Hi all. Looking for a little bit of input from someone who may have some experience with recurring diarrhea in their Lab.
Gracie is 8 months old now, and has, over the past 4 weeks or so, developed diarrhea. The first time, it progressed from soft stool, then to full-blown diarrhea, then to a bit of a lack of appetite and throwing up her dinner once, over the course of about 48 hours. A trip to the vet and some testing showed Giardia, so she was given 7 days of the antibiotic Metronidazole and 3 days of the de-wormer Panacur. After the first dose of the Metronidazole, the diarrhea stopped, and she returned to normal through the duration of the antibiotic treatment. 3 days or so after the antibiotic round ended, she started the diarrhea again, otherwise zero symptoms at all. SO, back to the vet to re-check the stool; the sample came back negative for Giardia, but vet chose to treat for Giardia again anyway, thinking that there could still have been some Giardia, that may have been at a stage not readily detectable by the stool test. SO -- to be sure and knock out any Giardia that might have remained, this time the vet prescribed a double-dose of Panacur (6 days), and higher-dose, longer-duration treatment (10 days) of the Metronidazole. Again, the diarrhea stopped immediately upon the first dose of meds, and Gracie was back to normal. Now, about 5-6 days after the last dose of antibiotic, the diarrhea has returned. Again, Gracie's behavior is totally normal -- no lethargy, no pain, no lack of energy or enthusiasm. NO visible symptoms whatsoever, except the diarrhea.
Here's the complicating factor -- she's chasing and eating June bugs and similar beetles each night after dark as they swarm, while she's outside playing. Given the complete lack of other symptoms, I like to think it's the beetles she's eating that are throwing off her system. However, the fact that the diarrhea cleared up both times she was on the antibiotic, but returned shortly after the round of meds ended, suggests otherwise. The vet has no answers at this point -- but will likely ask for ANOTHER stool sample once I inform her of this latest onset of diarrhea.
So, I (and the vet) are puzzled. No food changes have been made in the past couple of months (right now eating Pro Plan LB puppy), and there's little if any chance that she's getting into anything else that she may be ingesting; it seems the only possibility is the Giardia simply not being wiped out, or the beetles being too "rich" and upsetting her digestive tract.
Any thoughts? Anything we may be overlooking? If it's the bugs, we may need to buy a muzzle to let her wear when she's outside, as she is obsessed with them!
Steve - see if Laura (LABBY) weighs in on giardia - the cure isn't as simple as the vets often want it to be....mabe search on pancure as that is all my pea brain is registering at this point in the morning. Went thru this giardia once too!
Hey Steve. Giardia can be a bugger to get rid of. I would ask your vet for more panacur. You want to do 7 days on it, then 7 day off it, then another 5 days on. I have found that this is the best protocol for getting the giardia gone. Know though, that once your dog has giardia, it's usually there for the rest of its life. If the dog is stressed, the giardia will rear its ugly head once again. It has come to the point here that we only treat for symptoms since the dogs will shed a cyst or two in their stools but they don't end up with full blown giardia diarrhea.
Even though this protocol will work if it's giardia, it doesn't mean that the dog won't reinfest itself during the protocol. Not sure where you live, but giardia is everywhere and I read somewhere that it's the most under-diagnosed issue in the world. It's become just about resistant to metronitizole so I rarely even use that anymore.
While you're doing the panacur protocol, you can give probiotics to the dog. I like the Purina Fortiflora. Ask your vet if they have it. If not, you can purchase online a box of 30 packets for under $20.
♣ Laura ♣
In addition to Laura's excellent advice, I'll "address" food. At 8 months, Gracie is old enough to be eating adult food, and, quite possibly, less food. That could also be the cause of the diarrhea this time around.
Steve my vet did as Laura said with the Pancur when Erns had a bug in his gut. Worked well.
Everyone -- thanks so much for the great info. Not one of you has pointed to the obsessive June bug eating...but back to the Giardia. I appreciate that perspective. I will also consider the food thing; if she's old enough to move to adult food, then I think we'll try that.
As for the Giardia, I think if our vet recommends another round of treatment, I will push it to be ONLY the Panacur, and NOT the Metronidazole, per everyone's advice. In the mean time, we have some vet-prescribed medication to help "firm-up" the stool, which I know is a "treating the symptom" thing, and not a "cure," but it sounds like you all are saying that "treating the symptoms when they flare" is a part of dealing with Giardia.
If anyone else has any input, I'd love to hear it. In the mean time, I think I have more clarity on this than I did before posting, so for that I thank each of you very much!
Oh -- and the Fortiflora...forgot that. I'll ask the vet about that, too. THANKS all!
Giardia can be very stubborn. You'll soon come to recognize the smell. I can usually smell it a day before we end up with full blown diarrhea if I'm paying attention.
In very very stubborn cases, I have done a full 14 days of metronitizole and the 7 day on, 7 day off, 5 days on course of panacur. I try to leave that for the cases where it's extremely stubborn.
Something else we deal with is dog crud. Dog Crud Basically it's an overgrown of bacteria in the gut. I'm dealing with this right now with one of my dogs. It started out as giardia (she went swimming and drank a lot of the water), then once the giardia was gone it went into crud. Unfortunately or fortunately, this bitch might be pregnant so I'm limited on what I can do with her. No metronitizole which causes birth defects in the first tri-mester.
She's had loose stools for 5 days before I had an epiphany! Dog crud. I went to the vet yesterday and got the cephalexin and dosed her and sure enough the stool was normal this morning. We usually see dog crud in the spring when all the bacteria comes out of the ground. Hopefully she hasn't aborted the puppies, if she was pregnant. Time will tell.
As to the bugs, eating too many might cause stomach upset but I think you'd see more vomiting than diarrhea from them. I remember when the cicadas came out of the ground a few years back, dogs were eating them like candy and the media warned of vomiting issues.
♣ Laura ♣
I am not sure with other dogs and at the time was so worried about Erns didn't ask.
When he had surgery to remove a gut tumour they tested for other things and this is how they found the bacteria/bugs in his gut. Nothing had shown up before so to me it sounded as though sometimes things can linger.
I have no idea what June bugs are, but if mine eat things it usually causes them to vomit.