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Discussion Starter #1
You may have seen my post last week about starting Sam out on RAW and his energy seeming low. Well, last night he started straining unable to poop and then vomiting about half a dozen times in 1/2 hour with what smelled like feces. We took him to the emergency vet where he stayed over night so they can do x-rays, blood sample, and get him on IV's. He seemed pretty lethargic. :(

Background Story

We started Sam on RAW a week ago Friday. He would mainly get one 16oz meal of chicken leg quarters (and later chicken back) and another 16oz meal of tripe. He did start out the first couple of days on solely chicken leg quarters. We slowly introduced chicken backs and tripe. By Friday he was also on chicken hearts as a MM to replace the tripe.

It all started well. Fri - Mon went well. His morning poops were very firm but his afternoon poops were runny after some straining. But the runniness seemed to be decreasing although it last throughout the week.

Monday he was his normal self full of energy not sleeping at all throughout the day. But from Tuesday onwards he would sleep quite a bit in the day and the evening. His appetite was still strong and everything else seemed normal.

We went out of town on Friday and dropped him off at doggie camp with his RAW meals. When we picked him up on Sunday they said he was great though I'm sure they weren't able to keep as close an eye on him as we would have liked. He still seemed tired on Sunday although he would play fetch with as much as he normally does. I saw him strain to poop but nothing came out.

Last night he didn't poop on his walk. We saw him strain in the yard but nothing came out. He came inside and threw up his dinner and the whole thing smelled like feces. He threw up several more times. When I took him outside he tried straining a couple of more times but nothing came out. So we took him to emerg.

His energy seemed down quite a bit more while at emerg. We knew his energy level was down but attributed it to the kibble he had been eating and how it must have been filled with filller and carbs to make him so active before.

No answers from the vet as of yet. Still waiting for answers.

Could it have been what we've been feeding him?

I recorded his meals for last week and it looks like this:

FRI - PM: 16oz chicken leg quarter
SAT - AM: 16oz chicken leg quarter PM: 16oz chicken leg quarter
SUN - AM: 16oz chicken leg quarter PM: 12oz leg quarter/6oz chicken back
MON - AM: 12oz leg quarter/4oz chicken back PM: 7oz chicken back/9zo tripe
TUE - AM: 16oz chicken back PM: 16oz tripe
WED - AM: 16oz leg quarter PM: 5oz chicken back/11oz tripe
THU - AM: 20oz leg quarter PM: 8oz chicken back/12oz tripe
FRI-SUN - combination of leg quarter, backs, tripe, and chicken hearts

Any thoughts, suggestions, or comments would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Well, I'm definitely not an expert, I'm just a beginner raw feeder. But from what I can see, you're feeding a lot of bones and that can cause constipation.

I would recommend adding more meat or giving meatier chicken parts like bone-in half breasts. Or adding a piece of boneless skinless chicken breast when you give him quarters/backs.

Also the tripe, you added an organ very soon imho. I haven't started adding organs yet and I'm starting my 3rd week.

Of course there are people with tons more experience that can help and give way better advice than mine, hope someone posts soon! Best of luck for you and Sam!
 

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Please read this website, and read more on raw feeding.
Raw Feeding FAQ
Its great that you've decided to feed raw but you need more variety, like rabbits, fish, beef, pork, goat, etc. I don't know if you have access to a No Frills or something, but many of them sell full rabbits that have only been skinned, and goat, and basically great dog food!

Note: With the fish and small carcasses like rabbit I would be tempted just to take the packaging off and offer the entire thing at once about once a week.
 

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I don't think variety is too good if you have only started a week ago, especially if your dog is having issues digesting it. First start with one protein and when things have gone smoothly for 1 -2 weeks (no vomiting, no diarrhea), slowly add another one.
The important thing is that you make sure your dog is adjusting well to the new diet and to avoid upsetting his stomach, which might happen if you feed many different new things fast.

Again, this is just my own not-very-experienced opinion and what has worked for me so far. But let's see what the experts have to say. ;)
 

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I agree to maybe too much bone? Hope he feels better!!
 

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That does seem like a lot of bones, but my gut tells me it's more to do with you going away and him being at dog camp?

One of my dogs has Addison's Disease, and the same thing happened to her when I went away, because stress triggers it.

Best of luck, and I hope you get good news from the vet!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies.

I had thought that the straining was due to bones as well but then his afternoon poops would be runny which means not enough bones right?

I also did not want to play around with too much of a variety. I wanted to stay on chicken for a full two weeks and then introduce some chicken liver to him in week 3. If all went well I would introduce some beef heart and other sources.

Going to go pick him up shortly but still don't have an answer on what the cause is....but I think the vet will try to blame feeding him RAW since they weren't exactly enthusiastic about that fact.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh yeah, I will start feeding him a higher percentage of MM when I get him back home until he stops straining then go back to a 45-55% split of RMB and MM.
 

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Maybe he ate something at the daycare, a toy or piece of cloth and has a blockage? Did the vet xray? Hope he is better soon.
 

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I hope everything turns out fine for your Sam! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, I picked up Sam a little while ago and they really didn't have a whole lot to report.

The X-Rays showed no foreign object in him and we are still waiting on the blood results back. They sent us home with some metronidazole.

Sam had SIBO when he was younger due to food changes and his sensitive stomach. They are assuming that this is linked.

Perhaps the change to RAW was too quick for him?!? They want me to feed him some canned food Medi-Cal for the next 48 hrs. I think I'll feed him the Medi-Cal the rest of today and get him back on RAW tomorrow going with 70% of MM and 30% RMB until I see no more straining (since he's already been on RAW for a week no point turning back). Hopefully, with the metro it will work better for him this time.

Any recommendations or comments are appreciated!
 

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Have you heard from your vet? This sounds like a blockage of some sort. It could be due to too much bone between the leg quarters (I found leg quarters to be highly digestable and can make very firm poops) and the backs. He also very well could have eaten something else that wasn't a food item.
 

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We posted at the same time. Glad to read that they didn't find any type of blockage.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks lhczth!

I just hope the pup recovers his energy back and starts doing better. I'd hate to have to go off RAW and back to the crappy kibble the vet perscribes!
 

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I do hope you give raw a second try but go about it differently. Having a sensitive stomach is not really normal for dogs, who by nature are scavengers and should be able to eat just about anything. I think that sensitive stomachs very often are created by modern feeding practices. Dog food companies and vets strongly discourage any variety, which creates an unnatural environment in the dog's digestive tract causing "food sensitivity". IME this can be overcome with a more varied feeding plan but owners often get nervous about trying new foods when their dog reacts poorly to them.

One thing you can do to make your dog's digestive tract better able to handle a food change is "condition" it with a good digestive supplement. I like Dogzymes:Nature's Farmacy - Store - Results

I'd suggest both the gel and the powdered Digestive Enhancer. The gel is good to start out on and also great for dealing with digestive upsets (I think it is faster acting). The powder is a good daily digestive supplement. I would suggest doing a bland diet with the digestive enzymes for a couple of weeks before switching him back to raw. Raw or boiled chicken (no bone), eggs (scrambled or raw) and some puree'd raw veggies, canned pumpkin and/or oatmeal should work well. Your dog may not need digestive supplements always, especially if you include a quality yogurt and/or kefir as a regular part of the diet. For a dog prone to problems though, I'd stick with the supplements for the first 4-6 months to establish the proper enzymes/bacteria in the gut.

Sam's diet is heavy on weight bearing bones, which are not ideal to start a sensitive dog out on raw food. Until he is well adjusted to raw, I'd stick with chicken backs and necks because the bones are much smaller and softer. Dogs who have been doing well on raw food for several months shouldn't have an issue with weight bearing bones and I've never had a problem with them. The only bone issues I have had are one of my dogs tries to swallow turkey necks whole and my GSDs wore their teeth down to the gums mostly on recreational beef bones.

The topic of veggies and grain in diets is controversial with raw feeders but I haven't seen where adding healthy pureed veggies to a dog's diet will hurt them. My own dogs (the oldest have been raw fed for 11 years, some of the younger ones have always been raw fed) have a diet based on RMB and get chicken backs or some other RMB just about every day. They also get a variety of puree'd veggies and helathy leftovers, canned pumpkin, eggs, yogurt and sometimes old fashioned oatmeal, barley or even some past it's prime whole grain bread.

I would also encourage you to consider feeding just once a day or at least feeding a small, non-bone meal once a day and maybe offering a bit of tripe, yogurt, veggies, eggs, etc for the other meal. Multiple large meals a day is not really "natural" for dog. Two "heavy" meals a day might be too hard on a dog with a sensitive digestive tract.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm glad there was no blockage! I hope Sam recovers soon.

How's he doing? Any chances on his mood?
Thanks Ruth.

We played fetch for a while and I fed him some of the gastro Medi-Cal but he's still pretty tired all the time. He's sleeping now.

I hope to see some changes once we get him on the metro. It seemed to work last time. Fingers crossed!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the reply AgileGSD.

We've actually been using Prozyme for him to help with the digestion of the kibble. I can't say whether it's helped any but it certainly doesn't hurt.

I'll take your advice and get rid of the chicken leg quarters for now and stick to chicken backs which I will supplement with tripe and chicken hearts. Hopefully, we can get the guy back on track with a healthy RAW diet!
 
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