle changes ranging from dietary therapy, and reducing vaccines / chemical exposures, to advanced adrenal testing and hormone replacement therapy, which is often necessary in later months. Such therapies vastly improve the quality of life for these dogs.

The author’s research has been published in the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. The author has chosen to print many other articles here, online, so that dog owners can have easy access to this information and share it with their veterinarians. The SARD protocol can also be found in our new DVD The Big Picture. The author is available for consultation should you have further questions. Click on SARD Resources below.

SARDS Resources


Companion books and films:

SmallMealDVD127x125 Real Meals

TheBigPicDVD127x128 The Big Picture

Living With Blind Dogs Book Living With Blind Dogs


I was caught off guard the first few times my readers asked me questions about canine diabetes. It became apparent that there was a need for educational material on this topic. And so began the year-long effort to write this book.

Dog owners asked me to include information about Cushing’s disease, pancreatitis, and dietary issues. I soon realized that these issues were closely related. My little diabetes book evolved into a dissertation on immune system disorders, metabolic disease, digestive problems, and canine nutrition.

With this information, you can help your present dog have a better quality of life and spare your future pets a lifetime of chronic disease.Dogs1DietDisease150x131







From Chapter 7 – What Causes These Diseases?

Consider the rather vicious cycle we have just discussed: Puppies experience initial intestinal scarring and protein infiltration when weaned on to commercial food at an early age. Intestinal scarring interferes with the re-absorption of bile salts.

Eating a lifetime diet of processed food places a great demand on the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes. Unable to keep up with demand, the pancreas becomes enlarged and inflamed. White blood cells bring additional enzymes to supplement digestion, neglecting their job to protect the body from invaders.

Digestion is slowed. Slowed digestion allows ample time for harsh chemicals and foreign molecules to irritate the pancreas, liver and intestinal lining. The irritation and otherwise-occupied white blood cells provide continued opportunities for large grain protein or other foreign molecules to infiltrate the intestine.

Constant inflammation of the pancreas, liver, and intestinal lining results in a sustained production of cortisol. The adrenal glands, exhausted from this sustained effort, may produce cortisol that is biologically inactive, which fails to shut off the ACTH feedback loop. The pituitary gland may become hypertrophied and exhausted. Excessive cortisol production, prescription steroids, intestinal scarring, and the otherwise-occupied white blood cells hamper IgA production.

IgA deficiency allows for the continued infiltration of large protein molecules into the body. Additional antibodies are deployed, which memorize the amino acid chains of the large protein molecules, and attempt to destroy them. These antibodies later recognize that same amino acid chain elsewhere in the dog’s own body. Unable to distinguish between self and non-self, the antibodies destroy these tissues, which results in a variety of autoimmune diseases.

The whole situation seems a bit like the chicken-and-the-egg puzzle. Dog owners want to know which of their dog’s health problems initiated the others. In reality, these conditions are not precipitated by one another, at all. These problems are simply different expressions of the same root problem — commercial pet food.

Think of metabolic disease as a continuum. It develops over time and follows a gradual progression. During this time, the body repeatedly substitutes one metabolic function for another. Depending upon where a dog falls along the high-cortisol continuum, he may or may not actually test positive for specific conditions like Cushing’s disease. In some respects this is a credit to how well the body can continually adapt to physiological stress.

Many dogs today exhibit some degree of leaky gut syndrome and excess cortisol-production. They suffer from chronic skin infections, allergies, autoimmune disorders, vomiting, diarrhea, obesity, hypothyroidism, urinary tract infections, and incontinence. Which particular disorder they develop is likely a matter of genetic predisposition, but clearly, many of our pets are experiencing the same underlying problem.



This book has a wonderful, in-depth, natural as well as allopathic approach to several disorders common to Mini Schnauzers (and other breeds) covering Cushing’s, Pancreatitis, Diabetes and more.

I followed Levin’s holistic approach to Cushing’s and within three weeks I saw a noticeable change in Meesha’s excessive thirst. Her symptoms continued to improve over the next few months. At three months we re-ran her blood work. There was a drastic improvement in all her blood work: alk/phos had dropped 1500 points, triglycerides 1300 points, and the others are now in the normal range. She also no longer exhibited any of the symptoms I described when she was first diagnosed.

I have a friend with an 8-year old Mini that also has borderline Cushing’s. I encouraged her to buy the book and try the protocol. Within one month her dog’s blood levels dropped in half. My vet is so impressed with Meesha’s progress that she wanted to try it on another client with a Cushingoid dog.

This is one book I highly recommend to anyone with a dog that has any of the health problems described above.

— Kathy Thom, The Mini Magazine

It is such a wonderful resource for anyone who has a pet with an illness. It explains everything!

— Debbie Jarrell West,
SE Miniature Schnauzer Rescue

Dogs, Diet and Disease by Caroline D. Levin RN was awarded the very prestigious honor of Best Healthcare Book 2001 at the annual dinner for the Dog Writers Association of America at the Westminster Kennel Club Show.

The Oregonian

This book is a wealth of practical ideas on what and how to feed dogs as well as sound advice on traditional treatments. Dogs, Diet and Disease should be recommended to all those individuals caring for the diabetic dog, and is a “must read” for their veterinarians. Related conditions, such as Cushing’s disease, are covered in chapters explaining hormonal dysfunction. Levin examines the adrenal glands for their role in stress and their relationship to the immune system. She includes the role of dietary factors as both a major contributing cause and as an effective management strategy for these conditions. Dogs, Diet, and Disease provides reassuring answers for dog owners in an easy to read approach, an owner’s manual for the conscientious and caring pet owner.

– Albert J. Simpson DVM

Dogs, Diet and Disease is an indispensible guide for anyone with a Cushinoid or diabetic dog…or anyone who wants further, very sound, evidence about the links between commercial diet and immune related diseases. This is the most thorough, well researched and clearly explained book I have ever read about the connections between commercial food and disease…and I have read everything I can get my hands on… Let me also say that this book is finding its way into the hands of more and more veterinarians…the ones I have spoken to have been very impressed with it’s content and how well grounded it is.

– Elizabeth Knight, Portland, Oregon

I am totally impressed with this book, particularly for anyone new to diabetes because it is set up to walk a person right through what to expect and how to deal with it. It is a total goldmine for diabetic care – and not just dogs. There is so much information in there that pertains to all animals that it would be a sin for anyone to miss out on getting a copy thinking it is only for dogs. I can’t say enough good about this book, and think that, particularly for those with newly diagnosed pets this would be an excellent book to have. It will answer so many of your questions and so many you don’t even have yet and give you a very clear picture of what you’ll be dealing with.

– Susan Flewelling, Alberta, Canada;
Owner of the Muffin internet list-serve for diabetic-pet owners

I can’t say enough about this book, either. It is, in my experience, the only documented resource available to lay-persons in regards to dog nutrition and auto-immune diseases. I get no benefits or proceeds from this book or from Caroline except the knowledge that every dog would benefit from its humans having read it. And that is my personal bottom line.

– Dee & the K9 Crew, Los Angeles, California

I just want to tell you how much I love your book. Thanks for keeping it simple, and easy to understand. Worth every penny.

– Sue Placer, Lansing, Michigan