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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi folks, so I have a 4-year-old Golden called Willie, rescued him in 2016 after some wonderful people left him tied to a tree without food and water. Since then he's my absolute best friend and he means the world to me and my wife.

However, shortly after we got him, we realized that he's got a somewhat sensitive tummy - he'd get fits of diarrhea, so visits to the vet were common, until we figured out that it was a food allergy causing the problem. After we found a grain-free, high-quality brand of dogfood (Brit Care Salmon & Potato hypoallergenic kibble), the problem stopped.

Spoiler: Willie's perfectly fine now, this is all past-tense, just so you know before you read this next rather disturbing part.

Then, in December last year, I can safely say that the single most traumatic thing in my life happened when his stomach started hurting so much that he almost outright refused to walk. My otherwise high-energy, happy, almost downright hyperactive pupper was refusing food, refusing to play, and howling in pain and had no stool for three days straight. As soon as I noticed something was wrong, we did an X-Ray and an ultrasound to figure out if he might've eaten something that could've caused intestinal blockage. They (the vets) found nothing, gave him a bunch of different drugs, but nothing worked.

In the end, he had to have surgery to have whatever was blocking his intestines removed. A few hours after the surgery I get a call from the vet, saying that he's fine, that he's recovering, that he's the "best most obedient dog ever" (I proudly quote), BUT - they didn't find any blockage. His bowels just stopped moving. He was so full of gas, the vet said his colon was about to burst. I was honestly kind of p****ed off to hear that after all the drugs they had to give him, they end up saying that if I'd brought him in a few hours later, I might have lost him.

But okay, sure, whatever, all's well that ends well, except that I can't shake the fear that this will happen again. I want to do something to prevent this from happening again, and the vets simply can't give me an answer. They're convinced that it was something that he ate, something that caused his bowels to slow down, but they can't know for sure, and the only advice I got was "make sure he doesn't eat stuff off the ground" - which is hilariously obvious at this point. And I really don't like dealing with variables akin to "something that he ate". I want to know what it is that caused the problem.

I don't know if it's the kibble, I don't know which other kibble to try, frankly I'm afraid to even change it and give him something that he might be allergic to - considering he's allergic to chicken, pork and beef, my options are fairly limited - and expensive I might add.

So I'm basically wondering two things: 1) has anyone of you experienced anything similar with your dogs? and 2) if so, what did you do to make sure your dogs' bowels stay healthy? Are there some probiotics you can recommend? Should I introduce fresh food in addition to the kibble, perhaps some fresh or cooked veggies, fruits, something with fiber? I've searched high and low on the Internet but I wasn't able to find a satisfactory answer, so then I thought of this forum and I know I got some good insight from you folks in the past, so I'm hoping someone can help me out again.

Thanks for reading and thanks for any advice in advance, I highly appreciate it. :) Including a pic of my little buddy, because why not. He's handsome.
 

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so sorry to hear this happen, maybe you can add pumpkin to his diet or soluble fiber like psyllium husk power.
 

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Interestingly enough this just happened to me this weekend. Long story made short I was dog sitting my sons 2 year old black lab. She started with loose stools on Thursday evening. On Friday morning her stools were more often and looser. By Friday evening I started her on Metronidazole to try and help her. On Saturday morning she started vomiting and having complete liquid stools. I called the vets office and went and picked up RX Gastro food, continued the metronidazole. Saturday evening I decided it was time for the Emergency Vet. She was lethargic, vomiting, no stools just air, and was hunching her hind quarters. She went from okay to I may loose her in the matter of an hour. The first set of x-rays showed a complete blockage of the small intestine. She had an elevated white blood cell count but amazingly was not dehydrated. They admitted her and put her on IV fluids and meds. We discussed an obstruction and ER surgery if needed. The admitting ER vet really wanted to do an exploratory surgery until I mentioned that her breeder was our vet and that if surgery was needed I would call and get him out of bed. I fully expected a phone call in the middle of the night that we were going to have to do the surgery. I KNEW she hadn't eaten anything. That being said you know how you just never know.....

Her breeder is our vet and good friend. I didn't want to call him at 9 pm on a Saturday night. (may be why we are still friends) My entire plan was to try and keep her safe until I got in touch with him at a decent time. Keep in mind this is my sons dog and I'm dog sitting. My son was at a rodeo and had no cell service. Sunday morning the ER vet called and said she still didn't feel safe sending her home. I was to call after shift change when the new Vet came in for an update. I was happy I'd get another opinion and a fresh set of eyes on her. I called at shift change and asked about her. They didn't seem to know much about her case. Maybe it was a bad vet tech, but it was alarming to me. I ended up finding out that her x-rays had improved. She was eating canned food, drinking, and no longer vomiting. She was still on the IV and meds. I ended up agreeing to pick her up before 8 pm when I would have been charged for another overnight stay. The ER vet saved her life and I am grateful. They didn't give me a clear diagnosis. They listed it as a severe GI issue and small intestinal blockage. The ER vets job was to help her and they did, but they didn't give me any answers.

I called her breeder, our vet, this morning and he reviewed all the tests, x-rays, scans, and said it was an infection. She did this when she was about 4 months old but it was no where near this severe. She is from a long line of field champions and my son was absolutely sick at the picture the ER vets painted for her future. It was sort of no stress, special diet, meds, future problems and no idea of the cause. Our vet, her breeder, paints a completely different scenario. He said he will be in touch with us twice a week for the next several weeks. We are keeping her on the metronidazole and cerenia while we slowly reintroduce her normal food. If she vomits we are to call his cell phone immediately. He thinks it may take several weeks, maybe months to completely return her to normal and clear the infection. He does think with careful management she will return to normal and have no future issues. He said the most important thing is to make sure she is completely cured from the infection this time. The recurring issues he's seen happen when just the tiniest bit of the bacteria is left in the colon. He said then you end up with reoccurring issues .

I trust our vet has her best interests at heart. He has a vested interest in her. It is scary, but his advice to us was to get her back on her standard diet as quickly as possible. He did not recommend the use of probiotics etc. because he's afraid they could mask the underlying infection. We are doing no treats, no additives, no extras. Our plan with him is to safely transition her from the Rx EN Gastro food back to her standard diet as quickly as is safe for her. His biggest point this morning was for us to not do anything to cover the problem up, or cause it to flare again. We are keeping her on the meds and monitoring her.

I'm not sure if this is any help. I understand how you feel. I've owned dogs my entire life and I've never seen one get this severely ill this fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm not sure if this is any help. I understand how you feel. I've owned dogs my entire life and I've never seen one get this severely ill this fast.
It does help, thank you. I'm glad she's better now. There's nothing more frightening than seeing your dog in pain and not knowing how to help him/her. It's quite impressive that your vet figured out it might have been an infection based on the X-rays, though. Must be a good vet. It's not impossible that this was what happened to Willie, I really don't see what else could've caused his colon to completely stop working in a matter of days. Scary stuff.
 

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It does help, thank you. I'm glad she's better now. There's nothing more frightening than seeing your dog in pain and not knowing how to help him/her. It's quite impressive that your vet figured out it might have been an infection based on the X-rays, though. Must be a good vet. It's not impossible that this was what happened to Willie, I really don't see what else could've caused his colon to completely stop working in a matter of days. Scary stuff.
We didn't just do x-rays. Trust me my bill reflects the number of tests we did. I think with all the x-rays, sonograms, blood tests, and stool tests they did, and repeated every few hours, he was able to get a clear picture. Fingers crossed that he did and it all goes well. I am looking forward to a good nights sleep tonight.
 

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Both of our guys have sensitive tummies. Goat's milk seem to help tremendously. Our 10 year old rescue, Sani, who was really struggling with her diet, gets 4 ounces a day plus a probiotic (Herbsmith Microflora plus) and our younger guy, Oskie, two tablespoons of goats milk per day. They are both very regular and have had no bowel issues in a long time.

In terms of fiber, Oskie love raw vegetables. Sani gets Nature's Logic kibble which is loaded with vegetables. They make a number of versions you can look at that do not contain chicken. Honest Kitchen also makes a base fruit and vege mix that can be part of your dog's diet.

Hope this helps.
 
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I wonder if it is gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV)/bloat that spontaneousely resolved?

Bloat: Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus in Dogs


I had a 13 year old golden/lab mix who died of GVD. He drank a lot of water that day, was restless, did not eat his food, and by the time we realized what was happening and rushed him to the emergency vet for surgery, he was delirious and too far gone to recover from his surgeries. I talked with the vet about our current golden, who is also male and similar size (75 lbs). She said we could do a laparoscopic gastropexy prophylactically along with his neuter surgery, to tack his stomach to the abdominal wall for stability. As we are trying to keep him intact (he is 2 years old now), we haven't done the gastropexy.
 

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There is a pinned post in this subforum about signs of GVD/bloat, with a table of symptoms that might be helpful to compare against what had happened to Willie:

 
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