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Rollo - some answers and some questions....

(20 Posts)
Solo2 Fri 02-Sep-11 19:47:09

Rollo (currently an inpatient at a vet school hospital) has got worms - trichosis lupus or something that sounds like that. He's being treated for them but has no symptoms, no diarrhoea - even since coming off antibiotics 3 days ago - which he'd been on for 2 months.

The vet says the worms won't be the cause of his original diarrhoea. He said Rollo's guts will probably re-grow whatever started the diarrhoea over time and it'll start again sad and we have to get fresh poo samples BEFORE trying to treat - to diagnose the cause/parasite or whatever. So I'll have to endure days and nights up with Rollo, hose-ing liquid poo.

Secondly, he said that Rollo's golden retriever behaviour of snatching and eating anything and everything, will likely lead to lifelong parasites/diarrhoea unless he can be trained never to snatch/ graze (he suggested what sounded a punitive teaching method of a collar spraying lemon smell each time he snatches stuff). He said it's not use using a muzzle as it isn't nice for the dog. He said off-lead walks will therefore be risky ever to do.....

So my questions are:

How come all dogs don't have constant diarrhoea if they're the breeds that graze on 'nasties' all the time?
How does anyone do off-lead walking with a dog of this type?
CAN a golden retriever be trained never ever to eat poo/ soil/berries/other dogs' food or is the behaviour genetically strongly instilled?
How can I manage a dog that gets constantly recurring diarrhoea that isn't controlled for a few days and nights at a time, so leaves you continually sluicing the yard/lawn/kitchen and getting no sleep?

He also says that the diarrhoea isn't related to food intolerance and that Rollo can be weaned back onto a normal and now adult dog food over time.

We pick Rollo up at 5pm tomorrow. Any experienced owners on here and/or vest that can answer any of my questions? I really fail to see how anyone with a golden retriever or similar breed has a 'normal' life with a dog who therefore can't do off-lead walks, has to be rigorously trained never to snatch anything at all from anywhere in the wilds or at home and can have any kind of fun with a dog who gets recurrent diarrhoea for days and nights on end at fairly regular intervals??????????????

silentcatastrophe Fri 02-Sep-11 20:06:49

Dogs can feel comfortable in a muzzle. If a muzzle is used as a form of punishment, then of course there will be problems, but is is US who are the cause of the problem.

We have had massive problems over the past year with a runaway dog, and none of the 'normal' dog training techniques have been at all effective. We were watching a sheepdog demonstation at a show, and I mentioned our problem, and we have since been to see the trainer.

The trainer we have been to uses a thing called the 'natural way'. She may be worth talking to. We were running out of options, and to find someone who doesn't use extra tools, collars or treats, and it works, is something we would like to build into our lives. Her name is Sarah Jenkins. Another really good person is Elizabeth Kershaw. Robert Alleyne is fantastic too. I don't know that they will work for you, but they have been fantastic for us and our reprobate hounds.

Even if you don't live nearby any of them, they may well be able to put you onto someone who is closer. I would like to give you a big mn hug.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 02-Sep-11 20:23:23

>How come all dogs don't have constant diarrhoea if they're the breeds that graze on 'nasties' all the time?

I don't know... not sure its really a 'breed' thing. I thought it was more a trait of young dogs - am I right in thinking your poor Rollo is still quite young? Our current dachshund, who we got at 10 months was a huge eater of shit - mostly sheep shit - and also roadkill. But he grew out of it by about 2. Obviously we'd tried to restrain him from such snacking but I really think it was more just that he grew out of it - hopefully Rollo may. The only thing that really upset his stomach was a couple of times he managed to slurp some slurry (ewwww). The treatment included some probiotics which I guess makes sense, has Rollo had any? Apart from the shit, he mostly ate Royal Canin (dry food) which maybe helped stabilise the output.

mycatsaysach Fri 02-Sep-11 20:26:50

my rolo smile is pretty much never out of my sight on walks so he doesn't get the chance to have a secret nosh - if you take a ball out with you he will never leave your side

Solo2 Sat 03-Sep-11 06:24:45

Thanks. Yes, Rollo's still only 7 months old - so very much just a bouncy puppy.

I've contacted my trainer about how to stop natural scavenging behaviours. On walks, I keep him on-lead anyway but was planning to let him offlead again once we'd sorted out his guts. He's not that motivated by balls/ toys - much more by food.

However, when he's stayed with the trainer, she's let him off lead - with my permission - and he's gone for things like cow poo etc but didn't seem to get anything that affected his guts, although he'd have been on antibiotics at the time.

It looks like it's the 'luck of the draw' whether that particular choice piece of poo has a parasite in it at any one time or not.

I suppose I could try a muzzle and hope that Rollo doesn't find it so aversive that he spends all the time trying to rub it off, rather than enjoying his walks.

I really do hope that he grows out of it - the scavenging behaviour. Has anyone else got ideas for stopping a golden retriever puppy going for other animal poo???

misdee Sat 03-Sep-11 08:28:50

i have a mabradoodle. he used to eat any poo all the time. now he doesnt.

nothing i've done,just something he grew out of.

some say it can be because of something lacking in their diet. others say not.

misdee Sat 03-Sep-11 08:31:32

labradoodle. dont type with baby on lap

misschenko Sat 03-Sep-11 09:10:14

I think all you can do is keep him on the lead in areas where there's likely to be animal poo and wait for him to grow out of it. If you live near the sea a beach is usually OK for a good run. My lab stopped eating poo and scavenging rotting animal remains when he was 10 months, I used to keep him on a long line and let it trail behind him then if he went to eat something I could put my foot on the line and stop him.

CountrylifeMummy Sat 03-Sep-11 09:35:56

We have two Labs. They are both VERY greedy, especially the younger.
The elder was having problems with his skin/ears so we had an allergy test done and it turns out it was his food. He is now on a special food which is not causing him to have allergic reactions.
The younger is just a very greedy dog, but is also very bouncy so needs lots of lovely long off lead walks!
They BOTH try to eat horrid things on walks but we have got our recall pretty good with them, so when they do, we can call them back.
I would suggest talking to your vet about an allergy test first.
Then, train him to have a good recall so that when he looks like he is about to eat something you can call him back to you, walk him to heal off lead past the offending "snack" then let him run again.
Have you got a Forestry Commission near you? These are good places to walk as there will be no cow poo, sheep poo etc for Rolo to eat and people are pretty good at picking up after their dogs there too. Just watch out for the picnic benches - I talk from experience! They are usually only by the car park.
Good Luck.

minimu11 Sat 03-Sep-11 10:14:24


How come all dogs don't have constant diarrhoea if they're the breeds that graze on 'nasties' all the time?
No scientific evidence on this but you will find that as Rollos digestive system will become stronger and healthier this will be less of an issue. You will probably find that as his digestion and absorbtion is better he will be less likely to want to graze on so many nasties - so this will be a viscious circle in the right direction.

How does anyone do off-lead walking with a dog of this type? I would work on the muzzle many dogs have to use a muzzle and they do get used to it, greyhounds, etc nearly always wear muzzles and to be honest I am sure rollo will prefer to walk off lead with a muzzle than without. I know he will make fuss and be a bit of a drama queen but ignore it and he will soon realise it is fine.

CAN a golden retriever be trained never ever to eat poo/ soil/berries/other dogs' food or is the behaviour genetically strongly instilled? Yes but as above I think as he gets healthier he will be less inclined to want to

How can I manage a dog that gets constantly recurring diarrhoea that isn't controlled for a few days and nights at a time, so leaves you continually sluicing the yard/lawn/kitchen and getting no sleep? Work out an area that he can be left in with paper on the floor where he can safely be left to it over night. You do not need to be with him and you can then just clear it all up in the morning - not nice but much better than getting up in the night with him. Hopefully there will only be one or more outbreaks - you are getting to the bottom of this - it will not go on for ever.

Solo2 Sun 04-Sep-11 21:23:36

Many thanks. Minimu, your post was so calming and helpful and sensible. You always sound so optimistic and reassuring smile

Sad news....Rollo is back in the vet hospital. He started diarrhoea again at 3pm today. I managed to get hold of the hospital and we took him along - such an incredibly stressful 4 hr round trip with DCs who return to school tomorrow and me in utter despair, as I have MASSES to do for DCs return and also my own work restarts with a vengeance tomorrow.

There are currently 2 theories - either whatever he orignally had has lurked in his guts and only been kept at bay by metronidazole - the antibio. and after 4 days off this, the nasty thing has regrown again - or - he's eaten something since being home that has triggered the diarrhoea again.

I've been as vigilant as possible on the 2 walks he's actully had since being home - lead walks. He may have snatched a miniscule piece of cow/horse poo earlier today though. At home though it's impossible to be with him all the time. In the house he's gnawed painted skirting board in the kitchen (despite having numerous chew toys) and in the fenced off piece of garden, he's eaten some rowan berries, some lawn grass/weeds, some soil, cement between patio paving stones and possibly some new shoots of a clematis - but all this in tiny quantities.

However, any one of those might have restarted diarrhoea but surely I can't put a muzzle on him the entire time he's ever out of his crate - ie all day? that's if I can train him to enjoy/ignore wearing one anyway.

They're going to do more poo samples and possibly an ultrasound - not sure. When he was on the antibiotic, he would graze the above things and NOT get diarrhoea and I just wish they'd put him back on them and also, as they mentioned, something to soothe his guts.

I am once again torn between feeling I just can't cope with this and the DCs too - and then feeling really responsible for Rollo and loving him. I could manage this - IF I didn't have the DCs. They too are in despair as the dog once again has ruined the day - last one of their hols too and I'd told them he was most likely going to be OK now.

Can't begin to think of what this latest emergency admission on a Sunday will cost but what's actually worrying me more is that they still might have no conclusive answers or treatment and I'll be left with a recurrently ill dog.

Seriously, if I can never ever leave him unsupervised unless he wears a muzzle at all times, how do I manage? I know he may well grow out of this - but he might not and how long might it take?

At my most positive, I'm thinking that if he can be put back on the antibiotic and something else for reducing his hypersensitivity and I can also put time and effort into getting him used to a muzzle on off lead walks, then life is manageable. But as I still don't know the outcome, I don't know what to predict. Meanwhile, picking up liquid yellowy poo off the lawn in the rain yet again today, whilst Dcs were fighting in the background and Rollo wanting to play - I think I reached another all time low.

minimu11 Sun 04-Sep-11 21:32:19

Oh Solo you poor poor thing BUT I think this is a good thing - the hospital are now seeing Rollo in full flow (as if were). They can now test whilst he is having an attack and will hopefully come up with something. If only to leave him on low dose antibiotics.

Have a good nights rest - don't think about Rollo, concentrate on your boys and you. No what if's, put your trust in the professionals let them deal with it and find the solution. They will.

You deserve a huge wine

Solo2 Mon 05-Sep-11 14:28:19

Thanks again Minimu smile.

Rollo has settled back well in hospital and had 3 more episodes of diarrhoea - although not as severe I think as they original episodes. Worried that there'll be conclusive answers and they'll blame it on 'something he's eaten' and not give me anything to stop the diarrhoea.

...Thinking about how to manage practically if he can't go in garden unsupervised at all and also has to be restricted hugely in the kitchen too so he can't chew skirting boards. I can try to buy another play pen and restrict him to this in the kitchen, thus avoiding skirting boards but outside, it seems as if nothing might be 'safe', even just the patio (and he usually toilets on grass).

I'm going to be back to where I started when he was younger - constantly putting him on lead to take him in the garden to toilet and remaining out with him till he 'goes' and not being able to play with him there, off lead and relying totally on on-lead walks the rest of the time....He's going to be very frustrated - either if he's restricted like this all the time or if he has to get used to a muzzle without much if any gradual desensitisation to this.

Hoping to talk to the breeder later today. We've been in email contact but not talked since just after Rollo came home.

Solo2 Tue 06-Sep-11 18:44:20

Ok - another update on Rollo. He had blood tests today and an ultrasound. All results are fine other than very slightly enlarged lymph glands which apparently is normal in pups with diarrhoea.

They therefore can't say why he keeps getting diarrhoea.

They're putting him back on metronidazole antibiotics that stopped the diarrhoea previously but also putting him on steroids. The latter aren't good longterm and will increase his scavenging behaviour but on the good side, should increase the positive effect of the antibiotics.

After 3 weeks, they'd want me to start reducing the steroids and antibiotics to the minimum dose effective at stopping diarrhoea.

He'll only be out of hospital when his diarrhoea has stopped.

I feel relieved he's basically OK, frustrated that there are no answers and guilty that he's in hospital. He was so scared of the shears used to shave his tummy for an ultrasound that they had to sedate him sad Also his paws are red from some cleaning fluid they use at the hospital on the floors and so the vet thinks he's a really hypersensitive puppy.

Poor little thing. If I had a different life, he could be home with me now and I'd monitor his diarrhoea night and day but I can't do this with DCs and work as well. The vet keeps referring to my 'particular life circumstances' in a way that's making me feel hugely guilty.

In a way, I just wish Rollo could have remained on antibiotics, not had diarrhoea again, enjoyed life at home with us and not cost me thousands of pounds. But it's no use wishing....

Will he be very traumatised by his longer stay in hospital? Over the last month, he's had 8 days with the trainer (when we were on holiday), 3 days back at home with me, 4 days in the vet hospital, 24 hrs back at home with me and has now been back in hospital 2.5 days and onwards.

Will he be stressed and changed in personality when he gets home?

silentcatastrophe Tue 06-Sep-11 22:28:51

I'm sure they are being very kind to him in hospital, and you are doing absolutely the best you can. It must be hugely difficult coping with all the things life throws, and then you add a sick puppy into the mix. I'm sure Rollo will be fine when he gets home. Please try and relax, and keep remembering that you are doing everything you can to look after your family and your pup. You need to remember to look after yourself too! All these beings need you, so you must somehow get a bit of time for yourself and a good treat just for you.

ceres Wed 07-Sep-11 05:14:15

poor you. it is very upsetting when they are ill but he is in the right place.

my staffie has numerous allergies (when he was tested the doggy dermatologist said he had never seen a dog react so strongly to so many different allergens) and also has colitis.

when he was diagnosed with colitis i thought he was dying - he was literally pooing blood, explosively. he too was on steroids and metronidazole initially. now he rarely has an attack and we control the colitis with a strict diet and slippery elm bark powder. we feed him nature's harvest; we used to feed nature diet but found the quality variable so changed. he has slippery elm gloop with each meal, so twice daily.

i know i keep going on about slippery elm but it is only because it has been so helpful for our dog who has an extremely sensitive tummy. the colitis is very much still an issue - we know about it if he has any change in diet, and if he has a flare up we still have to go the traditional meds route to get it back under control. however he rarely ever has a flare up now.

if you google some information on slippery elm and have a chat with the vet maybe they could try rollo on it while he is still in the hospital?

good luck, hope things improve and rollo is back home soon.

Solo2 Fri 09-Sep-11 14:12:56

Rollo is back at home! He does seems a bit traumatised by his latest hospital visit, as he's had so much 'treatment' including his entire belly shaved for the ultrasound, shaved patch on neck for blood test and shaved patch on leg for sedation when he got scared of shaving shears...poor little thing. He's also got a tiny pink sore patch on his nose where he was apprently rubbing against the bedding or something in the kennelling room he was in....

Anyway, the answers is - they're no further forward, have no answers as to why he gets recurrent diarrhoea and he's back on exactly the same medication that stabilised him before this, plus a steroid as well, a probiotic, 2 lots of ear drops....It takes AGES to do all his medication related stuff twice a day and he really doesn't like it and nor do I.

The vet consultant was adamant that I mustn't go near a raw food diet because of bacteria, mustn't give bones to chew on - because of splinters lodging in his guts and must stick to a high quality kibble for life...must give NOTHING other than this - so no treats for training. He must stay on on-lead walks till I can get him used to a muzzle, as he mustn't eat anything at all whatsoever that might set off his tummy again...

In 4 weeks I have to start tapering off the steroid and then if that's OK and there's no diarrhoea, tapering off the antibiotic. If he gets diarrhoea again, they'd want to do further and more invasive investigations, obviously more expensive too.

Don't yet know the full bill I'll have to pay but I think it's around £2,000 shock.

It's INCREDIBLY difficult managing Rollo's needs and my DCs too. Last night DCs had to accompany me on a v v late walk after we picked Rollo up, as Rollo was v hyper and hadn't had a proper long walk for 5 days. DS2 was crying as it was so late. This morning, I walked Rollo v early on my own, getting up at 5am to start the medications etc and walking him from 6.40am but had to be back to do school run at 7.30am. DS2 was v v worried about me being out alone....So that difficulty continues.

I feel i need to have some quality time with Rollo but have also had to work part of today - though i managed another more relaxed walk with him mid-morning too. But I also feel i need to spend quality time with the DCs who've had an intense first week back at school. Pulled in all directions and Rollo barked a lot last night so I ended up only with about 4 hrs sleep.

Hopefully, all will now settle down. My dog trainer's going to help with getting him used to a muzzle and then Rollo can enjoy more freedom and off-lead walks.

I've stopped him having the run of part of the lawn, in the garden, in case things he ate from there, like rowan berries, were making him ill and have left him only a small area of patio - though he's still trying to eat cement between the paving stones. But when he weed there this morning, it was like Niagra Falls and he hasn't yet pooed on concrete. So that may not work out longer term.

The vet thinks Rollo had a diffreent original reason for his first diarrhoea than the latest, as the quality of it was different - but that's all they can say. At least we're sure he has nothing badly wrong with all the things they checked for. He's basically healthy but just massively hypersensitive to everything...According to the breeder, he's the only one of the 19 pups from the 3 litters she bred around the same time that has had any health problems at all! Just our luck.

Dread to think how I'll cope as Rollo begins to come off his meds....but trying not to think about it at all for now.

Solo2 Fri 09-Sep-11 14:13:59

PS Vet consultant also said not to try slippery elm bark and seems fixed on Rollo having only a high quality kibble food for life and his medications for now.

alp Fri 09-Sep-11 17:22:15

Solo2 - I've followed your story and have so much respect and admiration for what you have and are doing for Rollo, your DCs and you.

Whilst you are no further forward - thank goodness there is nothing more serious.

Keep it up - you are doing great.

swanriver Fri 09-Sep-11 17:23:50

have you thought of getting a kind teenage babysitter to sit the twins for an hour every once in a while in the evening whilst they use computer etc, so you can go out for walk with Rollo for time being whilst you are going through this difficult stage with meds, sleep work. It is so cheap compared to what you are spending on other aspects of dealing with Rollo, that it may be worth thinking that £10 an evening is well spent for the next two weeks.

I was in situation with my twins where I had to take Ds1 to hospital for long appt to do with broken arm for 4th time, and they had been such a nightmare last time (despite being 9 years) that I just asked a kind teenage boy to look after them (recommended of course). He was fabulous, they loved him despite being extremely reluctant to be left initially. I will ask him to babysit again, despite having a sort of natural reluctance to ever engage babysitters.

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