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Need some advise on getting my Irish Setter to gain weight

 I have a 1.5 yr. old male Irish Setter that at 9 mo. old was up to 65 lbs.  He dropped a large amount of weight very quickly..He has been to the vets on regular basis since last August & has had several tests done to try to solve this issue. The vet says his pancreas is not metabolizing the calories from the food properly?

He has been on Prozyme & Fortiflora and now on Purina Pro Plan High Performance. He eats 8 cups a day of that along with a shredded (boiled) chicken breast with each 2 cups of food. He has been on this diet for months & has not gained any weight and also has several bouts of gas/diarrhea.   He remains anywhere from 58-60 lbs.

 I am now debating the question of a Gluten intolerance.  Has anyone out there had a similar problem with their Irish Setter or do you have any advise on what I should do for him?

I do have my hands full with my 3 wonderful Irish Setters.  We also have one that has seizures and that we have to medicate and one that has a thyroid issue and is also on meds... What would I do without them! They bring me so much joy (along with all the worry)

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Irish and worry seem to go together but the joy sure out weighs the worry. Both of our Setter weigh in at about 60/65 lbs. With Dudley, our 12 year old , we put him on a gluten free diet very early because of the symptoms you see to be getting. We used Burns Chicken and Rice or Pork and Potato both worked very well and when Humphrey arrived we decided to feed him on the same diet. Dudley did struggle, in his early years to maintain weight but the Burns diet did the trick and looking at his vet card he has been around 60/65 lbs for most of his adult life. We call Humphrey our skinny boy but he is 60lbs of pure energy.  About six weeks ago we decided to change foods to Skinners "Turkey with joint maintenance". This is aimed at our older dog but again both are doing very well and the change over went very well. The ingredients for both dog foods are very similar, with Skinners protein % been a little higher, As I said earlier, the symptoms your dog is showing are the same as Dudley had in his early years. We took some convincing to go over to a gluten free diet but it cerainly worked for him.

Hope this helps in some way.

Sue's advice to use a Gluten free product is spot on! I used to use Arden
Grange canned food but lately it has been a bit variable in consistency.
My boy is almost 18 months and he just hangs on to 60lbs.  He eats 6 cups a day with canned meats added and doesn't gain weight.  I hear he is too thin all the time, but he is full of energy and seems fine so I will just accept his weight.  I know that many of the pro plan line contain wheat and corn gluten meal.  Only the Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon and Rice food does not.  I also believe the Pro Plan selects line is corn and wheat free.  That is here in the states anyway.  I have always avoided the glutens if possible.   What does the vet suggest as far as this pancreas issue?  What is that called?
Our twenty month old male  Irish Setter, who is in great health, has hovered at sixty pounds for some time now. Field Irish Setters tend to be slimmer and lighter than their confirmation-bred counterparts. Given how much you feed your boy, it sounds to us as if he has some other issue going on, just as your vet says.  Eight cups of food a day, plus the additional foods you are giving him, is actually far, far  more food  than  nutritionists and vets recommend for dogs who weigh (and are supposed to be) more than 100 pounds!. We feed Justice  the recommended amount of 3-4 cups of a high quality  kibble every day, in addition to a handful of green  vegetables  (Paul Loeb, a behaviorist, recommends  two 14-ounce cans of wet food per day a dog of Justice's weight; so we add a modest amount of a good wet food to his meals every day, too) Glutens and some grains (save for brown rice and barley) can lead to allergies and digestive problems. Now one thing we can tell you is this: Purina, though affordable, makes one of the lowest quality food of all, including so-called "meat by-products" , which is another name for road kill, cheap grains, feathers, and formaldehyde!. It has been roundly rejected by leading nutritionists as containing any number of ingredients, including grains and corn which are nearly impossible for a dog to digest. If you possibly can, consider getting a healthier, higher quality (albeit more expensive) kibble. Orijen, Wellness Core, Merrick, Blue Buffallo, or Holistic Select are among the best. We can recommend a superb website, www.dogfoodchat.com, where you can learn a great deal about dog foods and nutrition, as well as read detailed reviews of the various dog food brands. Good luck, and we hope your boy is feeling better!
Yes, my setter should weigh over 100 lbs by the amount he is being fed. (which of course is not my goal) I agree with the quality of the food...Unfortuantley, that is what my vet has recommended...I  will be trying out the ones you have mentioned...Thank you for the great information!

Here's another exceptionally informative and useful website compiled by authorities on canine nutrition. There are several articles dealing with weight loss, too:



We stand corrected!  So much conflicting information out there... Thanks to all of you here who opened our eyes to the potential dangers of gluten, which we had already assumed to have expunged from Justice's diet. Seems we haven't. We just leaned this morning, contrary to what we had believed and read some time ago, that gluten is indeed an element in barley, which in an earlier post I referred to as OK!  Well, thanks to the information so many of you provided here, it seems it isn't.  And there seems to be some controversy over oatmeal, from what we can tell, which some nutritionists think should be excluded from a gluten-free diet. Any thoughts on that?
I'm curious to find out what you mean by the "cup" measurement. My Errol gets 1 generously heaped coffee mug of complete dry soaked lightly in hot water + half of a 390gms tin of wet mornings and evenings (with something a little extra to provide variety) and he is a healthy 32kg (sorry I'm metric). In addition he gets a dried tripe stick, puffed jerky or a pigs ear during the day to keep him chewing. I find it mind boggling that some of you feed your dogs between 6-8 cups of dry + meat. Surely that sounds like a thyroid issue...

Hi K C and Errol. I am so glad you wrote as I was beginning to think I was under feeding my two. Your diet sounds exactly the same as Dudley and Humphrey, including all the bits thrown in for good measure. Their dried and wet food is gluten free as I find this suits them both......who knows what the next one will eat ...DON'T YOU JUST LOVE SETTERS :-)

What wonderful sources of information...Thank you to all that have replied...Hudson will be weaned into his new gluten free diet over the next week or so. I will keep you updated on his progress!

Irish Setter lovers are the best :)

Say, there is one more thing that seems to help our dogs, and which we learned from a couple of reliable sources We don't let them drink water with their meals, allowing their natural juices to digest  what goes into their stomach   We wait about a half hour or so before we give them water, which they drink plenty of, just as they should, throughout the day

That make sense as well! I will try that with Hudson & his brothers. Thank you




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