Thursday, March 20, 2014

This Is Why I Can't Have Children

They're doomed to have digestive issues.

If you've been around this blog for any amount of time, you know that Lilly suffers from unexplained bouts of diarrhea on a fairly regular basis. Despite my best efforts, and the best efforts of numerous veterinarians, no one knows why. I have my theories, but I can't seem to prove a single one of them. I've tried countless experiments, supplements, feed changes, and medicines... you name it, I've probably tried it. It's to the point where we all just shrug our shoulders and are thankful that she doesn't also get sick and dehydrated. I always have a supply of Desitin on hand for the times when things get really bad. I've just learned to cope.

I've realized that the poo gods are punishing me for some reason, because now I'm dealing with a similar issue with Rylee.

I want to be just like my big sister!
Back on the morning of March 4th, all was right with the world. I had her on a food I really liked and I had her dry skin and minor allergy problem under control. She was a good weight, had a shiny coat, a good appetite, solid poo, and had a never ending supply of energy. On the evening of March 4th, though, it all came crashing down.

As a side note, does anyone obsess over poo more than pet owners? Just sayin...

Because of my work schedule, I'm home with her until about 3pm and then I go into work. I get home around 1am so her schedule is shifted to accommodate me. She eats breakfast around noon and dinner around 1:15am. So that evening, when I got home and went upstairs to get her out of the crate, there was a mess inside. She never goes in her crate, so I knew something was wrong. When I took her outside to do her business, she had liquid poo... as in straight up liquid. I thought to myself, "well, that explains why she probably couldn't hold it all evening..." She's had an upset tummy before (she's a bit sensitive), but I just add in a little bit of pumpkin with her food and it seems to help. No big deal, I had a can in the pantry.

I mixed up her food and she ate it right up. As I was cleaning up in the kitchen, I saw her go into the living room and then she started acting suspicious. We have a sectional couch that blocks my view from the kitchen, and it sits on a nice area rug, so I went over to see what she was doing and found a giant pile of vomit. Since she had just eaten her food, it was still pretty much what had just gone down.

Our entire first floor is hardwoods, minus the area rug... could she have vomited on the wood floor? Of course not.

I wasn't overly concerned yet, although slightly irritated that she did it on the rug, and I ran back into the kitchen to get a bowl and spoon to clean up the mess. As I was cleaning it up, I heard a noise over on the other side of the couch... she had thrown up again. At least it was on the hardwoods this time. So I hurried up and finished getting the solid stuff off the rug and then went back into the kitchen to get some paper towels and 409 for the floor. While cleaning up what was on the wood floor, I noticed she had some poo in her vomit. This is when I got really worried. Why is there poo in her stomach? Immediately I start thinking she might have some kind of obstruction somewhere. While I was preoccupied with that, she threw up on the rug again, and again.

"How much food did I feed you?!"

I grabbed my phone and called my vet, knowing they'd have an emergency number on their recording. Once I had that number, I called them up. After explaining what was happening, they recommended I bring her in right away. She had quite a bit of water while I was on the phone with the vet, and I'll remember to take that away from her if this ever happens again. It was about 2:30am at this point, and we loaded up and I sped towards the vet hospital.

Rylee rides in the back seat of my brand new truck (2014... bought it in December). I have a canvas hammock back there that keeps her from rolling onto the floor if things get dicey, and it keeps my seats nice and clean. About 5 minutes into our trip, I saw her lips get saggy and before I knew it, all the water she drank came right back up. *sigh* Not even 4,000 miles... I felt so bad for her, though... after throwing up, she came over and sat behind my seat with her head on my shoulder. I gave her little kisses on her nose and told her she'd be feeling better soon.

The emergency vet gave her a shot of anti-nausea medication when we got there and then went about getting her information. I told the vet to go ahead and do whatever she thought she needed to find out what was going on, so they took her back and had her for about two hours. They did blood work, x-rays, a parvo test (even though she's had all her vaccinations), and a thorough physical exam. She was pretty severely dehydrated, so they gave her subq fluids and came to the conclusion that they had no idea what was wrong with her. She was quite painful in her belly, but everything else came back normal, which was good, but we didn't have any idea why she was so sick. The vet said she thought Rylee might have some kind of virus, and maybe ate some of the poo in her crate, which is why I found it in her vomit.

The vet kept asking me what she could have eaten, but she's never unsupervised. She was fine Tuesday morning, and she was crated the whole time I was gone. We did play outside that morning, but I was with her at all times. I would know if she had found something gross to eat.

They sent us home with some cans of wet Science Diet i/d food and instructions on how to feed her a bland diet over the next couple days. No meds or anything, although they said the anti-nausea meds should last 24 hours. It was a rough couple days after that. I ended up taking a couple days off work because she couldn't go more than 2 or 3 hours without needing to go outside. It was still like liquid and occasionally she'd go in her crate and not even know it. The smell would wake me up and I'd look over and she would be sound asleep. I did a lot of cleaning, a lot of bathing, a lot of laundry, and not much sleeping.

On Thursday of that same week I took her into my regular vet because I was concerned with her being dehydrated again and since the emergency vet didn't give me any meds, I thought she might need something. Her poo was too watery to get a stool sample, so I told them if it ever was solid enough, I'd take in a sample for them. Since her illness was a mystery, they gave me some antibiotics and probiotics to give her over the next couple days. We figured things would start to clear up shortly.

By Sunday she was doing better and I didn't need to take her outside nearly as often. Her poo was now more like pudding, but I was glad it was starting to get at least a little solid. I took them a sample that Monday and it came back negative, including giardia, which was a hypothesis for her mystery illness.

Since that Sunday, though, which was the 9th, her poo has been like pudding. I just kept waiting and waiting for it to start to get more solid looking. I anxiously awaited every potty break and was subsequently disappointed with what I saw. Once her probiotics and antibiotics ran out, I started to wonder. I know antibiotics can sometimes cause loose poo, so two days after they ran out, I called my vet again. I spoke to one of the techs and she said Rylee might just need a bit more probiotic. So this past Monday I went in and got a box of 30 pills. She told me to give it some time to work, but if things happened to get worse, definitely give them a call.

Well, things got worse. Tuesday we were back to liqui-poo so I called the vet and took her in today. They did another fecal, although somehow this one was different, and it came back normal. Since no one has a clue, she gave me a broad spectrum dewormer in case she has some weird parasite, which will take at least 4 weeks to work. The first dose kills off any active parasites, and the second does 3 weeks later kills off any that might be eggs right now. She also wanted me to switch her food to Science Diet i/d kibble (of course she did). If the food and/or dewormer doesn't help her, then we'll have to start more extensive tests... like an ultrasound and a test for EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency), which is common in German Shepherds. I was already reading up on that as a possible cause and I don't think she fits the bill, but it would definitely be something that would need to be ruled out.

As far as food goes, she was doing great on the Fromm Large Breed Puppy food. She's been on it for months, but I suppose it's possible that maybe it's too rich for her right now. I don't much care for the Science Diet stuff, but I'm willing to give it a shot because at least it'll shut my vet up. I'd actually rather just give her boiled chicken and rice, but perhaps that'll come later.

My regular vet doesn't think Rylee had a virus... she thinks it might be a parasite. If we were just dealing with diarrhea, I might think that, but what caused the horrible night of non-stop vomiting? It's the piece I can't figure out.

Why, why, why?? I just don't know. The poo gods hate me.


  1. Setting aside all the "ewwwwws" because really, I cannot think of one animal lover who hasn't been through this, I agree with your theory that it doesn't sound like a parasite. It might could be that, but given that she is never unsupervised.....

    Have they checked her liver enzymes? I'm just pulling stuff out of my memory bank that I can remember as having caused those sorts of symptoms. Liver failure, pancreatitis, kidney problems, diabetes. It can't be a blockage or you would have less poo. I'm sure there is something I am forgetting. I can tell you one thing. Don't count on your vet to do the research for you. I almost always have to do my own to get strange issues like this solved. Oh and on the dog food, follow your gut, lamb and rice or chicken and rice is going to be way better. Science Diet is literally one of the worst foods on the market. With the troubles she is having, bland will do her better. Sounds like her appetite is still good, which is a very good thing.

    I know you did ask for advice, but I gave it anyway. Hope you don't mind.

    1. I always want advice! Even if I don't ask for it. :)

      Yeah, I'm not real happy with my vet, and there are two at the practice, and both of them have seen Rylee. I'm thinking about taking her to get a third opinion somewhere because I still have seen zero improvement since we started all this last Thursday.

      Once this bag of Science Diet is done, I'm done. I can say I tried it, it didn't work, and I'll be moving her on to something else. She has a really good appetite and seems to feel great, minus the diarrhea.

      They did blood work before her spay (although I don't know what that entails) and also blood work that night I took her to the emergency hospital. I'll have to check it over again and see what exactly they check.

  2. First, I hope Rylee starts feeling better soon!

    We went through something similar with Skoshy a few years ago. We were even getting blood which seriously freaked me out. When Husband scooped her up and went out the door without a word I really had that terrible feeling I had just seen the last of my girl. Fortunately that was not the case. The vet sent us home with antibiotics and meds to stop the diarrhea (it was some sort of red paste in a tube that looked like tomato paste, wish I could remember the specifics). The vet felt it was probably a bacterial infection from getting into something dead (insert eww here). The thing is, she started showing improvement right within days so if it's a similar problem you'd think Rylee would be feeling better by now.

    But Skosh isn't our only poopy dog. A while back, just out of the blue, we started having poop problems with Shorty. Not completely liquid but messy enough. And we were finding it at the front door and in closets so she clearly couldn't hold it long enough to make it outside. With her we finally concluded food allergy. Seemed strange to just happen but the vet said that the only thing strange was she was a bit young for that and it was more normal to happen around two (she was about a year and half). Anyway, solution to happy poop has been a reduced ingredient diet (no wheat, corn, soy) and no chicken (chicken is instant diarrhea for Shorty). That goes for treats and meals.

    So that's everything I've got on dog poop. I hope you can finally appease the poo gods. And again, well wishes to Rylee.

    1. Thank you!

      Rylee had some blood the first couple days too, which is why they tested her for Parvo. I guess the blood was because of how badly irritated her digestive system was, or so they tell me. I was hoping I'd get something like what you got... I wanted something to help stop the diarrhea, but they wanted to just let it run its course.

      Food allergy has been suggested before too, but I don't know how that ties into the vomiting... unless it is just coincidence? Or can an allergy make her vomit, but just one night?

  3. I'm leaning toward food allergy. You might try the Nature's Domain, or even moving her to blue Buffalo, if you have the money. We personally like the Nature's Domain. One of our cats had a food allergy and we moved to Blue Buffalo, and the other cat had a horrible reaction to BB. So, we went to the Nature's Domain and now they both are happy.

    1. As a thought, we've raised two Malinios and four boxers on Kirkland Lamb and Rice. They are a healthy weight, have boundless energy and great coats. We've never had an issue with food allergies. You might think about trying it.

      Even if you've been feeding the same food for months, does not mean the food is being processed the same or mixed the same by the manufacturer. Just a thought.

    2. She's almost 9 months old, so I was thinking about changing her over from the large breed puppy food to adult dog food. That would give me a few more choices. I'll look into the Kirkland food, thanks for the suggestion!

      I originally had her on BB, but I did a ton of research on food and decided I wasn't thrilled with the company, which is why I switched her to the Fromm. I'll look into the Nature's Domain too, and maybe some limited ingredient foods.


      Thanks for the info!