Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?
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Thread: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

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    Senior Member pyralis's Avatar
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    Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    Going to apologize in advance for this long post! Both us and the vet are completely flustered with my dog's condition.

    I have a four year old Border Collie that has always been incredibly healthy. Active, lean, well trained, happy dog. She was on a Nutro High Energy diet for years with no problems and did great. When we moved to a new state, we could not find her food anywhere without special ordering so we switched to a higher quality food with a similar Protein/Fat/Fiber/etc ratios. She does not chew/destroy things or eat anything she's not supposed to with the exception of stealing a few grains of horse feed on occasion (that horses drop while eating).

    After the switch (a very, very gradual intro to the new food), we noticed she started having intermittent diarrhea. Knowing it can take a dog up to 8 weeks at times (according to our vet) to fully adjust to their new diet, we just kept a close eye on her. After four or five weeks, we started noticing blood in her stools and that's when we went straight to the vet.

    They have since taken a fecal twice, and both times they came back clean. So no parasites. No Giardia. All her vitals are normal, no fever, and she's not had ANY other symptoms. No vomitting, lethargy, abdominal pain, or anorexia. She is just as happy and playful and content as ever, with complete control over her bodily functions.

    Treatment 1: The vet sent us home with an anti-biotic (Metronidazole), and Sucralfate (an ulcer medication). She was on these for about 6 days, we never missed a dose. On the meds, her stools returned to normal and we were excited, but once the last dose of the antibiotics wore off (after about 12-24 hours), the bloody diarrhea came right back.

    Treatment 2: The vet suggested we try a Hypoallergenic food next, saying it may be a food allergy. She merely picked at this new soy-based food for a few days and then refused to eat. After four days without much more than a kibble or two once in a while in her, we took her back to the vet. They ran another fecal, took blood and urine for analysis, and suggested we put her on a lamb & rice diet for sensitive stomachs since she wouldn't eat her HA food ("not worth letting her starve").

    The next day I got a call from a frustrated vet who told me every single one of her levels came back "middle of the road normal." From what they could see in the bloodwork/chemistry panel/etc, there was nothing that stood out, nothing to indicate liver or pancreas diseases.

    Since on her lamb & rice diet, she has been gobbling her food down with every meal (within 30 seconds to a minute), something she's never done, even as a puppy. So she obviously likes it/has a good appetite.

    The vet is flustered at this point. They gave us another dose of antibiotics since they seemed to help, but the bloody diarrhea came back again as soon as the meds wore off. They suggest giving her a few weeks on the new food to see if her gut settles, and say the next step would be to take ultrasounds, and then biopsies from her digestive tract to see if she has cancer or something else not showing up in the bloodwork.

    Has anybody else experienced a dog with bloody diarrhea and NO other symptoms? Are biopsies really the only next logical step? A friend of mine suggested taking her for a full-body MRI that a local vet clinic offers. Any ideas what this may show? Would it be a safer way to see if there's cancer?

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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    Do you give her treats? Anything new or different? We gave Harper rawhide chews and he loved them, but he starting having tummy problems. Blood, and diarrhea included. We started giving bully sticks instead of rawhide and his problems are gone. I have heard that some dogs have problems with rawhide.
    I'm sorry about your dog!

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    Senior Member pyralis's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    Quote Originally Posted by doxiemommy View Post
    Do you give her treats? Anything new or different?
    Thanks for the reply. We used to treat her with Canine Carryouts (for years), and she got one of those roasted beef shanks (with barely any meat left on them), once in a while.

    Ever since she started having problems we eliminated treats from her diet, absolutely no people food either (never was a sadder dog watching us eat pizza). Really hoping we can get her back together on one diet, so we can start reintroducing things one by one and see what (if anything) triggers it.

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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    Maybe inflammatory bowel disease?

    http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body...l_disease.html

    Usually diagnosed by a biopsy of the colon.

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    Senior Member pyralis's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    IBD is a good thought. I think that is why the vet said a biopsy is our next best bet for figuring it out. Fits perfectly if the problem is in her large intestine. I guess I was just hoping surgery (for the biopsies) could be avoided.

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    Senior Member winniec777's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    Our vet believes our dog has IBD and has been treating her for it. We went through many bouts of bloody poos. Over time, she also developed additional symptoms, including lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting. She would be put on a course of metro + other antibiotics for 2 weeks with a bland diet, it would clear up, we would start another food trial, and 6-12 weeks later we would be back with the same symptoms.

    Finally, the vet put her on z/d and a 2x daily dose of Tylan (1/8 tsp for 65 lb dog) + yogurt. She hasn't had an outbreak in several months and her appetite is better than it has ever been. We decided not to go the biopsy route just yet for IBD since this treatment is working. I'm not wild about having her on meds 100% of the time, but it beats having her get sick and the $300-500 vet or e-vet bills that came with it.

    We're still keeping our fingers crossed that this program will work long term. So far, so good (knock on wood!). You might want to check with your vet on the Tylan.

    Q: what food did you switch to? Did you try grain-free or single source protein, something she hasn't had before? It takes time to develop an allergy to a food - I'm not an expert by any means, but from what I've read, I would doubt her reaction is caused by the new food unless it has the same ingredients as the old and she was on her way to developing an allergy to that, too??

    I hope your pup gets better. Having been through this again and again, I know how stressful and frustrating it is not to know what it is or how to get it under control. Let us know how things go!

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    Senior Member pyralis's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    It's good to hear from someone who has had a similar experience! I might take your advice and talk to our vet about trying to treat it rather than do biopsies. The only hesitation I have about that is that I read that if she does actually have cancer, the treatment could make the cancer harder to diagnose in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by winniec777 View Post
    Q: what food did you switch to? Did you try grain-free or single source protein, something she hasn't had before? It takes time to develop an allergy to a food - I'm not an expert by any means, but from what I've read, I would doubt her reaction is caused by the new food unless it has the same ingredients as the old and she was on her way to developing an allergy to that, too??
    So, for years she was on Nutro Natural Choice High Energy (main protein comes from chicken). When we moved here (to PA from NC), we switched to a Taste of the Wild, a grain-free food that gets its protein from novelty meats like bison and venison.

    The vet was saying most dog food allergies come from your cheaper meats, like chicken and beef or occasionally to wheat products, so switching to a grain-free diet with the higher quality meats shouldn't have had the bloody-diarrhea effect, it was probably just coincidental timing. Since she absolutely refused to eat the Hypoallergenic (single source protein, from modified soy) diet, we tried to put her on a Nutro Lamb & Rice for Sensitive Stomachs. She has a voracious appetite, but she's only been on the Lamb & Rice diet for two weeks, so it's probably too premature to figure out if its helping or hurting.

    It's not really a great time for us to be shelling out money for surgery, but we'll be going to the vet next week at this point regardless. Our vet said they don't have the equipment to do the biopsies through endoscopy, but can refer us to someone who does. I'm thinking of doing that rather than just having them cut her open. Though if I let them cut her open, and they found cancerous material, they could just remove it rather than having to go in a second time.

    It would be helpful if she just *acted* sick. It's hard to think about surgery when she's still chasing horses and sticks and rolling in anything stinky she can find so she can "share" it with us.

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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    You mention you moved and then this started...have you checked for any weeds or unusual plants she might be getting into, or is anyone in the area doing any spraying for weeds, soil treatments, water treatments....??? It seems unusual that the AB's seem to stop the problem so it just seems that it's almost got to be something she's getting into that is affecting her system.

    Please keep us posted and best of luck in finding the problem.

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    Senior Member pyralis's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    We live out in the country on 4+ acres in the middle of 100s of acres that belong to our landlords. Nothing has been treated *while we've been here* and I know the people that lived here before had pets, and our landlords have pets, so I don't know whether or not they'd be treating the ground. I could definitely ask.

    The only weird plants we've noticed are wineberries (yum!) and these trees that look like they grow tennis balls (I've heard them referred to as Monkey Brains?). But I've never seen her go after either. When they were fresh (and hard) my husband tried throwing a Monkey Brain or two for her to see if she'd chase them, but she didn't go for it. She prefers to chase sticks and horses. :/

    I agree it's weird that the ABs would help the symptoms. I don't understand. I'd assume antibiotics treat (*gasp*) bacteria. So if they make her feel better, you'd think they were doing their job. But if they were, the bacteria should've been killed off so the symptoms returning within 24 hours of being off the ABs doesn't really make sense.

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    Senior Member pyralis's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    I think radiographs/ultrasounds is what the vet wants to do next. She isn't really one to chew/eat odd objects. Even as a pup, she never chewed anything but her toys, and she always seemed to spit out the fuzz/pieces that she'd pulled off. Weird pup.

    She does chew sticks, so I'm definitely willing to get an ultrasound done before surgery. Just want my dog to be better!

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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    We had a greyhound that we always always had problems with him and diarrhea and sometimes not eating. Everytime we went to the vet, had fecals done and nothing came up. Then one day he had lots of bloody diarrhea. I took him to the vet and come to find out he had hookworm. Vet said most likely he had them when we got him and hooks are hard to detect. I dont know why but he said htey were. By then we had had him 6 years. Once he got wormed for hooks he NEVER had problems eating or keeping weight on. Maybe have him checked for hooks. That could be causing his bloody diarrhea even though there are no other symptoms.

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    Senior Member MagicRe's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    if it weren't for the fact that both of our dogs are exhibiting the same symptoms....although ours aren't having the blood anymore....they did, when one was diagnosed with giardia, which seems to have triggered this whole mess my older one is in..

    labs are normal, stools are normal.....and yet, we are on the third round of Metronidazole
    and amoxicillin...

    the thinking here is both have the same symptoms and the commonality seems to be what they are eating....

    so....while on antibiotics, the stools become perfect....once done and we put them back on wellness lamb/barley/salmon plus boiled chicken plus missing link plus yoghurt plus pumpkin (my saviour)....they go back to stools that are almost liquid, very gassy, groaning, and filled with mucous.....


    they are now eating brown rice/chicken/hamburger that I made, plus a tablespoon of pumpkin for stool stability.

    they will stay on it for the next month, until the bowel calms down.....vet thinks it's a colitis that has not had a chance to heal.....

    and then i'm not going to give them kibble anymore. i will devise a diet for them...

    when there is no rhyme nor reason for this, we look at the diet...and i would be concerned that your baby is wolfing food down.....sounds like he's hungry.....so in your case, maybe ultrasound or radiograph or endoscopy is the next step.

    i know it is for us, if this newest round of meds don't work...

    i'm also looking for a good probiotic that has enterococcus faecium, rather than acidophillus......and i think that oikos greek yoghurt might have that, unless someone can recommend one.

    good luck with your baby....as i said, the only reason we're not going down the path of more testing is because one dog had giardia, which she has no more.....but the other dog in the house, who is also negative is experiencing the same bowel problems...to me, that's diet.

    if the blood is red, then it's coming from the lower portion of intestine...is the blood red? is it copious amounts or small amounts?

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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    One thing no one has mentioned here is Coccidiosis. Unless the dog is actively shedding Oocytes, you will get repeated negative stool samples. However, the stools tend to firm up sometimes.. so the symptoms you describe are not exactly the same.

    If you have other dogs I would suggest a stool sample from each dog.

    I would also talk to your vet about coccidiosis. He/She may have already considered and rejected this cause as they are seeing the dog and I am not.

    I am just making an association between the antibiotic and stools being normal and returning to abnormal when the antibiotic is removed.. and thinking coccidia.

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    Senior Member MagicRe's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elana55 View Post
    One thing no one has mentioned here is Coccidiosis. Unless the dog is actively shedding Oocytes, you will get repeated negative stool samples. However, the stools tend to firm up sometimes.. so the symptoms you describe are not exactly the same.

    If you have other dogs I would suggest a stool sample from each dog.

    I would also talk to your vet about coccidiosis. He/She may have already considered and rejected this cause as they are seeing the dog and I am not.

    I am just making an association between the antibiotic and stools being normal and returning to abnormal when the antibiotic is removed.. and thinking coccidia.


    the same holds true with giardia...and you bring up an excellent point, which is what makes this so frustrating for everyone.

    is it infection that causes the diarrhea? or the inflammation from whatever the cause is..?

    the shedding cysts from giardia can pull the same trick as coccidiosis and others....stool samples sometimes have to be taken five times to finally find the little buggers...

    on the other hand...the cure can sometimes be as damaging as the infection itself, because a transition in diet, a parasite, a worm....can cause inflammation which can cause a colitis....and it doesn't have to be a chronic colitis...it just has to get started..and, once started...steps have to be taken to stop the colitis behaviour....

    one of the reasons i like my vet is the step by step he takes....and that's put both dogs on a bland diet for a month. supplement with some probiotics or yoghurt....especially probiotics that contain enterococcus faecium....and then very slowly, one kibble at a time....even if it takes one to three months....and only add in one thing at a time....

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    Senior Member pyralis's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    Sorry, I stopped getting updates from this thread for some reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by MagicRe View Post
    is it infection that causes the diarrhea? or the inflammation from whatever the cause is..?

    ...

    one of the reasons i like my vet is the step by step he takes....and that's put both dogs on a bland diet for a month. supplement with some probiotics or yoghurt....especially probiotics that contain enterococcus faecium....and then very slowly, one kibble at a time....even if it takes one to three months....and only add in one thing at a time....
    That is the same question that plagues me, about the antibiotics. But through some research I've done it sounds like she has a problem in her large intestine (with the complete lack of vomiting, no pain, no lethargy, bloody/mucous filled diarrhea, no weight loss, and full control of bowels). If it is IBD, it could be her body's own bacteria clogging the walls of the intestines which results in the nasty diarrhea. Treating with antibiotics might clear them out, but her body keeps sending more that way. The references I was using actually said that treating with Metronidazole specifically will show symptomatic improvement, but will not solve the problem long term.

    My vet did try the step by step procedure, but my dog would not eat the bland Hypoallergenic diet they prescribed. She is generally not a picky eater, but after being on the HA diet for a few days (and being unenthusiastic about it), she stopped eating completely. She acted hungry, but would not take the food. We refused her any treats or additional food hoping hunger would get her back on the HA. On day 5 of not eating, we returned to the vet and they said trying the bland diet was not worth starving her, and suggested the Lamb & Rice for Sensitive Stomachs formula, which she's been eating.

    Also, they did do numerous checks for Giardia, with no results. I may ask the vet about Coccidiosis as that sounds like a possibility, though as for hookworms, not a possibility as her monthly heartworm medication (Interceptor) kills hookworms as well, amongst a few other types of parasites. She has also been treated with dewormer just to see if it would help, and no such luck.

    Someone mentioned her wolfing down the food. I may have misrepresented that. She wolfed it down following the 4-5 days of not eating. Now, she eats at a normal pace, but definitely has a healthy appetite.

    In the past few days we've noticed a slight improvement in that she has not had blood in her stool, though it remains a very liquidy diarrhea. When I called the vet they said we should schedule an ultrasound/radiograph to see what we can see before going straight to biopsies. They suggest keeping her on her current diet since there was slight improvement, that it could take 8-12 weeks to see a full recovery through dietary change. As for the ultrasound/radiographs, we should have another update next week at the latest.

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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    I would really wonder... one of the listed side effects of Interceptor is diarrhea. Did the vet suggest stopping this too just in case when you went on the HA diet?

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    Senior Member MagicRe's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    this is the same conclusion my vet has come to...given the absolute normalcy and unremarkable results from her blood work, which we are able to compare to blood work we did as a baseline about a year and a half ago....

    have you tried cooking for your dog?

    brown rice - hamburger? to start?

    add a little pumpkin, about a tablespoon...to firm up the stool..

    and that's it....

    it will give her a chance to calm her intestine..

    my vet also said it could take more than a month....

    and, once they are done the antibiotics, which are causing their own little hell.....then we shall see if the bland diet works in order to allow the inflammation to go down..

    my vet and i did speak about cancer....and it would have shown something different in the blood work, which i presume you've had done...

    we talked about x rays...and we may come to that....and endoscopies, if necessary....

    for now, i will continue with home cooking because i know exactly what's in it....

    and, i hope it's colitis as is being suggested, rather than IBS or IBD....

    i wish you the best and keep letting us know....

    is it possible her heart worm medicine is giving her diarrhea? Interceptor has that as a side effect.

    we live on the western side of the mountains, so heart worm is not an issue for us..

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    Senior Member pyralis's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    I really don't think her Interceptor has anything to do with it. I don't think just because it's listed in the list of adverse reactions on the label that it's a *common* reaction. Also, she's been on Interceptor since she was 12 weeks old. If it's anything like regular human medication, I'd assume if she was going to have an adverse reaction it would've been at the start, rather than four years in.

    We've cooked for her in the past when she had a diarrhea episode when younger (read: 2-3 days, not a prolonged episode). Right now we're really hoping we can find out the true cause before radically changing her diet again. We're going to do the ultrasound/radiograph and go from there at this point. I'll talk to the vet then if they think cooking for her is the best dietary option.
    Home is where our Border Collie, Boxer/Pit/Something Mix, 20-odd horses, and 7-odd cats are.

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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    It is a common misconception that a reaction to a drug must happen immediately upon taking the drug with humans or animals. In fact in many cases it can even take years for an adverse reaction to be discovered. That is why doctors test liver enzyme levels every year or more on patients while on certain drugs. Other unseen things can be going on in the body to cause it to react badly to a drug that an animal or person has been on for years with no problem. I am not saying the heartworm drug is causing the problem but it is one thing I would want my vet to keep in mind since that is a known and documented side effect.

    Heartworm preventatives are drugs and the liver must process the toxins just like with any other drug. If the liver is compromised even at undetectable levels, it makes it harder for it to deal with the drug and signs of that can take time to manifest. I think since heartworm preventatives are used so much, people forget that all drugs can have negative effects and most never get reported because it can be so hard to pin down. Its kind of like people didn't think anything of giving kids cold medications all the time. Now we find out those can be very dangerous and should not even be used for young children. We should never take even common every day drugs lightly.

    I hope you find answers soon. :-) I know how frustrating this can be!

    Lissa

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    Senior Member MagicRe's Avatar
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    Re: Dog with Chronic Bloody Diarrhea - No other symptoms - Anyone experienced this?

    what lissa is saying, at least as far as my experiences with humans, is absolutely true.

    sensitivities can develop after prolonged use of just about any medication or food or environmental factor.....

    in my twenties, pollen never bothered me...now, every year, i go through the same ritual sneezing and coughing that everyone else goes through...

    so, it's something to bring up.....and think about.

    as far as diet is concerned...the fewer ingredients, i believe, the better chance at an outcome...

    and if you cook it, then you know what's in it....

    i remember giving malia wellness core canned food...it was 95% whatever ingredient it was supposed to be, i forget..

    in 24 hours, she had the squirts...it was way too rich for her....

    however, when i boiled up a turkey breast for her, and put it through the blender, she was fine.

    so, i think there is something to be said for home cooking. something to think about whilst you guys try to figure out why she has diarrhea...

    for ten years, malia has been on grain foods....now, i'm watching her stools contain undigested grain. i've not seen that before. granted, she wasn't on home cooking quite as long as this...and it's only been a week...but that tells me that she isn't digesting it, so why feed it? yes, it bulks up her stools....but if it passes right through, there's no nutritional value.....

    maybe if you cook the meal...then you can see if what you do with one or two ingredients points to diet...and you can also ask your vet about interceptor....or read about it?

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