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Discussion Starter #1
I wouldn't normally make a thread without posting a bit first, but I'm a puppy-mom on a mission, with a pretty sick pup. This is really long but if you have experience with GI issues please read it all:


Vader has been healthy up until May 26th of this year, he's now 5 months old and is doing pretty poorly. On May 29th we rushed him to the vets as he was pretty lethargic and would yelp in pain if you touched his stomach. He'd had explosive diarrhea for about 4 days but we were just trying to see if it passed. When we got to the vets office an X-ray revealed he'd had a small bit of something lodged in the small intestine. Exploratory surgery was done and it was revealed to be a bit of a rubbery substance, we're assuming antler marrow because it's the same color and we have nothing in the house that is brown rubber (we even checked shoe bottoms). He also had severely swollen lymph nodes but a biopsy returned them as normal. He was severely distended and was a level 3 emergency when admitted.

The next afternoon he came home, he was doing well and on Hills G/I prescription wet food. He'd been on it for 3 days when they told us to switch him to his normal dry food. He came home with Metronidazole and Famotidine to help with his healing and progress and was kept on crate rest with minor activity (as much as you can for a hyperactive pup). He threw up his food the second morning he was on regular dry food, and the morning after he threw up grass that he'd managed to get a piece or two of (he loves to eat it non-stop even feeling up to par) and another piece of the brown rubber he'd gotten. He hadn't gotten into anything as I hovered over him the entire days before. Was doing fine, fast forward to after he got his staples out. They told us he could do any and all activity since it'd been 12 days after his surgery. He was doing great, wanted to run and do his normal swimming activities.

June 14th he started vomiting in his crate every morning. It started as gagging sounds, and progressed to full flegged vomiting. It was at the same time every day, before breakfast and ranged from yellow bile, to bile with grass to the last day being brown food. The vet set up an appointment for Tuesday and we went down, she put him on Metoclopramide and felt his tummy to see if there were any issues, he didn't yelp like before (still doesn't, I've checked daily) and sent him with some more G/I food to slowly switch him to. She said he was too young to most likely have a problem with the pancreas not producing enough enzymes so we were going to try this first.

He came home and was back to explosive diarrhea, but we gave him his medicine that night and waited to see if he threw up come morning. He vomited later in the afternoon and it was a pile of grass, nothing more. After a nap he proceeded to throw up the past 3 meals (sheer quantity estimates), after which I called the vet. They more or less told me they don't know what to do. That he's not following normal responses to treatments and to take him to see a specialist.

I don't want anyone to think I'm on here posting instead of finding care for my dog. I love him unconditionally, I just really don't have the money after having to pay for the surgery and buying medications, follow up visits, and special foods. We plan on doing absolutely everything in our power to get him better, but I thought someone else might have experience with something like this.

We went to old school yesterday and put him on hamburger and rice, I have stopped giving him the slew of medications because it seemed to get worse after putting him on the anti-vomiting one and I read a lot of the side effects can be from the medications. I also can't check for lethargy if the medication makes him lethargic. He threw up last night's meal in his crate and I just found it a couple hours ago, but he's done okay holding on to his two meals today.

Any advice please help. I would really appreciate it and it would at least help point me in the direction I need to go.
 

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I am by no means an expert, but i think you are on the right track just doing a simple diet of rice and chicken or hamburger. It sounds like he just had to many changes (new food, then back to old food, plus lots of medicine) all on a poor little tummy that was trying to recover from surgery. If he has held down the rice and hamburger for a last two meals I would keep that up for a few more days and then slowly go back to his normal food.

As for throwing up bile in the morning, that is often a sign of an empty stomach (my girl did it just this morning because I was lat giving her breakfast). Try giving him a treat or handful of food right before bed to hold him over till breakfast.

I totally understand the frustrations of puppy tummy issues! Sending healing thoughts to your sweet little guy.
 

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I'm so sorry your going thru this:(

I just went thru a serious a little similar illness with my 5 year old gsd. She also was /is a grass eater.

In the end, specialists/vet feel she ate something that produced a severe infection/reaction to her GI which traveled thru her bloodstream and landed in her lungs:(

Some things we talked about was,,drinking any standing water in my yard/pond/lakes/that could have started it, ate something (totally out of character for her), she is also a dirt eater, ate dirt that was infected with something,

Mine had no blockage, but was vomiting so much she vomited blood/explosive diarhea w/blood.

We had her on daily IV's for 3 days, and yes once the vomiting was under control she felt just fine, but was not fine. No fever, blood work wasn't to out of line,

She was first on sulfasalazine, metro, something else for the stomache, and a few other meds that escape me at the moment, fed only ID diet, small amounts thru out the day, when it traveled to her lungs, she couldn't breath, did a fungal test, negative,

Anyhow, it goes on, I will say, if your vet isn't helping, are you near a teaching hospital??

Payment, I hear you:( Luckily my vet takes payments..You can also apply for Care Credit, and look up on their site 'who' takes it in your area.

I hope you can get some suggestions and hope you can get a diagnosis..Please keep us updated
 

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I am so sorry you are going through this:(. I am sorry to say that I do not have much experience with any of this. I will say a couple of weeks ago my puppy came down with diarrhea and vomiting.(it was a parasite and worms) but Ruth, recommended this homeopathic solution called digestive upset(they sell it on amazon) It helped way more than the prescriptions did. She also recommended homeopathic cures for the worms and parasite. My husband had already purchased the prescriptions so I didn't use it but, I will if it ever happens again. I hope she will chime in and maybe make some recommendation for your specific situation. Like I said the digestive upset drops stopped all vomiting and diarrhea and even firmed up his stools a bit. I was VERY impressed as the prescriptions the doc gave just stopped the explosiveness of the diarrhea. I hope everything works out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Abby-That was why I hadn't called the vet initially. I figured I was late getting out of bed and he was hungry. I didn't figure 13 hours was too terribly long in between meals, but he's a puppy and very thin no matter how much he eats so maybe the metabolism is too fast?

It honestly wasn't bad until she put him on this Metoclopramide stuff, which has knocked my guy out almost completely. They seemed shocked when they called to find out if I scheduled the specialist and I told them I'd taken him off it. As well as the other medication that all cause stomach issues (and food allergies, and 100 other nasty side effects)


Jakoda-How did you end up finding out? I'm afraid I'm going to ask and it's going to be a very depressing answer but he frequently eats dirt, goes in lakes and drinks the water, and he eats anything he can. I follow him around all day pulling stuff out of his mouth. We maxed out Care Credit on him, and insurance companies won't take him right now. He's a very stubborn and expensive little pup.

Lindsay-Even without experience I appreciate it so much, any input is helpful if it gives me other ideas I might not have thought of.

I really appreciate it everyone, I'm sure he'd say thank you too if he could. I've been up until the early morning every day trying to research and figure out what things could cause what symptoms and what problems could have arose. I'm going to look into a teaching hospital and see if we have any around. Anything that can help at this point I'm willing to try.
 

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The diagnosis I got, is basically a 'guess'. since nothing was really definitive in any testing.

I do keep a close eye on her to deter her from eating grass/dirt/leaves.

Since it was to early in the season to be out swimming, she hasn't been near any lakes/ponds. However, I did have a doggie pool with some standing water in it, that I know she probably had drank out of.

I also have chickens, she has hung out with them in their run, but never ever ate chicken poop (she isn't a poop eatin kinda dog:) but could very well have gotten it on her feet, licked her feet.

For me, there could be a zillion possibilities just can't pinpoint one thing.

The lung issue, was discovered a week after she was feeling better, she literally could not breath, was trying to vomit phlegmy stuff , xrays showed black 'pockets'..so she was put on bronchial meds, tested for aspirgilliosis and anything else fungal, came up negative, was prepared to do a lung wash, but she's been continually improving, and it's been 3 weeks with no episodes.

I have put her on a probiotic which definitely seems to help with the need to eat grass, but I wouldn't suggest that to you, until you can get a better handle on what's going on

I hate mystery illnesses:(
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update:
Yesterday he threw up all of the hamburger and rice that I'd fed him over the course of 3 small meals. I went and got Benefield pet Hospital to let me buy the G/I wet food and he either threw that up or had diarrhea in the middle of the night. I'm going to assume he threw it up but it smells bad enough to be either.

I really hope someone on here has an idea. I'm calling teaching hospitals as soon as they open and the specialist to tell them what's going on and try and get them to take payment or something. Everyone is financially tapped out right now, I really wish he'd have picked a better month to find a mystery illness (I know they never seem to get them when everything is financially sound)
 

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I'm certainly no expert but these symptoms sound like those that my son's puppy experienced back in January. First vet visit revealed nothing, dog was in pain, vomiting, diarrhea etc. Took him back for a second visit and it was determined he had something called mega esophagus. The puppy was only 9 weeks old and vet said it was the worst case he's seen in a puppy that young. This can be hereditary. Worth asking.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I appreciate everything guys.
We just rushed him to the vet for an ultrasound, my vet came off vacation to do it because she was worried and told me she'd tack it on to the money we already owe for him. They found his intestines have went inside each other and gotten stuck (I'm too spent to look at the papers for the proper term). So he was rushed back for another surgery.

I'm really hoping this fixes the chronic GI issues, I know it's common in shepherds but geesh at 5 months already.
 

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Wow, I'm glad they figured out the problem and it's getting repaired! I hope it's a fast recovery and he'll bounce back

Edit: Just wanted to add, that's very kind of your vet to allow you more credit.
 

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Where in NEPA are you? Definitely apply to Care Credit. Even if you don't use it right away it's still there. I did that with Jax's knee .
 

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That's called intussusception:( Glad you've caught it now, it couldhave been fatal.

Poor puppy, hope he'll be better soon.
 

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Oh poor thing! Hope he is feeling better soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Our vet really is great, and he seems to be a clinic favorite (even if they don't want to tell the other clients who come through there). I know he's in awesome hands right now, the vet came off her vacation early to do everything. Put it on a payment plan for us because she knew how important he is.

Michelle- I'm in Mount Pocono, well up in a small town in the area but most people know Pocono. We have CareCredit the little bugger just happened to max it out, he's also not an only pup. We have a 12 year old and a 13 year old with some pretty good geriatric bills of their own. We just didn't expect quite this much of an emergency financially during a really rough month as is.

Two feet of his intestines were dead and he managed to get the intestines inside of themselves 3 times, from what his vet said. Not sure if it was 3 separate times or if it was stacked like nesting dolls that many times. They don't know if this is from an underlying issue or if it's just a very sensitive GI system. We're not even close to being out of the woods but he's just as stubborn as I am so I'm sure we'll get through all of this eventually

The support I've gotten here has been absolutely amazing. I'm so dissapointed that I was too shy to join until an emergency. Even without the ideas for where to look, just knowing people care and understand the attachment you get to your shepherds would have been enough. I can't thank you guys enough for chipping in experiences for a newbie and expressing concern for my little guy.
 

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Intussusception? That is very serious! I am glad you recognized how serious it was, got the U/S and did the surgery.

I will see if I get can get Jean on this thread. She dealt with this with one of her fosters.

You will need to feed very small, frequent, bland meals for a while. You are also going to want to support his intestines healing. I really like this product: OptaGest®

I would also use organic Kefir and canned pumpkin. I would be feeding homemade food for quite a while to your pup...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'd never even heard of it, let alone know it was possible. We figured initially that they'd just taken him off a GI sensitive diet too soon and it was creating chaos in his system. Combined with being loaded with meds we were trying to figure out how to fix it with normal tried and true methods.
If Jean could give me advice that would be great, because I've never dealt with this.

I was wondering if a homemade diet would be beneficial actually. I wanted to run it by my vet for his specific case but I'd been wondering about boiled chicken, rice and green beans with the occasional cottage cheese spoonful and canned pumpkin.
My vet said she has a GI sensitive dog of hers on a dual controlled high fiber dog food? I didn't know if that was a better or worse idea. They said he'd probably be on it for the rest of his life but at a $78 a bag price tag I wondered if I could actually make a healthier, safe meal myself.
 

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Look up home cooked meals. I'm sure you can do it cheaper with fresher ingredients that is more nutritional and the special GI foods. Just make sure you look at all the components you need. The chicken/rice/beans will be missing calcium. You need to think about how you are going to add that. Blue/green algae? Spinach? Definitely good ways to get it that are beneficial.
 

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Ground eggshell for calcium - dehydrate them and grind them to fine powder(Magic Bullet works great!)...1/2 tsp = 900mg of calcium.

Plus has the added benefit of the membrane re: type1 collagen, hyaluronic acid - all food for healthy joints
 

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I can't believe they didn't detect it during exploratory surgery:( Poor little guy!

I had this fear with Masi , but thank goodness it wasn't this..

again, so glad they caught it, that's alot of intestine to die off, he's lucky and will pray he makes a full recovery..
 
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