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We have a Shepherd mix, not sure with what, that is about a year and half old. She has been perfectly healthy for the first year, but now, started about 4 months ago, we have had so many issues with her. We have taken her to a couple different vets and have now run out of the means to take her to a specialist. We are at the end of our rope with her and just would like to know if anyone has any ideas that would help us.
She is basically starving to death. She will eat her food sometimes, we have changed her diet to see if it would help and she will eat but then decide she just doesn't want it anymore and we will try something else. We have checked her for worms, parasites, pancreas inefficiency, gi infections. What we do know is that she has a bacterial imbalance and her protein levels are critical. Everything else has come back negative. She has been on a couple different antibiotics and probiotics. She has constant watery diarrhea. She is no longer active the was she used to be but she never acts like she is in pain. Any kind of advice is appreciated. We just do not have the means to take her to a specialist at this point but do not want things to end like this for her.
 

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Oh no! I'm sorry you're going through this!
A few questions: Which foods have you tried her on? Was she previously 'food motivated', or has she always been a bit 'meh' about eating? How does she respond currently to high value treats (like hot dogs)? Is there any difference in how she responds to different food textures (i.e. kibble versus soft wet food)?


*Edited to also ask: which supplements, probiotics, prebiotics, etc., have you tried?
 

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We have a Shepherd mix, not sure with what, that is about a year and half old. She has been perfectly healthy for the first year, but now, started about 4 months ago, we have had so many issues with her. We have taken her to a couple different vets and have now run out of the means to take her to a specialist. We are at the end of our rope with her and just would like to know if anyone has any ideas that would help us.
She is basically starving to death. She will eat her food sometimes, we have changed her diet to see if it would help and she will eat but then decide she just doesn't want it anymore and we will try something else. We have checked her for worms, parasites, pancreas inefficiency, gi infections. What we do know is that she has a bacterial imbalance and her protein levels are critical. Everything else has come back negative. She has been on a couple different antibiotics and probiotics. She has constant watery diarrhea. She is no longer active the was she used to be but she never acts like she is in pain. Any kind of advice is appreciated. We just do not have the means to take her to a specialist at this point but do not want things to end like this for her.
What food is she eating?? Get her on a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice for at least a week to settle down her poor tummy and get her some food.
 

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What other issues has she had that started 4 months ago?....what were the antibiotics prescribed for ?....I'm not a vet (far from it).....but when you say "protein levels are critical"...that's serious......Did the Vet then advise you to see a "specialist" because of the protein levels ?
 

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What we do know is that she has a bacterial imbalance and her protein levels are critical.
What does this mean? Protein too high? Too low? What kind of bacterial imbalance?

Do you have any interest in having an Embark test done to help you figure out what she may/may not be a genetic carrier of? Might help you rule out some things. The test gives a pretty good "vet report" of diseases common to your dog's breed(s) and whether or not yours has an "at risk" "carrier" or "clear" status for them. It's more information.
 

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I would ask the vet about running an IDEXX Fecal PCR test, if you haven't already done so -- it's a very sophisticated test that detects the DNA of many different viruses and microbes (parvo, giardia, clostridium, camphylo, and lots of others). It costs around $200-250 -- it's really good bang for the buck because it tests for so many different things! The vet sends it out to a lab and gets it back in a few days.

Foreign body obstruction can be tested for using a barium study. They watch the barium move through the dog on xrays taken a few ours apart and can see if it hangs up on anything. That's usually a few hundred dollars, depending on the number of xrays they take.

There's also a very rare, deadly microbial infection called Pythiosis that worries me. Pythium lives in water bodies and puddles. It can land in the intestines, and slowly destroy them. It's extremely rare though. We spotted it in a dog once using an ultrasound -- weird spot showed up in the intestines, and exploratory surgery confirmed it. It doesn't have a good outcome, so I would hope it's not that.


I also really think this dog needs to be under the care of an internal medicine specialist. Do you have a vet school within driving distance?

If the dog has stopped eating, can you get home-made (salt-free) bone broth, high-quality bovine colostrum, and a little boiled meat into the dog? Some goat milk would be good too (NOT cow's milk -- goat milk is digestible to dogs, but cow's milk isn't!) Bovine colostrum is sold at health food stores for humans -- look for the Immune Tree brand. Colostrum comes as powder -- if you get capsules, open them and mix them with some water or goat's milk. The Honest Kitchen also makes a powdered goat milk supplement, if you can't find fresh locally.
 

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FWIW, if you can't do any more vetting, I would not feed her kibble. I'd home cook for her or use a commercial base mix with cooked meat. She needs a reason to fight, and home cooked food can often help. I've pulled foster dogs who'd given up back to the world of the living with baked meat balls (hamburger, 10% organ meat--liver and kidney, ideally, organic oats, yard eggs from the farmer's market) -- the aroma of the cooked liver in them gets them eating, and once they start eating, the will to fight for life comes back.
 

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FWIW, if you can't do any more vetting, I would not feed her kibble. I'd home cook for her or use a commercial base mix with cooked meat. She needs a reason to fight, and home cooked food can often help. I've pulled foster dogs who'd given up back to the world of the living with baked meat balls (hamburger, 10% organ meat--liver and kidney, ideally, organic oats, yard eggs from the farmer's market) -- the aroma of the cooked liver in them gets them eating, and once they start eating, the will to fight for life comes back.

THIS^^^^^OP at this point...it sounds like you've done as much as you're able....this very well may help give her the will...to keep going
 

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Could she have foreign objects in her stomach? Some items are not visible on x-rays though, like fillers in some stuffed toys.
A friend of mine had a dog with an intussusception and the symptoms sound similar to what the op discribes. She would initially want to eat, but turn away after a few bites, diarrhea, and a regimen of antibiotics prescribed by the vet. I think it took an ultrasound to determine this, but not 100% sure on that point. This dog was known to injest foreign objects and this was the likely culprit though other things can cause it.
 
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