Gut Feelings

He’s like a completely different dog now.

Kyu was diagnosed with IBD the end of July 2019. We were fortunate enough to become involved in a diet study featuring a new prescription diet not yet available in the United States. For an Rx kibble, it was actually a pretty good food. I’m admittedly a dog food snob and I felt comfortable feeding this food to him. And he liked it!

He did great through the first portion of the trial. As the 12 weeks progressed, his poops firmed up. He put on weight. And his GI blood panels reflected improvement as well. He clearly felt better but still wasn’t the dog I had prior to his GI disease. I didn’t put much thought into it, though. He was older now. Maybe he didn’t need to race around the house playfully anymore. Maybe the daily walks were enough exercise.

Halfway through the second portion of the food trial, we ran out of food. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but it set off a chain reaction. When we completely ran out, I gave him some of another hydrolyzed food (a chicken-based one compared to the fish-based one he had been eating). It was not good. I knew Kyu did not do well with chicken but thought it would be safe to give him a hydrolyzed food. The whole idea is that the food is broken down so much that the body doesn’t recognize it as an irritant. Unfortunately, Kyu’s body still reacted. He vomited and had diarrhea all over my living room. I was able to secure a temporary stash of the food he’d been eating so that I could transition him to another, less irritating food. It did not go well. His appetite practically disappeared over a 2 week stretch. Even when I was able to get the prescription food again, he didn’t want to eat it. Kyu should have been eating 2+ cups a day. He was barely eating 1/2 a cup. And, even then, I would have to entice him to eat it at all. He was also acting nauseous which was likely affecting his appetite as well. I worried that the one day of chicken had set off another bout of pancreatitis.

I tried a few things to curb his nausea all at the direction of my contact at the veterinary hospital. Pepcid made him vomit. Slippery elm offered no relief. Seacure helped for a bit but was then no more effective than doing nothing. I eventually took him into our local vet’s office to get checked out. She recommended trying Cerenia to curb the nausea in the hopes that it would make him feel like eating again.

He vomited after taking the Cerenia the first night but still ate a small amount of dinner. The vet didn’t really want to mess with his diet; dogs with GI problems can be so sensitive to change. (Don’t I know it!) However, as he was still not doing well, she allowed me to try a bland diet with him. I cooked up some beef and rice and he INHALED it. I made him enough of the bland diet to feed him for 3-4 days but I needed something to give him after that. I’d intended to switch him to a homecooked diet at some point anyway; Risa had done well on that for so long. I decided I’d see if I could wean him onto that since he’d so readily eaten real food. I started the beef/rice on a Thursday night. By Monday evening, Kyu was noticeably more energetic and was being annoying. He wanted to do stuff! 🙂 By Tuesday, he demanded that I do some training with him. Yes. My dog that didn’t want to do any training for almost 6 months was begging to work with me. All I had to do was change his diet.

It’s been almost a month now on the homecooked food. I’m slowly adding in the supplements but he’s doing amazingly. I can’t believe how much of a difference it made. He was fine on the prescription food. Every sign said so. Good poops. Put on weight. Improved bloodwork values. But he was apparently still NOT feeling good. We’re not out of the woods yet. I still have to work in the rest of the supplements to make the diet complete. And he still has occasional bouts of nausea. I also have to feed him smaller meals; if I give him too much at once, he clearly feels uncomfortable. So he’s eating 3 meals a day, continuing the Seacure, getting a folate supplement, enjoying his probiotic, and I just added L-glutamine to help heal his gut.

We’re not there yet but man oh man am I glad to have my little buddy back!

About Jamie

I'm just a traditionally-trained artist with interests in dog training. I currently teach classes at the local obedience training club (tricks, freestyle, and Rally-FrEe) and I also teach classes professionally for an organization who helps veterans train their own service dogs.
This entry was posted in Dog Food, GI Issues, Homecooked, IBD, Training, Veterinarian. Bookmark the permalink.

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