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Discussion Starter #1
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. :-\
 

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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??
 

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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).
 
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Felicia,

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.
 

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jlab said:
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

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!
 

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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 ;) )
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone.

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! :-\
 

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Felicia, if Henry did well on prepackaged raw, why not switch back to that?

Failing that, I would try another high quality kibble. Just a high quality kibble with no supplements or holistic concoctions. All the switching between kibble, to prepackaged, to raw, to grain free kibble, to homecooked, etc., won't be doing his system the world of good. Raw and homecooked is difficult to get "right" and it's even more difficult if you have a dog who has been plagued by digestive issues. Some dogs just can't handle the lack of consistency in a raw diet.

At the moment, my dogs are just eating kibble. I have fed half raw/half kibble on and off for the past several years but with college starting back up a few months ago, kibble is the most convenient thing to feed them right now. And to be all controversial, the "new" food they have been getting has *gasp* MAIZE in it. But that aside, it's a great food, and they have never looked better. Great coats, poop and condition.

I guess what I am saying is that grain free diets/homecooked diets/raw diets don't work for every dog. On paper, they seem like the "best" thing you can feed your dog. Biologically, they are. But just because biologically they are the "best" doesn't mean to say that you will get the results. Too many people try and seek perfection when feeding when perfection doesn't exist.
 

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I don't have any knowledge on food issues, but wanted to mention that I had a similar situation after my dog's lepto vaccines.

Piper had her lepto vaccine on a Saturday morning and seemed fine and even had a solid poop that evening at 9 pm. However, sometime betweeen 9pm and 6 am Sunday she had several BAD diarehha accidents in the house - i mean they looked like they were entirely liquidy.

This never happens to her and actually continued until well into Sunday.

Our vet thought the reaction and length of the diarehha was too late and long to be attributed to the vaccine but I am almost positive she didn't get into anything that would have caused this.
 

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Small update!

Just got back from a visit with Conventional Vet. :D I love her as she indulges in my paranoia and loves on Henery like there's no tomorrow.

Here's our plan, for now...

1. continue with the home cooked at least for another month. She feels that it is too early to tell whether he's doing well or not on it.

2. if he is still not improving (weight loss, better poos), we will then start to look for alternatives (either going back to prepack raw or finding a less nutrient dense kibble). She wants to get him out of the allergy season first, so that at least will be eliminated from causing his issues.

3. she believes that his licking/chewing of his legs, hair loss in same areas is an environmental allergy thing, not a food allergy nor a thyroid issue BUT we are going to run a full thyroid panel on him when he is in getting his pre-op bloodwork done prior to his teeth cleaning. Right now we're managing it with a topical anti-itch (oatmeal leave-in conditioner) and Benedryl as needed. She doesn't want to go aggressive on him unless he starts breaking skin and developing hot spots/sores.

4. explosive diarrhea likely due to lepto vaccine, even though it was 48 hours later, as I too am almost positive that he didn't get into anything that would have caused this. Piper77, Henry's was the same... explosive liquid poo which continued for 24 hours. I have finally gotten a semi-formed poop out of him this morning, after 24 hours of fasting, and then 24 hours of bland diet.

Oh lah... it would be so much easier if they came with owner's manuals!!!!! LOL!
 
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conrad said:
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.
There's a big difference between tolerating organ meat (beef liver) and beef muscle meat. I did not mean to imply feeding any organ meat (which may take some getting used to) during an initial period when a dog is trying to recover.

I hope you're not assuming that because some dogs can't immediately handle raw beef liver, that they are also automatically allergic to raw beef muscle meat. Raw beef muscle meat is one of the healthiest ways to feed a dog.
 

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Felicia, beef is one of the more common allergens, behind wheat and dairy. Have you discussed replacing the beef in his diet with another protein source? You're right, though, it does take longer than 3 weeks for a true feeding trial to take its course, it can take several months. Environmental allergens are also much more common than true food allergies. Hopefully you'll see some improvement soon. It does suck while you're trying to figure out what exactly is causing the problem. If there isn't any improvement, I'd talk to your holistic vet about maybe taking beef out of his diet.
 

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conrad said:
jlab said:
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

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.
Peanut too. Muscle meat, organ meat, it matters not. One bite of beef and she's sick for a few days, minimum. It is the ONLY thing that does that to her. :-\

Glad to hear that you've got a plan Felicia! Hopefully that sets your mind at ease for now. I still have to figure out whats causing Baloo's "liquid grunties" (or as Dan calls it "sloppy ploppies" :-X) ;)
 

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Just be careful, because you will probably have some issues after his surgery. Anesthetic is horrible on their little systems!

Good luck!
 

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Seriously. Owner's manuals would be sooo helpful.

Melissa, I know. :-\ *sigh* I've managed to not do it until now, but he's got tremendous amounts of calculus on his upper molars and it's causing his gingiva to roll and get really red. I'm SUCH a bad BAD dentist mom, and as such I'm acutely aware of what happens if nothing is done about it. He's had raw meaty bones regularly but they don't seem to help keep his teeth clean enough, and I won't give him rec/wreck bones for fear of tooth breakage or Greenies for fear of blockage.

Oh lah!!
 

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jlab said:
There's a big difference between tolerating organ meat (beef liver) and beef muscle meat. I did not mean to imply feeding any organ meat (which may take some getting used to) during an initial period when a dog is trying to recover.

I hope you're not assuming that because some dogs can't immediately handle raw beef liver, that they are also automatically allergic to raw beef muscle meat. Raw beef muscle meat is one of the healthiest ways to feed a dog.
jlab - believe me when I say Sally and BEEF - any type - organ meat, and muscle meat, bones, even a beef powder in a multivitamin puts Sally wayyyyy back in terms of her health

it is a shame but she is completely - COMPLETEY - intolerant of beef ...

so raw beef muscle meat is NOT the healthiest way to feed THIS INDIVIDUAL dog ;)
 

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luvmydogz2much said:
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 ;) )
Hearing your account of this really makes me think of my Cinder. I too would highly suggest a FULL blood work up, FULL thyroid panel and can't hurt to check for cushing and addisons.
 
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