Hello! Luca is a very handsome 6mo Goldendoodle who I have had since he was 8 weeks old. He was quickly diagnosed with Giardia during his first vet check up. This persisted for 3 months with multiple rounds of Panacur and Flagyl and then finally got to low burden and then undetected levels prior to Christmas 2022. Over NYE weekend he became very ill and was hospitalized for 2 days due to bloody diarrhea, WBC 34, inflamed lymph nodes throughout large intestine. He recieved IV Antibiotics, fluids and was thankfully sent home on oral antibiotics which we recently finished. He was switched from Victor Pro PLus dog food to Hills Science I/D. Since stopping antiobitoics his stools have not been the best and voer the last couple days he is back to having diarrhea and very tired. I am at a loss and looking for any help or suggestions. Has anyone ever dealt with anything similar in their goldendoodle??? We have an appointment with Vet Specialist this Thursday and regular vet check tomorrow consider how he is so tired he might need fluids again to avoid dehydration.
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I had a labradoodle with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, (not to be confused with IBS, which is Irritable Bowel Syndrome and much much much less serious) and from what you are describing, it is likely that you pup has it, too. I am very sorry about that, because IBD is an immune-mediated incurable disease (similar to Crohn's Disease in humans) which can be managed with a LOT of effort, but never cured. Management involves getting the disease into remission and keeping it there. 20% of dogs with IBD can eventually be managed with diet alone. 60% will require special diets, medications including immunosuppressants, and supplements (including B12 injections & medical grade probiotics) for life. The remaining 20% cannot be managed and will die of the disease. I am sorry to have to tell you this, but you need the facts. It is a difficult disease to treat because no two cases of IBD are alike. It depends on where within the digestive tract the inflammation is occuring, what type of inflammatory cells exist (which determines the subtype of IBD; it can be lymphoplasmacytic, eosinophilic, or both), and how the individual dog responds to any of the many drugs and supplements used. Most of the people I know who have dealt with it will tell you it is the most frustrating disease to deal with, because of the many variables, and harder to treat than cancer, although the outcomes are usually better.
Some studies have shown that repeated courses of Flagyl (metronidazole) in puppies, particularly without appropriate probiotic supplementation, can lead to IBD. Here is some information about that. https://doodlekisses.com/group/healthandmedicalissues/forum/another...
There is a lot more info I can give you and I will be happy to answer any specific questions you may have, but at this point, a Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist is your best bet. Do not take advice on food or any other treatment from any person in any online group.
GP vets, no matter how good they are, are not equipped to diagnose or treat IBD. So it's fine if your vet gives fluids for the dehydration, but I would strongly urge you to wait until you see the specialist before adding any drugs or making any changes. Diagnosis is generally made through endoscopy or exploratory surgery.
Please let me know if you have any questions, i am happy to help. I have been where you are, and I know how tough it is.
Thank you so much for the info! That is so heartbreaking to hear for sure! He was on prescription probitiocs ever since we started the antibitiocs. I have changed his diet so many times with the prescription food its been crazy! They wanted to do the biopsy during his last hospitalization however there were bowl loops in the way and they could not do it safely. They are planning to repeat the abdominal ultrasound on Thursday so i will be curious if his lymph nodes are still inflamed or if they will pan for an EGD. This has been so mentally hard to deal with! He is the most precious baby!!!!!!! I cannot imagine losing him I am and have been so devastated !!
Believe me I understand. I was out of mind with worry and making myself crazy. Joining an online support group for owners of IBD dogs helped a lot.
By "prescription probiotics", I'm going to assume you mean Fortiflora from the vet, which is a poor quality probiotic made by Purina. It is nowhere near good enough, and I also find that many GP vets neglect to tell you that the probiotics must be given at least 2 hours apart from the antibiotics, and longer is better. The probiotic of choice for this is Visbiome, (formerly VSL#3), which is OTC in human pharmacies, and for which there was a $100,000 study conducted at Iowa State Vet School on dogs with IBD. Again, this is information that most GP vets do not have.
The Hills i/d food is also inappropriate for IBD. In most cases, the diet needs to consist of either hydrolyzed protein (there ARE Rx foods that contain hydrolyzed protein, but i/d is not one of them) or a "novel" animal protein which the dog has never consumed and which therefore cannot trigger an immune response. Things like rabbit or venison. But don't start that now, because as long as the inflammation is present, the dog can become sensitized to that, and you will have wasted a novel protein. They need to get the inflammation under control before starting on a maintenance diet. If your dog is reliably diagnosed with IBD, the IMS will give you very detailed instructions on exactly what to feed. Leave it as it is for now.
Please keep us posted, and again, feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. I know how scary and lonely this feels.
I want to clarify something about metronidazole and probiotics. The metronidazole will destroy all bacteria in the gut, the bad and the good. Typically, while the dog is taking it, the poop will improve. But then, once it is discontinued, the bad bacteria will proliferate much faster than the good, which creates a bacterial imbalance in the gut, and the diarrhea returns. Thus begins a cycle which many owners whose pups came home with giardia have struggled with. This is why you need a really good probiotic, given separately from the flagyl, and that probiotic must be continued for several weeks after the drug is discontinued, in order to build up a good strong colony of gut bacteria, which is crucial for proper stool formation. There is a condition called SIBO, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, which is usually leads to IBD if it is not controlled by replacing that necessary gut bacteria.
Also, testing for giardia needs to be done by fecal float test, NOT the ELISA antibody test, which will sometimes show a positive result when retesting, even though the dog may be clear of the giardia. The latter often leads to repeated unnecessary courses of meds. Panacur is the treatment of choice for giardia, at least initially.
Thank you so much for all the info!! He is now on Visbiome and I give it at lunch and meds at bfast and dinner. Unfortunately Luca was hospitalized again due to fever and generalized pain. His has not had any diarrhea since staying on the Hills GI biome food however I was unable to keep his fever controlled at home we tried for several days but the pain worsened and fever got up to 106. Repeat abdominal ultrasound completed resolved and was unremarkable. X-rays were unremarkable. Chemistry was normal and CBC did reveal elevated WBC up to 30. Fever of unknown origin negative. TLI/PLI/B12/Folate—All normal. During his most recent hospitalization they again started IV antibiotics with Unasyn and IV fluids and fever resolved, pain went away. He is now back home no fever on oral Clavamox and back to his happy energetic self. This is all just so puzzle. IMS does not believe he has IBD or Additions but they say its not completely off the table. It is just confusing because each time he has gotten this bad antibiotics immediately help the situation. The first time though however the had diffuse colitis and this time he did not have any abdominal abnormalities. Have you ever seen this presentation in a dog? All the physicians we have seen including IMS, ER Vet, Surgical Vet all are stumped about what is going on and want to continuing pursing diagnostics. At this time I am up to 10k in vet bills with no answers or strong leads. I am thankful at least for now he seems to be doing better but very worried about what the future holds for him.
This is probably a silly question, but have they ruled out pancreatitis? Fever and pain along with digestive issues can be pancreatitis, but I'm sure the specialists know that, lol.
Yes that was the PLI test and it was negative. This is just so confusing. And its weird first time he presented with bloody diarrhea fever and diffuse colitis and now that resolved but he presented this time with fever and pain and no diarrhea. They kept saying spinal pain but he was painful to the touch everywhere and seemed more abdominal in my opnion however very hard to tell due to severity of pain he had which started to wean away after antibiotics were started.
I don't know where they are getting the idea that it's spinal pain. My guy also had a ruptured lumbar disc with nerve compression and he never showed obvious signs of pain except when he tried to jump up, and never ran a fever.
I wish I had some suggestions, but I'm stumped also. What makes this all the more confusing is that he's so young.
Can I ask where you got him?
That seems to be a popular question people keep asking. I got him from a breeder in Ruskin, FL about and hour away from me in St.Petersburg FL. I can say I think I was a little fooled as this is my first puppy and the breeder had good reviews and seemed reputable (Health Cert/Lots of Pictures/Responsive) HOWEVER I was never allowed to see Luca before I picked him up as they said a lot of breeders have been robbed etc which I now know is a huge reg flag I guess I just did not realize that fully at first. But if it is a breeder issue what excatly does that mean?
Lack of genetic health testing on the parents, which can cause all kinds of health problems down the road. Conditions under which the puppies are raised, also lots of problems down the road. Pictures, health certs and reviews are really meaningless. If you had asked us before you bought him, we would have told you look elsewhere. However, he's yours now and all you can do is move forward loving him and trying to help him.
For future reference, this is what we give any new member who is looking for a puppy. These are the minimum standards you should require. https://doodlekisses.com/notes/What_To_Look_for_In_a_Breeder