Jump to content
BC Boards
Sign in to follow this  
dallasbc

Food Intolerances or Allergies?

Recommended Posts

Have any of y'all experienced food allergies or a food intolerance with your border collies? Back in January, Dallas had tummy problems. He refused to eat, had diarrhea, and then there was lots of mucus and a tiny bit of blood in his stool. We went to the vet. They took a poo sample and I was told he had giardia. They prescribed probiotics and antibiotics. It seemed to do the trick. His appetite came back and his poos went back to normal.

 

Last week, he had diarrhea again and a few poos with mucus in it, but not a lot and it was only once or twice. His appetite also decreased. I went back to the vet, they told me he actually didn't have giardia last time, and they just gave me more probiotics for him to see if it helped out. The probiotics seemed to help out as his poos have gone back to normal, but he is still funny about his eating.

 

We do one of those companies that are tailor-made food and it is top-notch quality. Today he took a bit of kibble from me and then spat it out and barked at it. He refuses to eat it, which is fair enough. I won't force him! He's been hesitant to eat his food for a few days now. He usually eats anything without issue so this is odd for him. However, my mother-in-law gave him some of her hypo-allergenic food on Sunday and he loved it. He scarfed it down no problem (and at this point his poos were normal, too).

 

I told this to the vet over the phone today and they said not to switch the food but to just come back in tomorrow for an appointment to get to the bottom of this. After the being told he had giardia and then being told a month and a half after that he actually didn't have giardia, I feel like our vet's office is just messing me around. I mean, they probably aren't and I'm just being silly, but I have lost a bit of faith in them.

 

I saw someone on this board years ago say that their dog had symptoms for giardia but it actually turned out to be an intolerance to grain. So I thought maybe it was a food allergy or intolerance Dallas is experiencing and just wanted to compare to what others have experienced. So if your dog has had an intolerance or allergy, what symptoms did they have? What did they end up having an allergy or intolerance to? We're still going to the vet tomorrow so a professional will be taking a look, but in the meantime I was just curious :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might also inquire about testing him for IGS, a genetic deficiency in vitamin B12 absorption that can present with symptoms such as you describe. Untreated it will eventually kill him but it's easy and inexpensive to treat once diagnosed. Reliable DNA tests for it exist.

 

Also, I've found that dogs who have had giardia infestations will have relapsing bouts of milder diarrhea and anorexia for some months past the initial diagnosis.

 

Good luck getting to the bottom of this with Dallas!

 

Amy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Amy! That's scary about IGS - I'll definitely bring it up in our appointment tomorrow.

 

That's good to know about the giardia, too! Hoping tomorrow will get us some answers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dogs do have food allergies. One of the dogs I take care of is allergic to beef. Others are allergic to chicken. I take care of others who can't do grains.

 

The trick is to find out what the problem is. You might definitely be on to something if the hypo-allergenic food worked well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd switch vets, first of all. From what you said, they lied when they told you he had giardia at the first visit. If I'm mis-reading your post, please forgive.

 

Tummy troubles can be very hard to diagnose. You might check with your vet about doing an elimination diet, where you only feed the dog one specific protein and maybe a very little bit of a specific carb, (if your vet okays this, of course) for 21 days, I think it is. If the dog's symptoms go away, great. Then you start adding in, one at a time, different foods, to see what the allergen is. It's kind of a pain, but it's a sure fire way to find the allergens if done correctly.

 

One thing that is rarely checked for is a bacterial infection, clostridium difficile. It took several vet visits for my now-departed Buzz to be correctly diagnosed. Apparently it's not common, but is diagnosed w/a stool culture, I believe. And easy to treat, but it takes a specific antibiotic, which I can not remember the name of, as this was over 10 years ago.

 

Best of luck with continuing investigations into your boy's tummy problem. And do ask the vet why you were told he had giardia if they knew he didn't?

 

Ruth & Gibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im wondering if the vet said that he *could* have giardia? It can be kinda difficult to diagnose so some just treat for it even it the tests are negative.

 

Re: food allergies. True food allergies are uncommon. But a dog may just not do well on one food or another. Kolt gets itchy on a couple of good brands. No clue why. And he does great on others. Sometimes with young dogs it takes a while for their gut to settle down after something, too. And if his tummy has recently been upset he may associate the food with not feeling well. Much like we do after getting sick after eating something.

 

If youre feeding a high end food, also consider the idea that it may be too rich for him. My SILs Dane puppy was having some major digestive issues on a grain free food and those all went away when they switched her to a grain inclusive food that wasnt quite as rich (slightly lower fat and protein). I saw her the other day and shes gone from looking scraggly with a full coat to gleaming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, many many things to consider. Thanks everyone! I'll bring it up with the vet tomorrow.

 

Ruth, I did consider switching vets. Back in January they took a stool sample and sent it off to the lab to analyse. I got a call back from the vet herself rather than a receptionist and she told me he tested positive for giardia. Then she proceeded to explain where he could have gotten it from and what it was. When I spoke to the receptionist last week, I think she just checked with the vet nurse and not the vet herself then told me he tested negative for giardia. So it could have just been a miscommunication! I'll have to ask for clarification tomorrow about the giardia.

 

I'll ask about maybe his food being too rich for him, too. I just want my boy feeling better :( and you are totally right, Mara, he might just be associating it with when he was feeling sick! I can't eat lamb chops to this day because I caught the flu right after eating some when I was 8 :rolleyes: He is eating eggs and peanut butter just fine, but he won't touch his food or rice. I'm not sure why not the rice, but we'll see! It could also be associated with not feeling well, too. I'll mention it to the vet tomorrow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Giardia can be difficult to treat. It has a nasty habit of recurring, so if he had it, it could be a recurrence. And IIRC it can be difficult to diagnose sometimes because it isn't always present in the stool, so you can get a false negative.

 

I'd definitely be asking questions about why the mixed message. If he tested positive, well, then he tested positive. I'd want some very clear reasons why you were told later that he didn't have it after all. There's definitely something amiss in the communication.

 

Some dogs can have sensitive stomachs and it can be hard to determine what the cause is sometimes. Any number of parasites can cause it as well as digestive issues.

 

Cobalamin [vit b 12] malabsorption can cause digestive problems. I'm not sure if this is always the same as IGS though or if here can be other causes for the malapsorption. I had a dog with it and he vet never mentioned IGS, though he may just have been using another term. I assume, however, that it was not IGS because it usually starts presenting in very young puppies and my dog was ~6 y.o. when I adopted her and she'd had very limited if any vet care prior to that and it didn't show up for at least a couple years after that. She had a lot of vomiting too, in addition to diarrhea and obvious signs ff nausea and stomach pain. It took quite a while for her to be diagnosed.

 

This is just a long winded way of saying that figuring out what's going on may be difficult. Your best bet is to work with your vet to determine what's going on rather than relying too much on internet sources.

 

As far as his refusing the food he'd been eating, was it by any chance a new batch of it? It kind of makes me wonder if there's something wrong with the food if he's willing to eat other kinds when you offer it.

 

Wishing you the best figuring out what's going on with Dallas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Giardia can be difficult to treat. It has a nasty habit of recurring, so if he had it, it could be a recurrence. And IIRC it can be difficult to diagnose sometimes because it isn't always present in the stool, so you can get a false negative.

 

I'd definitely be asking questions about why the mixed message. If he tested positive, well, then he tested positive. I'd want some very clear reasons why you were told later that he didn't have it after all. There's definitely something amiss in the communication.

 

This. They can't or shouldn't diagnose him with a parasite, treat him for it and then recant the diagnosis later! I'd say clarify this conflict first, because Giardia can relapse and can be a nasty bug to pin down a second time. I would want to make sorting this out a priority before looking to diagnose something different.

 

Just my two cents' worth. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone! We went to the vet and it sounds like he didn't actually have giardia... I guess it was a miscommunication on my part??? I swear the vet said he had it, but hey ho, guess not??

 

Anyway, the vet said to try hypo-allergenic food because he seems perfectly healthy otherwise. I took in poo samples from this morning but they were normal this morning (and have been normal for a few poos now), no mucus, and she's not concerned too much since his energy levels are normal and have been the entire time. She did bring up IGS, but she said it was better to start off trying hypo-allergenic and then if that doesn't help she'll have me bring him in for a blood test.

 

So, we're switching to that and we'll see what happens. I'm just going to keep a sharp eye on his poos and hopefully his tummy troubles are over :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a second agreement for testing for IGS. You can do it yourself, no vet needed. Also, one of mine had issues years ago, never could figure it out, however, after a long period on Tylan, it went away and hasn't reoccurred since. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We went to the vet and it sounds like he didn't actually have giardia... I guess it was a miscommunication on my part??? I swear the vet said he had it, but hey ho, guess not??

 

Then what were the antibiotics for?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Then what were the antibiotics for?

Metronidazole usually clears up the loose stools whether or not its from giardia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bet I was the one you read about on these boards. If so, I think all the symptoms and such were laid out in that thread.

 

I had another pup last year who was having problems-this is going to be kind of long, but I am going to copy and paste what I had posted elsewhere when looking for advice, so that you can know what I was dealing with.

 

"I have an almost 7 month old pup who has had intermittent diarrhea ever since I got her, at 8 weeks. So when I first brought her home, she pooped and puked in her crate just miles from the breeder's house. She appeared to be carsick because she drooled loads and loads the whole way home. Both the poop and puke looked like dog food that had been moistened for pups, the only difference being that the poop smelled more like, well, poop. She always laid cow pies after getting her home, with occasional diarrhea, and had been dewormed at the breeder's, but a fecal showed a lot of coccidia, so she got Albon for 5 days. Stool was firm for a few days, but then went back to runny, and after a week, a fecal showing a rise in worms, she got Safegard for 5 days, and to address giardia as well. Again, stool was firm for two days, and then diarrhea became more frequent. I then switched her to raw, and since then it's been all over the place. I treated again for giardia with a natural product that has worked wonders with our other pups before, but nothing changed. I found out that she gets incredibly sick if she eats eggs, and at the end of October chicken started bothering her too, but not as bad as eggs. I took her off of chicken, and the stools were firm for 2 weeks, and two weeks ago, she started losing weight and having a normal poop in the morning, and then a cow pie a little later. Last Friday, she had explosive, watery, greenish-black diarrhea all day, which contained undigested food. Since then, she has alternated between normal, firm stools, but she's been having accidents in her crate of the, what used to be occasional and is now daily, black smears-not water, but extremely loose.

She has always been ravenous, and I've never seen her stop eating-not normal in my experience with this breed.
She is now eating 2 pounds of meat a day, and still pretty skinny at 24 pounds.
Her stool has never been a normal brown, but ranges from greenish-gray(mostly), greenish-black(once) and black(becoming more frequent). They range from odorless, to smelling like spit, to so nasty stinky that they stink up the entire car when we mailed one sample.
I sent a sample to WADDL back in September, and they found no parasites or bacterial infections of any sort.
Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I'm almost going out of my head with this dog. Help!"

 

 

After ruling out EPI, IGS, Addisons, and more, we found out that she was allergic to the goat's milk that I give all my dogs. I've given goat's milk for so long to so many dogs that I never even considered that as being the problem, until the goats dried up last winter, and this pup's problem dried up along with it. She is still on grain free dog food, but I don't know that she was ever reacting to grain at all, or if it was just the dairy.

Since taking out goat's milk, she no longer eats everything, that she can get her mouth on, whether edible or inedible, and doesn't inhale her food like she always did, and stools are normal.

 

She has always acted normal with tons of energy etc. never turned down a meal, sometimes had mucus or blood, but not normally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Metronidazole usually clears up the loose stools whether or not its from giardia

 

I was experiencing recurrent bouts of loose stools with my three for some time, which was not at all usual for me to see in my dogs. The puzzlement was that while two were on one diet and would readily drink "outdoor" water (natural water sources, including ditches, ponds, and puddles) the third was on a totally different diet (due to her kidney failure) and only drank "in house" water (and that had been the case for a couple of years).

 

I tried probiotics and some other suggestions, and finally the vet suggested Panacur (even though we did not find any evidence of worms in fecal tests) and Flagyl (Metronidazole). Bingo! Two out of three cleared up with just a short round of each. The third dog (also the one who is most likely to drink the greatest amounts of "outdoor" water) too a second, longer round of the Panacur and Flagyl.

 

It's been over a year now and I don't think either of the boys (on a kibble diet) have had to miss a single meal due to loose stools (I'm a firm believer in fasting for 12 hours after the last bad stool to rest the gut). Megan, the kidney failure dog, does occasionally have a nasty poop(s) but I rarely have to fast her. Before the Panacur and Flagyl, all three were having problems at least every couple of weeks.

 

Several people recommended the Flagyl but I am reluctant to give anything antibiotic without a good reason. I am a believer now that this can be a very beneficial medication in cases like this. And the Panacur did not seem to hurt, either.

 

Very best wishes!

 

PS - I did have a dog that died of IGS at the age of three, back in 2009, before that was on the radar of many vets. As did another poster, I always think of that when I hear of a dog with recurrent diarrhea and other digestive issues. Thankfully, it can easily be proven or ruled out with a DNA test, and is easily treated if it is the problem. We found out too late for my sweet Bute but the test and treatment has been a lifesaver for other dogs since then, and I am grateful for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About a year and a half ago, my BC had a food intolerance while on BLue Buffalo. He developed diarrhea toward the tail end of the transition of the new food and it never quit. We went back to the old food which I am appalled to say, was Purina dog chow. Fast forward over a year later, he ended up with pretty severe pancreatitis. Mucousy stools, diarrhea, they have abdominal pain and will refuse to eat. Vomiting bile. This is diagnosable with a lab draw/X-rays. We did a bland diet of chicken/rice for 3 weeks and antibiotics/antifungals. He got better, but later things flared up again and he died. I’m not claiming the pancreatitis and food are related, just mentioning we had several tummy issues. New foods/treats weren’t well tolerated by him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mantheje, first let me say how sorry I am you had to go through this with your dog and that the outcome was so tragic. I;m sorry for your loss.

 

The symptoms you describe are exactly what I experienced with my border collie mix a number of years ago. It took a lot of bouts symptoms, regressions and lot of vet trips before I finally got the right vet who was able to diagnose her cobalamin [& folate] malabsorption I mentioned above. She also had the fecal smelling vomit Riika mentoned.

 

The point I'm making here, again, is that these very similar symptoms can have a variety of causes. Some vets are better diagnosticians than others. So for anyone who's having a dog with recurring symptoms like this that's not clearing up with repeated vet visits, it may be a god idea to get a second or even third opinion from other vets. I definitely did some vet shopping before I got my girl straightened out. Testing for the malabsorption just wasn't on the other vets' radar, but when I got to the one who looked at all the other test results and saw this simple blood test (not DNA, just something he was able to d in the office) hadn't been done, he did it and we had the answer quickly. In her case, inexpensive B 12 injections I was able give at home cleared it up and she was healthy and happy till she was nearly 18 years old.

 

Obviously from all the various replies, there are a whole lot of things that can cause these same symptoms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GentleLake, this post is the first I’ve heard about this syndrome, and it makes my heart skip a beat a little to be honest. Can I ask, do you know if it can cause an elevated amylase and lipase? I’m terrified I missed something.. could he have made it all the way to the age of nine?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IGS (cobalamine malabsorption) usually results in death at a young age. But since its easy to test for, it's also easy to diagnose or rule out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...do you know if it can cause an elevated amylase and lipase?

 

IIRC the blood work that'd been done on my dog didn't show these. It's been a pretty long time ago now and I don't remember what all tests were done. I do know that she'd had a bunch so I really doubt these levels were elevated.

 

At one of the vet visits during her worst bout there were 3 vets standing around watching her vomit for hours. They'd done every test they could think of including drawing a sample of gut fluid with a syringe and they were ready to do exploratory surgery to see if they could find anything, so I really think they probably checked for amylase and lipase. I took all those test results to this other vet who rifled through them asking if they'd checked cobalamin levels. He did one more relatively quick test in the office and had the answer in minutes.

 

I understand losing your dog was agonizing, especially now that you're hearing there's a possibility he was misdiagnosed. But it's only a possibility and there's really no reason to believe it's a probability. There are just too many things that present with similar symptoms to have any way now to know. Just look at some of the examples people have written about, including a reaction to goat's milk!

 

Please don't beat yourself up over this. You did all you could to help him. And he knew that. It's not your fault.

 

IGS (cobalamine malabsorption) usually results in death at a young age.

 

I'm not a vet so it's important to take this with a grain of salt and for anyone experiencing similar problems to follow up with a professional if there's a concern about symptoms like this, but I don't think IGS is the only form or cause of cobalamine malabsorption.

 

The dog I had that was affected by it was relinquished by a family who admitted she'd not have any vet care in the 4-5 years she'd been with them. She'd been taken in as a stray when she was about a year or so old and had 3 litters of puppies but no mentions of ill health. Tilly was estimated to have been 6 years old when I adopted her (after several medically unremarkable months fostering her) and didn't show any signs of illness for several years after that. So it doesn't sound like the typical presentation of IGS as I've read about it, and neither the vet that finally diagnosed her nor the one I was using later in her life ever mentioned the possibility of IGS, though I do understand it also flies under many vets' radar.

 

So my decidedly uneducated guess is that a 9 year old dog with later onset cobalamin malapsorption probably doesn't have IGS but some other reason for the malabsorption.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are other causes of cobalamine malabsorption (a Google search provides some good information) but IGS, without diagnosis and treatment, usually is fatal at a fairly young age. I never cease to be amazed at the stoicism of our Bute who, until within about a week or two of his passing, could easily be mistaken for a healthy (although thin) and active dog. He was very far along in his physical deterioration before he could no longer function as he wanted to. My great regret is that, since this disease was not on many vets' radars at the time, it was not realized and diagnosed until it was too late for him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a second agreement for testing for IGS. You can do it yourself, no vet needed. Also, one of mine had issues years ago, never could figure it out, however, after a long period on Tylan, it went away and hasn't reoccurred since. Good luck!

 

Oh interesting! What do you do to test without the vet?

 

Dallas seems to be doing better. He is having mostly solid poos, appetite is back, and he seems to be good. I'd still like to test for the IGS, though, and to be honest, I want to get a second opinion from another vet. I'm not impressed with the vet we've been going to. They're super kind, but just based on the experiences we've had they are get you in and out without having a proper look at your dog. They are connected with a chain pet store here in the UK, so I'm sure that's part of it. Just not enough time to properly look at all dogs.

 

Gentlelake, I wondered why I was given antibiotics for giardia as well. Surely I'd be given something for a parasite instead? It must be that I just completely misunderstood what was going on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can do a saliva swab and send it to Paw Print Genetics-IGS is a genetic trait that can be screened for in breeding dogs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×