Last week, in my post about Chronic UTI’s, I mentioned another medical issue had cropped up. During one of our visits for the UTI, my Vet noted Delilah had lost about five pounds in three or four months. She suggested I try putting some weight back on Delilah.
At the time, Delilah was weighing in at about 66 pounds. I started feeding her the same portion I feed Sampson. Which is the portion size for an 85 pound dog.
Side note: Delilah was fine with the increase in food. 😉
During one of our calls about Delilah’s UTI’s, I mentioned her weight, and wondered if she could have a digestive disorder, like EPI.
“How are her poops, hard or soft?”
“Soft, but I just assumed it was from the constant antibiotics.”
“Are her poops smelly?”
“Yes, but she’s been on antibiotics for basically four months!”
The vet suggested a blood test.
When the test came back, her Cobalamin and Folate (B12) levels were low. For the record, the normal for Cobalamin is 284-836, hers were 222. Folate normal is 4.8 – 19.0 and hers were 4.3.
The big surprise was…her liver level that had been high for two years, was normal.
At this point, my vet said, she probably had IBD. But I wasn’t buying it. according to PetMD, the symptoms for IBD are:
- Weight Loss
- Chronic Intermittent Vomiting
- Farting (Gas)
- Abdominal Pain
- Abdominal Sounds
- Red Blood in Stools
- Distressed Coat
Of the listed symptoms, she had weight loss. Nothing else, in fact, I’m complimented ALL THE TIME, about how beautiful her coat is.
And then the vet said something horrible. She recommended a Commercial Hydrolyzed diet.
To which I said, “Absolutely not. I’m not putting her on that. I’ve read the label, and there is not one discernible ingredient in it.”
My vet gave me a lengthy explanation of how the food is broken down into the tiniest possible unit, which makes the food source undetectable to the body.
Let’s say your dog is allergic to chicken. A Hydrolyzed dog food takes that chicken, and breaks it down to the smallest possible unit. Now the body cannot detect that the food it’s ingesting is chicken, thereby allowing the dog stop having the reaction to chicken. At least this is the way I understand it.
But something my vet said, triggered a number of thoughts in my brain. (At this point, my Hubby would say, “I thought I smelled something burning.”) She said that Delilah likely had inflammation in her intestines.
I’ve done some research on dogs with IBD and what’s the best diet for them, and from what I can tell, the raw diet is highly recommended for dogs with this disease. And Delilah’s been on it for seven years, so the IBD diagnosis didn’t sit well with me.
My thoughts were this:
1) Long time readers may remember a time when Delilah had a severe allergic reaction to something. We never did figure out what it was, I suspect it was a fish oil, but have no proof.)
2) Could any of these issues stem from being on the antibiotic for so long?
3) Sometime last year I began adding a couple of different proteins into the dogs diet. Specifically Beef and Tuna.
4) I have food allergies myself, and they manifest as inflammation. (I get hives!)
I was adamantly against the company and food recommended by my vet. My decision, after discussing thoroughly with Hubby and my vet, was to eliminate beef, tuna, dairy, and grain from her diet, as well as consulting with the Holistic vet. We decided to do this, because the symptoms Delilah was having were not severe, she didn’t appear to be sick, and the levels were only slightly off.
I had my vet’s office e-mail me Delilah’s records for the past year, which I then forwarded to the Holistic Vet. You may recall from last week’s post, that he had a plan for her chronic UTI’s.
Well, he also had a plan for the weight loss/intestinal issues. We started her on a Chinese herb called, “Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang.” Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, when I call for a refill, I ask for the Chinese brown powder. We also put the dogs on a really good Pro-biotic. (I’m a firm believer that the Gut is the Root of all evil in the body.) Throw the flora in your gut off, and it’s a crap shoot as to what can go wrong. And antibiotics can definitely throw your good bacterial levels wonky.
I also put Delilah on Cobalaquin which according to my vet, is the only Vitamin B12 that can be given orally that is actually absorbed properly.
I immediately stopped the other proteins I’d been feeding, and kept her only on chicken and turkey. These were proteins she had been having all along for the past seven years.
I’m always careful on what goes into their treats, but I really became vigilant. As I picked up poop, I noted whether it was soft, or stinky, or both. If it was either or both, I stopped feeding her that treat.
After six weeks, Delilah went in for her annual exam. I was thrilled when the bloodwork showed the Cobalamin was not a concern at that time. To be on the safe side, we kept her on the Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang and the Hydrangea & Eupatorium tincture for another six weeks.
At this point, her weight seems to be stable, and her poops appear more like her normal poops. In my opinion, Delilah had an allergy to one of the proteins I was feeding her. I’m betting on the Tuna, but just to be safe, she’s staying off Beef for now.
IF she continues to do well, I MAY consider adding some Beef back into her diet, but it won’t be for a very long time.
MEANWHILE, during Delilah’s annual exam, our vet discovered that Delilah had a Corneal Ulcer in her right eye.
Next week, I’ll share our struggle with the ulcer, her eventual diagnosis and where we go from here.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a veterinarian, I do not play one on TV, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. If your dog is showing signs of intestinal discomfort, if (s)he’s vomiting or having diarrhea, or just not feeling well, please take him/her to your veterinarian. The diagnosis we came to with Delilah is based on conversations and testing with a licensed veterinarian and is in no way intended to be a diagnosis for your dog. Please DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSE your dog.