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Hello Everyone! I apologize in advance for the lengthy post, but need to put the whole history out there to see if anyone could help. This is my first time posting, but I have long browsed these forums.

I'm unfortunately writing to share some intense medical issues we our currently facing with our wonderful golden retriever, Stanley. To be clear there are two major issues we are trying to work through: the first is episodes of severe gastrointestinal inflammation which causes our poor guy to vomit uncontrollably and the second is a very stubborn staph infection.

Vomiting Issue
The more concerning of the two is the vomiting issue. The first episode happened when he was a pup, only 2-3 months old. He began vomiting late one night after dinner and would do so about every 30 minutes until there was nothing but stomach bile left, and even then kept heaving and vomiting. We hurried him to the vet as soon as they opened and after some inconclusive x-rays they recommended opening him up through surgery, stating the most likely cause was a blockage from something he may have swallowed. After cutting him open they immediately realized it was severe inflammation of the intestines causing the blockage, not a foreign object, and after being given fluid, Cerenia injections and famotidine to coat his stomach he was good to go after 12 hours of observation. His lymph nodes were very swollen but other than that throughout the whole episode he acted normal between vomiting, wanting to still play and not acting lethargic.

Fast foward to 8/2/13 and this problem reared its ugly head again after nearly 3 years. Once he started throwing up I had a terrible feeling it was the same thing, and sure enough all night long we went through the routine and got him to the vet asap. Again they did x-rays and knowing his history, treated him by coating his stomach and calming his internal system down. Again he didn't act lethargic or abnormal, just couldn't stop throwing up....

Then it happened again last week, and this time they ran a series of tests to rule out addisons/cushings (which thankfully came back negative). He's been on the Science Diet Z/D food for 8 weeks now because we've been trying to clear up a skin rash that we thought might be food related, so it seems we could also rule out a food triggering these symptoms considering his diet has been so strict. Unfortunately though at this point they said there isn't much else they can test/rule out and have recommended I take him to a specialist to get scoped and a stomach/intestine biopsy. This procedure is VERY expensive and may or may not be conclusive on what is cause my poor pups issues!

So my main reason to share this is to see if anyone else had gone through a similar situation, and see what everyone would advise in my situation. It's been very frustrating for us only ruling out what he doesn't have and treating it as it comes, instead of finding out the cause of these problems!

Staph Infection
Finally, to top it off, we have been battling a very tough staph infection. The vet first prescribed Cefpodoxime which had no effect. We then had a skin biopsy sent to a dermatologist, and got the strain analyzed. It was resistant to everything but: gentamicin, amikacin, mupirocin, chloramphenicol and rifampin. So, per our vets recommendation, spent several hundred on a two week bout of daily injections of amikacin. Although by the end of two weeks it was looking great, but as soon as we stopped the injections the staph came right back. According to the vet any more than two weeks on amikacin puts the dog at risk of kidney damage.

From what we are told the next step would be an even more expensive medication, the chloramphenicol, which involves 3x/day pills which have to be handled with rubber gloves. This would be done for 3-4 weeks. Before I venture down this road after two failed trials of antibiotics, does anyone have thoughts on this situation?

Sorry for the long post. Again it's been a long road the past few months trying to keep our little boy healthy! Any thoughts, help or even kind posts would be great at this point!!
 

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Sorry I have had no experience with this but I did want to send you some healing vibes and good wishes in hope that you get the answers you need!
Good luck Stanley!!
 

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I, too, don't have any advice but want to say he's very handsome, and I"m sending good thoughts your way.
 
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Hello Everyone! I apologize in advance for the lengthy post, but need to put the whole history out there to see if anyone could help. This is my first time posting, but I have long browsed these forums.

I'm unfortunately writing to share some intense medical issues we our currently facing with our wonderful golden retriever, Stanley. To be clear there are two major issues we are trying to work through: the first is episodes of severe gastrointestinal inflammation which causes our poor guy to vomit uncontrollably and the second is a very stubborn staph infection.

Vomiting Issue
The more concerning of the two is the vomiting issue. The first episode happened when he was a pup, only 2-3 months old. He began vomiting late one night after dinner and would do so about every 30 minutes until there was nothing but stomach bile left, and even then kept heaving and vomiting. We hurried him to the vet as soon as they opened and after some inconclusive x-rays they recommended opening him up through surgery, stating the most likely cause was a blockage from something he may have swallowed. After cutting him open they immediately realized it was severe inflammation of the intestines causing the blockage, not a foreign object, and after being given fluid, Cerenia injections and famotidine to coat his stomach he was good to go after 12 hours of observation. His lymph nodes were very swollen but other than that throughout the whole episode he acted normal between vomiting, wanting to still play and not acting lethargic.

Fast foward to 8/2/13 and this problem reared its ugly head again after nearly 3 years. Once he started throwing up I had a terrible feeling it was the same thing, and sure enough all night long we went through the routine and got him to the vet asap. Again they did x-rays and knowing his history, treated him by coating his stomach and calming his internal system down. Again he didn't act lethargic or abnormal, just couldn't stop throwing up....

Then it happened again last week, and this time they ran a series of tests to rule out addisons/cushings (which thankfully came back negative). He's been on the Science Diet Z/D food for 8 weeks now because we've been trying to clear up a skin rash that we thought might be food related, so it seems we could also rule out a food triggering these symptoms considering his diet has been so strict. Unfortunately though at this point they said there isn't much else they can test/rule out and have recommended I take him to a specialist to get scoped and a stomach/intestine biopsy. This procedure is VERY expensive and may or may not be conclusive on what is cause my poor pups issues!

So my main reason to share this is to see if anyone else had gone through a similar situation, and see what everyone would advise in my situation. It's been very frustrating for us only ruling out what he doesn't have and treating it as it comes, instead of finding out the cause of these problems!

Staph Infection
Finally, to top it off, we have been battling a very tough staph infection. The vet first prescribed Cefpodoxime which had no effect. We then had a skin biopsy sent to a dermatologist, and got the strain analyzed. It was resistant to everything but: gentamicin, amikacin, mupirocin, chloramphenicol and rifampin. So, per our vets recommendation, spent several hundred on a two week bout of daily injections of amikacin. Although by the end of two weeks it was looking great, but as soon as we stopped the injections the staph came right back. According to the vet any more than two weeks on amikacin puts the dog at risk of kidney damage.

From what we are told the next step would be an even more expensive medication, the chloramphenicol, which involves 3x/day pills which have to be handled with rubber gloves. This would be done for 3-4 weeks. Before I venture down this road after two failed trials of antibiotics, does anyone have thoughts on this situation?

Sorry for the long post. Again it's been a long road the past few months trying to keep our little boy healthy! Any thoughts, help or even kind posts would be great at this point!!
your boy is so handsome and I am so sorry for what you both are going through.
I am no Doctor or vet, but it almost sounds like Irritable Bowel Syndrome? As far as the staph infection, did he have any surgery or an open cut or sore that could have started it. Our vet mentioned years ago to me that there is an infection that dogs get called Blastomycosis and it is very hard to treat, but they are sometimes successful.
How old is he? I think perhaps the exploratory surgery would be worth it if it will tell the vet what the problem is. Praying for him!!

http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_dg_irritable_bowel_syndrome#.Ui2oVHIo6ic

http://www.dogheirs.com/dogheirs/posts/1028-blastomycosis-in-dogs-symptoms-treatment-and-prevention
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the kind words and thoughts!

Another user got in touch with me also suggesting blastomycosis as a potential issue. I'll bring this up to my vet today along with IBD and get their thoughts.

Stanley will be 4 years old this fall, and besides these episodes is as happy as can be. He is a joy in our life and we just want to do everything we can to get him healthy!

In regards to the staph, he hasn't had any open wounds/surgery recently around the time the staph developed. He is a very active dog, and will usually be found chasing after his kong in the backyard like a madman for hours on end until I finally make him stop. Because of this I have always thought maybe something environmental could be causing this since he gets into all the plants/mulch beds while chasing around the kong. We also take him down to a family lake house several times a year where he loves to swim!

I'll keep digging deeper and post updates as they come. In the meantime the suggestions and encouragement is very helpful!!
 

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Do these episodes coincide with his visits to the lake? Could be something there. There's a lot of bacteria and pollution in lakes that are toxic to dogs.

Also, he could be picking up something from the mulch. I know I do from time to time. Especially if he has a compromised immune system, as I do.

Being random like this does suggest and environmental problem.

Hope you get to the bottom of this...it's such a worry when they don't feel good.
 

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The episodes have not coincided with trips to the lake, so I think that can be ruled out as a cause.

I spoke briefly with vet regarding the blastomycosis, and was told symptoms don't really fit that. Haven't heard yet if getting into mulch/grass/other environmental issues could be the problem, but the vet seems to be pushing's towards IBD as the root cause and is still recommending getting him scoped by a specialist to test for that.

I should be able to talk with the vet more in depth later as he is in appointments all day, but as of right now that's our best (and unfortunately most expensive) thought.
 

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I would bite the bullet and get the test. Better to know what you're dealing with, if it's that, and get on a program that keeps him stable.
I understand and agree. It's not a matter of me not wanting to spend the money to find out the root cause, but more or less trying to entertain any other possibilities before submitting Stan to anesthesia and spending another large sum of money which may (or may not) be conclusive.

I spoke with my vet at length again tonight and threw out any other scenarios I could come up with, along with the ones a few of you have mentioned to me. We have come to the conclusion that IBD makes the most sense and should be the next step in this process.

In the meantime we are keeping control of the staph through a combination of twice a day applications of Gentizol Ointment (Antibiotic/Antifungal cream) along with twice a week baths with PhytoVet 4% Chlorhexidine Shampoo. Luckily Stan is fairly good at baths, so that's not an issue. Seems to be doing an OK job of keeping it at bay for now.

The vet will be getting back to me tomorrow with pricing on the scope/biopsy for the vomiting episodes and the next round of antibiotics for the staph. I'll keep updates as we go and hopefully get to the bottom of this!
 

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So sorry your poor boy is going through this. Please keep us posted on how he's doing.
 

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No suggestions on the GI issues, but just as a matter of curiosity, has your handsome fella been tested for hypothyroidism? Your vet may say he's too young for thyroid issues, but that's not true. I know several goldens who had chronic staph infections, and once they were put on thyroid supplementation, the staph issue disappeared. FYI, if you do have a thyroid panel run, do the six-panel test and report the numbers on the forum. Many vets don't realize that very low "normal" can mean hypothyroid in goldens.
 

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No suggestions on the GI issues, but just as a matter of curiosity, has your handsome fella been tested for hypothyroidism? Your vet may say he's too young for thyroid issues, but that's not true. I know several goldens who had chronic staph infections, and once they were put on thyroid supplementation, the staph issue disappeared. FYI, if you do have a thyroid panel run, do the six-panel test and report the numbers on the forum. Many vets don't realize that very low "normal" can mean hypothyroid in goldens.
Sorry I didn't write back sooner! I just now noticed your reply. To answer your question, no we have not tested for that. It also isn't a suggestion I even considered with my vet yet, but will certainly bring that up tomorrow.

To give a brief update, here is where we are at:

After many conversations, my vet and I have decided to focus on clearing up the staph infection and treating him as if he as IBD moving forward. As of right now that is the only condition that really explains what is going on with his GI issues, so we are keeping him on famotidine (pepcid) pills before meals to help digestion and getting him on high fiber diet (through supplements). IBD should also be treated with steroids, but with the staph and antibiotics we can't administer the steroids yet....which is why we are taking care of the staph first.

He starts his the round of chloramphenicol (antibiotics) tomorrow which will involve 3 pills 3x/day....not gonna be fun for Stan. What is promising is that in the meantime while working through all of this with my vet, a combination of medicated baths 2x/week and applications of Gentizol (topical antibiotic cream) 2x/day has cleared up all of the staph. My vet still wants to go through with the chloramphenicol though to prevent the staph from recurring in case it's still in his skin.

Stan is still happy as can be through all of this, acting his normal self. That's another reason why we are holding off on doing the scope/biopsy. If we can manage the GI issues by treating it as IBD, and clear up the staph, we might be problem free! I can guarantee you though if he goes through another episode of vomiting we will be next in line for the biopsy!
 
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