I am one of the many owners whose puppy (now 3 years old!) came home from the breeder at 8 weeks with loose stools, diarrhea, pudding poop, whichever you would like to call it. After weeks of negative fecals, we finally received a positive fecal for giardia. Our first vet prescribed a course of metro, which temporarily cleared it up, then, back again to diarrhea. Course after course of metro, hills I/D food, a prescription of clay (what was I thinking?!?!) 2 vet changes, more metro, (finally) Panacur..and then my breeder told me about Doodlekisses. By this point, Woody was 5 months old, so this treatment has been going on for 3 months, with no resolve. To make a long story short, after DK, and the help of Karen and friends I learned about the importance of a quality dog food, and the importance of treatment for giardia. Throughout those 3 months, never once did I (or was I told by a vet) to give a probiotic..so Woody had 3 months of metro kill the bad bacteria in Woodys intestines…along with the good bacteria. We tried all quality foods, and nothing would work..until The Honest Kitchen, Embark..and even then things still weren't perfect…we were finding pieces of undigested food in his stools. After a bout of acute pancreatitis (from adding ground lean turkey to his Embark) We finally decided we need to take this further than our regular vet.
We made an appointment at Cornell University Animal Hospital, where we found out Woody has an inflammatory bowel condition of his digestive tract that was causing diarrhea and preventing complete digestion of his food. In inflammatory bowel disease, the body's immune system attacks either proteins from the diet or self antigens or normal bacterial flora in the GI tract. The bowel wall becomes inflitrated with inflammatory cells and the result is destruction of villi and thickening of the bowel wall. This prevents normal uptake and digestion of food and leads often to diarrhea and weight loss.
Inflammatory bowel disease can be grouped into three catagories: food responsive, antibiotic responsive, and steroid responsive. We are lucky enough, that Woody has fallen into the category of food responsive. We have been home cooking for him full-time for well over a year now. I have a system where I buy in bulk, take one 4 hour period out of one day of the week, and prepare about 7-10 days worth of food, which I freeze, then take out during the week. It is simple, now that I have a system. This will now be a life long commitment, which I am more than happy to do..being that he is responding so well to it (we just had our follow up appointment, and all of his labs came back great!)
My point of this discussion is that you have to be your own advocate. If I had the knowledge that I learned here on DK…who knows? Maybe this could have all been avoided. Please, don't ever let your vet give you medicine without a good reason, and KNOW the side effects, and what you can do to avoid them..in the case of Woody, maybe taking a probiotic from the beginning would've helped?
So a BIG THANK YOU to all that have helped along the way..and please, if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask!