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Giardia – Alangus Mini Aussies: A Dog Blog
Oct 142014
 

Until Swagger was my keeper to use as a stud dog with my girls, I hadn’t had experience with an intact male and the minor issues that arise.  Swagger is a superb pet while being a major part of my breeding program so I strive to keep him healthy and happy in order to pass along his best traits to the next generation of pups at Alangus Mini & Toy Aussies.

The only true issue that I have encountered is keeping Swagger at an optimum weight.   With the assistance of Dr. Laurelee Rubsch of MVP Vet in Louisville, KY, I have found the perfect combination of food and supplements to keep him feeling his best.   Because there are other dogs in the general population that might encounter similar stumbling blocks (both male and female, breeding and non-breeding), Dr. Rubsch’s holistic approach is worth sharing.

Although my dogs are house dogs and live a basically calm life, there are times that they inadvertently  reach their stress limit, just as we do.  Because of Swagger’s situation with intact girls cycling, he would sometimes be off his food whether it was a time for them to be bred or not.  Once he stopped eating, it seemed a bellyache would start a cycle for him and he blamed the food for his belly ache and then to “save” himself, he didn’t want to eat again, a downhill spiral.

Once I pinpointed that Swagger does much better on kibble that does not contain chicken or chicken fat, that was the first step to his feeling like the little man he was meant to be.  Once I ruled out foods with chicken, it was even more difficult to find foods that did not have chicken fat because it is a staple in the majority of dog foods.  I won’t say that he has an “allergy” to that protein source, but I will say that his stomach flora seems to be much more stable on other proteins.  My veterinarian tells me, as does Internet research that this is very common, more common than I had realized.

My next step was reading about irritable bowel syndrome, which can be a disease, but often is a symptom as in Swagger’s case from the cycle I mentioned earlier.  That led me to adding Tripett Canned Green Tripe  to his daily menu. Tripe is the stomach contents from cud chewing animals and is a natural probiotic. It is not a whole food in itself, but 1/3 can each day gets Swagger off to a good start just like a good breakfast sets us up to perform at our best.  I only feed my girls once each day, but Swagger gets his tripe in the morning as an “extra”.  The girls love it too and I also give them some occasionally, although not on a regular basis.  The canned tripe is available online from www.chewy.com or at some pet supply stores.

Dr. Rubsch advised adding additional probiotics (Probiotic Miracle) to the menu as well as Standard Process Canine Enteric Support powder *1/8 teaspoon of each daily.  On my own, I also added Seacure for Pets because it is touted as another all natural supplement with awesome reviews (and I will add my own).  These 3 supplements along with the tripe have Swagger in the best condition he has ever been in and full of spunk and vinegar as is the saying around here. Note..these products are available on Amazon.

This regimen may seem extra, but I have seen the difference in the health of my boy. It is probable that once Swagger’s digestive system was stabilized, that the supplements could be discontinued but since they are only food source supplements and not drugs, I see no reason to make changes when it is working and working well!  If you find your dog under undue stress for any reason causing a stomach upset or loss of appetite, or they just need a boost to look their fittest, you might consider adding some “yummies” to their diet, but only after your veterinarian has checked them for underlying health problems that need additional treatment.

 

 

 

 

Jun 082013
 

I have a previous post about doggy diarrhea, but thought I’d pass along my recent experience.  Swagger has been attending doggy daycare a couple of days a week plus training one night a week in agility and to help him get ready to go into the show ring in the near future.  I added that so you’d know he has been out of my home environment a lot lately.  About three weeks ago, he lost his appetite, but I thought it was just because I had a girl in season which isn’t unusual for the little man of the household.  He hasn’t been a hearty eater anyway and was starting to look really thin…not good.

As it always happens, his symptoms of bloody diarrhea and prolific vomiting started to show up on a Saturday afternoon after all the local vets were closed.  I texted one of my contact vets and she didn’t seem concerned and just wanted me to hold food and give Pepcid and Pepto Bismol.  Because I’ve been down this road occasionally, I knew it was more than just an upset stomach but did as she instructed.  Sunday morning and things were much worse overnight.  Poor little buddy was sick…very sick and those sad eyes were asking for help.  Being Sunday….off we go to Blue Pearl, the emergency clinic in our neck of the woods for blood work and to be checked out.  I was seeing $$$ of course.

You guessed it….most likely good ole Giardia!  A quick Google search will give you all the info you need about this stomach bug aka protozoa that is all around and sometimes populates inside our poor doggy’s gut (and ours eeek!) and makes them very sick.  The biggest danger for Swagger was that he was thin at that point and could easily have become dehydrated, which luckily he didn’t.  Giardia is very difficult for a vet to test for because of its life stages, so typically the symptoms tell the story after ruling out something worse like pancreatitis or ingesting a tennis ball!

A diet of boiled chicken and rice along with a 5 day regimen of metronidazole did the trick.  I keep that drug in my stash and could have saved a couple hundred dollars, but you know, it could have been something else and I just didn’t want to risk my little boy.  All’s well that ends well!

Within a few hours, Swagger had his swag back on and was yearning to frisbee and had emptied his food bowl, asking for a second helping.  But metro is an antibiotic, so we all know it’s important to finish the round even if the pup is feeling better.

I put in a call to my breeder friend who is my goto when I have a question and asked her protocol.  She emailed me info that the metronidazole should be followed up with a 3 day round of fenbendazole (Safeguard) in the event the other drug didn’t clear the bad bugs from the system.  I buy Safeguard at Tractor Supply and use for worming my young puppies and also every 3 months with my adult dogs. It had been 3 months so it was time for a round anyway.  Giardia is very contagious, so I dosed everyone as a preventive and also to clear any worms that might be hanging around.  In my case, I had everything I needed for Swagger in my medicine cabinet but given the same symptoms again, I’d most likely make the same call for a vet’s advice.

It’s good to look back and say that was nothing serious and I’ll know next time.  Then the next time, when the symptoms show up, I second guess myself and start to worry that it could be more…and it always could.  I’m pretty confident with my dogs and their glitches and upsets, but never confident enough that I don’t seek a professional when it’s warranted.

 Posted by at 9:38 pm
Jun 192012
 

I know puppy poops is an odd topic, but since I have big dogs and little dogs in my house and I also run a busy pet sitting business, I see lots of them.

Of course, a normal dog poop should be firm and with shape and a normal brown color.  Sometimes, that’s just not what we find in the yard, unfortunately, and for lots of different reasons.

First, I’d like to address puppies.  The number one reason that the new puppy you just brought home has what I call pudding poop is stress and the second is a quick change in the food you’re feeding or too many treats.  Both of those have easy solutions.  If it’s stress related, give the puppy more time alone to rest away from the kids and commotion of life and perhaps add just a little yogurt to their meal to help their gut flora.  When changing puppy food, do so slowly by combining the new food with the old food for a few days before taking the old food out of the mix.

I should also mention that worms can cause puppies to have diarrhea, so be sure to rule out that possibility by either giving worm meds appropriately or having their stool checked by your vet.

Another reason for puppies to have pudding poop is a little more complicated.  Puppies have antibodies which protect them against all kind of stuff in the environment as long as they are nursing from their mommies.  Very shortly after they are weaned, their own bodies have to pick up the slack and do the work on their own.  A couple of “bugs” that are out there that can make a puppy sick with diarrhea are giardia and coccidia.  Most adult dogs have immunities but are often carriers so they can pass these ailments to puppies.  In addition, either can be picked up from the grass, standing water, or even from the floors or toys or bowls in our multi dog households.  You may even bring your puppy home from the breeder to find that they are in the process of “shedding” the organisms through their poop.  If the poop looks like it is encased in mucous or has some blood, those are indicators that they need some medicine from the vet, usually Flagyl for Giardia and Albon for Coccidia. Although not immediately life threatening, small puppies can get dehydrated and we just don’t want their bellies to hurt, so get them in for a checkup.  In most cases, the vet will want to also treat your other dogs because both are highly contagious.

In a worst case scenario and if your puppy is very sick and lethargic along with diarrhea, get the vet ASAP because they just might have Parvo.  Luckily, very early treatment and intervention raise the chances of survival.  You will know the difference between a romping puppy with loose stools and a sick puppy.

Diarrhea in adult dogs often is the result of eating too much food, stress, too many treats, or food from our plates.  I see stress diarrhea a lot with my pet sit clients because our dogs are a little confused when we leave for an extended period of time.  I keep a probiotic called DogZymes on hand and have terrific success with adding a small amount to each meal to keep tummies feeling good.  It is available from NaturesFarmacy.com.  It is an all natural product and I have seen no ill effects, only positive results.  I use it for my own dogs when we are traveling or have guests in the house.

If, however, your adult dog has diarrhea with blood or mucous, they may also be fighting off giardia or coccidia as mentioned above.  My dogs tend to get a round of giardia in the early Spring when there’s a lot of rain and my backyard grass is especially wet.  When I see that mucous in their stool, I immediately give them a round of Flagyl.

This may be more than you wanted to know about puppy poops, but if you are intrigued by the topic, the Internet provides all kinds of detailed information about the ailments I mentioned.

 Posted by at 8:33 pm