Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

in the middle of a vet workup - looking for other thoughts re diagnosis?

RedSoxMom
October 16th, 2007, 09:12 PM
Hi...I have a 6-year-old male Lab with inflammatory bowel disease at baseline. Hill's Z-D Low Allergen food keeps him regular; he can't handle even the smallest bit of other dog foods or any human foods (diarrhea).

Hope I don't get flamed for saying my dog has diarrhea - rest assured he has been to the vet and we are in constant contact with the vet for this issue with daily updates. For the past nine days he has had bloody diarrhea, from frank liquid blood to applesauce-consistency (sorry) and initially throwing up 1 to 5 times a day with small bloody streaks. Vet thought Giardia at first (we camped at a reservoir in August, although our other Lab is just fine), but his stool tested negative for Giardia. Vet put him on strict mashed potato diet til things calm down and prescribed metronidazole, sucralfate and Pepcid. Vomiting has stopped, but the bloody diarrhea is so far no better and he has lost about 5% of his weight. He's still very frisky and doesn't seem to be in distress...Because of his food sensitivities, we keep him very monitored, and there's almost zero chance he "got into something" bad to eat, garbage, poison, killed a small wild animal etc. While the vet ponders other possible diagnoses, I'm just wondering if anybody has any other thoughts about what could be going on here? He was extremely gassy for days before this all started....

I really appreciate any thoughts or suggestions. Thank you!

mummummum
October 16th, 2007, 09:22 PM
:rolleyes: Firstly, poop is never a taboo topic here :rolleyes: ~ we have dogs after ll :D


If you have had a second stool sample test for parasites ~ giardia can be VERY stubborn as can flukes and other parasites, I'd put my money on the Hills personally.

I haven't looked at the ingredients list for awhile but Hills tends to be very heavy on grains, rice and corn. That would be my guess.

mummummum
October 16th, 2007, 09:28 PM
So, just had a quick look at the Hills. Potatoes, Soybean oil and chicken. You've tried the "just potatoes". It's quite possible soybeans are the problem ~ many dogs can't digest soy well or react porrly to soy. Try two or three days of "just chicken" and see if the diarrhea stops. But first, I would fast him wqith water permitted for 24 hours to give his system a chance to rest.

hazelrunpack
October 16th, 2007, 09:30 PM
Are you sure he isn't just having a flare-up of his IBD, RedSoxMom? We had a setter with IBD and that was a pretty standard description of what he'd go through during an episode.

Is he on any meds for the IBD or is he being maintained by diet alone?

hazelrunpack
October 16th, 2007, 09:38 PM
MMM---I believe the Hills Z-D is hydrolyzed soy protein--broken into small bits. In IBD, the dog reacts to proteins more than a few amino acids long...and if the case is severe, the reaction causes sloughing of the intestinal lining (hence the blood) and is life-threatening.

Evan had a severe case of IBD and was severely allergic to any proteins. Hills Z-D and Purina HA were the only foods that he could tolerate--both contain hydrolyzed proteins. Anything containing whole proteins, meat or vegetable, would have killed him.

mummummum
October 16th, 2007, 10:55 PM
Thanks for the information Hazel! Is it possible for a dog with IBD to develop an intolerance to the protein they had been eating all along?

Open questions for anyone: Did you find Slippery Elm, oat bran, pumpkin or psyllium at all helpful in bulking up the stool? What about adding Omega-3's to help with the gastro-intestinal inflammation? Did you try supplements to boost his immune system and were they helpful in reducing the number of flare-ups? One of my gal pals swears by colostrum as the miracle cure for her Crohn's ~ did you try it ?

hazelrunpack
October 16th, 2007, 11:18 PM
Actually, the IBD itself manifested as a developing intolerance for any protein fed...hence the hydrolyzed protein...protein in pieces too small to be recognized as protein. Evan's was basically an allergy to protein--it took about 2 months for him to develop intolerance, we'd switch to another until he reacted to it, then to another. Didn't matter if it was kibbled or raw...eventually, he'd develop the allergy. It's only a matter of time before you run out of novel proteins to try, then you have to switch to the hydrolyzed protein. :shrug: IBD is nasty. :sad:

In Evan's case, he responded poorly to any whole vegetable protein--so pumpkin and oat bran were out. Never tried the psyllium or the Slippery Elm, but my feeling is that they, too, would have caused a reaction.

As to the omega supplements--this was quite a while ago. They weren't available then.

Our experience with IBD was back in the Dark Ages. :o In fact, Purina had just come out with the HA formula when Evan was diagnosed--the Z-D from Hills came on the market just as Evan was beginning to turn his nose up at the HA (it tasted a lot like cardboard...don't know if it's been improved or not). So there wasn't a lot of stuff out there for IBD, nor were there a lot of supplements to try. :shrug:

sugarcatmom
October 17th, 2007, 07:22 AM
I had a cat with severe IBD, and the only thing that firmed up his stool to any degree was Slippery Elm. The myriad of drugs and special diets didn't even touch it. And it worked on the first day I tried it!

RedSoxMom
October 17th, 2007, 09:34 AM
I didn't realize dogs went through ups and downs like this - he has been stable for so long on the ZD food, never any "flares," and the idea that RedSox might be telling us he's now allergic to the ZD makes me feel like sitting right down on the floor and crying - it's been years of trial and error with this dog and as ludicrously expensive as the ZD is, at least it's worked.

Sigh....

I'll get with the vet and mention all of the supplements that have been suggested on this thread. I seem to recall that canned pumpkin didn't give him diarrhea when we ran out of ZD food once.

Poor skinny pup. He is a very large-framed Lab and he's down to 102 pounds now, bones showing. We're so worried about him. Thank you so much for the help!! I will post with an update. :)

hazelrunpack
October 17th, 2007, 10:58 AM
I didn't realize dogs went through ups and downs like this - he has been stable for so long on the ZD food, never any "flares," and the idea that RedSox might be telling us he's now allergic to the ZD makes me feel like sitting right down on the floor and crying - it's been years of trial and error with this dog and as ludicrously expensive as the ZD is, at least it's worked.

Sigh....

I'll get with the vet and mention all of the supplements that have been suggested on this thread. I seem to recall that canned pumpkin didn't give him diarrhea when we ran out of ZD food once.

Poor skinny pup. He is a very large-framed Lab and he's down to 102 pounds now, bones showing. We're so worried about him. Thank you so much for the help!! I will post with an update. :)

I know how you feel :grouphug: IBD is insidious. However, he may not be reacting to the ZD--they can 'flare' in response to other things. Remember that RedSox's immune system is primed for allergens--this has been an extremely allergic fall for us here--even those of us not normally prone to them have had some trouble. So the flare up might be from a different allergen than the food this time.

The Slippery Elm might be worth a try--but for sure run it by the vet. It may work in some types of IBD, not so well in others (I believe there are about 4 subtypes, if I'm remembering right). It might be worth while to explore a bit of prednisone if he's not already on it (much as I'm loathe to ever use steroids, they do have a place here) to get him through till the snow flies (or the worst of the allergens are finished for the season--you don't list a location). But discuss the side-effects with your vet--they can be nasty, too, if he's been on long-term steroids before.

Best of luck RSM :grouphug: I do know what you're going through. It's a lot of ups and downs and heartbreaks. You do the best you can and hope you find something that works. I know how hard it is to see them skin-and-bones. Evan should have weighed 70 and we could never get him above 55. As long as he was happy and playing the mischievous puppy, though, it was worth it to us to keep him going and let him have his fun. :dog:

badger
October 17th, 2007, 11:54 AM
I don't know if this is helpful but a friend of mine has a lovely labX who occasionally gets bouts of diarrhea, sometimes with blood, probably as a result of scoffing things she finds on their walks. Although my friend is super vigilant, Cookie is extremely fast and all mouth, as befits a labby.
Anyway, I had some slippery elm (which I use for my cats when they are tummy-ish) and she tried it. After a couple of days, the dog's stools returned to normal. She still has the odd bout and the slippery elm still works like a charm.
If it were my dog, I'd take him off all meds - which may be contributing to the problem - and dose him with slippery elm for a few days (staying with the same food for now). You have to use the pure powder, no additives.
The fact that he's losing weight makes me think he is not absorbing what he's eating and his system is completely out of balance. Have you thought about some kind of digestive enzymes, probiotics, etc to help things along?

Love4himies
October 17th, 2007, 12:29 PM
I have IBD and many people on my IBD forum use slippery elm to help relieve their symptoms, I haven't tried it myself though.

pitgrrl
October 17th, 2007, 01:22 PM
My dog Streets, who has had colitis on and off his whole life, had an extremely bad episode last spring which was very much like you're describing, bloody liquid poop, vomiting, drastic weight loss. After many rounds of metronidazole (sp?) with no improvement I finally contacted a nutritionist/homeopath who works with animals.

With a change in diet, a series of homeopathic remedies, supplementation (including slippery elm, which I can't tell you how much it has helped) we got him back into shape, actually better shape than he's even been in.

So, I know this probably isn't necessarily helpful in the immediate sense, but if you have any inclination to look into other medicinal practices, I would really urge you to do so as personally for this type of problem I've found far more solutions in more holistic treatment.

RedSoxMom
October 20th, 2007, 12:58 PM
After two days on slippery elm mixed wtih the mashed potatoes and barley we're giving him, Redsox has firmed up nicely and there has been no more blood and no more vomiting. Still not back to his normal droppings, but obviously he's on an upward trend. I stopped the metronidazole and sucralfate. Fingers crossed....we will start mixing his regular food back in very slowly...

Thanks so much for the listening ears!

Wags and woofs,

RedSox mom

growler~GateKeeper
October 21st, 2007, 01:20 AM
good luck :fingerscr for future success

rainbow
October 21st, 2007, 01:30 AM
That is great news to hear. :highfive: I hope Redsox continues to do well. :fingerscr :goodvibes: And, btw, welcome to pets.ca and we'd love to see pics of your labs. :pawprint: