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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Falling between stools

Dear Dogs Today,

We are the proud owners of a three-
year-old (four in June) Tamaskan bitch and an eight-year-old collie cross bitch. Our problem lies with Willow, the Tamaskan. As is common with Arctic breeds she has a very sensitive digestive system and when she was a young adult she was fed Burns Venison and Brown Rice with very little disruption to her digestion. Unfortunately a couple of years ago we had difficulty sourcing that particular type and slowly introduced her onto Burns Chicken and Brown Rice. She had the occasional upset if she happened to scavenge but, within a couple of days, back to her usual self.

Early January this year she had a bout of chronic diarrhoea with liquid faeces evacuated under pressure! A campylobacter infection was positive from stool sample and treated with antibiotics. She was on Royal Canin Chicken and Rice sensitive for the duration. Three consecutive days stool samples after the antibiotics were clear.

Now, however, she has had diarrhoea for almost four weeks. She also came into season at the same time and the first couple of weeks she had very loose stools progressing to liquid (as described above). Her season has been slightly different too in that at no point has it become copious as previous but more just drips.

We initially fed her Royal Canin Chicken and Rice with the vet prescribing Pro-kolin with no improvement. If anything it became slightly worse with what looked like undigested fat among the liquid. A blood sample to check her pancreatic function came back normal. By now we had progressed onto boiled rice and chicken which we prepared ourselves, again with no improvement to the consistency. She eventually took a dislike to the boiled rice and would pick the chicken out. She has lost about a kilo of weight in a week on top of the weight she had already lost. She is currently about 19.6kg.

Vet is now thinking about a small bowel biopsy for a definitive diagnosis but a further blood test for biochemical levels showed that her blood protein and albumin levels as very low but there is no infection present. Quite rightly the vet does not want to biopsy her while her bloods are like this. Started on Prednisolone (5mg three tablets, twice daily) five days ago and feeding her, on the vet's advice, on boiled chicken and some Burns Chicken and Brown Rice. After the first 24 hours she produced her first solid poo in almost a month. The elation was short-lived however and we then went from cow pat consistency to liquid again today. Follow up appointment with vet in two days.

We are really very worried and she is very subdued and depressed. She has never lost her appetite although she would leave the boiled rice. We would be extremely grateful to hear from anyone whose had a dog with similar symptoms and what did they do? Should we change her diet completely (obviously would have to be introduced over time). Could she have developed an allergy to chicken? That seems to have been the only constant through all of this

The collie cross throughout this has been on her usual diet of Burns Chicken and Brown Rice and has no problems. She was tested for campylobacter during the first episode and she was clear.

Kind regards,

Andrina Robertson, by email


  1. Judith Stephens2 April 2013 at 10:34

    One of my dogs has had campobylacter several times and this has been the cause of his tummy problems. He is fed on Royal Canin gastrointestinal low fat diet with a few bits of chicken. If I gave him boiled rice and chicken it would go through him.
    Also I did a lot of research on the internet and I give him one garlic tablet for dogs a day and a spoonful of bio yoghurt with honey in every day.
    This has helped him a lot but any stress will also start his runny tummy off.
    I hope you can get your dog sorted out and it has taken us a very long time to get to this point.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. Willow had shown no improvement since my initial post and we've had a busy time of it with vets and Vet School visits. Willow had biopsies of stomach and small intestine and she has now been diagnosed with idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease. Her folate and blood protein was very low so at the moment she is on weekly B12 injections and Royal Canin Hypoallergenic Hydrolised protein diet. She was on the tinned variety with very thick cow pat consistency poo. We gradually got her on to the dried but her poo had turned very loose again. We have to keep her on this diet to get her protein level up but we would dearly like to change her diet completely as we think there is an intolerance in there somewhere.