Landy's Pancreatitis Journey

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Mulberry Lane Vet Hospital
294 Lords Place
NSW 2800

02 6360 3071

Landy's Pancreatitis Journey and His Mum's Creation of Tasty Chicken Balls! As Landy transformed from a young, athletic, energetic little dog to a gentle, caring, playful older gentleman he became more vulnerable to age related conditions and less able to bounce back after bouts of illness (usually brought on by eating something disgusting).

Just over a year ago I came home to find my little dog (an under 5kg variety) in agonising pain. I thought he was going to die. Judith saw him straight away and it turned out that he had been bitten by a red-back spider. These bites can result in pancreatitis as an unpleasant side effect, and sometimes it does not completely resolve, becoming a chronic condition. Little Landy copped the double dose, and since then has been in hospital four times with pancreatitis of varying degrees.

 Vigilance on my part, and superb care provided by Judith and her team has maintained my little boy in relatively good health. However, he has developed a very large tumour on his pancreas and is now palliative, but still very happy and enjoying life to the fullest most of the time, when he is not asleep.

In conjunction with vigilance comes creativity. It has been difficult to keep Landy eating and maintaining his weight, especially as he loses weight so easily when he is ill. He loves his chicken breast, but this was not helping him put on weight – he needed carbohydrates. Adding rice to his cooked chicken reduced the flavour and often resulted in a gentle but stubborn refusal on his part.

He eats his low fat biscuits on demand. They are always available, but not a favourite part of his diet. He loves his chicken breast, but objects to more than a little rice mixed into it when cooked.

Creativity became a factor through enticing him to eat food by making it interesting. Through trial and error, I have discovered a mix that works!


Chicken breast – enough to be comfortably cooked in an electric pan or any other pot of your liking.

Rice – no more than ¼ cup for a good sized double chicken breast and downsize the amount with smaller portions of chicken.

2 beef or chicken stock cubes per half of a double chicken breast

2 (low fat) kangaroo straps (I use Woollies Select Treat and Train)

Rice flour

Probiotic powder (if recommended)


Place the kangaroo straps and stock cubes into a pot and add a generous amount of water. Turn the pot on to gently simmer

Carefully cut ALL of the fat off the chicken breast

Cut the chicken into small pieces and add to the pot

Add some rice – don’t be tempted to put too much rice in, the right amount seems too little. Err on the side of too little rather than too much. We are aiming for FLAVOUR!

Let it simmer, and simmer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is like a congee, then turn the heat up a bit and let the mixture reduce until it is thick, gluggy and throwing up pieces of mixture when it bubbles.

The more it reduces, the less rice flour is needed. Reducing it too far it begins to burn.

Once reduced, remove the kangaroo straps and turn the temperature down a bit.

Add a couple of decent spoonfuls of rice flour and stir through with a wooden spoon until it thickens, add more rice flour as needed, until the mixture is thick enough to roll into balls.

Don’t roll into balls yet!!

Put the lid on the pot and stick it in the fridge

Once cool, determine how many meals you have in the pot. Sprinkle in the appropriate amount of probiotic powder if you use it (put the powder back into the fridge).

Using a fork, mix the probiotic powder through the concoction and break up the pieces of chicken until you have a textured mixture that is well combined.

If you have got it right, and it took me a while, you will be able to easily use two teaspoons to make up bite sized balls that hold together very nicely and you can pile them onto a plate without them collapsing into a gooey mound. You can use your hands if you wish. Your hands will get a bit sticky but it all washes off easily. See the picture below.

If you have got the ratio of ingredients right (ie not too much rice), your dog will love it.

Trying to keep the weight on while managing the digestive issues can be tricky. My little boy is now palliative as he has a huge tumour on his pancreas which is continuing to grow, and this disturbs his system even more, so I give him small amounts of chicken balls often to prevent his system from overloading. If he eats too much at one time it just all comes up again and he loses the desire to have another go at some fresh ones.

Portions can be kept in the fridge or freezer. I sometimes roll the mixture into portion logs and freeze them. I can cut bite sized pieces off the logs once defrosted.


I can vouch for the fact that they are tasty, having been caught by my husband eating a teaspoonful and being admonished for “eating dog food”. I retorted back that it is just chicken, rice and stock cubes ……………………… then I remembered the kangaroo straps! But it is quite more-ish.

Heather Dunn


               Landy in his younger days















Landy now













                                     Tasty Chicken Balls!

Post your comment


  • Hello all,
    Landy is not as well as he was when I first wrote this article. He is finding his low fat biscuits entirely unappetising.
    I have found that grinding up his vet recommended low fat biscuits and mixing them with his chicken ball mix is getting the biscuit meal into him so that he gets not only the extra carbs, but some of the nutrition of the biscuits.
    I also have to make the chicken balls about half the size, as he now has difficulty coping with the standard mouthful size I have been making.

    Posted by Heather, 30/09/2013 10:31pm (6 years ago)

  • Thank you everyone for your comments. I made a batch the other day and it was a bit sticky, so I crushed some of his low fat biscuits and rolled them in the crumble. It made them easy to handle and he enjoyed them just as much

    Posted by Heather Dunn, 19/09/2013 4:29pm (6 years ago)

  • well I don't think Id go so far as to test a bit despite the alluring look of the kangaroo straps & chicken but its a great idea I wish Id had a recipe like (cat based) this for my (dear departed) cat when she needed a tasty meal when ailing with her kidneys. :)

    Posted by Ailsa McQuade, 02/09/2013 10:08am (6 years ago)

  • Sounds good

    Posted by Denise Graham, 31/08/2013 5:31pm (6 years ago)

  • sounds like they would do my dog.Thought about going commercial?

    Posted by Denise Graham, 31/08/2013 5:27pm (6 years ago)

  • Landy Dunn is so lucky to have such a caring, creative Mum! Looking after him is an intense, full time job, seeing that he is blind as well. But he is a wonderful, intelligent little boy and deserves every chicken ball and cuddle he gets!

    Posted by Lita & John, 31/08/2013 10:13am (6 years ago)

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