Sunny’s Miracle Diet – How a Dog Beat Liver Disease

Are you a pet parent looking for inspiration to help your furry friend? Let me tell you about Sunny and his pet parent’s perseverance to save him from liver disease.

Sunny’s story touched the hearts of many, including myself. After reading about his journey, I felt inspired to take action for my own furry companion, Norman. I changed his diet and added supplements to give him the best chance at surviving cirrhosis.

But Sunny’s story didn’t stop there – it inspired me to do even more research and eventually write my own book to help others care for their furry friends in the best way possible. I’m eternally grateful to Sunny and his pet parent, Kennalea Pratt, for showing me the power of love and dedication in the face of a terminal prognosis.

This is the original content from her website. It is very outdated. But I want to share the story that started it all.

Part 1: The Story
Part 2: Sunny’s Miracle Diet Recipe
Part 3: Modified Healthy Powder
Part 4: Medication (alternative & conventional) Protocol for Liver Problems

Part 1:  The Story

Sunny was diagnosed (both by her regular vet and a specialist) with terminal cirrhosis of the liver in July 1997 and given 3 months or less to live.  An ultrasound showed her liver had shrunk down to a bare fraction of its normal size; and a punch biopsy found her liver too hard to puncture with a needle.  She was not a good candidate for
surgery so that was not an option.  Sunny obviously was very uncomfortable and very ill.  She spent all of every day lying in her bed, never leaving it except to relieve herself or when carried upstairs to my daughter’s bed.

By October 1997, Sunny was having a fluid accumulation in her abdomen that was astonishing  and unbelievably uncomfortable for her.  Diuretics had no effect, and her little abdomen had to be drained by our veterinarian of approx 2 liters of acites or fluid every week.  Sunny was just a skin-covered bag of bones with HUGE amounts of fluid in her abdomen.  She looked like a starving “biafran” child, and the vet said that she couldn’t last out the month, that we were fast approaching the time to “let her go”.

Since Sunny was obviously dying  and the veterinary treatment (actigal or urosodial, lasix and KD diet) wasn’t working, our wonderful vet gave me carte blanche to surf the web and figure out an alternative treatment.   I began my online research with no real  hope but rather with the idea that doing something (anything) would make my daughter feel better while we waited for the vet to say that we would have to put Sunny down.

As there was little available information online regarding canine liver disease, I researched human liver disease disease instead.  I searched full time for all one weekend accumulating great quantities of information which I carefully saved, sorted, and then synthesized to what I hoped would be appropriate for Sunny.   

Sunny was immediately removed from Hill’s KD canned diet and placed on a natural, home-made diet.  The diet change resulted in immediate improvement.  In an optimistic mood (but again really just to give my daughter something to do for her beloved little dog), we purchased and added to the diet the herbs recommended for treatment of liver problems.  We then modified Dr. Pitcairn’s Healthy Powder to supplement the natural diet.  We also continued Sunny on the medications prescribed by her vet.

To say that the improvement we saw in Sunny was good is to say too little; we witnessed a miracle!  By the end of a month, she was very much her old self and was regaining the weight she had lost.  Once placed on the natural diet, she never needed to return to the vet to have her abdomen drained again.  As the weeks passed, her improvement progressed until she looked and acted like her old self.

Sunny continues to do quite well on the combination mentioned above of the alternative treatment, home-cooked food (supplemented by the Healthy Powder) and the prescription medicine, actigal or ursodiol, which keeps her bile ducts open (my understanding).  She looks and appears to feel great, runs the house keeping the shelties and minis in line, shows no outward signs of her illness.   The vet assures me that Sunny’s liver problem has not been cured, that she still has severe cirrhosis of the liver with her symptoms only held at bay by the natural diet, herbal and prescription protocols.  But just imagine – from death’s door to a happy, energetic existence almost overnight!!!!   And all due to a simple home-made diet.    

Although there are herbal supplements and vitamin powders added (and they are ESSENTIAL), the most important element of her recovery was the home-made diet.  When we made the switch, Sunny had been on KD since July 97 and had loved it – BUT IT WAS KILLING HER because, although KD is reduced in salt, it contained too much for Sunny’s compromised system and was causing the huge amounts of fluid that the vet repeatedly had to drain from  her abdomen

Sunny eats all she wants twice a day and is in wonderful “flesh” and weight.   My vet truly could NOT BELIEVE what a difference in comfort level and quality of life, the Miracle Diet and the combined alternative/conventional protocol made in Sunny.   As a matter of fact, when our vet saw Sunny for the first time after beginning the home-made diet, she didn’t believe the dog we brought her was Sunny – she said that her first thought was that Sunny had died and that the one before her was Sunny’s replacement.  Happily that was not the case!!!   Our vet asked for permission to share the diet with other owners whose dogs were ill or debilitated. PERMISSION GRANTED.   <G>

As time passed and the word got around the internet of Sunny’s recovery, I began to hear from other folks whose dogs were in need of a miracle.  As a matter of fact, that is how I met co-moderator, Kathy Thom!!   Kathy’s continued research later suggested several minor but important improvements in the recipe. Seldom a week goes by that two or three folks don’t send an email wanting information on Sunny’s food and/or protocol.   It seems that dogs with other illnesses respond to Sunny’s diet and healthy powder – and folks who feed it to healthy dogs report wonderful changes too.  Almost universally, positive results are reported, although it seems that there are ill dogs that show no response (approx 1 out of 10 per my calculations).  

But if your dog is in need of a miracle or if you just want to feed a natural diet without the preservatives and etc, cook up a big pot of Sunny’s Miracle Diet food and prepare for some unbelieveable changes in your dog!!!!  

JUST REMEMBER TO ADD THE VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS!!!!!!    Supplementation is important whenever we feed our animals naturally!!!

Part 2:  Sunny’s Miracle Diet Recipe

9 cups of WATER in a BIG STEW POT
2-1/2 POUNDs GROUND TURKEY  (NOT white meat turkey)
2 cups BROWN RICE 
 or 1 Large Package of Chopped Broccoli
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
MORE whole oatmeal to mix in after preceding mixture is finished –  Mix in enough oatmeal to absorb all liquid and leave the mixture a tad dry.

Bring Turkey to a boil in approximately 8 cups of water (be sure to stir in while it breaks up), add brown rice and oatmeal and cook covered about  55 minutes on very low simmer.  Stir in the garlic powder. Stir in vegetables about 10-15 minutes before the end of cooking time.   After, the cooking is finished, stir in the extra oatmeal 1/2 cup at a time to make the food the right consistency which is some what dry in appearance.   This oatmeal doesn’t need to  “cook” as the heat from the rice and etc. will moisten it and make it edible.  Put in containers and refrigerate.  It will keep a week in the refrigerator.    We put ours in plastic covered containers and freeze it. In 2 quart containers, it takes overnight to thaw on the countertop.

About every 6th time I make it, I substitute the HIGHEST GRADE ground beef for the ground turkey – just for a change.   You can also change the green vegetable from time to time.  If your dog is too fat, you will probably want to add another bag of green veggies to reduce calories.   If the dog is underweight, you can add another lb. of turkey.

When ready to feed, put the supplements on the top, stir it up good and watch your “kids” gobble it up. When we feed Sunny, we give her as much as she wants and will eat twice a day.  I would estimate that she eats about 3/4 cup in the morning and in the evening.  We adjust the amount as necessary.  If she’s off her “feed”, which seldom occurs, we put her bowl in the microwave for a minute which seems to stimulate her appetite!!!

Part 3:  Modified Healthy Powder

When feeding Sunny’s Miracle Diet, this vitamin supplement is ABSOLUTELY necessary.   Sunny (and all the rest of the “kids”) get 1 tablespoon a day of this.    (Sunny is fed twice a day so she gets 1/2 tablespoon mixed into her food with each meal.)


Mix in a big pan, and mix well!!!  Then store in airtight cans till used.  Shake up the can you are using periodically so that your little “friend” gets some of everything EVERYTIME!!!!

Get ingredients at health food store and/or pet supply.   I know that the ProBalance Vitamin Powder is available online at  I bought my bonemeal from the Solid Gold Catalog.  I bought the Ester C Powder and the lecithin and yeast at a local health food store.  When I am unable to find torula yeast, I use whatever yeast powder the health food store recommends. I don’t buy the yeast at the pet food store as it’s not as fresh and full of vitamins.

l. 1 lb. nutritional (torula) yeast 
2. 1 lb. lecithin granules 
3. 5,000 milligrams of Vitamin C = as Ester C Powder 
4. 1 can (8 oz) of ProBalance vitamin/nutritional supplement powder from the animal supply store. 
5. 1/2 cup of human grade bonemeal

Part 4:  Medication (alternative & conventional) Protocol for Liver Problems

Here is the protocol that we worked out for Sunny’s liver condition.  Since we are unsure exactly what made the BIGGEST improvement, we just keep it as it is.  

1.  We believe that simply providing her with home-made food has been the reason we no longer have to have her tummy drained of fluid by the vet every week.  We give her no additional salt so she retains no fluid.

2.  Prescription of .5 ml of Actigal (ursodial) suspension twice each day on her food.  (This suspension is made by the druggist and contains 100 mg per ml of ursodiol per ml in cherry syrup, and she loves it!!! )

3.  Herbal Active’s Milk Thistle Extract  or Suspension 5 drops twice a day on her food.

4.  Teeter Creeks LVR-TONE (an extract combination) 5 drops twice a day on her food.

5.  1/2 enzyme capsule sprinkled over her food twice a day
(N-Zimes #10 made by the National Enzyme Company, Forsyth,  Missouri,  65653, telephone 800-825-8545 & 417-546-4796.  They take credit cards and get the stuff to you within two days.)

5.  1/2 tablespoon Modified Healthy Powder  sprinkled over her food twice a day.  This is from Dr. Pitcairns Book “Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats – but has been adapted.

6.  Lasix can be added if fluid build up is a problem.  Shouldn’t be necessary on salt-free diet. 

7.  We added a tiny bit of powdered potassium to the healthy powder due to feeding salt-free diet.

I know this seems like a lot of trouble but if you could see the difference between Sunny then and now, you would call it a miracle.  She was getting over 1 liter of fluid drained out of her stomach every week and would swell back up immediately. 

She is now, by appearance, perfectly normal.  However, we know that she is not cured but she is “holding” beautifully.  Feels great.  And is quite her old self for however long it lasts.  And, I always remember that this is a dog that was due to cross the river in October 1997 – and in October before we started the natural food, it certainly seemed that she would indeed do so.  If you cannot find the alternative supplements (herbs and etc.) contact me and I will give addresses etc.

Kennalea Pratt
Starbound Miniature Schnauzers