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Ulcers and Dogs **Bad Update: 9/13. See Last Post**

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  • Ulcers and Dogs **Bad Update: 9/13. See Last Post**

    I'd love some armchair diagnostic help if anyone wants to play along.

    Since a very young age Dexter has been a PITA about eating. I've made several threads about it and joined in on countless others discussing the issue. The worst period of anorexia was following his first dog show. He was diagnosed with an infected tonsil and went through a round of antibiotics in May.

    Since then his eating has been sporadic. He never truly stops eating but will sustain himself on 1/8-1/3 cup for days at a time causing him to lose the valuable weight he gained.

    Right now we are going through a good period of eating but at times he acts very hungry but circles his bowl like he is afraid to try to eat. On days when he eats well he commonly has horrendous gas afterwards and wanders around like he is tentative to lay down. For the past 4 days he has been panting heavily after eating.

    Current Diet:

    AM- 1/3 cup of Vital Essentials

    PM- 1 cup Precise Chicken and Rice, 1/4 can of Natural Balance, cosequin, fish oil, probiotic, and honest kitchens perfect form.

    ^ I know that looking at this your first thought might be to simplify things but this is the current combination that works for us as far as his appetite and interest.

    I am wondering if the stress of showing/traveling could have triggered the ulcers at his first show and they haven't completely healed? His dad was a picky eater so I mainly contributed it to genetics but at the same time I don't want to leave him uncomfortable.

    What questions should I have for the vet?
    Should I expect the vet to want to scope or is treating off of symptoms also done?
    Last edited by GraceLikeRain; Sep. 13, 2012, 10:12 AM.

  • #2
    Sorry, no help here, but jingles! I could talk about horse ulcers all day, but dogs? Nope.


    • #3
      Usually symptomatic treatment for GI ulcers is famotadine (pepcid), sucralfate and/or omeprazole, a proton pump blocker.

      Often mild gastritis will feel better with pepcid and sucralfate.

      Actual ulcers in dogs arent common like they are in horses, frequently you will see vomit with "Coffee grinds" in it if there are actual gastric ulcers, or melena with lower GI ulcers.

      Gastroenteritis is more common with stress than actual ulcers. However, its certainly possible small unruptured ulcers can be causing some discomfort. Just not as common as we hear in horses.

      To me, it doesnt sound like typical ulcers. Maybe an abdominal ultrasound would be a reasonable first step before heading to a GI scope. At least it can take a look at the integrity of stomach and intestines to look for any thickening/abbormalities without getting invasive.

      How old is your dog, and what breed? Sometimes signalment can help rule out horses before zebras


      • #4
        No experience myself, but I've had a conversation or two with my vet about canine ulcers. Rather ironically, he's found that Previcoxx causes ulcers for the dogs he's used it in, and he has had to treat with omeprazole to resolve. He does not scope--just treats off of symptoms.

        Since you have had continued issues with Dexter, it may be beneficial to scope, just to take a look. But you could certainly just try treating to see if it changes anything.


        • #5
          This is third hand, but I sell dog food at work and had a customer that had a dog with ulcers. She said he does best on feed that has a probiotic in it, at high levels. He vomits blood or won't eat the food that doesn't have the microbials in it...
          “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


          • #6
            Originally posted by Simkie View Post
            No experience myself, but I've had a conversation or two with my vet about canine ulcers. Rather ironically, he's found that Previcoxx causes ulcers for the dogs he's used it in, and he has had to treat with omeprazole to resolve. He does not scope--just treats off of symptoms.

            Since you have had continued issues with Dexter, it may be beneficial to scope, just to take a look. But you could certainly just try treating to see if it changes anything.
            Any NSAID can cause ulcers, not specific to just previcox. This is why vets should ALWAYS inform clients that if their dog is on an NSAID to immediately stop if they notice any anorexia, vomiting (with or without coffee grinds), diarrhea or melena. Ulcers can perforate and lead to a septic abdomen.

            Usually symptomatic treatment is initiated first, and if there is no change then ultrasound/scope/explore.


            • Original Poster

              Squish: Dexter is a 11 month old Miniature Schnauzer.

              My past Miniature Schnauzer had an awful bout of Gastroenteritis which resulted in throwing up copious amounts of the "coffee ground" digested blood and explosive uncontrollable diarrhea. He spent 3 days in critical care, had a small relapse a week later, but ultimately came out of it just fine.

              He was a really hardy type who had an iron stomach so having a sensitive, picky type has put me on alert for any potential GI problems.

              Anyone have a recommendation for a really kick-butt probiotic? I have him on some right now but all of the reviews about probiotics seem to be mixed. Horse supplements are so heavily reviewed that it's hard to choose between 12 probiotics with 3 reviews each.

              I am going to talk with the Vet about scoping, ultrasounding, and running blood work. He's insured and I'm already broke so I might as well look into all of my options.

              Any other thoughts?


              • Original Poster

                I have a weird situation where I work for a vet but use another vet in a different city for my dogs. The vet I work for listened to my concerns about Dexter but blew me off and said it was definitely not ulcers. I know I should have pushed further but he stopped panting after meals so I figured maybe it was all unrelated. After the past 12 hours I am totally kicking myself for not following through with his other vet.

                Dex woke me up at 2:30 am this morning wanting to go outside. I let him out and he was acting weird coming back in (flitting around and not wanting to go upstairs). We got back upstairs and he started pacing and refusing to lay down at which point lights went on and I started looking him over. We went back outside and over the next five minutes he was panting, drooling, and crying with a hard distended stomach. We got to the E clinic within 15 minutes and all of his vitals were normal but we were really concerned about the possibility of bloat. Initial xrays did not show signs of bloat but he had a lot of gas and fecal matter built up which then made us wonder if we were dealing with a non solid obstruction like kitty litter or cotton batting from a toy.

                They ran fluids all night and did two rectal exams since he was acting like he wanted to go but couldn't. He had one small BM but that did nothing to really address how backed up he was.

                He was transferred to his normal vet at 8. They want to just monitor him but at this point we are going on hour 6 of monitoring and fluids with zero changes in his discomfort. I insisted that they go ahead with the enema so hopefully he will be able to move things through and relieve that pressure. At this point I feel like either the potential obstruction will move with the aid of the enema or he is a surgery candidate. Regardless, I don't want to reach that conclusion at 5 pm so I am being *that* owner and pushing for action.

                E Vet mentioned the possibility that he might have a genetically slow bowel. This could explain never having more than 2 BMs a day regardless of the amount he eats, his reluctance to eat, discomfort after eating, and issues with defecating on a leash. Maybe everything is moving so slowly that he feels pressure and discomfort when he eats and then he has so much backed up fecal matter than he has anxiety and discomfort when he defecates which makes him unwilling to go more than completely necessary?

                I don't know. More thinking out out than anything. Hopefully I will hear some concrete answers in a bit.


                • #9
                  Jingles for your poor pup
                  ((Hugs)) for you


                  • #10
                    If he has to have an exploratory surgery (fingers crossed not!) I would ask the vet to take biopsies of his intestines, stomach, etc even if they find a foreign body. With a dog with poor appetite, flatulence, painful abdomen, etc chronic inflammatory bowel might be a possibility. Best way to diagnose-biopsies of the intestines. So if they have to do surgery anyways...might as well get those. But fingers crossed no surgery


                    • #11
                      Jingles for your boy. I hope you get some definite results.


                      • #12
                        Update us when you can GLR. Hope all is okay and Dex has improved.


                        • #13
                          I think if you havent done so already, its time to seek out a specialist. Ask your vet for a referral to an internist...worth the consult fee even for a discussion

                          An abdominal ultrasound by a qualified vet will tell you if there is an obstruction, ileus or some other GI motility issue going on.

                          Hope he's feeling better soon.


                          • #14
                            Nothing to add but jingles for your poor pup -- hope you have answers soon...
                            I don't mind if you call me a snowflake, 'cause baby, I know a blizzard is coming.


                            • #15
                              Jingles. I would wonder about IBD or food allergies for your pup. What you describe as typical approach to food by him is very similar to what I saw with Iris before we figured out that she had food sensitivities.


                              • #16
                                I second the specialist ASAP. After watching my JR Shorty go downhill for over 6 months I finally HAD to go the specialist route. It took them all of 5 minutes to find the problem of tumor in the small intestine.
                                Hopefully your beautiful pup will do great soon. I'll pray & jingle from GA for him.
                                Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!


                                • #17
                                  Jingles for your doggie. Hope the vets figure it out soon!
                                  But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                                  • #18
                                    Another thought. Gastric symptoms can also be a sign of Addison's Disease. My dog was throwing up bile, had bloody mucousy stools when stressed, etc. Running electrolyte levels can be a red light to problems, by an ACTH challenge test is the only way to diagnose. Good luck with your dog!


                                    • #19
                                      Just to add, there are a number of very young Schnauzers on my Addison's list, so the disease is not unknown in the breed. Once diagnosed, dogs do great on regular medication.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks for all of the support. I finally put my foot down with the vet yesterday afternoon and told them to do the enema or I was leaving and going to another vet. The enema helped him completely empty his bowels (.6 lbs worth of fecal matter in a 15 lb dog). The follow up xray showed no foreign bodies and a completely empty digestive track.

                                        Within a hour of the enema he was complete fine physically and emotionally. The minute he got home he dive-bombed my roommates 60 lb shepherd and the two of them played for almost a hour. He ate his 1/4 c of kibble the vet cleared him to eat and slept through the night.

                                        This is a huge relief but long term it does raise the question of why an otherwise healthy 11 month old puppy would get so backed up on his normal diet that it would cause all of these problems.

                                        I am definitely switching vets after this experience for a number of reasons and I was given a recommendations for two really fantastic vets in the area so I am going to give them both a call and see if I can do a trial consultation with both.

                                        I want to look into IBD, Food Allergies, insufficient fiber, ulcers, low gut motility, and addison's.

                                        I am going to start him on a 1/2 tsp of fiber supplement twice a day mixed into some chicken broth to ensure that he gets adequate moisture to balance out the extra fiber.

                                        So far he has never had blood or mucous in his stool, no "coffee-ground" vomits, etc. but the anorexia and bowel issues are definitely concerning.