Chronic Diarrhea and Fur Loss - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2014, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Chronic Diarrhea and Fur Loss

Marco is a 2-3 year-old GSD with chronic diarrhea. He also has "dandruff" and is losing lots of fur. I got him 3 months ago from my neighbor. Marco was tied outside and fed scraps. I constantly told them to feed him more and take him to the vet. Finally, they just gave him to me. I took him to the vet: got all of his shots, started him on metronidazole and Science Diet I/D. Things improved slightly, and then regressed when we finished the metronidazole. So started with the metronidazole again, but this time it did not work. He started losing weight, fur, and developed the excessive dandruff. The vet did blood work, tested for parasites: no parasites or infection found. So we wormed him again anyway. No improvement, so we tested for giardia and EPI. Those tests came back negative as well. We switched Marco to Science Diet Z/D and sulfasalazine. He is eating with no problem and has great energy and a wonderful, playful personality. He is just not putting on any weight, has constant diarrhea, and his skin is not improving. At this rate, I fear he will be bald and malnourished. The next step is endoscopy but my vet bill is already sky high, and the procedure is very expensive. From my understanding, the procedure will just tell us the name of his problem, but we will still have trial and error to find the right treatment. Has anyone gone through this? What did you do with your dog that worked?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2014, 01:20 PM
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Shot in the dark, but what about allergies? Some food allergies can be very severe... other than that I have no guesses, but I hope he feels better
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2014, 03:45 PM
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I had a rescued male GSD with similar chronic diarrhea and the diagnosis that we got, by default pretty much, was small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO. Before scheduling a colonoscopy and biopsy, my vet gave his blessing to trying Tylan powder. It worked wonderfully and got his diarrhea under control which got his weight back. My boy was 30 inches tall and only 70 pounds when he was seized by animal control officers for neglect. When I lost him due to a spinal cord tumor, he was 94 pounds and looked so good.

Tylan powder is sold in some feed stores and also on-line by It is very bitter, so I had to hide his dose (1/4 teaspoon twice daily) in empty gelatin capsules that I bought at a health food store. Each capsule would hold 1/8 teaspoon. My solution for filling the capsules was a cake decorating tip set and used these as a small funnel. Once he stabilized, we decreased his dose down to 1/8 teaspoon twice daily. If it went any lower or just once per day, the diarrhea returned. The container of Tylan filled nearly 300 capsules.

In addition, it does sound as though your boy may have some food sensitivies and I would suggest trying a limited ingredient or grain-fee dog food. It really is trial and error and can be very frustrating. Fish and oatmeal kibble worked for my GSD and a venison and brown rice formula worked for another dog of mine that came down with GI issues near the end of her life. You can add some zinc tablets to his daily regimen and fish oil capsules may help too.

This can be a frustrating road to travel on, but there are many people on here with experience.


Sabra - female GSD - born April 30, 2012
Sargeant - rescued senior GSD male/foster failure - approximately ten years old (August 2013)
Max - rescued GSD - Dec 22, 2010 to March 7, 2012 - at the bridge
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2014, 04:23 PM
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Could it be that your dog just can handle kibble or digest and absorb the nutrients due to previous lifestyle? You may want to look into a food like The Honest Kitchen.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2014, 04:58 PM
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This sounds like a very similar situation to my own dog. I have a thread about it you can read through here:

At wit's end with chronic diarrhea

My dog was not losing hair, although his coat was very dull, and he often refused food. We eventually did the biopsies and he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease similar to Crohn's.

We went through lots of meds and food types over a period of about six months. He got to the point where he refused any and every type of kibble. He never refused raw but his stools did not improve with raw, nor did his discomfort after eating. I eventually cooked for him, chicken and white potato. We tried metronidazole (flagyl), doxycycline, doxy/flagyl together, prednisone, then prednisolone, etc. I eventually switched him to Tylan after several people here on the forums recommended it, although it did not alleviate the problem. We also tried a holistic approach for a time.

After six months of this we consulted with a GI specialist, had the biopsies done, and the specialist recommended chlorambucil (leukeran). It is an immunosuppressant. Between chlorambucil and Tylan, and continuing to cook chicken and potato, he finally improved. Over a span of about eight weeks, he put on 11 pounds, and is now at a healthy weight, and no longer has diarrhea. After he gained weight I slowly switched him from home cooked to canned chicken and rice, and he has done fine on it. He still cannot digest kibble properly.

He no longer refuses meals, ever, is the perfect weight, and has even more energy than before.

I would recommend trying Tylan, as it has worked for MANY dogs on this forum to help clear up diarrhea problems, especially colitis (large bowel diarrhea). For small bowel diarrhea it sometimes is not as effective. If that doesn't work, consider seeing a GI specialist. It would be an expensive visit, but they will be able to get at the heart of the problem more easily than a general practitioner. Our general vet told us she never would have considered chlorambucil for him, and that is the thing that has made all the difference for him.

Good luck. Keep us posted.

Last edited by _Zero_; 06-09-2014 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Spelling
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2014, 05:04 PM
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It sounds like SIBO. I would treat with Tylan and hopefully that will help. Also get him on a really good probiotic.

Thanks for taking this guy in!

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2014, 05:05 PM
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digestive enzymes, probiotics, essential fatty acids, good clean bioavailable protein , exercise



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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2014, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Feeling hopeful

Thank you everyone! I have an appointment with my vet tomorrow to discuss trying the Tylan powder. I will also ask about probiotics. The vet had mentioned them a couple of weeks ago, but didn't have them in stock. I will keep working! And I will let you know what happens. I am grateful for all of the advice and suggestions.
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