So, I got a little too enthusiastic and fed Hans a bit of kefir on Tuesday that also contained the grains.
Big mistake, I think.
The next day he came down with a case of severely loose stools, crying every night at 3AM to be let out to poo. The first bad stools were very gassy and somewhat foamy.
He got slightly better, but not much, so this morning, fearing something other than what I thought it was, I grabbed him and off to the vet we went.
The doctor did agree with me that it probably was the kefir grains, but I also brought up the fact that Hans had lost 5 pounds a few months ago. I had doubled his food, but Hans hadn't gained.
The vet wanted to test for EPI. Given his history of digestive issues, I agreed.
The vet said but he looks borderline underweight and that he would not be worried about that, except for the fact that Hans is always hungry and didn't gain even with the doubled food intake.
He is a year old and weighs 64 pounds. Vet said he should be 70.
So, 500 bucks later, I am waiting on an EPI test and a complete blood count, and the vet said he is certain he will find something abnormal in the blood work.
However, vet said his coat looks great, his ears were clean as a whistle, and that still means he is OK, nutrition-wise. He does think that if we see EPI and treat it, he will gain with no problem and it may resolve his morning barfing, too.
As for today's diagnosis, it is, of course colitis.
Which means, gut inflammation of unknown cause. It could be the kefir, or EPI, or parasites (testing stool sample, should hear back soon) and I did leave the office with a scrip for Metronidazole, but Hans made a much better poo when we returned home, so I am holding off on the drugs and am sticking to the slippery elm for another day.
And I must brag: the vet absolutely loved Hans's looks and temperament.
My boy greeted the vet with a doggie smile and wagging tail, and stoically remained motionless for the blood draw from his neck, nose to the treats I was holding for him to sniff.
The vet said he is the best behaved GSD patient that visits him. Two of them, he said, scare him to death.
Hans did, however, bark at the vet tech.
I don't know what he didn't like about him, because he was fantastic with every single other person and animal at that clinic, including the kitties, which he whined to be allowed to sniff.
If you read through this, thank you.
Here are my questions:
1) Do you use slippery elm for loose stools and colitis, and is there anything else I could give him for intestinal inflammation?
2) What experience do you have with EPI?
Here is a pic of my wonderful boy sitting patiently after his blood draw. Dogs were barking in the back and going nuts, and he did not bark back or acknowledge their carrying on