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Border collie 8 week normal weight 2.7kg

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Quick (long) question? :rolleyes:

After a long wait we have just bought a border collie puppy, as compared to the rest of the litter she looked normal size (middle sized of the 7 pups, all females)

But now I'm concerned she is tiny and underweight, is 2.7kg very light at 8 weeks 2days? 12 days ago 2.4kg (although I don't know how accurate the vets scales are vs mine) Looking through previous posts on here it seems like it, she's full of beans and seems herself but has had diarrhea off and on (more on than off) since we got her home Sunday, the breeder assured us she was OK the day before and it's probably the stress of moving her, I'm booked in to see the vet tomorrow anyway. She's had a couple of vaccinations a week or so ago too, nobivac dhp and l4. Everything is great with her other than her weight and her diarrhea. Any thoughts? 

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These are all questions for your vet.

Take a fresh poop sample with you to your appointment.

Diarrhea is not normal in a pup, even after transitioning to a new home, unless you changed the pups kibble or gave her new treats/chews she isn't used to.

Some bitches do produce consistently tiny pups.  If they are healthy, I don't worry too much.  However, diarrhea is not healthy (parasites, IGS, IBD, EPI, etc).  Pups can also suffer from a wide variety of health problems such as liver shunts, pure malnutrition and pituitary dwarfism (rare) among others.

Were your pups' parents DNA tested for IGS?

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Hi thanks for your reply but wow there's alot to worry about! 

Unfortunately no IGS testing, I should of done more research beforehand. 

It was just a private breeder locally, the parents both looked very well and previous litters had been all fine. 

I have been to the vet and she said all seems well, the vet was happy enough the pup had gained half a kilo in 13 days. Up to 2.8kg on there scales. She is thriving and full of beans so hopefully no IGS testing required. We agreed not to transition from the current pedigree puppy food she is currently on until she has settled in and the vet did say the stress of moving could cause the diarrhea, for the 1st time today the beginning of her stool was normally formed, but ended as per usual, but still the best yet. I will certainly transition her off pedigree food as soon as is possible once she has settled in and hopefully her tummy settles down. We did actually give her some treats on the journey home that she's not used to, she wasn't very keen on them and only ate a little. I would be surprised if the treats would cause such fast diarrhea though, only a couple of hours between, but then again I was surprised that stress could do that so quickly, again a matter of a couple of hours, but she wasn't the 1st pup to leave the nest so I suppose the stress started a few days before. 

The vet said to return in a few more days if things haven't continued to improve, then more worming is the first thing the vet wanted to do if things don't improve.

So I'm hoping it is just the stress, but I'm still surprised and skeptical it is that. 

She's a sensitive soul though, she almost jumped out of my arms when a tractor went past on the walk to the vet. 

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One thing people often overlook that some dogs can be sensitive to is a change in water. My first border collie would get diarrhea if we'd go away and once I figured it out taking along our own water from home stopped it entirely. If it is water, then she should acclimate to your water and be OK.

As for worming, I'm not a fan of giving dogs worm medicine "just because." I have my vet do a stool sample and treat appropriately for parasites if present, but never give wormers prophylacticaly.

Hope things continue to improve.

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Hi thanks for the info, water is a good point, I'd not thought of that. 

I thought worming was done as a precaution on a regular basis anyway? 

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IMO that's an old school approach. Anthelmintics are poisons that I don't care to have my dogs ingest as a so-called "preventative" -- that doesn't really work that way anyway. If the dog doesn't have worms at the time the drugs are given, there's nothing to kill. I'm not aware that they have any residual effects. I prefer testing to see if my dogs do have worms before administering a poison that may not have anything to target.

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Our boy was 2.3kg at his 8 week vet check. Over 5kg a month later and is currently 19.5kg at 16 months old.

He's not tiny but the border collies we see around look big, maybe because they're older. Our boy looks like he's got some filling out and maturing to do.

His stools were always on the soft side, but not diarrhoea. Are you giving cows milk? That can upset little tummies if they're not used to it.

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Good to know your pup was 2.3kg at 8 weeks, that's even lighter than ours. Are his stools still on the soft side now? I'm struggling to work out how much food she needs, I'm currently feeding 3 times a day the pedigree puppy, around the 40g Mark per meal but I don't know if that's enough or too much, I was feeding 50g initially but she wasn't eating it all so I started at 30g, all gone, now 40g and all gone! With some chicken treats through the day, I'm hoping that's not upsetting her too :( it's a minefield 

Then what do i switch her too :unsure:

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Without being a dog food fanatic, my experience is that any food with corn in it will give most dogs diarrhea. So check the ingredients on the Pedigree.  Our dogs eat 4Health, available from Pet Supplies Plus and Tractor Supply.  They have always done well on it and the price is reasonable.  And of course they get healthy human food leftovers.

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Please do not feed 4Health.  It's one of over 40 foods that has been found to cause heart failure in dogs.  Right now Royal Canin, Purina, Hills, Eukanuba and Iams are on the list of brands with no cases.

Corn does not cause diarrhea in most dogs.  Parasites, sudden change in diet and other things will cause diarrhea.

There is no one dewormer that kills all parasites, so it's best to have a fecal sample sent to a lab to check prior to deworming.

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1 hour ago, Liz P said:

...40 foods that has been found to cause heart failure in dogs....

What I've been reading says that that the named foods are "linked" to DCM in dogs, not that they've been proven to "cause" it. That's a very important distinction.

I've read that there has been no definitively proven cause for the DCM. Some people are questioning whether it could be the very high level of starches of all kinds in commercial dry foods and also whether the extreme heat that ultra processed foods are subjected to might be a factor. The one common thread I've seen is that at this point no one knows the cause with any certainty.

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/blog/update-on-grain-free-diets-and-dcm-cases-in-dogs/?MailingID=88&utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Update+on+New+FDA+Report+About+DCM+Cases+in+Dogs&utm_campaign=WIR20190714-CompleteHealthyDog

 

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I suspect, if your puppy is putting on weight, that it is a combination of the stress of the change in her circumstances and the change in water that may be giving her diarrhoea.  One of my boys has a sensitive stomach after green potato poisoning as a puppy, and will get diarrhoea during any lengthy trip (including in the car if we do not stop for a poop run every hour or so - ask me how I know!).  And that includes on the drive to wherever we are going, so the stress can take effect quickly.  I was told by a few people when I started trialling in agility to take my own water from home for my dog as the stress of changing water could make a sensitive gut worse. 

It sounds like she may be starting to adjust, if her poops are starting to form up.  So long as she is eating and drinking well, and still putting on weight, I would not worry too much, so long as the diarrhoea is coming to an end.  There is a huge variation in size of BCs.  Keep an eye on her body condition, and how quickly she is finishing her food, as her demands will change as she goes through growth spurts.

I would also try to transition off of Pedigree once she is over the current issues.  I am not going to recommend a particular food - you know your own situation best in terms of cost/access/time etc.   Do your research, apply cautious judgement about the sources of the information you are reading and whatever biases they may have and make the best decision you can given the information available. It is all any of us can do.  Our dogs will not love us any less.

 

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Nutritional DCM has been around for a long time.  We just saw a huge surge in it when people started feeding brands that had zero feeding trials behind them.  I know vets who have been researching this for decades.  I see no reason for people to be taking a huge risk and feeding diets with nothing more than good marketing behind them when foods proven through research to be nutritionally complete are available.

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She always keen for her food. 

It's so hard because you just want what's best for them but there is many options. I'm definitely getting her off the pedigree though. 

 

I think if the diarrhea does continue I will do as suggested and get her poo tested before proceeding, I think she has been through enough without more potentially unnecessary treatments. 

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A home remedy for diarrhea is a few teaspoons of plain canned pumpkin mixed with regular food.  Of course this does not address the cause, but it can relieve symptoms.  Don't use pumpkin pie filling, the ingredients should say 100% pumpkin.

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18 hours ago, Liz P said:

Nutritional DCM has been around for a long time...

Yes, and if that's the case then it's unlikely to be "caused" by some limited recently named brands.

I'm not trying to be argumentative. I have no dog in this fight as I don't feed any commercial dog foods.

 

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4 hours ago, GentleLake said:

Yes, and if that's the case then it's unlikely to be "caused" by some limited recently named brands.

I'm not trying to be argumentative. I have no dog in this fight as I don't feed any commercial dog foods.

 

How in the world does logic bring you to that conclusion?  We've known for decades which brands cause it.  It's not ALL foods.  It's certain foods.  These new fad diets do NOT have any research behind them.  Any fool celebrity can put out their own brand.

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The named brands are only the ones that have had reported claims. Can you state conclusively that all DCM has been reported and linked to a specific brand of dog food? Or that there have been no DCM cases where the affected dogs were fed only one brand of dog food?

And if it's been known for decades then it must not be exclusive (I know it isn't anyway) to grain free foods, since I don't believe that they've been around, or at least very extensively used, for decades. (Please correct me if I'm wrong. As I said, I don't feed commercial foods and haven't for nearly 20 years. I don't remember grain free foods being touted when I was still feeding commercial foods.)

I'm genuinely curious, Liz, and not being snide, but if the DCM issues with these brands have been known for years, why do, or until very recently did, you feed one of them to your own dogs?

 

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For the last 10 years I've fed almost exclusively one brand, aside from a period during which I could not get it due to shipping issues.  The first ingredients were fish meal, chicken meal and corn.

A brief history of DCM in pets:

Phase one took place many decades ago, before my time.

Vets noticed lots of cats are dying of this new form of heart disease.  They did some research.  Oops!  Turned out cats are really dependent on taurine, so they changed things to make sure they get plenty in their diets.

Phase two took place a few decades ago.  I know some of the researchers who were involved.

People were starting to become more conscious of dog food and demanding of "all natural" and new and exciting things like novel proteins.  Back then, novel meant stuff like lamb instead of chicken and rice instead of corn.  Rare cases of DCM in breeds not known to suffer from it popped up.  More research was done.  All these dogs were found to be eating one of a few brands of food.  Back then, there just weren't many brands of food, so the pattern was easier to spot in one sense, but harder in the sense that most people still fed the mainstays like Purina and Hills.

At this point researchers realized that dogs, like cats, could also suffer from nutritional DCM.  The companies were approached and claimed to have fixed the issue, though vets were still getting reports of nDCM occasionally.  Still, not many people fed these brands, so the general public was, for the most part, blissfully unaware.

Phase three started about 15 years ago.  

People were really starting to become obsessed with dog food.  More brands hit the market.  They were touting more natural formulas, high in animal proteins and low in plant products (Innova Evo for example).  They were indeed mostly protein.  They had their hearts in the right place.  Then things got out of hand.  Their marketing worked too well.  All of a sudden grain free was all the rage.  More and more pet owners started to switch.

Phase four started more recently, maybe 5 years ago.

By this time grain free was everywhere.  You were a horrible pet owner if you were feeding corn.  Companies saw big money.  Everyone was rushing grain free formulas to the market.  As is typical of companies, they wanted to maximize profit.  As pet owners become more educated about food, they had to become trickier to do so.

Pet owners wanted to see high protein levels.  Pet food companies started to add more and more plant based proteins to artificially increase the tested levels.  They started to add peas and other legumes in increasing amounts, slowly eroding at the actual amount of animal based protein in their diets.

Pet owners became aware of reading labels and that ingredients listed higher were found in larger amounts (by weight).  They wanted to see "real meat at the first ingredient."  Pet food companies got smart.  Things like meat meal are nutrient dense whereas something like fresh, deboned chicken breast is mostly water.  So by weight, fresh meat would appear high on a list while actually containing relative low nutrient density.  

They also started ingredient splitting.  Instead of listing peas or whole peas, they would list the components separately (pea fiber, pea protein, etc).  This would bump the components lower on the list of ingredients.

What does that mean on a label?

A food that has ground yellow corn as their number one ingredient and poultry byproduct meal as the second ingredient may actually contain a lot more animal protein that a food that lists fresh chicken meat as their number one and potato starch, pea fiber, pea protein as their next few ingredients.

So now all of a sudden we have a massive number of people feeding these new diets and a huge shift in ingredients.  And then the DCM cases started to pour in.

 

 

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Liz P - thank you for breaking down the history and complexity of this issue.  I have not been around dogs for the whole time, and was shaky on the history.  It almost feels like the harder people try to do the right thing for our dogs, the easier it is to muck up!

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Liz P, thanks for that info, which I read carefully.

I have been in a quandary lately, not knowing what is best to feed my dogs. I want to give them the best I can afford, but genuinely don't know at this point what that is. I am not prepared to feed an all raw diet, and fear that if I did I would be missing essential things. I have been feeding grain-free, but not the super expensive brands because reading the ingredients labels shows me their ingredients are no better than what I am feeding. I now wonder if I should switch off grain free, and my next bag will be a meat-and-rice kibble.

I supplement the kibble with things like cooked chicken, canned dog food, cooked beef, cottage cheese, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, to add protein and yummy for them. Still don't know if that is the right thing. One source said that as dogs age they should have a little more protein, then someone told me that's wrong and they should have less. I know better than to fall for marketing hype, but did get on the grain-free wagon which I now am thinking might have been foolish of me. Now, I just don't know who to believe.

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Thanks for the history, Liz, though it sidesteps answering the questions I asked. There sure are a lot of deceptive practices in the industry.

If anyone's looking to supplement their current diets to add taurine, fresh meats, including beef, chicken and salmon (avoid farmed and raw Pacific salmon for other reasons) and dairy are good sources of taurine. Heart (of any species AFAIK) contains the most taurine and dark meat chicken has more than light meat.

Heat destroys the naturally occurring taurine in meats and dairy, so it should be fed raw. If you must cook it do it at low heat, like in a slow cooker or dehydrator set to low and cooked for the least time you can tolerate.

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Nothing I ever say will be good enough for you.  I am hoping to make people stop and think before they blindly follow the advice of pet store employees trying to sell them food.

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Not fair, Liz. I appreciate your explanations and said as much. I especially appreciated that you laid bare some of the disingenuous practices that have been being used in the industry. I was simply trying to understand why you made the decisions you did given what you'd written.

Thank you for the time spent untangling this issue that far too many people still seem to be confused about given all the media hype and and resulting confusion when there are too few solid answers being provided, or at least not showing up with the same spotlight on them. It can be really hard to cut through the advertising hype and, again, I appreciate your taking the time to write what you did.

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