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Thank you all for the input! Susan, those are great ideas, and I will be contacting a few companies. I’m not sure yet if fat aggravates his system, so my plan is to keep him on a lower fat combination to give his gut the best chance to settle down. He does really well with eggs, though.
I was also thinking that maybe instead of eventually mixing in another kibble, to add some home-cooked food to the W/D. Things like ground turkey, a little boiled liver, etc. Honestly, it might be easier (and less expensive than the super premium kibbles) than trying to find a kibble that agrees with him to add to the W/D…and there’s no risk of a product being discontinued when the supplemental food comes from meat section at the grocery store!
So far, he’s doing fantastic on the W/D. It really is amazing how fast that changes his poops from total mush to firm. He doesn’t even seem to notice the Tylan, thankfully. I’ve heard some dogs really dislike the smell and taste of it.
Any thoughts on giving the W/D a “boost” with bland, home-cooked foods? Down the road, of course, when he’s regularly…regular.
We were able to get an appointment pretty quick. The vet thinks he has chronic, fiber-responsive colitis. About a month ago, he had a bout of bloody diarrhea following a couple days of Rimadyl (he had tweaked his hip after playing a little too hard). Initially it was thought that he’s just one of those dogs whose GI tracts are sensitive to NSAIDs. After some metronidazole and Hills Prescription WD, that cleared up. He went back to loose stools after that; he had loose stools prior to that episode as well.
He will likely have to remain on WD long-term. So far, that is the only thing he has formed stool on (even when we supplemented insoluble fiber, which is what the WD contains). He is on a 10-day course of Tylan, too.
I hope at some point to be able to give half WD and half something better, or supplement with egg, liver, etc. He’s a young, active boy, and the WD is pretty low in protein.
I totally agree that there has to be something underlying. Jack is a rescue and was a neglect case that the police confiscated, so there’s really no telling what his history has been. Thankfully, he’s the sweetest, happiest thing you’ve ever met. Gut-wise, he doesn’t act miserable, but something is clearly up. We’ll be making a return trip to the vet pretty quick. Even if that turns up nothing, there is a veterinary specialty practice nearby that all local vets refer the weird cases to. That crew is incredible. My previous Pointer, Tucker, started having seizures and episodes of blindness and ataxia. The canine neurologist at the specialty center diagnosed pancreatic cancer, not a brain mass. He was 100% correct, and sadly, pancreatic cancer is as deadly in dogs as it is in humans.
I find it very interesting that Jack’s itchy ears and bum have gotten so much worse with adding in some Orijen…certainly a puzzle! He was very underweight when I got him, and we slowly got him up to a healthy weight, but I wonder if he has a malabsorption issue. Food seems to just fly though his system, and he has recently become VERY determined to eat every cigarette butt we come across on walks. I have to watch him like a hawk and give a “leave it” and leash correction because I can see him thinking about it the second he spots one. Some nutrient isn’t getting in if he’s that focused on eating those.
He has not been tested for EPI, nor have I given him enzymes. I can contact Hills, but based on the ingredients list, the majority of the ingredients that contribute to the fiber content are insoluble (wheat, corn, etc.). His poops are not great with Hills Light, but that has been BY FAR the most successful food for him. He probably poops 5-8 times a day. First thing in the morning, the stool is formed. After that, it gets softer and softer with each subsequent BM. On any food other than the Hills, his stool is just straight liquid.
I am trying to get him off the Hills (chicken, wheat, corn) because his ears and bum are clearly bothering him. Both of those issues have gotten exponentially worse in the last two weeks with the incorporation of the Orijen (he’s getting half Hills, half Orijen Red). It hardly makes sense!
He has never had a full raw meal, only a couple freeze-dried nuggets (Primal brand) on top of his kibble. Because of that, I can’t say that going raw is the definite solution for him, but I am investigating how to go about that in a way I can afford. The commercially available frozen raw diets are going to run $400 a month, which I just can’t do. Unfortunately, I live in a very large, major US city where all meats are ridiculously expensive. We’re talking about $3/lb for the cheap stuff.
It is an exhaustive process, for sure. There was a moment that I thought it could be the fat content of the food, but he had diarrhea with Natural Balance LID Fish and that has 10% fat. Normal-ish stool on Hills Adult light, and that has 9% fat. Obviously that 1% isn’t making that huge of a difference, so it has to be the fiber content.
We slowly titrated up to 3 TABLESPOONS of psyllium a day, which would cause major changes for a 200-lb man, and there was no improvement. All it did was give him gummy stool that he strained to get out, and it was still so mushy that his anal glands started bugging him.
Here are the Hills ingredients:
Chicken Meal, Pea Bran Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Corn, Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Oat Fiber, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Beta-Carotene, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors, Dried Apples, Dried Broccoli, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, Dried Peas.
I’m trying to figure out which of the fibers in there is the magic bullet. If it’s the corn and wheat that helps his stool but makes him itchy, then that stinks! Beet pulp absorbs a ton of fluid (have experience with that as a component of horse feed), but I haven’t been able to find a quantity of beet pulp for purchase that’s less than 50 lbs.
I have no issue cooking a completely home-prepared diet for him, but if he’s going to need something like kangaroo protein, then a commercially available food is going to be more economical.
I am not a fan of probiotics. A two-week trial gave him explosive diarrhea; same thing with three of my previous dogs. Personally, I have an extensive GI condition, and probiotics have been the worst thing for it. I know some people and animals have great results with them, but that hasn’t been the case in my household.