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Risa is a pretty healthy dog with few problems. But, earlier this year, I noticed she was having some diarrhea. A
few times, it was practically liquid. I thought it could be that I needed to tweak her diet. So I tried a few things but
nothing seemed to help. I brought a stool sample into the vet and it came back no parasites found. When I
dropped it off, I weighed Risa and she was down to 40 lbs (from 45). I was even more concerned so I set up an
appointment for her to see the vet.
The vet thought it might be Giardia and gave us some Endosorb tablets and some Metranidozole. I was told to call
on Monday with a progress report and if things weren't better, we'd start Risa on a course of Baytril. During our
visit, the vet expressed concern over Ris' diet. She seemed to think that eating raw food could be causing Risa's
diarrhea. I disagreed and stood my ground on my beliefs.
Over the next couple days, Risa's poop seemed to be
improving a bit. But it didn't last long. Pretty soon,
the poop was back to a mushy mess. I called the vet
with a progress report. Since she didn't return my
call, I stopped into the hospital after work to talk to
her. She recommended a very expensive fecal exam
that only tested for 3 things, 2 of which I'd never heard
of before. I declined it. She also said to me "I really
think it's her diet." And that was the final straw. I
hadn't been very happy with how things were being
handled anyway but that line took the cake. So I
called another vet hospital and set up an appointment
for Risa there. I had my own recommendations in
mind for the new vet but was open to her suggestions
as well. I wanted to have them run a CBC (complete blood count) and a Giardia Antigen test for certain.
Before I went to Risa's new appointment, I obtained her records from our previous vet. Since I requested Ris'
records, our vet confronted me and asked me why I wanted them. I told her I was getting a second opinion. She
requested I keep her informed of any findings which I agreed to do. (I did inform her of the findings later, in a letter
explaining why Risa would no longer be a patient there.)
Things went much better at the new vet hospital. The doctor recommended a CBC and I requested the Giardia
antigen test. She also gave me a dewormer, Panacur, to apply to Ris' food 3 consecutive days. My favorite part of
the visit was when the vet said she didn't think the diarrhea had anything to do with Risa's diet.
A couple days later, I got a call from the new vet. Risa's CBC results looked great. The Giardia Antigen test also
came back negative. We still hadn't found the cause but at least we had eliminated some possibilities. The vet told
me to give Ris a week or so to see if the Panacur had any effect. If there was no change, we'd discuss other
options. At least this vet recommended some tests to eliminate possible causes. Unlike our previous vet who was
just going to prescribe different antibiotics without attempting to figure out what the cause was!
Unfortunately, the Panacur did not help Risa. So I scheduled another
appointment with the new vet. I was also a bit concerned about Risa's
hips. She'd been a bit reluctant to hop into the car after exercise. I
knew it could be caused by her inability to digest food properly (hence
the diarrhea) or it could be as bad as hip dysplasia. So I requested hip
X-rays as well.
I gotta say, I love our new vet. When I told her what I've observed
(including the undigested yogurt in her poop) she recommended testing
for SIBO and EPI and even sending it to the lab at Texas A & M. Which is
great because that's exactly what I wanted. She also mentioned that Ris
is on an excellent diet which made me smile inside. Ris' hip X-rays
showed no problems whatsoever which was excellent news. In the
meantime, I was given some acidophilus powder (FortiFlora) to add to
her meals to try and calm things down. Despite it all, Risa was an angel.
She HATES going to the vet. But was just wonderful for the bloodwork
and X-rays. She didn't give them any problems at all. The vet even got
to pet Risa on the head. I'm proud of Risa just for that.
About a week later, I spoke with the vet about the GI bloodwork results.
Ris' TLI levels were fine so no EPI. However, her B12 test and SIBO
tests came back abnormal. So Risa has SIBO (small intestinal bacterial
overgrowth). Finally we have answers!
So our plan of action was to start Risa on Tylan powder twice a day and to continue with the probiotics I've been
giving her as well. Once we finish up the Tylan, we'll see if Risa maintains normal poop or if the mushy poop
returns. If the Tylan powder doesn't work. we'll see if it's one of Risa's protein sources.
It took almost 3 weeks for Risa's poop to finally stabilize and return to normal. I was so happy. She also started to
gain weight back and looked great again. After 2 months of treatment, we finished off the Tylan powder. It was now
time to see if her SIBO was a chronic condition or not.
Unfortunately, we stopped her medication at a bad time. A week after the meds were gone, my parents came out
for a visit. Whether it was the stress of their visit or a relapse, I don't know. But I called the vet and got a refill on
her prescription. It took almost 2 weeks for her poops to restabilize again. I plan on keeping her on the Tylan
powder for another month and then try taking her off of it again at a less stressful time. Hopefully, the condition will
be cleared up. But, if it turns out that her SIBO is chronic, then I guess we'll just have to continue treating her with
Tylan powder for the rest of her life.
I will post more on her progress as time goes on.