Brief history (or, maybe not so brief now that I've typed it all out!):
Henry ate high-end/holistic quality kibble from the time he was a pup until April 2006. Never had a good solid poop. Soft, but pick-up-able. Plagued by itchy yeasty ears from the entire time. Otherwise, no other health concerns.
In April of 2006, I switched him to raw. Prepackaged. Ears cleared up almost instantly! Hoorah! Poop issues also improved.
Then, early this year, I wanted to go "real" raw, no more prepackaged. Soft mucousy poops made a comeback. I couldn't narrow down a specific protein that was causing it as it would be something different every time. These were also proteins he had had in his prepackaged raw.
In July, I switched him to Orijen, grain-free. Ears still good. Poop soft, but not as bad as it was before. Henry starts gaining weight. I'd expect him to gain some, going from no-carbs to some carbs, but despite feeding him less, he continued to gain. He was around the 65 lb mark when I was feeding him raw, and was up to 70lbs at the end of August after a month on Orijen (at 2 cups per day). I cut back his portions to 1.5 cups total per day, but he didn't lose any weight. He was looking thicker too, and losing his tuck.
In late September, I found our holistic vet. He suggested going to a home cooked diet (turkey, barley, beef heart, egg, apple, peas&carrots + vitamin supplement/omega oils). Henry has been on this now for 3 weeks. He doesn't look so famished anymore after meals (good), poops are the same as they were on Orijen (soft), ears are good (good!). However, he is continuing to lose fur on the insides of his legs (first noticed by Melissa)... I had thought it was from his seasonal allergies in August but he isn't growing it back. In fact, he's starting to look moth eaten. He's licking and chewing his legs. Holistic Vet put him on omega oils and chinese herbs for the allergies, but so far, no improvement.
My concerns are these: Henry is currently having a bout of diarrhea. He has had diarrhea in the past, of course, but nothing that has lasted this long (24+ hours), and I've never had to fast him before for it, just fed him bland. This time, I fed him bland and he continued to squirt. He's been completely fasted from last night to this evening, and just had his evening meal of steamed rice and MediCal Gastro formula. He also had his lepto shot on Wed am. I know lepto vaccine has a high incidence of vaccine reactions, but I would think these would occur fairly soon to receiving the shot? Not 48 hours later?
For those of you who have made it this far (!! kudos!!), my questions are these:
1. Do you think 3 weeks is long enough to see if home-cooked has made a difference? Should I soldier on?
2. Is hair loss and generalized itchiness also a symptom of thyroid disease? (that would also explain his weight gain)
3. Any suggestions? Thoughts?
I'm seriously considering going back to prepackaged raw. He ate well, was in the right weight range and had nice poos and nice ears. :-\
Loss of hair from the inside of hind legs can be a sign of hypothyroidism. I would run a blood test.
Thanks, Betsy. Is there any specific test I should ask for (ie. not just a regular blood panel)? He had one of those done in May-ish during his wellness check and it was fine. Do I need to specifically ask for thyroid function tests??
I believe the Michigan State test is more thorough, but don't know if that applies in Canada.
Ditto to what Betsy said. The splotchy hair loss and weight gain could be thyroid. And make sure you tell them you want the MI state test (the full blown thyroid that shows everything).
You may want to chat with your breeder to see if he/she has any thoughts.
Good luck! -Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
There appears to be many things going on in a relatively short period of time. It's probably a combination of many things where one thing (perhaps the vaccine) could have put him over the edge.
If I was in the same situation, I would simplify everything:
1) I would feed two meals a day of a very basic species appropriate diet of fresh raw cuts (boneless) of beef for at least a month. No snacks, no fruits, no veggies, no carbs. If desired, you can give a recreational beef bone or cow hoof between meals but nothing else. Don't worry about mucousy stools - it's common to see for a short period until his system gets used to a new diet.
2) I would delay or eliminate all vaccines for awhile to give his system a chance to recover. If you have to give a vaccine, have you holistic vet give him something ahead of time to mitigate any potential side effects.
3) Eliminate the flea/tick treatments like frontline until his system has recovered.
Originally Posted by jlab
That would put Sally in the hospital very quickly - she can't handle 1/8 ounce of beef liver 3 times a week she's that intolerant of beef - so if Henry hasn't had beef before thats not the path I'd first choose.
I'd suggest a return to what worked for him (the packaged raw) while you await the results of the thyroid test. Thyroid issues are so rewarding as treating them makes such a big difference!
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller
Well, I dunno.
He may be having a more systemic reaction having had his food changed so many times, you may never find something he does well with, having been all over the map. I know you went prepacked, then origen adult, then the 6 fish, then to home made (feel free to make my dinner any time! Seriously jealous of Henry!)
I'd put him back on whatever worked best, and keep him there and tweak until I was at a good place. I'd have him tested for giardia, cocidia, and dewormed, run a thyroid panel (include the TSH) and then see what happens.
When I saw him in September, I thought he looked great with a little bit more weight on him! It was so strange to see such a plummit in his condition just 3-4 weeks later. (He was obviously itchy, and I didn't notice the moth eaten look in September)
I remember someone very wise once saying that you won't know if a food is working for 6 months. I think that is about right, you have to give them a chance to adapt. But now at this point, you don't really know where his problem is coming from, whether the orijen or the fish or the home made.
Didn't you say before Henry had a hard time with Turkey? Maybe omit that, or feed only one protein source for two weeks at a time like they do with babies. Dogs really don't need all that much variety. (Neither do I actually )
I appreciate you all taking the time to read my (very lengthy and rambly) post and replying!!
I should never have taken him off the prepack raw.
We have an appt with our vet this morning to discuss... crossing fingers we might be on our way to getting through this! :-\