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Quick Context: Sammy is a (nearly) 11-year-old tripod who adopted us about 2 months ago. He has adjusted wonderfully to our household and has had zero issues EXCEPT FOR his problems with food. He is an old man whose mobility is fairly limited at this point and who no longer goes on walks. His "big excursions" are exploring our property during potty time. He is always supervised during this time because of his mobility issues- thus he doesn't eat mysterious/unknown things. Past Food History: 1) Sammy raced until he was five and then was adopted by an elderly couple who pretty much fed him whatever he wanted. Pretty much nothing was off limits so we have no clue how he ate during this time. 2) Sammy was with his foster family for 6 months and during that time, he was a very very picky eater. (Probably because they were actually trying to get him to eat kibble...) He went on 4-day hunger strikes fairly regularly. Vet visits yielded nothing wrong with him. The fosters started giving him a bunch of melted butter aaaaall over his breakfast and tons of wet food mixed in with his dinner. When he didn't feel like eating that, they would add pasta sauce to his food. (YIKES.) He was eating Taste of the Wild kibble and Taste of the Wild wet food (random flavors each time). After hunger striking on that, they switched him to whatever food he felt like eating. This ended up being Purina Pro Plan's Lamb Formula. (Still TOTW wet food.) When We Got Him: -We pretty much quit giving him aaaaall human junk food (no more melted butter, no more pasta sauce, etc. etc). He tried to hunger strike for awhile but we were patient and fiiiinally we had him eating the Purina kibble and TOTW wet food ONLY. -And then he started hunger striking again. -And then he started having diarrhea. (No blood, no mucus. However, we're talking straight up PASTE diarrhea.) -And then he wanted to eat grass and vomit. -And then he started to have gas the likes of which we have never seen (smelled?) before. Enough to make everybody gag and run out of the room...ALL THE TIME. -And then we started to HEAR his stomach making all kinds of interesting noises. Vet Visit: -Vet suspects food intolerance issues and NOT food allergies since he has zero problems of any other sort. He suggests only one source of protein for him because a mix of things does not seem to be working with him. We will have to do some detective work and figure out what exactly bugs his stomach. -Vet states intestinal cramping galore has been going on. -Loperamide + Metronidazole given. -Diet changes: Forced fasting on our part ---> bland diet (rice + ground turkey) that he absolutely devoured ---> Canidae Limited Ingredient Chicken Formula + Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Chicken & Sweet Potato wet food. -Turkey was bad news. He loved it. It did not love him. The gas was unbelievable. O______O -Meds made him feel great! -Ate the most recent diet with no issues! -Stool no longer diarrhea paste but very very soft. Current Issues: -Hunger striking happened again. -Stomach noises back. -Did a forced fasting. -Back on bland diet. This time rice and ground chicken. -He loves it. -It appears to love him? Zero gas problems. -Stool still extremely soft. (We have almost never seen normal stool the entire 2 months we have had him pretty much.) Questions: Chicken probably isn't helping. Go with salmon? Try lamb? Do a different brand entirely? Maybe quit the whole thing? I am seriously starting to think that homemade is the way to go with this guy. Unless there is a secret food that we do not know about? Does anyone have any suggestions for what we should do after the bland diet is over with? What should we transition to that MIGHT be successful? Our concern is honestly not nutrition/best food ever because honestly, he has eaten absolutely terribly for 11 years and unfortunately, we are not going to magically undo the effects of that with the time that we have with him. But we ARE concerned with food that gives him cramping pain and makes him not want to eat over and over again. Tips, suggestions, recipes, are ALL appreciated!
What, you may ask, does picture of a bowl of meat have to do with anything?? IMG_20171106_162421344 by Chris Harper, on Flickr I took this picture about 60 minutes ago, after fending off three dogs from eating all of it off the floor. Three dogs. THREE!! Not two! And it was that third dog that had put it on the floor in the first place! It was a miracle! Because that third dog - our Lilly - has been struggling with intestinal issues ever since she was a puppy. She's always been a picky eater and we've always had to encourage her to eat enough. Even as a 14 week old landshark she was horribly car sick every time we went anywhere. Her issues progressed until she was barely eating, vomiting all the time, having (sometimes explosive) diarrhea, and terrible loud stomach gurgles and squeaks. We tried a lot of things for the first two years of her life - different drugs, different foods, homecooking, tough love. An ultrasound finally showed that the walls of her intestines were very thick and swollen. A biopsy grabbed during her spay showed the same. We scheduled a consult with a internal specialist and readied ourselves for the cost. But our vet suggested we might want to give one more thing a try before we headed down the rabbit hole of steroids and high powered immunosuppressant drugs - acupuncture. Acupuncture, we learned, is approved for treating intestinal diseases in humans, so we decided to give it a try. We were referred to a practitioner who was both licensed as a regular vet, and certified in acupuncture and chinese herbal treatments. Within three of the six initial needle sessions Lilly was already getting better - her stomach noises had subsided, she was no longer car sick at all, and most of her nauseau had disappeared. We also cleared her diet of any trace of chicken, as we discovered she'd developed an intolerance to it through a food trial suggested by our acupucture vet. No chicken in any form is hard in today's market as it's in everything, but with diligent research, we did it. We found a food and limited treats she tolerated and that didn't upset her system. I had to spoon feed her canned food (she refused all kibble) three times a day, but she was eating and finally getting some nutrition from her food. After the initial needle poking sessions, our acupuncture vet introduced Lilly to a course of several chinese herbal treatments. We continued these for two years with adjustments as she got better, interspersed with "touch up" needle sessions. Lilly continued to improve - no more horrible stomach noises, no more vomiting, no more diarrhea, and eating her food as long as I spoon fed her. Lilly finished her course of treatment last June. She has continued to improve. Over the last couple months, she has been showing more and more interest in food, and will often come out to the kitchen and insert herself into whatever is going on there - something she never would have done before. She will even eat some food on her own now, and seeing her eating out of her bowl at her place in the kitchen feels like a huge success every time! Back to the bowl of meat. Lilly counter-surfed it. The whole bowl. She's very tall so she can grab anything off the counter no matter how far it's pushed back - she just has never done it before tonight. Never. Not once. When she went out to the kitchen while I was eating my dinner, I never considered that bowl of meat to be at risk. I was torn between needing to scold and wanting to hug her when I heard that bowl hit the floor! I'd never been so happy to lose a pound of pork shoulder in my life! This has been long, and if you read this far I'm glad you stuck with me. I just wanted to share how far we've come. There is life after a long hard road! Lilly in her acupuncturists office IMG_20150423_115249279 by Chris Harper, on Flickr