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Advice on Food Allergy/Sensitivity in Black Lab

bluebug70
September 14th, 2007, 11:02 PM
:pawprint::pawprint::pawprint::pawprint::pawprint: :pawprint:
My name is Jennifer Ryall and I'm a student at the University of
Kentucky. I have a black Lab - her name is
Faith and she's usually a healthy, energetic 3 yr. old (spayed) dog.

Here's her situation:

Aug 31: Faith threw up 7-8 times w/i two hours (fed her around 7:00am,
she threw up in every room of the house by 3:00pm, mostly undigested
food)

(same day): Took Faith to our regular vet. They gave her subcutaneous
fluids, an injection to stop the vomiting, and she was prescribed
carafate for a week (we were told not to feed her for the rest of the
evening and to give her only half a can of prescription Purina beef
food in the morning and half in the evening the next day). She seemed
better, but definitely not close to normal. Could tell she was still
nauseous and tired. She went back to her regular Wellness chicken dry
food.

Sept 5 & 7: Faith threw up once each day

Later that week: Faith went off carafate and two days later (Sunday
Sept 9) she threw up three times (in the morning)

(back to vet on Monday the 10th): Faith was prescribed carafate for a
MONTH (my boyfriend and I began to doubt whether the vet was on the
right track, but I told him I'd wait a week to see if she got better -
turns out I couldn't wait a week!)

This Wednesday September 12: (you will relate if you have a Lab) For
the first time EVER Faith didn't beg me for breakfast and then when we
put food in her bowl she didn't immediately eat. She actually walked
away from the bowl a couple times but finally ate.
That was the last straw for me!!!! Labs eat!!!!

Wednesday the 12th: My boss recommended another vet in a neighboring
county. They got Faith in that day and did blood work, fecal testing,
radiology, and SMA profile. I didn't give her the carafate that
morning b/c I worried it would interfere with results of tests. The
vet called around 1:30 and said Faith had thrown up once there. He
said based on the results (build-up of feces in colon, vomiting,
irritation of stomach lining, no major bloodwork probs except her
usual elevated creatinine that they check 1X yearly) that he suspected
food sensitivity/allergy (I'm ignorant on all the vocabulary still,
sorry) causing inflammatory bowel issues in Faith.
The "new" vet prescribed three drugs: Pepcid AC, Vetalog, and
Metronidazole. He also put her on a restricted (IVD) diet of rabbit
and potato. She is doing a lot better right now and seems almost back
to her old crazy self (still getting tired a little easier). I called
the vet today due to some accidents (urine) in the house that I read
could be due to the steroid; he cut her back to every other day on
this. The only other issue is some diarrhea which the vet says is probably a side effect of the meds. He says to call him at the end of next week and he wants to see her again. After the course of drugs runs out he wants to keep her on the food for a while longer to make sure this is the true problem and
there is no more throwing up.

I've been trying to do some research on my own and, to be honest, I'm
a little confused. There are so many issues that seem close
(inflammatory bowel, food sensitivity, food allergy, gastroenteritis,
etc.) I'm confused on the vocabulary and I wondered if anyone had thoughts on wet food diets for dogs. Faith has always been on dry food
(Purina as a pup, then Hill's, then Wellness - all chicken) and I'm
worried about her teeth on a wet food diet. Are there good dry
"hypoallergenic" dog foods available without fillers, etc.? Due to my
ignorance on vocabulary I am finding it difficult to search and get
accurate information. Do you think the home cooked diet is
beneficial? I have read some negative things about it, but it
seems to help owners pinpoint . . . urgh! it's too much. I'm also
much more into the natural foods with fewer preservatives,
gluten-free, etc. The fact that Royal Canin seems to have
bought/merged (?) with IVD had me a little concerned since Royal Canin
had some foods on the recall list (not these specific diets, however).
OK, so I guess what I'm looking for is the best quality, most
natural, most hypoallergenic (dry? wet?) food I can feed my dog long
term if the food allergy/sensitivity is the final diagnosis. I would
trust my vet to tell me (to a degree; but I also know they would like
to sell me this canned food forever - as I said, I am poor - much
poorer now due to all the testing). I would also like to know if I could combine this good quality food with something a little lower in protein? My vet has not yet discussed this with me, but I'm wondering about if/how to manager her somewhat high creatinine values as well.

If you have any thoughts please feel free . . . or not. Faith the black Lab would sure appreciate your opinion!! :) She needs to eat. Well.

Thanks so much for caring enough to read this.
:dog:
Yours truly,
Jennifer Ryall & Faith the black Lab

want4rain
September 14th, 2007, 11:18 PM
my Mister-Butt is on a raw, he had the explodabutt over the 'residue' in kibble. through it all... we found raw to be easier, cheaper and healthier. easier being the most important part. :laughing:

either way, he gets about 2lbs of meat a day. organs every few days. his itchies are gone, flaky skin is gone and his butt isnt exploding anymore.

there are a few raw feeders here. i even have a lab!! and he is black too!! :D

-ashley

want4rain
September 14th, 2007, 11:22 PM
to say thought, i would probably start out on a cooked home made diet before making the transition to raw. building back up her immune system is vital to a raw diet.

-ashley

bluebug70
September 14th, 2007, 11:36 PM
Ashley,

Thank you for your thoughts - I have heard a lot about the raw diet (second hand) but it's nice to hear from someone who has Labs on it successfully. I will be sure to ask the vet for his thoughts on the home cooked/raw diet in Faith's case. We will have the food discussion at Faith's re-check appointment next week - thus, my questions. I like to go into these appointments as informed as possible.

Thanks, again!! :D
Jenn

want4rain
September 14th, 2007, 11:49 PM
dont be surprised if your vet speaks against a raw diet. :) just arm yourself with information for any decision you make with her.

-ashley

crazydays
September 15th, 2007, 07:20 AM
Hi Bluebug!

My best advice for you is to take this next step slow. You need to look at your labs total hx of food in order to try to determine the cause of the "apparent" food allergy.

When did you switch your dog to Wellness?
Was the previous food chicken based?
What was the reason for the switch?
How long was your dog on Wellness Chicken before this problem?
Do you think that your dog reacted to the transition to new food?

These are the kind of questions you need to think about before you can fully make an informed decision. There are so many options out there with respect to food. Yes homecooked meals can be wonderful for your dog but you need major advice on how to give a well rounded diet for your young lab. The other issue is how this works for you in your life--alot of people are more suited to dry kibble. I just think that there are so many dry food options for dogs with sensitivities so I am speaking on behalf of that. The other feeling I have is ??????? about your dogs illness. Maybe the lab had a GI infection not related to food. Yes food could have aggravated it but these are questions for you to sort out with your Vet.

I don't think your dog needs to be on soft canned food for long term.

mummummum
September 16th, 2007, 08:24 PM
You may find determining what causes a flare up of IBD in your dog a simpler process with a homecooked diet using elimination as you proceed through different foods than trying different kibbles. This will also give you a chance to see whether homecooking/ raw is for you.

I'm a little hesitant to recommend raw/ homecooked as a permanent solution though without a better understanding of why your dog's creatinine levels have been consistently high. Dogs who are raw fed usually have higher creatinine levels than do dogs who are kibble-fed because of the higher readily digestible protein in their diet. As such you might need to fiddle quite a bit with the protein values in meals to either lower his creatinine or maintain it at it's current level.

I do however, HIGHLY recommend you look into prebiotics and probiotics for your dog as these are showing promise when used by people in controlling their IBD flare-ups

want4rain
September 16th, 2007, 08:33 PM
I do however, HIGHLY recommend you look into prebiotics and probiotics for your dog as these are showing promise when used by people in controlling their IBD flare-ups

would yogurt help at all??

-ashley

satchelp
September 16th, 2007, 08:46 PM
You may want to try some slippery elm. It will soothe the digestive tract. I know lots of people that use this for their pets.

http://www.florahealth.com/flora/home/Canada/HealthInformation/Encyclopedias/SlipperyElmBark.htm

mummummum
September 16th, 2007, 08:57 PM
would yogurt help at all??

-ashley

Same principle wanted4rain ~ I would rather go for a probiotic in this case only because they have billions of live "critters" :D

~michelle~
September 16th, 2007, 09:06 PM
ok take a deep breath.... the dog food world can be a little overwhelming!!!!! theres a ton of info out there but i have learned a ton of stuff here!!!

i dont think there is actually much to say about the correlation between kibble vs wet as to dental... i dont think kibble does as much for your dogs teeth as it claimes to IMO. and if your still worried start brushing your dogs teeth more often, but i would be careful with the type of dog toothpaste you use so to not aggitate the allergy further. (never use human toothpaste on a dog!)


ok so i would see if an allergy test could be done maybe to isolate what the allergen is.... usually you can just do an elimination diet but i dont know if i would but your dog through that much as it has had some problems. I understand being a student and cash being tight. homecooked can get alittle expensive, although i have really wanted to do that or raw for awhile ( i dont have the space to store all the meat either with those. I would research dogs nutritional requirements carefully before switching to raw or homecooked but i am sure there are lots of people here who can help you with that

if you do isolate what the allergen is (most commonly chicken, corn, wheat, soy) there are many kibble foods you can find that dont have these in them. there are grain-free kibbles, holisitic high quality kibbles dont contain corn or soy as they arent really digestable to a dog anyways, and there are meat specific foods too. ie fish only, red meat only, etc etc.

great brands I have tried are Innova, and Orijen. they seem pricey per bag but you feed less, so it evens out to the price of so called "premium" vet foods. also i have found with these foods my pets fur to be softer and shinier, they have fewer and firmer BMs, and they are virtually odorless!

hopefully you can find more advice as i am pretty useless with this stuff! I am still learning lots but as i said i think this is one of the best resources i have found!