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  1. Kipper's become a conundrum. The horrible corns that we hull are not the issue now. He's got food allergies and we did a full-blown food challenge his first year to isolate the allergies. (most grains including rice, beef, mild intolerance for chicken but not duck or turkey, fish no allergies but poor coat and weight, pork great coat and weight, duck great coat and weight, turkey good coat and weight). For five years, all was fine except he's an extreme picky eater. His hero was the famous Breakfast with Bill. And veggies of any type -- even potatoes -- are disgusting in his opinion, in any form (Just try offering those sweet-potato or pumpkin treats every other dog loves, I dare you. He'll spit it in your face and give you the stink eye.) As my vet said, he's proof that some dogs really would starve themselves, because none of the usual tricks work (other dogs in the house, set meal times only, canned food, freshly cooked food, raw food, add-ins, etc). We get by mostly by switching to one of the other non-allergic foods when he gets bored and stops eating, tracking his volume and calories on a chart weekly, and using a lot of add-ins like ground or slow-cooked pork or duck or canned pork or duck. That worked until recently. Over the past six months, this has happened: He's lost 8 pounds. He started out 2 less than we'd have liked, but that was his normal for nearly five years. He's had a LOT of runny poop. Not diarrhea -- no urgency and straining -- just constant pudding. Not a huge volume. No blood. No evidence of any parasites or worms in all the tests. Sometimes mucous, mostly not. Just pudding about 60% of the time. His stomach makes a LOT of noise about every 2-3 days, and he won't eat anything, not even his favorite treats reserved solely for giving medicine. On the days his stomach is noisy, he won't eat and eats grass. On the days his stomach isn't noisy, he eats like "normal" for him -- like a horse every fourth or fifth day and not at all the others, or only a few bites. (Not eating/refusing even treats some days has always been normal for him, to be clear. He'll usually take the treats and hide them in his blankies for later; "bed snacks," we call them.) Sometimes on the noisy/grass-eating days, he vomits grass and clear fluid, but not often. Maybe once every 2-3 weeks. He acts normal on all but the worst noisy-stomach/grass-eating days. Most days, even if he's eating grass and refusing to eat, he's asking for the beach and dancing around trying to get us to notice him while we work. He doesn't act sick except about once every two weeks, and even then, he still begs and plays at the beach. What we've tried: Bloodwork was normal, but we're doing it again tomorrow since it's been six weeks and we're grasping at straws. Flagyl just in case, despite negative fecals. No change. Antibiotics (not for the GI, but they seem to help his inflamed front corn, leading us to suspect a foreign body in it, but that may or may not be related to this). We used cephalexin, which does not seem to upset his stomach (he's the same on it as off it, GIT-wise; no worse or better either way, and in the past it never upset his stomach). We moved him back to the last kibble that worked a year ago (high-end turkey and sweet potato grain-free). No change. We went back to what seemed to keep weight on him and give him his best coat, which was canned pork (Merrick). He stopped eating it. So we tried fresh pork and cooked it for him. Worked for a few days, then...No change. Half the time he won't eat, then suddenly it's the best thing he's ever seen cross his bowl. Same recurring GI symptoms, not seeming to be related to food type (as in, days he eats pork might be fine or followed by runny poop or gurgling, just like everything else we feed him or the days when he doesn't eat at all). His teeth were cleaned and had no problems 10 months ago, and the vet can't see any cracks or other issues that would cause him to refuse food, let alone soft ground meat. A veterinary nutritionist suggested that we re-do the food challenge because his allergies may have changed over time and she suspects this is allergic. We tried cooking 80% lean beef burger for him again, and this time he did not have an allergic reaction (five years later). But, no change to GI symptoms -- and half the time he won't eat it. We have not tried rice again since that was his biggest trigger five years ago. The vet and vet nutritionist both do not want us to try raw for various reasons (not because they're against raw). This is a relief, since I can't even get him to eat raw turkey necks -- I have to sear them first, or he won't touch them. Even then, half the time he won't touch them. We considered stress-related IBS, but he's had no new or ongoing stressors the past six months and exhibits no behavior changes or stress behaviors or stereotypies. Then again, he's always been a bit of a worrier -- the dog with the wrinkled forehead, a bit shy of new things. He was very, very shy when we first got him and people who knew him then can't believe he's the same dog, he's now so curious and exploratory and happy. He acts like himself -- if the corns have recently been hulled, he's as peppy and happy as always, begging for us to throw the ball. If the corns are bad, he still begs to go to the beach so he can just stand in the water. Any ideas? Should we just try prednisone as someone else suggested? Keep searching for a food cause? Try Panacur even though we have had three negative fecals? I'm at wit's end for the poor hound. He doesn't deserve to have GI issues all the time! Thanks for any ideas. Sorry it's so long.
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