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Griffin's digestive woes - pancreas issues?

Discussion in 'Health & Nutritional Care' started by leavesofjoy, May 12, 2020.

  1. leavesofjoy

    leavesofjoy Big Dog Premium Member

    So Griffin has had off and on digestive issues his whole life. Some of it is food allergies, we think, to peas, since once we cut those out, he did well for a while, until his food was reformulated and we switched to Fromm. Since then, he'll do well for a few weeks, then get a round of diarrhea, which clears up in a few days, ok for a while, starting all over again, etc. We've tried lots of other foods since then, and the Fromm isn't perfect, but it's the one he's sick on the least.

    The vet wants us to try Science Diet hypoallergenic food, which it may come to, but I don't think that's very good quality, and I'd like to investigate other possibilities first, in case it's something more complicated than food intolerances. Otherwise, the vet is very casual about it all, saying we just have to try things, or let him live with it since it always clears up; or take him to a bigger vet for a colonoscopy & intrusive exams which might not tell us anything anyway.

    But lately there is a bit of a pattern that I think might help us figure it out. We have a vet appointment on Thursday, but with the new ways it's set up for social distancing, I won't have much time to talk to the vet, so I want to be sure to get all my questions in a note, and make sure I communicate everything I need to.

    Griff's diarrhea lately has been greasy looking and grey or streaked with grey, and less often, orangey-yellow. I read online that can indicate pancreatic problems, and that makes sense, since if he gets any treats with much fat in them, it goes off worse. High protein also sets it off. So I'm going to ask the vet to do the blood test for Pancreatic Insufficiency, to see if that's the issue. The problem is we have a conservative-approach country vet who never wants to do testing, he just likes to "treat empirically" to save people money by just trying things to see what happens. I can afford testing, but I might need some convincing arguments to get him to do it.

    I would appreciate any pointers from anyone who has been through pancreatic issues with their dog, or whose dog had these same symptoms. I'm not asking you folks to replace my vet, just for help in what to ask, what I need to know to get Griffin help, etc. He's such a sweet dog, and he's 7 now with this issue his whole life, poor dude. He's otherwise really healthy, good weight, lots of energy, good coat, which I think is why the vet doesn't believe anything serious is wrong. But I feel like diarrhea for 4 days a month is just not normal.

    Thanks, folks!
    Capt. Roxy likes this.
  2. oldman

    oldman Little Dog

    I would try cutting out all treats and see if that makes a difference.
    Capt. Roxy likes this.
  3. leavesofjoy

    leavesofjoy Big Dog Premium Member

    He doesn't get any treats as it is, poor dog. For nail trimming, training, etc. all he gets is plain boiled chicken breast. That's all he can handle, it seems. This is a long running issue and we have tried everything we can think of, so that's why I am pushing for the test to try & get some clarity.
  4. Capt. Roxy

    Capt. Roxy Good Dog Premium Member

    Hey you!! So glad to see you posting again but so sorry that Grif is having flare ups again.

    It does sound like he may be having a flare up of pancreatitis but only testing will tell for sure. How much fat is in his current feed? It’s so difficult to rule things out without proper diagnostics I’m sorry your vet is being so dismissive. I say advocate for him and make him do it!! I did that with Roxy when she had mrsp, I went in there growling and lunging, lol.... it works- it’s your money, your dog, and you have every right. Demand the proper testing because it’s not invasive and if he can’t see your point of view then it’s time to break up with him.

    Nat’s dog, Teddy, has the same issues as Griffin. He’s had on again/off again diarrhea since she brought him home. She feeds him Muenster now and he seems to be doing better but has occasional flare ups. I can see if she can hop on later when I talk to her.

    Food intolerances are tough to find unless you do a complete elimination diet and it’s so damn hard to find a feed without peas! Jer doesn’t handle high fats well either, he gets sticky runny stools and FirstMate works for him. It contains no peas/lentils but does have a bit of potatoes in it. It’s lower in fat too. He gets that mixed with home cooked.
  5. Capt. Roxy

    Capt. Roxy Good Dog Premium Member

  6. leavesofjoy

    leavesofjoy Big Dog Premium Member

    Hi there! Good to see you, too!

    Thanks for all the tips and points! I agree, the vet should test what I ask him to if it's not invasive, I do pay for it after all! We don't have much choice in vets here, and he is usually a good vet, he just has this weird insistence on keeping things cheap, even when I tell him I'm ok to spend some money. There is a more holistic vet further away, but they're not taking anyone new right now, so it's up to me to go mama bear on our current one and get this done!!!

    Right now Griff is on Fromm Adult Gold, which is 16% fat. Not high, but not low either. We have been on such a quest to switch him to a better food, but there have been none that work for him. I think that might be more about his gut than the foods, so I want to get this deeper issue figured out and balanced, then maybe we can find something else for him once he's stable.

    We did do a full food elimination diet many years ago when we figured out it was the peas, so I'm sure of that part of it, and the fat is looking like a pattern, but I'm tired of guessing and just throwing random remedies at him.

    We tried the First Mate, and it made him really crazy thirsty and pee SO MUCH! I think the blueberries were too diuretic for him. I haven't heard of the Muenster, I will look into it.
    Capt. Roxy likes this.
  7. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Staff Member Administrator

    Capt. Roxy likes this.
  8. Capt. Roxy

    Capt. Roxy Good Dog Premium Member

    Hmmmm, I think vets differ on this but I’ve heard most vets say stay below 12% for pancreas issues but I think AVMA suggests anything below 18? The ones that my dogs have seen (I’ve used this particular practice for over 17yrs) suggest to stay anywhere between 8-12%. They add new young vets every couple of years too so they try to keep up with modern medicine too.

    Hope the visit goes well and you can get some answers. Belly rubs for Griff!
  9. leavesofjoy

    leavesofjoy Big Dog Premium Member

    This is good to know, so his food is a bit high fat then if he has pancreas issues. I'm not investigating too much right now, until we know what's up for sure, since it's a rabbit hole of possibilities. But Fromm does a lower fat one, so that's a possibility if we need to go that way. It might be a few days before we know, I don't think they can test in house, but I'm hopeful to get some clarity for my poor sweet boy.
    Capt. Roxy likes this.
  10. leavesofjoy

    leavesofjoy Big Dog Premium Member

    We had our vet visit last Thursday, and it went well, Griffin was happy to be led off by the vet, and he was a "very good boy" for the blood draw- "he just loves everyone!" is the comment we always get. He's been on a course of flagyl since then, and his diarrhea cleared up fast on that, and he is much more perky.

    We got test results back today, and there are no real answers there. His pancreatic enzymes are very high, not low like we expected. Vet says this could be a range of things, so this Thursday, we're taking him back in for a more complete blood analysis to check for kidney issues and Addison's.

    We actually landed with a different vet with the same clinic, younger & more aggressive about digging into things, so I am confident we will figure it out, although I am worried about my sweet boy, too. But he's acting fine, really no other clinical symptoms, so I am hoping that means nothing too serious.

    I will post more updates when we have them, but for now, it's TUG TIME!!!!
    Capt. Roxy, Nat Ursula and Michele like this.
  11. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Staff Member Administrator

    Please keep us updated. Glad he's feeling better.
  12. Nat Ursula

    Nat Ursula Good Dog

    Awww...keep us posted pls. Teddy has some ongoing digestive issues as well.
  13. leavesofjoy

    leavesofjoy Big Dog Premium Member

    We got our results back, and all his tests are ok. The vet was worried about addison's, kidney issues, and some other possibilities, but thankfully, none of that is the case. So, she says it's likely a food intolerance causing pancreatic inflammation causing the diarrhea which causes malabsorption which causes pancreatic inflammation and on and on.

    So, she suggested a couple hypoallergenic foods to do a 12 week food trial, and we're going to try the Royal Canin Moderate Calorie vet diet. She said he needs a lower fat one for sure, and that one should help us get him to a reset point and let his system heal. It's not the kind of food I'd normally like to give him, but the foods we have been giving him aren't working, and I don't know what else to do for the poor dude.

    The hard part is going to be convincing hubby to not give him anything else to eat. Since it's a full-on food trial, the vet said he can't have anything else- no little bites of chicken, no corners of toast, no cheese for nail trimming. This will be hard!
    Capt. Roxy, Nat Ursula and Michele like this.
  14. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Staff Member Administrator

    I think you will be happy with the Royal Canin. There's also a Royal Canin for dogs with digestive issues.
    Capt. Roxy and Nat Ursula like this.
  15. leavesofjoy

    leavesofjoy Big Dog Premium Member

    It looks like a better prescription food than the purina or hill's version. The vet says he needs the completely hydrolized version to start with, to reset his system and let the reactivity & inflammation heal. Then later, we can try some regular foods & see how it goes.
    Capt. Roxy, Nat Ursula and Michele like this.
  16. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Staff Member Administrator

    My boy was on Royal Canin for many years. He did very well on it.
    leavesofjoy and Nat Ursula like this.
  17. Capt. Roxy

    Capt. Roxy Good Dog Premium Member

    Hi! I’m so glad you were able to get some answers! Did you end up picking out a formula? How’s he doing? They do have hydrolized protein cookies that share same ingredients as the food. I had to give Roxy hydrolized protein prior to her allergy testing and they gave us cookies with the food.

    Hope everyone is well.
    Michele likes this.
  18. leavesofjoy

    leavesofjoy Big Dog Premium Member

    Hi there! We're all doing fine, slowly venturing out a bit more myself, but still keeping hubby "locked in the basement" as he melodramatically puts it!

    We got the Royal Canin yesterday, man that stuff smells weird. Like cheap broth cubes. But Griff is BONKERS for it, so that's what matters. He had 1/4 serving of it today, we are transitioning slowly, and he ate it all up. I think we can use the kibble itself as treats, he seems to like it that much. I hope it likes him and helps him heal. We will take about 2 weeks to switch, and then the 8 week countdown starts.
    Capt. Roxy and Michele like this.
  19. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Staff Member Administrator

    Thanks for the update!! I'm glad Griff is doing better.
    Capt. Roxy likes this.

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