My pup Walden just turned 4 recently. For the majority of the first two years of his life, he was on a Nutro chicken food, then a Blue Buffalo duck food. Then he started having issues with acid reflux, throwing up bile almost every single day. The vet recommended Hills I/D, I switched to that, and for almost two years Walden’s issues we’re almost non-existent (bile thrown up once a week at max). Back in November, he had what I believe I’ve researched and understood as an HGE. He suddenly had started to not be able to control his pooping, and was vomiting and pooping everywhere constantly. The vet found inflammation in his intestines in the x-rays and put him on Fortiflora and Metronidazole for I believe 10 days. I’d never had him on the Metronidazole, so I started the Fortiflora and was trying to start the Metro a couple days later over the weekend so I would be home and could see how he reacted to it. Well the next day the presence of blood appeared in the vomit and poop and he was very weak, so I rushed him to the vet immediately and they gave him a shot of penicillin and fluids I believe. He immediately started getting better and I finished up the antibiotics and Fortiflora.
After finally somewhat getting over the fear it was going to happen again, this February I started trying to transition him to a Hill’s Science Diet with chicken and after just a couple days of transitioning, I came home after Walden had been acting normal for days and he’d pooped all over the house again, this time however the blood was immediately there. I knew it had to be the same issue (even though the vet never found out the original issue) so I rushed him back there. They, like me, assumed it was the same issue (although they said the food change triggered it which I say is BS because that didn’t explain November), so rather than hundreds of dollars in the same tests as last time that showed nothing, gave him the same treatment, along with a diet of purely chicken and rice until his poop started firming up. I noticed after a few days his poop was still extremely runny, so instead of waiting, I started moving him back to his normal food. Poops started getting a ton better after less than a day off the rice.
Once he recovered from that, in March I went into overdrive. I’ve got to figure out what’s wrong with my sweet boy. He’d been regurgitating his food every so often and just plain throwing it up a few other times, but otherwise seemed okay. I brought him into my vet (Thursday) before things got to the emergency point this time. I’d done my research beforehand and I was down to a few ideas, with IBD, a food allergy, or an ulcer being the top ideas. The vet agreed and figured the way he’d been acting, especially with his increased issues of throwing up bile (he couldn’t go more than 5 hours without food), that it seemed like an ulcer. She prescribed Sulcralfate and Prilosec, along with weekly vitamin B12 shots for 6 weeks then we could re-evaluate if those should continue or not. Walden got worse quicker than he got better within that next week. To a point that he wasn’t keeping his food down at all and throwing up way too much. I went to my vet clinic Saturday, my normal vet not being there. They said his anal glands looked infected but otherwise he looked fine. I asked if there was anything I could do to help. She suggested the I/D low fat and told me to “go ahead and just put him straight on it, it’s the same thing just lower fat”. Okay I’m no vet but I’m not an idiot, my dog is already extremely sick, I’m not adding an immediate transition to a completely different food (which by the way, did have completely different ingredients) that I don’t even think is going to work. Well they did nothing that day so I figured I’d keep him on his meds and pray he got better. Sunday rolled around and he was looking worse. He didn’t want to jump around like normal, refused to eat, was constantly throwing up, and I couldn’t stand it. I took him to the emergency vet and they did some blood tests and everything looked fairly normal, so I had the choice to have him stay overnight and see a specialist and get an ultrasound in the morning (almost $2k), or they could give him a shot of anti nausea medicine to get him through the night for me to get him into my normal vet the next day. I had already spent $1,500 since November at this point and my savings was almost gone, so I had to go with just the anti-nausea shot. After he had that, he did much better throughout the night, and acted fairly normal the next day. He slowly started to get back to normal but just couldn’t last very long without eating still (feeding routine was 8am, 1pm, 6pm, 11pm).
When he’s gotten the blood tests at the emergency vet, they had noticed some levels that pointed towards the possibility of Addison’s Disease. This in my mind would be awful, but also I knew it was manageable in most dogs and it would finally explain all his problems, especially after he’d acted so much peppier with a shot of cortisone the day before his test. Well, one expensive test later with my vet and unfortunately it came back negative.
My vet then referred me to a digestive specialist because that was really next steps, we’d exhausted a lot of things. The specialist was wonderful, but the options were a vitamin blood test and ultrasound, which was going to be almost $1k. At this point I’d spent my entire savings. And trust me, I’d go into debt if I knew I’d be finding a the answer, but I was so scared another test would go by and still nothing, with what I knew would have to be an endoscopy next, that there’s no way I could afford. The specialist was great and completely understood, and said really the top 2 things she thought it could be (which I agree still to this day) were a food allergy or IBD. We decided to treat it like a food allergy and she gave me Hills Z/D.
Well, great news, I started transitioning Walden to Z/D over the course of 2 weeks (after the HGE incident I wasn’t taking any chances of switching him over too quickly). He started acting better as soon as he started getting that Z/D in his food (even though it was still mixed with his old). I then started checking out the ingredients more in I/D and I presumed that the #1 ingredient of rice and the main protein of chicken were what was the issue more than likely, because I just had a feeling he was very allergic to rice and I’ve always thought he has a slight sensitivity to chicken. A couple days ago he was fully transitioned to Z/D and ever since then he’s been acting much better. No more getting sick throughout the nights, he’s able to lay on his back and not choke on acid reflux coming up, and not to mention he WANTS to eat his food for the first time in at least 2.5 years.
The only problem now is, I started noticing yesterday morning that his poop had a darkish mucus in it. I was worried it may be blood but chaulked it up to my overreacting. Well his second poop that day definitely had a presence of some sort of red mucus in it that looked like blood. It wasn’t much, normal pet parents probably wouldn’t of seen it, but I inspect Walden’s poops very carefully because of his past issues (I’m sure my neighbors are disgusted watching me carefully dig through 2-3 times a day). When I moved it around though, it definitely had more of just a mucus look than redness, just like a normal stomach irritation. He had only a little bit in his last night poop, but the same thing again in his morning poop today.
I plan on talking to my vet again tomorrow about next steps, but I wanted some advice as well. Could this be his anal glands still being infected and causing small bits of blood (and I mean they’re very small, almost unoticeable… And his poops aren’t overly soft to where I would think this was another HGE yet)? Or could this be just because of the transition to his new food and it will more than likely go away? He’s acting completely normal and eating/drinking great or I’d be rushing him off to the emergency vet obviously (I even called them yesterday and they agreed to just keep an eye out for any worsening symptoms for now).Patricia AMember
So sorry you poor Walden are gong through all of this and not finding answers and a solution when trying so hard for him to get relief.
First off I’m curious if you got a very definitive diagnosis of HGE when all this started? A telltale sign is stool which contains blood and mucous but is very raspberry jam like. Also when you got him off all dog kibble did you give ONLY the white meat of boiled chicken with the rice, I’m saying this because my dogs are fine with some boiled white meat but have diarrhea with the dark meat. I imagine higher fat in dark meat
. If Walden truly again has what you describe as spots of blood in stool again then don’t believe the Science Diet ZD is not doing any good since (In some animals, dietary proteins can trigger an abnormal immune response. Hydrolysis uses water to chemically break proteins into pieces that are so small that the immune system no longer reacts to them. Veterinarians typically prescribe hydrolyzed protein dog foods to treat two diseases: food allergy and inflammatory bowel disease.) However, I’m thinking that stomach irritation usually comes with the diarrhea and you stated that her stools are fine as of now but just the drops of blood. So maybe bringing a stool sample to your vet would be helpful?
If a dog doesn’t have enough fiber this could cause strain and hence anal gland problems causing the drops of blood..
Originally Walden was regurgitating . I know at least in my two dogs this was from an empty stomach . So many small meals a day would be helpful once you find the best food for him.
I don’t want to sound like a commercial for a dog food. My one Chihuahua is sensitive to fat and will have diarrhea when I home cooked at times. So if I give a little steak, salmon or even low fat hamburger two days in a row she will have very loose stool. I found a food that they both tolerate which is Stella Chewy’s raw coated grain free chicken. A lot of people on their f/b page have had dogs with stomach issues and they said since feeding and they do very well with this kibble. I also give freeze dried topper in Primal but only give the 5* rating proteins since they are low in fat.
Remember too give VERY, VERY, VERY slowly if you do decide to try a different diet again if he’s not doing well again on the Science Diet food.
Hope Walden gets all better.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Patricia A.
Thanks for the reply, Patricia! I was never told exactly what it was, but found out actually fairly recently that had to be it. He was having uncontrollable watery diarrhea with like you mentioned, a LOT of jelly-like blood in it.
When I took him off the food completely, it was boiled white chicken and rice. I don’t think the chicken was more so the problem than the rice purely because I actually kept giving him a little chicken with his dry food, I just decided to take him completely off the rice.
I definitely don’t think this time was the same incidents as November and February! It is a firmer stool now, just spots of mucusy blood in it. I ended up taking it to the vet today and she agreed that it’s more than likely his stomach just adjusting to the Z/D diet. She said we’ll give it another 7 days fully on the new food before worrying about the blood, as long as he keeps acting normal.
And yes, I’ve started feeding him 4 times throughout the day now and it plus Prilosec before bed has completely stopped the regurgitation + throwing up of bile for several weeks now. I just worry in the future if I’m not able to keep that schedule (right now it’s easy because of the quarantine + even after the quarantine, my work is only 5 minutes from my house — but I worry if there’s any changes to that in the future where I can’t come home and feed him for lunch, because he refuses to eat unless I’m at home with him).
I’ll definitely keep that food in mind, I appreciate it! I’m trying to do what I can to help him without introducing too many things at once and making it worse.
I just wish now I knew exactly what the problem was, IBD, food allergy, or something else! That’s a big reason too why I posted this out here in case anyone else has come across this same situation with their dog. But I’m crossing my fingers after this food change is fully accepted by his tummy, he’ll go back to a normal lifestyle and maybe be a healthy, young, 4 year old pup again. <3Patricia AMember
Fingers crossed also that after getting used to the food change he’ll no longer have any tummy issues. I hope over time you need only have to feed the most three times a day so not all that running back and forth from work when off quarantine. Best wishes to Walden being a happy, healthy pup hereafter.
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