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Gloria Atwater

Sudden-onset Diarrhea and Cramping

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Alrighty, then. I've a mystery ailment going on with Nick and I thought I'd post about it here. I am waiting on results from tests at the vet, so I'll hopefully no more soon, but here's the deal. (This will be long, so get comfy or change channels.) ;)

 

On February 1st, (I know cuz I posted on Facebook, lol) Nick was struck by a very acute bout of crampy, painful diarrhea - only I didn't identify it as such. That morning we worked sheep at a friend's house, did well, had a great time, and all the dogs were bouncy and happy when I loaded them in the truck. I went into town to run several errands, but when I got home about 2-1/2 hours later ... Nick was a changed dog.

 

He got out of the truck all hunched up, tail tucked, visibly in pain and the first thing I thought was, "Oh, my doG, he's hurt his back again!" (Some here may recall our scary adventure a year and a half ago, when he injured his back and I was fearing surgery.) Yet it baffled me how any injury may have happened, since the work he did was actually pretty mellow, just driving practice, and he was all happy and frolic-y when I put him in the truck. However, because his behavior mimicked back pain, the conclusion I leapt to was that he'd re-done that previous back injury, and he only felt it once he laid down in the truck for 2 hours.

 

I watched while Nick went to a corner of the yard and did a really runny poop, but I figured the pain may have caused that. He barely seemed willing to walk, so I got him in the house, gave him a Rimadyl and he slept the rest of the afternoon. I offered him dinner that night, but he just looked at his bowl like, "Blech," and went back to napping. He was one miserable, unhappy boy - and I was scared!

 

Then about 10 o'clock that night, he got up normally, walked in the kitchen and asked for his dinner! :blink: I gave it to him and he seemed pretty much his old self. He did wake us up twice during the night to go outside, and in the morning I realized he had more runny poops, but otherwise, he acted perfectly happy and pain-free! So, I laid him off for a week, fed him a bland diet for a couple days, but I saw no other signs of anything wrong. A mystery, but I could only shrug it off and in the weeks since, I pretty much forgot about it.

 

Well, this past weekend I had him entered at the Sonoma Sheepdog Trial in CA. Tuesday and Wednesday we just laid around the house, Thursday we drove on over to the trial site - and Friday morning, I got Nick out of the truck and there he was ... all hunched up, miserable and in pain. Again, he barely wanted to walk, tail all tucked under, his whole aspect one of acute misery. And, because I'm an idiot, I once again thought, "Oh, my doG, he's hurt his back." Doing what, I couldn't imagine, but pain + difficulty walking = back injury, in my tiny little world. B)

 

A vet friend of mine was attending the trial and she looked at him, but she was as baffled as I was. He was stiff in the hindquarters, didn't want to move out of a walk, but she could not locate any specific site of the pain. We did note that his gums seemed a bit pale, but we thought perhaps that was due to the pain and stress. So, I gave him a Rimadyl and put him back in the truck, and went on to run Gael in PN. When I came back, I let him out again - and he started pooping.

 

And pooping and pooping and pooping. It was just liquid brown stuff, not even a pretense of solid material. But just like the first episode in February, passing the runny poo seemed to bring him fairly quick relief. By that afternoon, he was trotting around almost normally and acting like his usual boy-dog self. Yet despite appearances of improvement, by nightfall, he was pooping blood.

 

My vet friend gave me some pro-pectalin and a can of Science Diet digestive-friendly dog food, another friend gave me some Tylan powder and shaved coconut, which I gave to Nick and then I crossed my fingers.

 

In the morning, Nick seemed right as rain. I pulled him from his Saturday run, to let him rest, but by Sunday, he was feeling so bouncy and happy that I ran him and he did beautifully. All I could think was, "What the heck?"

 

So, now we're home. He's on Metronidazole. The vet took blood and fecal samples. I got a call from the vet this morning that the blood test came back, in her words, "Beautifully normal." Which just leaves me waiting on the fecal report.

 

And meanwhile, I'm bewildered. Here we have two onsets of diarrhea seven weeks apart, both hitting him like a train and reducing him to misery in a space of hours, but once he's unloaded a bunch of liquid poops, he rebounds with amazing speed.

 

With the blood work clear, I guess we can rule out infection. Maybe it's giardia? Maybe it's coccidiosis? Maybe it's an ulcer or some darned thing? The vet saw nothing abnormal in the blood tests, so maybe the fecal will return something but ... it's just so weird. Hits hard, hits fast, goes away quick - and it was 7 weeks between episodes. He's had NO changes of diet, no access to chemicals or poisons, doesn't eat poop other than occasional sheep or horse doo. No constipation that I'm aware of, but how often do we really watch our dogs poop?

 

I've ordered a jar of Tylan powder and several folks have recommended I get Panacur as well. I do have the Metro from the vet. Plain yogurt is also our friend, along with probiotics. I have canned pumpkin on standby in case Nick gets loose poops again and hubby is picking up coconut on his way home.

 

*sighh* I swear. These dogs. Good thing we love 'em!

 

~ Gloria

 

UPDATE!

 

I just got the second call from my vet. The fecal tested positive for both Cryptosporidium and Clostridium Perfringins. :blink:

 

Well, at least we know! More in my later post, below.

Edited by Gloria Atwater

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Which probiotic are you giving him? It sounds like he found something with nasty bacteria or the stress is allowing normal bacteria to go crazy. Sometimes dogs with salmonella present this way. IBS can also show up randomly and present this way. I'd find a probiotic with as many different strains as possible. Mercola has a good one for pets, but Swansons has a couple different good ones for people, which are fine for pets and cheaper, a lot cheaper. If it is IBS, then a digestive enzyme may help too, and it can't hurt.

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My first thought was hook worms then coccidosis after that a bacterial infection. The bad thing is that fecals could come out clean and he still have either of the first two.

 

With the panacur I would give it to him for 5 days and then repeat again 10 days for 3 days and then again in 10 day for 3 days just to totally rule out worms and to be certain that the cycle is broken if that is the issue, treat your other dogs also with the same protocal.

 

If it is coccidia the vet may be able to get you some marquis, too expensive, imo to mess with to treat one dog, you have to buy a tube so Albon would be next best but you vet would be able to advise.

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I know this sounds stupid, but has he only had the back/diarrhea episodes after spending extended period in the truck? Is he in a crate in the truck? The parasite suggestions have been covered above - so I thought I would offer something off the wall. Has he recently ridden in the truck (over 1 hour or 2 hours) without having an episode? If so, that would seem to rule out the connection to the truck.

 

Jovi

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This is going to sound completely out of left field, but my Sophie had very similar symptoms several years back--about every six weeks or so for about six months or so, she would have runny diarrhea, sometimes bloody, for no easily discernible reason. I also had a barrage of tests run, and my vet at the time concluded she must be eating critters on the trail. This seemed an unlikely explanation to me--it was happening too often after never happening previously (and with a weird sort of regularity). Then I had her thyroid checked, and she turned out to be hypothyroid. Dr. Jead Dodds, an expert on many canine health issues including hypothyroidism, interpreted her results and called me to discuss Sophie's case. She recommended I feed Sophie a diet of "novel" proteins, which basically meant no beef or chicken, and put her on a low dose of meds. I started the meds and new diet right away. The novel protein thing worked okay, but I soon switched her to a raw diet (which, incidentally, includes beef and poultry--apparently her system can handle them in raw form) and we've never looked back. Her symptoms completely stopped--actually, she now has what I'd consider an iron stomach. I don't know if this is just an uncommon symptom of hypothyroidism or maybe it was all a coincidence (I'm aware it sounds a little far-fetched), but that diagnosis and treatment was the turning point for us. Good luck with your Nick.

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Thanks, everyone!

 

To answer questions above, the probiotic/prebiotic/digestive enzyme powder I'm using now is "Digestive Enzymes and Prebiotics & Probiotics" made by NaturVet. It contains:

 

*Fructooligosaccharine FOS 30 mg

*Alpha-amylase (dried Aspergillus orzae, var. Fermentation Product) 2320 SKBU

*Lipase (dried Aspergillus niger, var. Fermentation Product) 210 LU

*Cellulase (Trichoderma longigrachiatum Fermentation Product) 75 CMCU

*Protease (Papaya) 21,200 PU

*Probiotic (Bacillus coagulans) 100 mill CFU

 

 

How would you all rate that for effectiveness or goodness?

 

And yes, he has ridden in the truck for long and long-ish periods without any other episodes, so that seems unrelated, after all.

 

Oy. Dogs! :P

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UPDATE!

 

I just got the second call from my vet. The fecal tested positive for both Cryptosporidium and Clostridium Perfringins.

 

The vet says that, given his lifestyle, this is most likely from his drinking skanky water - ditches, water tanks, whatever. So, at least I know! But dang ... what a mess. :unsure:

 

She also says the Metronidazol should do the job, but I've got Tylan powder on order and I'll carry on with the probiotics and digestive enzymes, and also the plain yogurt. Maybe throw in some Metamucil too, just to ensure he's getting enough roughage.

 

 

So ... further suggestions, anyone? :) I am SO relieved it's not something worse!!

 

~ Gloria

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Your supplement is good on digestive enzymes, but very limited on probiotics. I'd recommend one from Swansons. They have a couple of really good ones, one of them is soil based organisms which I've heard is particularly good, though I haven't tried it yet. You want a probiotic that has at least 9 different strains in it. The Mercola one has 14, but you are also paying for the brand on that one. The ones from Swansons have something like 9 and 12 strains, so good enough but a LOT cheaper. Keep him on it for at least 2 weeks after the last antibiotics and then give it a couple times a week or when stressed, overheated, etc.

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If you can get your hands on a TUBE of Proviable I would recommend that probiotic. It also comes with some capsules for follow up after the tube is gone.

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I can totally sympathize. Right before a weekend of trials in VA, my dog had broken into my vegetable garden and had herself a nice buffet. She pooped a bunch before the trial, so much so you would have thought she was empty so I decided to run her. Needless to say, she had to stop about 3 times on the fetch for potty breaks. Yes, I am that person. At least the trial host should have a nice garden of zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers on her field this year.

 

I swear by Endosorb. I take a bottle when I'm on the road and if I see loose stool, I give them a couple and they are fine the next day. Might just be dumb luck.

 

I think I've lent out twice as many as I've had to use and always gotten good results.

 

Michelle

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Gloria,

 

My Buzz had c. perfingens. He had his first episodes right after he had giardia. It took us a few go-rounds to diagnose.

 

He would almost always have an episode when he was stressed, good or bad. If I worked long hours for several days, or if we had lots of company - he loooooved visitors - he'd get sick. We started giving him metro if we knew in advance that a stressor was looming. That helped a lot.

 

He got regular old people pro-biotics between rounds of metro, and it seemed to help. He too got really, really sick with this nasty thing. He was a dog with a zest for life, and all of a sudden he'd be flat on the floor, panting, not interested in his favorite humans, eating, or anything at all.

 

I'm glad you got this diagnosed relatively quickly. My understanding is once you've got it, you've got it for life.

 

Give Nick a scritch wherever his favorite spot is from me.

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs

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I am glad Nick got a rapid diagnosis. From the responses above, there are multiple approaches to treatment. Another one is Biosponge.

 

http://www.platinumperformance.com/Small-Animal-Bio-Sponge0174/productinfo/CBIOC150/

 

I like to use this because it is not a 'drug' per se, and therefore milder to my dog's system. It is a clay-based adsorbant. (Think activated charcoal) The website doesn't come out and say it is a smectite clay, but when I started using it years ago, they were more open about the ingredient.

 

I have only ever used it as a treatment, but I have read that some people will use it routinely for digestive support on those hard-to-treat cases.

 

Jovi

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Thank you! I got some ProBios at the feed store today, so hopefully that will do a better job. :) I can mail order the Swansons stuff, if need be. Thank you for the info. I'll just keep it on hand, permanently!

 

~ Gloria

 

 

Your supplement is good on digestive enzymes, but very limited on probiotics. I'd recommend one from Swansons. They have a couple of really good ones, one of them is soil based organisms which I've heard is particularly good, though I haven't tried it yet. You want a probiotic that has at least 9 different strains in it. The Mercola one has 14, but you are also paying for the brand on that one. The ones from Swansons have something like 9 and 12 strains, so good enough but a LOT cheaper. Keep him on it for at least 2 weeks after the last antibiotics and then give it a couple times a week or when stressed, overheated, etc.

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Geez, I hope this won't be Nick's case! Crossing fingers, toes, legs and eyes that we can get rid of this junk. If he is going to relapse every time he's stressed or overheated ... his sheepdog career is apt to get pretty short. :(

 

*sighh* The more I read about this, the more I can't decide whether I should panic or just carry on. I may have to post another thread with another set of questions. Argh.

 

Thanks. Nick is duly scritched on his little forehead, where he loves it most. :)

 

~ Gloria

 

 

Gloria,

 

My Buzz had c. perfingens. He had his first episodes right after he had giardia. It took us a few go-rounds to diagnose.

 

He would almost always have an episode when he was stressed, good or bad. If I worked long hours for several days, or if we had lots of company - he loooooved visitors - he'd get sick. We started giving him metro if we knew in advance that a stressor was looming. That helped a lot.

 

He got regular old people pro-biotics between rounds of metro, and it seemed to help. He too got really, really sick with this nasty thing. He was a dog with a zest for life, and all of a sudden he'd be flat on the floor, panting, not interested in his favorite humans, eating, or anything at all.

 

I'm glad you got this diagnosed relatively quickly. My understanding is once you've got it, you've got it for life.

 

Give Nick a scritch wherever his favorite spot is from me.

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs

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Okay, THIS made me laugh! :lol: Now I'm imagining them trying to set up the trial course the next year, and having to hack down a runaway patch of zucchini and tomato plants halfway down the fetch line! Hee!

 

Thanks, I needed that. ;)

 

~ Gloria

 

 

I can totally sympathize. Right before a weekend of trials in VA, my dog had broken into my vegetable garden and had herself a nice buffet. She pooped a bunch before the trial, so much so you would have thought she was empty so I decided to run her. Needless to say, she had to stop about 3 times on the fetch for potty breaks. Yes, I am that person. At least the trial host should have a nice garden of zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers on her field this year.

 

I swear by Endosorb. I take a bottle when I'm on the road and if I see loose stool, I give them a couple and they are fine the next day. Might just be dumb luck.

 

I think I've lent out twice as many as I've had to use and always gotten good results.

 

Michelle

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Thank you, everyone, for all your input, links and stories. I've got lots of food for thought and additional options, and it's good to feel a little better armed. Nick continues to look and feel great, so ... here's hoping the Metronidazole will do the trick. I guess time will tell.

 

I've also ordered a jar of Tylan powder, and just bought a jar of ProBios probiotics.

 

Plus he gets plain yogurt and a teaspoon of Metamucil with his dinners. His stools look entirely normal now, but from what I've read, the added roughage can only help.

 

Keeping fingers crossed, now ... He went 7 weeks between episodes, so I don't suppose I'll breathe easily for at least another two months. :unsure:

 

Anyhow, thanks again, folks. I'll post with any future updates, though I'm hoping there won't need to be any.

 

~ Gloria

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Didn't mean to panic you, Gloria! Buzzie was a nervy boy, and there was a LOT of stress for him to deal with. It might be very different with Nick. It took us more than 5 months to diagnose Buzz, his repeated flare-ups might have made him more susceptible.

 

You can save a few bucks and give him oat bran or oat flakes rather than the Metamucil.

 

Good luck!

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs

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Order the Swansons Soil Based Organisms and use Metamucil Clear and Natural as a prebiotic. Anytime you have a bacterial overgrowth in the intestines go for the big guns in probiotics. One of my dogs requires that I keep probiotics on hand. I only give a half dose a couple times a week now, but if I stop altogether, he gets bad again.

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Thanks, Gideon's Girl! What I found earlier under wasn't the same thing, so I've added it to my Amazon wish list to order. It even works for humans, too! ;)

 

Not sure I'll find the Metamucil clear stuff easily, but I'm using the unsweetened stuff at the moment. I'll see if I can find the clear locally but won't hold my breath. Small towns ... ;)

 

Thanks!

 

~ Gloria

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Benefiber works too. It's the inulin you want, so don't buy the Walmart brand.

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Benefiber works too. It's the inulin you want, so don't buy the Walmart brand.

 

 

Oh, Benefiber is easy to find, they have it at our grocery store. I'm actually surprised we don't have some in the house right now, as hubby uses it. Thanks!

 

~ Gloria

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I had a field lab who had a couple of clostridum infections. The first time she ended up in the ER at Colorado State's veterinary teaching hospital for several days. She had that bizarre back looking thing, but I quickly realized it was from severe stomach pain as she threw up a ton of blood. She had one or two more episodes after that which were much more moderate. I just gave the meds prescribed by the vet and she did fine, so I'm sure your boy will be OK. : )

 

I would be sure to talk to your vet about all the additional things you are putting him on. Sometimes supplements can have interactions with the meds and you might inadvertantly be making matters worse.

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Oh, gosh, Dana! I'm so glad Nick's case hasn't been that bad!

 

Yes, I'm calling my vet tomorrow to make sure we're on the right path. I figure the probiotics and yogurt should be fine with the metronidazole, but I do want to make sure about the Tylan. Thanks!

 

Nick continues to seem and act totally normal, so I'm hoping the metro is quietly knocking those bugs out so he won't get a third relapse.

 

~ Gloria

 

 

I had a field lab who had a couple of clostridum infections. The first time she ended up in the ER at Colorado State's veterinary teaching hospital for several days. She had that bizarre back looking thing, but I quickly realized it was from severe stomach pain as she threw up a ton of blood. She had one or two more episodes after that which were much more moderate. I just gave the meds prescribed by the vet and she did fine, so I'm sure your boy will be OK. : )

 

I would be sure to talk to your vet about all the additional things you are putting him on. Sometimes supplements can have interactions with the meds and you might inadvertantly be making matters worse.

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