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Dog IBS? Low folate...

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  • Dog IBS? Low folate...

    Our rescue Wheaten has always had a fairly sensitive tummy, and after several years of trying various foods and feeding regimens and seeing only an increase in sensitivity (he's currently eating Blue Buffalo, which he's tolerated the best of any of the options we tried), our vet recommended running a test for malabsorbtion (we also screened for worms, and put him on a course of Metrodiazole (sp?) and Panacur in case there was anything that could be cleared up; we also ran bloodwork which was normal and showed no sign of Addison's). The malabsorbtion test showed that he had significantly low folate, which our vet advised was consistent with inflammation of the small intestine - a canine IBS in other words.

    Does anyone have experience with something similar and have ideas on how to manage or treat? I gather it's not just something that can be supplemented ala pre-natal vitamins, but would love some ideas. Pup is a very picky eater and has been consistently difficult to put weight on. Thanks!

  • #2
    Last fall we adopted a pug/beagle with a similar problem. To cut to the chase, he is on an apparently permanent daily dose of Metronizadol. My vet said he has seen a handful of dogs over the years that had to stay on it. He said there are really no side effects from continued low dose usage. Wiigi's stools have gone from looking like cow patties to being, for the most part, indistinguishable from our other little dog's and from oue smallest corgi's. His coat is shiney,and he has gone from 11 pounds to 17. He eats the Chicken Soup food with afew green beans and a tiny piece of bread with a dab of pimento cheese to hid the pill. The only other thing he gets daily is a probiotic chew. He seems to be able to eat the Paul Newman treats and Breath Busters biscuits with no problem.


    • #3
      My lab also has similar problems. Has been going on for over 2 years now! She seems to be ok for a few months and then, whamo an attack occurs and it's the late night bile vomitting and diarrohea! (blech). We tried all kinds of foods and finally had to put her on a vet formula, Gastro, for sensitive stomachs, plus probiotics at night and green beens twice a day to help keep her tummy full at night (and stop the bile).

      Like your dog, she's always been on the thin side, no matter how much we feed plus has just been diagnosed with anxiety issues which in turn makes her stress and brings on an attack. Prozac has calmed her down and helped with the night tummy gurgles immensly!

      Unfortunatly the manufacturer of her food has changed the balance of the ingrediants and changed lamb for chicken. Sigh.....we are now back to square one trying to find a good lamb food that is good for those sensitive stomachs. Ideas anyone?
      Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!


      • #4
        try one of the premade raw foods, e.g. natures variety. Instant cure for many dogs. Costs a fortune though.


        • #5
          Originally posted by wendy View Post
          try one of the premade raw foods, e.g. natures variety. Instant cure for many dogs. Costs a fortune though.
          Thanks, do you know if they do it in Lamb (she can't eat chicken). We did do the BARF diet at one time but she got horribly sick on the turkey and chicken premade food
          Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!


          • #6
            I had the same problem with my dog and he was also on Metrodiazole (sp?). After talking with my vet she suggested looking at his diet and we figured out chicken was the cause for my guy too. I feed a whole food diet and had been using chicken as my main protein. I’ve now added more variety to his diet, I still feed chicken but not as often, and I have no problems at all. Haven’t had to use the Metrodiazole since adding other proteins to his diet.


            • #7
              yeah I feed my guys the natures variety beef formula, but I know they have rabbit, venison, bison, lamb, etc. available. It sounds terribly expensive, but when you realize that most vet costs are just gone, and you need far fewer poop bags and the joy in the dogs when given real food instead of dry lumps it all makes sense. Many people think dogs smell, make huge poop piles, have dirty teeth that need cleaning, etc. but these all just go away once you stop feeding high carbohyrate dry diets.


              • #8

                Usually it is a combination of medications, novel protein or hypoallergenic diet that provide the most relief.

                I would, though, ask your vet if SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is not possible too. Low folate levels may be associated with that too (but you can't tell without concurrent B12 levels). That can be treated with a particular course of antibiotics.


                • Original Poster

                  This is all really helpful - thanks guys!

                  Course of Metro and the panacur doesn't seem to have made much of a difference (except to make him even more suspicious of the food bowl). Have switched him to Blue Buffalo Basics with a new protein source and will see where that gets us; will also talk with vet about SIBO (all other bloodwork was within normal limits - just the folate levels significantly off).


                  • #10
                    Did your vet run cobalamine (B12)with the folate? Most of the labs run these 2 at the same time. Did he do a "TLI"?

                    Changing diet sometimes helps, as does long courses of metronidazole (sometimes). However, many times you need to get a biopsy of the intestine to identify WHICH inflammatory cell is the problem. Some patients need high fiber diets. Some need corticosteroids.

                    ALL need more diagnostics, and veterinary treatment.


                    • #11
                      Oh, I feel your pain!

                      My boy now 3 has always had a sensitive tummy. Always with loose stools. Have tried just about everything. Metronidazole, panacur, and diet changes.

                      1st vet had me try all these natural foods, simple foods, raw foods, nothing helped. They had suggested exploratory surgery and I drew the line with that.

                      Finally got so PO'd switched vets and she had me try him on W/D Prescription food. He felt better and had normal stools after the first 24 hours. With vet's advice I slowly transitioned him to Iams Low-Residue and he had been on that ever since (about 2 years). I still keep a bit of W/D on hand just in case. I am so happy I finally have my happy bouncy dog back.

                      It was a really stressful time. Here was this puppy that I loved so much and he felt so crappy (no pun intended) and no vet at 1st clinic could tell me why. Spent THOUSANDS on bloods, fecals, antibiotics, digestive enzymes and about 10 different types of foods. I wish I had switched vets sooner.

                      Good luck! I hope you figure out what is bothering him. Also have heard that Wheaton's are known for weak tummies.


                      • #12
                        Have you tried TOTW Bison? Our Spoo always had loose stools. We went through lots of foods, chicken and rice, Metronidazole. Nothing worked very well. Finally tried the TOTW, and it is amazing. He firmed right up. He does sometimes have a little early morning bile. We found if we mixed in a bit of Wellness Core, that is OK too.

                        Good luck. For our dog, it worked like a charm. We sometimes wonder what they put in the food that it works so well.


                        • Original Poster

                          You guys rock. Thanks so much. Answers/brief follow up:

                          Meghan: yes, they ran TLI and B12 at the same time. Both of those were within normal limits, only the folate was significantly below normal range. Vet says if we don't see much improvement after the course of metro and panacur run through, the next step would be a diagnostic ultrasound.

                          IFG/stella - thanks for the suggestions! I added Blue Buffalo wet food (also with a novel-to-him protein) to his diet and at least it's helping get calories into him (he has permanently rejected cottage cheese and oil on his dry food). Seeing slight improvement, but still working through the course of Panacur.


                          • #14

                            I have a wheaten as well, who has been very difficult to manage diet-wise over the years. She has many food allergies, and tends to develop allergies as well so for a long time we were stuck in a cycle of constantly shifting foods. She has a hard time digesting most food and once her system gets irritated, things tend to spiral downhill and sensitivities get worse. As I'm sure you know, wheatens are very grain-sensitive and do not do well on diets with wheat, corn, soy, etc, and once they start to react they tend to become more and more sensitive. They also tend to be prone to food allergies.

                            What has worked for mine is Canine Z/D, which is the Hills prescription allergy formula (criminally expensive but it works and she LOVES it) mixed with canned pumpkin, which is very appetizing to dogs and helps with diarrhea. She is also on hydroxyzine as her allergies manifest themselves with skin issues as well. For most of her adult life this has been the ONLY thing she has consumed- no treats, table scraps, etc. This year we have finally been able to re-introduce some allergy-friendly treats which have been received well, and her digestive system is much healthier than it ever has been. We spent years on a merry-go-round of tests, false diagnoses, failed diets and medications combined with a lot of suffering, so best of luck to you and your dog. If you can, find a vet who is familiar with digestive issues in wheatens- we were told repeatedly that it was parasitic, incurable, a "puppy thing", you name it. I hope you can find something that works for you and your dog starts feeling better!


                            • #15
                              One other thing. My dog would react to any dairy with explosive diarrhea. When the agility teacher treated him with string cheese, it took three days to get his tummy back on track.

                              We used the dogswell chicken jerky as treats (broken into tiny pieces), and he does well. Also I use stinky dried salmon for agility.

                              Good luck, it is miserable when their tummies are out of whack.