All About Dog Food Forum
Dog food and feeding => Feeding dogs with health problems => Topic started by: shelldd on Jan 27, 2016, 12:12
Hi, I am new to the site and was hoping to find some useful advice, it seems like a great website and source of knowledge.
I have a 7 month old Golden Retriever boy and since we have had him (from 8 weeks old) he has had ongoing bouts of diarrhoea. It started with a bad day here and there that would eventually get a little better, or often firm stool in the morning gradually getting softer throughout the day, or often the stool would start firm and end soft. He would typically go to the toilet about 4/5 times a day. Recently however the bouts became more and more regular, with one stool being soft-watery at least once a day. Then this moved onto a week of upsetting tummy and a day of vomiting.
He has had many trips to the vets and was originally given Protexin Pro-Fibre to help. This didn't make a lot of difference. Then they took stool samples. No signs of bacteria/parasites. Then (after the week long upset and vomiting) they gave a course of antibiotics and steroids to ease the inflammation in the intestines and he was put on Purina HA hypoallergenic diet.
When looking into the ingredients list of this we were concerned, however followed the vets instruction to get him stable. He still has a few days left of both the antibiotics and steroids and a visit to the vets tomorrow. We are concerned as since he started this new diet (and medication) he has lost weight and is generally lacking his fun, energetic nature. He is visually thin and boney to touch. Before, even though he had bouts of upset, he was in really healthy shape. Although his stools are now firm (but small and yellow in colour) and he hasn't had any sickness or diarrhoea since being on this medication/diet for a week.
As for food, he started out on Natural Instinct from his breeder. We gradually changed him onto Hills Vet Recommended Puppy Diet as recommended strongly by the vets (grrr that's another story!) and after research and toxic smelling wind each day we gradually changed him to Orijen Large Puppy. Then to Orijen puppy (thinking the large may be too rich as his upset tum was still happening) and now unfortunately onto Purina HA. He has dealt with food changes quite well considering, we think he is thriving about 2 weeks in and then it would start to go downhill again. The vet thinks he may have intolerances which have caused the upset tummy and because of the build up, everything got inflamed and he got to a point where he couldn't handle anything, as his intestines couldn't absorb the nutrients due to inflammation (seems like symptoms of IDB?) We feel the nutritional content of this Purina HA food is not enough for him and he just isn't himself. We are keen to perhaps go back to Natural Instinct but are unsure how to go about it, if it is recommended for his issues etc? The vets we see are all pretty negative about raw feeding in general. However, I am not sure what their next step is and I am sure I don't want him on this diet for too much longer. We have tried so much and are not sure where to go next. Perhaps introducing single source proteins into his diet one at a time to work out what is coursing the problem? I know there is a lot of negative writing about carbs for dogs, yet I have read the some dogs also struggle with too much protein?
Sorry for War and Peace…it has been a long, upsetting and worrying process and I hope I have given a thorough account so people are able to give some honest, knowledgable advice! Any info people have would be brilliant. We are keen for him to have a natural, nutritious diet that he thrives on, yet he can also digest comfortably. Any help for our gorgeous boy?
Your story sounds EXACTLY! like mine! Same sypmtoms and all.
Not to make you sad, but we never got a diagnosis. Spent thousands at the vet, including an internal specialist, and never ever got results. The only thing we did not do was a biopsy, as I did not feel it justified to put my dog under a surgical procedure only to find a potential diagnosis that you would treat the same way as if you assume there is something. Plus, there were no guarantees it would find anything, it was very expensive, and it was right before a holiday after which he seemed to be getting better again.
Given that, it is up and down with him, there are times he is great, tolerates his food awesome, then times again where he is on the same food with bouts of diarrhea, and it seems that once a year he goes through a crazy weight-loss time.
We did find giardia this winter, which is difficult to diagnose and to get rid off, and part of me suspects that this is what he had all along and may still have. Although no one expected it as at that time point he didn't have diarrhea for 3 months, even the vet was astonished at that. There is no way to really prove that they are gone, but he has put weight back on and looks healthier again. Same as in 2014, when we just treated him for giardia not actually diagnosing them but not knowing what else to do as nothing else helped. So my suspicion is that he is sensitive to them and just gets them again and again. But I never will know that for sure! So maybe ask your vet to treat for giardia even without a diagnosis (which a good vet should recommend anyway given his history because giardia is almost impossible to actually diagnose, don't let a vet tell you any different!)
My boy is otherwise perfectly healthy, happy, active, etc. just re-curring digestions/GI issues, which sounds like your boy. So hopefully it helps you knowing that you are not alone with misterious GI issues :-D for starters!
In terms of food: I tried various kibbles, wet food and raw, including vet diets (Hills ID, which I got rid of asap, but wanted to follow the vets procedure at least for a little while so they couldn't keep saying it's the food..). He is currently on Hermann's duck and sweet potato and I add some 100% turkey meat, cooked eggs, salmon/tuna tins, cooked purreed veggies, etc. to spice it up. He was on Bosch kibble before that and before that on the ID. He did well on Bosch for a while but then got diarrhea again, turns out the food was contaminated with corn and who knows what, so I went away from the company and won't recommend them again. While I wish Hermanns was more open about their recipe, I appreciate their customer service.
I also worried about switiching too often and it always says to try for weeks, but to be honest my dog is different. If he does not tolerate something I will know after 1 or 2 times feeding it and it makes no sense to feed him longer with it. It is better to switch often for him to find something he tolerates. If it is in between I usually do try for longer, but until I found something that worked I switched him often and literally when he tolerated something he was better straight away. But each dog is different with that.
At one point I did a bioresonance energy testing. People do not necessarily believe in it, and many vets don't, but my friend had success determining her dog's allergies with it and it was only 60Euro, which is a lot less than anything I spent at the vet. I received a thorough list of his food intolerances, and I can say that it really helped me. It narrowed down the search and avoided an exclusion diet, which I was worried about doing given his loss of weight at that time. Whether 100% true or not, I give him food of the "no" list and he gets diarrhea, if on the "yes" list he is usually fine (depending on what it is it also depends on quantity of course). It is changing again a little with him being more stable now I think, but it gives me guidelines which is really helpful and I can try little things again as he is being stable.
Just be careful when you look for someone who offers it. There are no regulations, so anyone can offer, even if they don't know what they are doing. I did it in Germany, so not sure how it is over here.
Anyway, sorry, long response. I just know what you're going through, as it is the same for me! Glad to know I am not alone, and hope that some of this helps you and your dog too! :)
Hello and welcome to the forum. It is very sad that your pup is going through this, especially at a time when he should be the picture of health. Food intolerance might be the problem but equally it may be something else and an accurate diagnosis would be helpful. You don't mention whether your vet has done a full blood screen so if he or she hasn't then that would be a good place to start, particularly as the poo is yellow in colour. This could be a sign of a liver problem or it could be just that the food is moving too fast through the intestine. A full blood screen would be useful, if only to rule out liver disease such as portosystemic shunt.
Regarding food, my view is that it would be best to avoid kibble/dry food. You could go back to raw but it would be best to telephone the company advisers to discuss the issue.
Another option would home cooked food and I believe that this would give you more control of what you are feeding your dog. Do not be too anxious about carbohydrate. There is a lot of bad press about this at the moment but there is no reason to exclude it from your dog's diet, particularly as he is losing weight. If you are going to use grain, choose well cooked brown rice. Grain free choice would be sweet potato. There is a section here (http://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/forum/home-cooking/5/) on home cooking but sadly not much has been added to it. Your best bet would be to look for a good Facebook group if you are interested. There is a great deal of information on the Internet about home cooking for dogs and there is no reason why, if you spend a bit of time reading up your dog should have any nutritional deficiencies. You could always supplement with a good all round vitamin product such as SF-50. You would also need to look at calcium requirements if not giving bone. Supplements can be given if desired.
If you prefer not to home cook then perhaps consider a wet diet. There are plenty of good ones on the market these days. However, in view of your dog's problems you need to take it very slowly and give only a single source of protein to see how he responds to it. You can then progress on to something else when you are sure that he can tolerate it. Fish is often a useful source of protein to start with. There are some useful information sheets on the Naturediet website about intolerance.
Please would you keep us informed about your puppy's progress?
Thank you for your reply to my post! And sorry you are still having issues with your fury friend.
He was given antibiotics along with the steroids last week, perhaps that was to treat any parasites (giardia?) although the vet didn't specifically say it was for this reason. His stools have definitely improved and today is actually the first day that he hasn't been to the toilet so often. However we are still keen to get him onto a better quality of food. We did suspect giardia as he eats EVERYTHING out on walks. We try to be vigilant and watch him, but he is faster and has a better nose for dog/horse/rabbit poop than us! The vets said his stool sample had come back normal, but I did also read that it can sometimes come back normal and later giardia can still be found as the tests aren't conclusive. We were asked to take samples from over 3 days so they could be sure, however perhaps it is still not accurate.
Also, I am not sure if it has made a difference to you, but he seems to tolerate smaller but more frequent meals better than larger portions. When we changed from his four puppy meals to three, he had terrible diarrhoea and we had to go back to four and make the quantity change very gradually over a week or more. We did this gradual change when he went from three to two meals and he still had issues. He is actually now on three meals again (since becoming ill last week). I am not sure if that makes a difference to your dog?
I did consider getting him allergy tested, however I have read that allergy testing (a bit like testing for giardia) isn't conclusive and the results can change from one day to the next. I will mention it to the vet tomorrow though and see what she says.
If I find out any more info, have any successes with diets etc I will be sure to let you know. One more thing…have you treated with Probiotics? We have heard a lot of good things about this. We have them in both Pro-Fibre and Pro-Kolin forms as advised by the vets without much change, however now he has had antibiotics I am considering it again (and perhaps a better quality as Pro-Fibre contains grains which were the cause of his wind!)
Thank you for your post. No the vet hasn't done any blood tests as yet. We are going back tomorrow so I will definitely ask for this to be done, at least to rule out anything nasty. His stool has only been yellow since the food change/medication and this food is definitely much lighter than the food he is used to (think Rice Krispies or other puffed cereal) so we were wondering if that, or the medication was the cause. The vet has also asked us to keep a poo diary! So she will know everything from colour,timings and firmness tomorrow! Hopefully this will help diagnose the issue. I really hope it isn't anything too serious.
I am going to call Natural Instincts today to talk through their suggestions and make a decisions after speaking with the vet tomorrow. I will be sure to update this thread then.
And in the meantime, any further info is always gratefully received. We just want our boy to be better now!
Thanks again x
I too have heard that testing for allergies/intolerances is not always accurate - in fact there is something on the forum about it. The smaller, more frequent meals is a good idea. The only other thing I can think of is to make sure that your pup does not have a foreign body somewhere in his gut. This could cause the problems you describe and can be missed by the vet if they cannot be palpated. Dependent on the type of foreign body, they cannot always be seen on x-ray either.
How would we find out if he has a foreign object? The vet said he didn't (as we had asked this) but she only palpated his belly. If an X-ray wouldn't always show it up, is there anything else we can ask the vet to do to check for this?
I will ask tomorrow:
Blood tests (especially for Liver function/Portosystemic Shunt)
Introducing new foods
If there is anything else you think I should ask, please do let me know.
Wow, I had this long reply written and posted it, but apparently it did not show? >:(
But now reading back: I'd definitely have blood tests done to rule out anything else that may be going on. Abdominal ultrasounds to rule out obstructions too. Ask for thyroid too. We also did send something of to check for pancreatitis, etc. but not sure anymore how that worked, but may be worth it.
Sorry, I thought you had already done all these. I have gone through all of these, Addison's testing, etc. and was literally ended with the choice of doing a biopsy, so you still have options before and may find a diagnosis!
We are managing just fine, and I think it will be life long for him. Maybe one day we will have a diagnosis, but I stopped worrying too much as long as he's happy, active, etc. and blood work, etc. looks good. Hopefully you won't have to go that far :)
About allergy testing: As far as I know it is very different from intolerance testing. Allergies usually show in skin issues, etc. not in GI issues, these are food intolerances. From what I know basic allergy testing does not pick up food intolerances! So solution is an exclusion diet, or what I found the bioresonance.
Homecooked or raw will be your best option, although I would wait on raw until you know if his GI issues are chronic or not. I was even discouraged by dog food nutritionist/health advisor and all vets (even those supporting raw) to feed raw to a dog with GI issues. As said, I am currently on a high quality, organic wet food and supplement with homecooked foods as I do not have the time or resources to do a fully homecooked meal.
My dog had yellow poops too when he was on the hypoallergenic food, so it may not be an indicator. But my dog is also a mystery to all vets haha, as no diarrhea when he has a diagnosis of giardia, but never any diagnosis when he did have diarrhea. Supposedly anemic (well maybe from the giardia), but tons of energy, etc. whereas in the summer he showed no anemia when I was a bit concerned about him beng more calm than usual, etc. His poos are all kinds of colors, sometimes varying within one poo, sometimes over the day and can vary in consistency the same. So remember, not everything is straight away a symtpom, although it is good to keep an eye on it at this stage until you know more!
I agree about the choice of food and feel that home cooked, or a mixture of good quality wet and home cooked food would be worth trying. It would be much easier to produce a tailor made diet and to test out different food items. It sounds complicated but with a bit of reading up it is doable (if you have the time). Food can be cooked in bulk and frozen in individual or daily portions.
A little update from his vet appointment.
She was happy with his progress (we had made a food and poop chart!) as he is having better stools and less of them. She was concerned about his weight and thinks he wasn't having enough food. She did some sums and has increased the quantity significantly. She said if his weight doesn't improve over the next week, to go back and she will investigate a further few options. She wants to continue his steroids for another 14 days to make sure the inflammation is really under control. She said his gut feels much better but still not perfect. We are to feed him only Purina HA for now and for at least a couple of weeks after the steroids have finished. Then we can start slowly introducing other ingredients. She said if we did it at this stage, it would be too soon and we need to make sure he is in a much more stable position before we try that. I mentioned my concern for the nutrition of the food and she assured me that this food has added vitamins and minerals in that are easy for dogs with this condition to digest. If we put him on anything else too soon, he wouldn't be able to absorb the goodness and we'd be no better off.
We will follow her advice for the next 14 -28 days, and go back should his weight not improve. I am so looking forward to hopefully giving him some REAL, nutritious food soon!
I hope this may be helpful for others and I will continue to update with any progress. Fingers crossed!
Thank you for the update and I do hope that the improvement continues. :)
I thought it would be worth updating for others with similar concerns/issues.
We have since had further pet visits as he went downhill pretty fast (more extreme diarrhoea, weight loss, loss of appetite and fatigue) and had a whole host of blood tests done. We had the results yesterday to say that there is nothing concerning on the blood's and it really is just diet.
We decided that the Purina HA was obviously not helping, despite the fact the vet insisted on it originally and that it is made for dogs with allergies and GI issues, and took him off it immediately. We started feeding home cooked turkey (an easily digestible protein and one he hasn't had before) with sweet potato and he immediately started to show signs of improvement. He has now had two days of almost normal stools. His weight is still down but we are working on upping his food intake and keeping to short walks. The vet recommended staying with this diet for at least three days of him being stable and then try to introduce him gradually to a more balanced diet.
Our vet practice has generally been against raw feeding, however after we suggested it, the vet we have been seeing for his issues said she thinks it is maybe the next sensible option. As long as he is settled for the next few days we will gradually introduce Natural Instincts Tripe and Turkey raw food and add a probiotic for a few days. I have read about the benefits of tripe and we know he tolerates turkey. We think (us and the vets) that he is perhaps just not able to tolerate any dry kibble and the vet said that even the high end ones go through the same processes.
I will keep this thread updated with his progress as I know how important and helpful other threads have been for me when researching options and theories.
If anyone has any further advice, we are always grateful for more knowledge on this subject.
Thanks for the help so far. xx
Only just caught up with this thread & updates.
Sheldd -Your dog is so lucky to have you guys as owners.
You are literally doing all you can....& well above what many would.
I will watch for future news whilst wishing you & ypur dog all the best goimg forwards.
Thank you for the update and I am so glad that your dog is tolerating the cooked turkey and sweet potato. At least it is a start. Of course the vet is right - however good the quality of the kibble is, it all goes through the same process and there maybe something in it that doesn't suit your dog. The only dry foods that are not manufactured at high temperatures are the cold pressed ones. I hope that the raw diet will help and look forward to your next update.
His stools are relatively good and he has been on Turkey with sweet potato (and now white potato) for 3/4 days with good results so we will start his raw diet tomorrow.
He had a update appointment with the Vet who is concerned about his weight as he is still not gaining anything and on the skinny side. Even though his results were ok from his blood test, she is giving him vitamin B12 shots now once a week for 4 weeks. She said there is research to suggest that even if their levels are ok, it can still be beneficial for food absorption and weight gain in dogs with GI issues. She has seen similar in another dog, who only improves after b12 shots regardless of what the blood tests say. She is hoping that this combined with the new diet will mean he will start gaining weight.
I hope this is helpful for others going through a similar thing.
Thank you very much for the update. I am so pleased that he is responding well. Long may it continue. He is very lucky to have such caring owners. Fingers crossed he does well on the new diet.
This is good news and I hope that the raw diet will help. Thank you for the update and look forward to hearing more of his progress.
My three and a half year old Border Terrier has been suffering on and off since roughly Xmastime 2015 with colitis. She has had X-ray and blood tests. The vet has not found anything abnormal in the tests. Sometimes she can go 2 weeks with no symptoms, is normally a very happy and active dog even when suffering most of the time. Sometimes she will wake my wife and I up in the night to go and be sick in the garden which would be bile or salver ( no food). She, on occasions the next day won't drink or eat so it's a trip to the vet where she is given an anti sickness injection an anti inflammatory injection and some Omeprazole capsules. By the time we get home she is ready for some food and a drink. Does anyone think I should try hypoallergenic dog food of the dried type or not and should I ask the vet to refer her to the small animal hospital in Liverpool? Thank you in anticipation.
Hello and welcome to the forum. You don't mention what you are currently feeding but on the whole, it is probably best to choose a product that has a very simple recipe and is easy to digest. One of the good quality wet foods would meet this criteria. If you need help using the filters to source a suitable food, please ask. If you wish to use dry food then it might be easier for the dog to digest if you soak it first. Also remember to give at least two meals per day so that the dog's stomach is not empty for any length of time.
Dogs can be intolerant to various things but common ones are wheat, chicken, beef, dairy, eggs. I recently heard of a dog that was found to be intolerant of potato. However, any one of a number of ingredients could be the culprit so that is why I suggest that a trial on a food that is very simple in recipe may be a good place to start.
Colitis can be due to food intolerance but sometimes no cause is found. You should seek the advice of your vet if you want further investigation into this. Often the vet will prescribe an elimination diet and the dog will start out on a food that has hydrolysed protein e.g. Royal Canin, Hill's. The owner then slowly adds different proteins to gauge the dog's response. You can do this yourself using one of the wet foods that has only one source of protein in it. However, the trial needs to be very gradual and you would need to read up about this. Naturediet has some fact sheets on their website that might be helpful but there is plenty more information on the Internet.
You might also want to consider a raw diet. Complete raw meals make this quite easy. Raw tripe is said to be good for dogs with colitis. The other type of food that is worth considering is a cold pressed product (http://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/forum/dog-foods/3/markus-muhle-and-other-cold-pressed-dog-food/679/;topicseen) due to their digestibility.