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Ongoing Diarrhea Issues- Worms? Stress? Allergies?


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Guest HighFive

First, I apologize for the long post. We are desperate to help our boy feel better and I wanted to make sure I provided all the details...

 

In the 3 months we've had him, I can count, on my hands, the number of times Puddy has had a solid #2. He's been to the vet 4 times now and we're still at a loss. Before I take him back to the vet, I want to make sure I'm able to bring them enough information to work with. I'm hoping you can help. Here's a synopsis of what's been going on:

 

Meds & Tests

  • Puddy came to us half-way through a course of Heartguard, which we finished during his first dinner. At the time, he had pretty runny #2s, but we figured this could be attributed to any number of things.
  • A week after being with us, Puddy was Rx'd a 6-week course of Drontal at the vet after a stool sample tested positive for hookworms. For about 72 hours after the last pill, poor Puddy was literally howling in pain every time he pooped, which was actually more like explosive diarrhea. Stools were a bit bloody (hematochezia) and very, very runny. Like melted ice cream.
  • A couple of weeks went by after the last dose of Drontal and Puddy continued to have diarrhea pretty much every time we took him out. Sometimes it was bloody, too. Figuring it couldn't be the after-effects of the Drontal anymore, we were concerned and took him back to the vet. They did another fecal swab and determined that he still had hookworms. He was Rxd a second round of Drontal for the hookworms and metronidazole for the diarrhea and suspected colitis.
  • Round 2 of Drontal had very similar effects to the first round- howling Puddy, explosive diarrhea, a little blood. The effects subsided after about 72 hours again, but the diarrhea remained. The metronidazole did not seem to have much of an effect of Puddy other than firming up his poop to the consistency of mashed potatotes (at best).

Food

  • Puddy was eating Purina One Chicken when he arrived at our house. We transitioned him slowly over to Acana Wild Prairie over the course of a couple of weeks. His poop was never solid, though we weren't sure if it was the worms, the dewormer, stress, or ???
  • Our vet recommended we switch to a different protein to see if perhaps his diarrhea was related to his food. We switched to Acana grasslands and had maybe a week of pretty good poops after 2 weeks of being on his new food. Then, without warning or any changes to his diet, those lovely poops eventually went back to diarrhea.
  • Thinking his Acana was too rich, we recently switched to Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream, which has a lower protein content. He still has diarrhea (with blood occasionally), though the first couple of days on the new food produced some nice poops.

Other things:

  • We've played around with his portions, giving him anywhere from 4 cups total to 2 cups total (he's 80lbs) per day. It didn't seem to make much of a difference, unfortunately.
  • Puddy has had a couple of stints (one weekend, one 12-day stint) in a boarding kennel while we were out of town. He is very happy there and I do believe that the people take great care of him, but he always seems to come back home with tummy issues.
  • We've eliminated all treats. He only eats his kibble and two .75in pieces of string cheese (I shove his daily meds in those) a day.
  • He has maintained an appetite and weight through all of this and drinks a seemingly normal amount of water
  • His coat is shiny and soft, so it seems like he's at least getting those nutrients
  • Even when he has diarrhea, he can typically wait to go until we're on our normal walks. There have been, however, about 8-10 instances where he's stood politely by the front door or whined so we would take him out to go. In those instances, it was pretty clear that it was urgent. He has had one accident in the house, and that was about 24 hours after his last Drontal pill.
  • We've given him rice and ground beef and it seems to clear him up for a little bit, but several days after going back to his regular food, it starts up again
  • We were giving him a couple of TBS of pumpkin with his breakfast (man, he loved that stuff), and it seemed to be firming things but, but I'm not sure if that's just masking his other issues.

Questions:

1. Are we switching his food too quickly? Is it common to see improvement followed by a period of decline? Can we expect to see things bounce back? Are we not being patient enough?

2. Recently, his poops have gotten much darker in color. I am afraid there is something wrong higher up in his GI tract since it appears to be blood. Any thoughts?

3. Is it possible that he still has worms? With two complete rounds of Drontal under his belt, I'm wondering if we need to move to something stronger? But I'm also concerned about the havoc it could wreak on his tummy since he had such an uncomfortable experience on the Drontal...

4. Are there other things we aren't considering?

5. How long does a food typically stay in their systems? In other words, if we gave him boiled rice and ground beef for several meals and then switch him back to his regular kibble, would solid poops on day 1-3 back on his kibble be residual effects from the rice and beef? Or does it move quickly enough through their systems where we can confidently say that he's having good poops on his kibble?

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! We just want Puddy to be comfortable and happy. We're willing to try pretty much anything but I want to make sure we're going about it the right way and not just making things worse for him. Please help!

 

Pud14.jpg

 

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Puddy was eating Purina One Chicken when he arrived at our house. We transitioned him slowly over to Acana Wild Prairie over the course of a couple of weeks.

 

Could you go back to Purina? I've been seeing more and more on this board who can't tolerate the "designer" kibbles like Acana, TOTW, Orijen, etc. Too rich. If he were my dog, I'd deworm, re-test, and deworm again. Then, I'd transition him back to a mid-level kibble. Many greyhound owners (myself included) have had great success with IAMS in the green bag (a.k.a. the magic beet pulp poop firmer-upper).

 

P.S. If you're using the Dog Food Advisor website to compare kibbles, don't waste your time. You'll drive yourself crazy. The website's creator, Mike Sagman, is a dentist who has no formal education or training in pet nutrition. The reviews are heavily biased, with lots of complaints through websites like Scam.com, RipOffReport, and the BBB. There is nothing wrong with domesticated dogs having corn, wheat, grain, or soy in their diets.

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Put him back on the rice and ground beef for a few weeks so his GI system can settle. If you keep him on longer than 1 month on this bland diet, you will need to supplement calcium and other vitamins but, for less than 1 month, should be fine. Once he has been firm for about 3 to 4 weeks start transitioning him very slowly like 1/4 cup of kibble at each meal time for a few days and then up it another 1/4 cup. This will take another few weeks. If there are problems it will show up either the day after the kibble is introduced or the day after you get to about 1 cup of kibble mixed with the rice and hamburger. I've done elimination diets for quite a few foster dogs and I've found that chicken seems to be a big issue so, you may want to eventually look for a kibble that does not have any chicken products (or any unidentified oils).

 

You may want to add a probiotic to his food - since he has been on antibiotics, they can kill all the good bacteria in his GI system and the probiotics will replenish the good ones. You could also give some yogurt daily (about 1 tablespoon). I have also had great luck with giving cooked oatmeal (the 5-minute type) - it takes a few days to see any results. If you are giving oils (fish oil), you might want to cut it out for a few weeks and see if it makes a difference.

 

He has only been with you 3 months so this could still be from anxiousness settling in to a new place. Leaving him for 2 weeks at a kennel also probably caused additional stress.

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Guest HighFive

Mary Jane- thank you for the insight. I don't think we've been giving Puddy enough time on the bland diet. The addition of probiotics is a great suggestion, too. Much appreciated!

 

A_daerr- Yikes, we have indeed been referring to this website. Thank you so much for the heads up- I had no idea. Also, with the "fancy" dog foods, we transitioned him to those since we were under the impression that the Purina was giving him stomach problems...in retrospect, I think this was a bit premature especially since we did it before knowing what the issue really was.

 

A couple of follow up questions:

1. Do we need to slowly transition him TO the bland diet from his current kibble? Or can we make a full switch for his dinner tonight?

2. Should we expect to see any changes in energy while he is on his bland diet?

 

Thank you!

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A couple of follow up questions:

1. Do we need to slowly transition him TO the bland diet from his current kibble? Or can we make a full switch for his dinner tonight?

2. Should we expect to see any changes in energy while he is on his bland diet?

 

No need to transition to bland diet… but if his diarrhea is really raging, you may want to fast him for a meal or two. Dogs can go a much longer time without eating than humans can. Fasting is a good way to "restart" the system and allow that inflammation to go down before introducing something new. You probably won't notice any changes in behavior or energy unless he's really sick or dehydrated.

 

As for switching between two kibbles, I'm usually a big proponent of a 25%-50%-75% gradual switch over 7-10 days. However, if the diarrhea is still consistently bad, you can do it cold turkey. When I switched Henry to IAMS green bag, we went cold turkey because his system was already so screwed up (coincidentally, from TOTW High Prairie). He was also really itchy and constantly licking his paws/bum while on that food, and I figured things couldn't get much worse. He had noticeable poop improvements within a few days. The itchiness cleared up in about a week.

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I've had to fast Sammi for 24 hours before.

 

 

Dogs can go a much longer time without eating than humans can.

:nod Contrary to them trying to convince you that they are starving and will faint dead away if dinner is 5 minutes late.

 

 

When I switched Henry to IAMS green bag, we went cold turkey because his system was already so screwed up (coincidentally, from TOTW High Prairie)

interesting. Sammi also went from TOTW to IAMS green bag (last year). Sammi also had loose stools, itching & licking. I wonder if they changed their formula or sources?

 

 

OP~ Once the hookworms are officially "cleared up", if he still has pudding poop-to-full blown Big G and there is nothing else that could be causing it, this is going to sound weird... but try supplying him with distilled water in his water dish, nothing from the tap. I know it sounds strange, but I went through 3 months of loose poop with Sammi when I first brought her home. She even stayed on the exact same food as her foster home, was parasite & worm free (many tests), off and on bland diets, fasting, etc.... One day, my mom commented that if I can be sensitive to water when traveling, maybe Sammi was. To humor her, I got some distilled water & that was what I used in her water dish. Firmed right up.Used tap... big D. Back to distilled water and slowing transitioning to my Brita filtered water, and finally tap water like you would for food. :huh

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Hookworms can be extremely hard to clear and you could need to do two or three or even four rounds of treatment to completely get them out of his system. Even after his stool has tested negative, they can still be in the body in a section of their life cycle that doesn't show on tests. However, I would also not give him drontal again as that seems to be having a bad effect on him. Talk with your vet about alternatives.

 

Something else to consider is that some dogs are lactose intolerant. Just to make sure, you might want to discontinue the cheese, and don't use yogurt. There are plenty of powdered probiotics to get his gut back in working order.

 

Fast for at least 24 hours. Then start back on a bland diet - one part protein to two parts carb. Make sure you overcook the rice to mostly mush, otherwise it just passes right through. You can also use potatoes, sweet potatoes, and overcooked pasta. Cook the carb in vegetable broth rather than water to make it more palatable.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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We had the same issue with one of our boys when we first got him - Hooks, loose stool to diarrhea and back; it took months and months to get his GI issues calmed down and rid of the worms and settled into a decent soft-yet formed poop. We did almost exactly what has been recommended here. I had to feed rice and beef for a few months because every time I'd try to transition to kibble (at that time TOTW Pacific Salmon) we'd go back to pudding poop or worse. I bought a powdered supplement specifically for home-cooked food for dogs that provided all the nutrients found in kibble (I don't think they make it anymore, but I'm sure there's something similar out there) and I added in some veggies that had been put through the food processor and he did very well on this, but I eventually transitioned him to the kibble.

 

Beware, once you do stabilize on kibble, things can go sideways fast. For my guy, one small treat stolen off the "Treat Bar" at the Petco can change everything and back to the rice and beef we go. We had no flair ups for almost 2 1/2 yrs but we are in the midst of one now after I picked him up from a 3 day stay at the kennel. Someone probably slipped him a few Milkbones...that's all it takes for some of these sensitive pups.

 

I think those Hookworms really do a number on them and they're never 100% again. I've got one that can eat anything, but not this poor guy. He has one brand of food, one brand of treat, and he's ok with bananas, that's it.

 

Just a few other things that have helped us...when he has a bad flair I'll use either Tylan Powder or Flagyl - this time we're using Flagyl. I'll use for a week or so and also check for parasites to be sure that's not the issue.

 

Even when he is stable I keep him on VetriScience BD (Bowel Defense) Probiotics all the time. I normally give fish oil, but stop if he's flaring up. We've been feeding TOTW Sierra Mountain (it's the lamb) for over 2 years and his poops were the best they'd ever been...until last week. I'm tempted to go get the Iams green bag to see if that beat pulp is the magic ingredient. If I don't see any progress in the next few days, I'm going to try it.

 

Hope this helps your boy Puddy - keep us posted!

 

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Guest sirsmom

Our girl cleared up with Iams red bag (lamb/rice) because of the slightly lower fat content. Maybe you could start with that and then go to green bag. By the way, it took months of panacur on and off before we got rid of hooks. If you see white specks around anal area, it's tapeworms. Sometimes they don't show up in a stool sample. good luck with your beautiful grey

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Guest alannamac

Please be careful with all of the food switching...that's a lot of changes. My pup recently passed (only 5) of an acute onset of similar symptoms that went to heck in a hand basket .....still not sure what happened waiting for the autopsy results but he was on Purina One chicken at the time (supplemented with canned Nutro lamb and Rice). I'm not entirely convinced there isn't a food issue, his situation went South so quickly.

I have another post that lists all of his treats one I am really suspicious of is the pupperoni that I had recently introduced as a training tool (small bits only)

When he came back from the pet sitter (I had been away a week) he had horrible gas and then within a day or two the diarrhea started...no blood though but acute diarrhea, another two days and the vomiting began.

Anyway just to let you know about the food suspicions before you switch again.

A bland diet of home cooked so you know what he's getting is probably best right now. I hope you find some resolution....poor fellow must be miserable : (

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You can transition the dog immediately to a bland diet - no need to do it slow. It's when you are going to kibble (processed food) that you need to be careful as it is hard to digest. You will have to give about 3 cups of the rice and hamburg mixture twice a day and adjust from there up or down depending on appetite. As to energy - all my dogs are on home-made food and they have tons of energy but, I also give vitamins, calcium and other foods like veggies, applesauce, yogurt, and toast throughout the day. You can add some cooked veggies like carrots or beans into the food.

 

I would not fast the dog - that can create more problems. Some dogs will start to vomit if they are fasted and if that happens, you will make the issue much much worse. At that point you would have a dog that is both vomiting and having diarrhea.

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Again, I agree with MaryJane regarding the fasting. I'm always tempted to fast to give the GI tract a break, but my guy is a morning bile vomiter. If he doesn't get a little snack before bed he'll vomit in the morning before breakfast. Some dogs don't do well with an empty stomach.

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Guest HighFive

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful and incredibly helpful contributions. I greatly appreciate all the advice you've provided. Hopefully Puddy will be feeling better soon....

 

After thoroughly reading all of your suggestions, it was pretty clear that Pud needed a break from his regular meals. We started him on white rice and beef again last night and per Greysmom's advice, I also stopped with the string cheese (much to Puddy's disappointment). His first bland meal was last night and his poops were not improved this morning, but I think it needs more time in his system before we start to see any changes.

I think Puddy gives his new diet four paws up. He continued to lick his bowl long after everything was gone and then returned to it twice just to make sure he didn't miss anything.

Gryffenne: you are so right about the drama around mealtimes! Ha! And Pud certainly has a flair for the dramatic....

Llm51807: it's actually very reassuring to hear that you have gone through this and seen success. It sounds like our pooches have similarly over-sensitive bellies. We will be extra cautious around the treat bars now! And I hope your boy feels better soon. Also, thank you for the tylan/flagyl suggestions!

alannamac: I'm so sorry to hear about your pup. I bet you gave him some wonderful years, though. I hope it gets a little easier for you eventually...

And one more question: If I introduce probiotics to his bland diet, should I do this gradually? Or just go for it? Or should I let his belly stabilize on the bland diet before I add the probiotics?

Thank you again, everyone!

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Mine get probiotics all the time, but at a lower "maintenance" dosage. When you first start probiotics, some, maybe all, recommend a higher initial dose that's almost double - just follow the directions on the label. When we have an issue, I bump him back up to the higher dose. If he wasn't already on probiotics I would not wait, I would add right away. Our other boy with no issues was on antibiotics for almost a month and he started getting diarreha. As soon as I added the probiotics his poops firmed up in a few days.

 

BTW, it took 10 days on rice and beef before we turned the corner. We got a formed poop yesterday finally. I'll feed rice and beef, but add in supplements (multivitamin and calcium) and some veggies for another few weeks and then try to transition back to kibble. As GeorgeofNE said, if you can fast Puddy, it might speed up the process of that belly "reboot," but that doesn't work for us, so I think it adds to recovery time.

 

Be patient, but also be sure you keep testing for the Hooks for a little while. It took us months to get rid of them and we had a few negative results and then would get a positive - they're tricky.

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I'm curious why your vet stuck to Drontal for the hooks rather than Panacur. As my vet said, Drontal is theoretically a weaker treatment than Panacur. (This is very much in the front of my thoughts since we're dealing with hooks too. Even with the Panacur we've had to give extra treatments, but it's working finally.)

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Guest blueberri

I'm so sorry your poor Puddy is going through this!

 

My boy came to us with diarrhoea that worsened until he was just passing watery stool, his hair was falling out, and he was lethargic and listless. It took a few months of trialling different bits and pieces, going on Metronidazole and painkillers, then a prescribed diet as he still wasn't holding food in long enough to process it, weight dropped down from 33kg down to around 24kg and I honestly thought we were going to lose him. None of the kibble we were getting was ok, he loved the taste but it would be "ejected" half an hour or so later. We did mince and rice, and it seemed to "stay around" a little longer, so we had some hope that he was getting some nutritional value from it and this seemed to help reduce the inflammation. Out of desparation we tried a raw diet, and noted an improvement almost immediately. We went with green tripe, slowly introducing other bland proteins, and he started gaining weight, and his stools developed form.

 

It has been around 18months now, and apart from a 3 day period of gastro symptoms, he is gastro-free. He is able to eat beef, chicken, hare, kangaroo, pork and lamb and a local mix called "Mighty Mix", he loves fruit for treats, green beans if he's overdone the bones (as this bungs him up), and the death-farts are extremely few and far between. His stools are formed and able to be collected. His coat is thick and shiny, soft. He is playful, bright, cheeky and happy. My vet has endorsed this new diet, however effectively it was a case of "finally, something worked!", but she says he's the picture of health and he's now down as an emergency blood donor. The one time he's had kibble since the switch he developed watery diarrhoea within 12 hours, along with death farts, and a return of the listless unsettled behaviour. It took quite some time to resolve the symptoms again once we resumed the raw diet. Never again.

 

I don't know if that experience is of any use to you and Puddy, but it saved my boy... and the girl we got a while later is thriving on it too.

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