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!

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  • I am so glad you have things under control with Woody, thanks in no smart part to your diligence and commitment to feeding him properly.  Thanks for sharing you story so that others may learn.

  • Thank you for posting this, Jill. I know that often, people think I am insane when I disagree with the way their vets are treating giardia and digestive issues. But those of us who have learned this the hard way are only trying to help the next person and dog avoid what we've been through.

    You are indeed lucky that Woody's IBD was food responsive. Only 20% of cases are. But beyond luck, your being his advocate is what made it possible for you to even know that, and thereby avoid a lifetime of drugs and Rx garbage. So many times, the vet just prescribes meds and the client goes along with it. It's easier and cheaper, and hey, we trust our vets.

    But general practice vets are not specialists and not trained to know the best way to treat every disease. Sometimes, we need to dig deeper, for our dogs' sake. 

    May Woody continue to thrive! 

  • I do hope others here with similar problems read this. Thank you for updating us on Woody's progress and your hard work in finding a solution to his problems which unfortunately are all too common.

  • I have such admiration for you, Jill.  Your perseverance and commitment are inspirational.  You are such a great Doodle Mom.....Woody is very lucky to have.

  • Jill ~ I hope others that are having issues with Giardia will see your post. I am so glad to hear Woody is doing really great!

  • Thank you so much for sharing.  This is a much needed discussion.  I am glad that Woody is doing well now.

  • So happy that Woody is doing well and you have found a way to keep it under control!  It would be important to have all the new puppy folks read this post!  Perhaps you could post it in the Puppy Madness Group as I am sure it would be valuable information for them!!!  Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Thank you all so much for your kind replies. I know we have heard this before, but DK truly is a wonderful group of people..so supportive! Your comments warmed my heart, so, thank you :)
  • Thank you so much for sharing this and I hope everyone who has a puppy or dog with these issues takes a minute to read your discussion!!

  • Thank you for sharing; so glad you've been able to control his IBD with the homecooking. I too cook for my Chihuahua and it's kept him healthy for much longer than expected.  Great job!

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