Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Help - My Westie has IBD

    Pierre is a nine-year-old West Highland Terrier. He has had stomach issues his entire life. For years, it was the occasional vomit of yellow bile. His stomach would make a gurgling noise, he would whine one time and that was all the warning we usually received. To be honest, we didn’t worry too much about it. He would eat and be perfectly fine. It wasn’t a problem until it was and then it was just scary. You can read about that episode in Our Poor Little Guy.

   Over the past two years, we have been extremely diligent in not allowing Pierre to eat anything other than his prescription food, prescription treats and boiled chicken breast. He has been doing great until a couple of weeks ago. His stomach started making noise around 3:00am and by 3:10 I was in the backyard with him while he threw up and started having diarrhea. His stomach was full to touch and he had gas. We were shocked and disheartened. He had been doing sooooo well! I still had medicine from his previous bout of “gastroenteritis” which stops the two main symptoms. We continued this for another day before deciding to call the vet.

   They did a complete blood workup, x-rayed his stomach and I also brought a stool sample for testing. Pierre was given subcutaneous fluid (under his skin) while he was there. We left him there and picked him up a couple of hours later. He was already feeling better when they brought him to us. We kept him in his kennel in the living room so we could make sure he was okay. If he got sick, we could control the mess to his bedding. (Both the boys love their kennel and will go sleep in it anytime its in the house) He was only sick one more time.

   The vet called the next morning to check on Pierre. He was acting like his normal fun-loving self so she would call back with the test results. The fecal result was negative for parasites, so we were waiting for the test for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. We all were fairly certain it would come back positive. The lab needed more blood, so we had to take Pierre back up for another blood draw.

   We received the news yesterday that Pierre does have IBD. I’ve done some quick research on the subject and this is what I know so far…

What is IBD?

   Inflammatory bowel disease causes the inflammation of the intestines and chronic symptoms that are related to the gastrointestinal system. Veterinarians don’t really know the exact cause and that is one of the reasons Pierre was diagnosed with gastroenteritis. The culprit is believed to be an abnormal immune system response to normal inhabitant bacteria in the intestine causing inflammation. It can affect dogs of any age, but it is seen more often in middle-aged and senior dogs.

What are the Symptoms of IBD?

• Diarrhea

• Weight Loss

• Depression

• Chronic intermittent vomiting

• Gas

• Abdominal pain

• Rumbling and gurgling stomach

• Bright red blood in stool

• Unable to get comfortable

• Panting/rapid breathing

What is the Cause of IBD?

   This is a tough one to answer because there are several factors that could be the cause. Hypersensitivity to bacteria and/or food allergies are thought to be a major influence in this disease. Food sensitivities include meat proteins, food additives, artificial coloring, preservatives, mile proteins, and gluten (wheat). Pierre’s current prescription food and treats both contain wheat which is what probably caused his flare-up.

   Pierre has been dealing with this since he was a pup, so I believe genetics also played a role in his diagnosis.

How to Find Out if Your Dog has IBD

   Your vet needs to know your dog’s history with stomach issues. Pierre has only been seeing our vet for the last two and half years. We are very appreciative that she recommended this test, so we have a diagnosis based on bloodwork.

   A complete physical exam, blood count, biochemistry profile and urinalysis will be needed along with a fecal exam to rule out parasites. X-rays can show any abnormalities. We could see the gas in Pierre’s stomach on his x-ray. There are more in-depth tests that might be needed if a diagnosis is not obvious through the lab work. Your vet will advise you of which would be best for your dog.

Is there a Cure?

   There is really no cure for IBD, but it can be successfully managed. The goal is different for each dog in accordance with the severity of their symptoms.

   For Pierre, we are striving to stop his nausea, gassiness, and diarrhea long term. He is currently taking an 1/8 of a teaspoon of Tylosin sprinkled on his food twice daily. It is amazing how such a small amount of medicine can make such a difference but so far, so good.

   We are also transitioning him to a prescription hydrolyzed food. That means it’s made with hydrolyzed proteins that break down into tiny pieces so the can be easily absorbed. This will have less chance of causing an immune reaction than regular proteins.

   In addition to changing his diet, we are adding probiotics to his meals.

   This will be a lifelong issue but one that we will hopefully be able to control now that we’ve identified the problem. Throughout the entire ordeal, Pierre has still been the happiest little man ever!

Resources: PetMD

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16 comments :

  1. thanks for a super informative post... IBD sadly happens in weimaraners too very often... and like you said it often is treated as gastroenteritis... hugs to pierre, we are glad your vet is always there for you and you can act now to lower the symptoms...

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  2. What a bummer Pierre! We are glad you have a diagnosis to work with and you are starting to feel better. Hopefully you will find the right diet and medicine to keep you feeling terrierific for many years to come.

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  3. We are sure glad you are feeling better Pierre and we hope you and your Mom can manage the IBD without any issues!

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  4. That does not sound like fun at all, P. TWO vet visits makes two too many! We're glad you're feeling better with your new medicine. Stay strong, little buddy. Sounds like you're in good hands!

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

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  5. Pierre, we hope you feel better and the new diet will help. Hugs to you!

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  6. Pierre I'm so sorry. One of my first grandkitties had IBD so I know how uncomfortable it makes you feel. Sending healing gentle hugs to you and your staff
    Cecilia

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  7. Poor Pierre!

    Hope you feel better soon.

    Sending healing purrs and vibes your way xx

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  8. We're glad you're feeling better, Pierre ! We hope everything works well with your new diet. Purrs

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  9. We're sorry Pierre has IBD. Sounds like it affects dogs similarly as cats. We hope his new diet and meds help.

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  10. We hope Pierre's IBD can be managed so he will feel better! Poor pup! (None of the doggies in this house ever had anything like that, thankfully.)

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  11. Poor Pierre, we sure hope the medicine keeps his IBD under control and feeling good!

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  12. Aww, poor Pierre! We are sure glad your parents and vet are on top of this to help you manage that IBD. We hope that new diet helps you feel even better, sweet boy. Purrs!

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  13. So sorry your sweet little boy is suffering from IBD. No fun at all. Hopefully you'll be able to manage the condition so he doesn't have too many episodes. Hang in there, Pierre and relish the extra attention! 💙Good luck with the new food.

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  14. Poor Pierre! Wish all the best to you!

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  15. Poor Pierre! We hope you get everything under control now that you know what you are dealing with. I think our beagle Kobi may have had a bit of this too...he had the same symptoms as Pierre's early ones sometimes. But for him it never became a big issue. Give big hugs to Pierre for us!

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  16. Oh noes dude! That sucks. Ma's Angel Annie had chronic colitis her whole life, so she knows what you're dealin' with! I am so glads you have a plan, and it is working...nothin' worse than the rumbling tummy at zero-dark-thirty! I'll keeps my paws crossed it stays under control my furiend!
    {{{hugs}}}'
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

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