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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
Hey Everyone - I'll admit that after everything we went through with Maya (rare intestinal cancer) I was hoping to have a couple of hounds with no intestinal issues. It appears this is not to be. If you wouldn't mind I will recap a synopsis of what's been going on and would love some opinions, experiences, and thoughts about what could be plaguing Ashe. It's a long read but I could really use some advice. Thanks everyone! - leigh Synopsis: Pup: Ashe 4yr (almost) male Problem 1: A recurring problem with seasonal allergies (undiagnosed - assumed allergies). He will just break out along his stomach and groin and have small patches of hair missing near his feet on up to and sometimes above his ankles. He ends up on prednisone at least once a year to knock back the rash/bumps and itching. The vet tries to avoid using prednisone if she can. When he breaks out I wipe down his skin with medicated pads and hope to get it under control so he won't need prednisone. Problem 2: We thought he had food allergies too but now I'm not too sure maybe Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Food: For a while we were feeding Nature's Domain grain-free salmon meal and sweet potato, and then the pattern started (it's possible this started with the food he was on prior to Nature's Domain I just can't recall right now)........... 1. He starts to have aversions to his food and won't eat unless we put some soft food (I and Love and You brand) on as a topper, 2. Usually in the middle of the night the LOUD gurgly tummy starts shortly followed by loose stool leading to diarrhea occasionally with a red mucus coating, 3. He fasts for a day, 4. He gets boiled chicken, brown rice (he goes out and eats grass so since rice is also a grass seems logical to include), sweet potato, and fortiflora for meals for a few days, 5. We transition back to his food. 6. Nice firm stools once again. After this happened a couple of times our vet suggested trying Science Diet Id - Ashe promptly threw up the first bowl he had and wouldn't touch it again! So we then tried Blue Basics duck and potato since duck is considered a novel protein. Everything was fine but a little after a meal he would start to open and close is mouth as if he had an itch on the top of his mouth. I thought maybe he was allergic to something in the food so we switched to the Blue Basics Lamb and potato. This however resulted in unbearable stink bombs from our other pup so back onto duck we went. Now, the pattern has started with the Blue Basics Duck and potato. We are considering trying raw but beyond that really don't have ideas on how to move forward. It should be noted that Ollie (18mo pup) has not had any problems with any of the foods (except lamb) so I'm fairly confident the foods have not been tainted. Vet visits: We have gone to the vet many, many times and have yet to find anything. Fecal: Multiple fecal samples have come back negative for parasites, nothing abnormal was detected in a sample of the bloody mucus I took in. Blood work: A full and complete blood panel has been run with EVERYTHING coming back normal. I don't recall what was all tested for right now but it was extensively comprehensive. I can find out if someone feels it would be helpful to know exactly. Ultrasound: This is the vet's next recommended step at the tune of $350 for a specialist. I haven't done this yet as all it will tell me is if part of his digestive tract is inflammed and I can guarantee something will be, he has sporadic diarrhea! It also won't tell me if he has cancer, my understanding at least. I am wondering a - what could be going on and b - could the allergies and tummy issues be related and linked to his immune system? Thanks again for your help!