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Inflammatory bowel disease?

(12 Posts)
User467 Fri 13-Apr-18 23:26:24

Apologies, this may be long but don't want to miss anything........

I have a lovely border terrier who is 18 months and suffers from recurrent bouts of illness. We got him as a pup and it became clear quite quickly that he had a sensitive tummy. We used to have lots of wind, gurgling tummy, vomiting and just generally not as happy a pup as he should have been and after trialling various different foods thought we had found one that he tolerated.

The general symptoms of food intolerance are much reduced with restrictions we have made to his diet but he still gets these horrible episode where he becomes really poorly. He gets very upset bowels, passes lots of mucous, not always very vomitty but does do LOTS of lip licking like he feels sick, can be wobbly on his feet, trembles and looks generally sore and miserable. The last bout lasted three or four days and for about two of those he just didn't want to get out of bed at all.

We've been back and forward to the vet and they have been putting it down to food allergies but I'm not fully convinced. He definitely is sensitive to various things but these flare ups can happen when he hasn't had anything different to eat and the response seems completely disproportionate to what he might have had. We're very strict with his food and have long since realised he can't have any treats other than his kibble and chicken (although chicken currently banned too). He is currently on a prescribed hypoallergenic food.

In his last bout we had bloods taken that showed his liver enzymes were raised. We repeated them a few weeks later and they had got worse so he has just been though a raft of test on his liver which have all come normal so it must have been something else that triggered the initial problem with his liver. He's also been tested for addisons which was negative and has had a bowel ultra sound which looked normal (although was done when he was well).

I suspect he has IBD but the vet isn't convinced as thinks it would be unusual in a young dog. It seems that his flare ups can be triggered by him eating something that then irritates his bowel for example if he chews a stick, eats bits of a toy etc and then triggers a period of really sensitive bowel.

The vet isn't keen to rush to do a biopsy as she's not convinced it's IBD and says if he has another flare up she will refer him to an internal medicine specialist.

So I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else's dog suffers from IBD and if their symptoms sound similar to my boys? Or does anyone else have any ideas what it could be?

Thanks for getting this far!

OP’s posts: |
Lonecatwithkitten Sat 14-Apr-18 05:00:39

With inflammatory bowel disease normally bowel is identified as thickened on ultrasound that would then be an indication for gut biopsies.
Has your dog had a test for pancreatitis?

BiteyShark Sat 14-Apr-18 06:24:40

My spaniel who is now 18 months old has always had issues with sloppy poos. Last year he had a serious bout of D&V which saw him hospitalised for days and he had many tests including ruling out Addison's. Just as they were about to go for biopsy he started to get better so we left it.

This year he started again and I said I wanted a biopsy so they did an endoscopy and confirmed he has lymphocytic-plasmacytic IBD but we also think he had the Eosinophilic type last year as those cells were extremely high in his blood tests.

I would push for tests if it continues because just knowing what it is helps and then you can treat accordingly. We knew something wasn't right as he was always bordering on being ill and his weight was very low. When he started vomiting with the illness he tended to go downhill very quickly and was in obvious pain inside.

BiteyShark Sat 14-Apr-18 07:03:11

I should say we discussed an exclusion diet but there is no way we can do that as he goes to daycare etc. It just wouldn't happen so there was no point failing before we started especially as it isn't certain that food causes it from what I have read.

Saying that we are careful with what he eats so we don't cause further upsets if we can avoid it. We have found wet seems better on his stomach so we use millieswolfheart wet tins with just a bit of their dry kibble and dry biscuits so all 'fatty type food and treats' are avoided. He doesn't do well on chicken or rice but we find his go to food when he is poorly is plain cooked cod fillets with a bit of his normal wet.

I think you will find what suits your dog better than anyone else but be prepared to try or exclude certain foods as we don't use the hypoallergenic cans from the vets as again it made no difference when he was poorly. We found he started to thrive more when we stuck to our own wet food but fed him multiple times a day so when ill he gets it 10 times a day and then we cut back to three times when he is better.

User467 Sat 14-Apr-18 10:39:31

Thanks for your replies. He hasn't been tested for pancreatitis yet but the vet said she would do when he has another flare up. If it was IBD would the bowel wall appear thickened on ultra sound even during periods of remission? If it would then I guess I'm still a bit stumped as to what is going on.

It's hard to know if diet is a trigger for him. He does have food sensitivities but I think they are a separate issue to this as his symptoms are different. We've tried various foods including some of the higher end brands but have found he seems to tolerate the richer/higher protein foods less well. Anything with sweet potato makes him itch

I know there is little to support a link between diet and triggering flare ups in people but wasn't sure if it was the same for dogs. During his last bout he wouldn't touch his prescription food but managed well on chicken and rice and seemed to improve quite quickly on it. It's difficult to know what to do as the vet says any change in diet could take 6-8 weeks to have an effect so hard track what could be the possible problem. My plan if he has another flare up is to put him back on chicken and rice and I will probably allow him chicken as a treat once we have done a very strict 8 week exclusion period. I'm fairly confident that chicken isn't the problem.

I'm keeping a biopsy as a definite option but I suppose if the ultra sound remains normal it might not be indicated and would only do it if it changed the treatment plan.

Sigh, just wish I could figure it out so we could help him. We have another border terrier who is overall just more bouncy and enthusiastic and it makes me wonder if his normal is still not 100%

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Sat 14-Apr-18 11:26:09

I went down the path of treating him with steroids after our confirmed diagnosis (we aren't on them at the moment as he decided to eat a piece of cloth and needed emergency surgery) so I guess doing the biopsy as you said might only be worth it if you and your vet would do something different if it was confirmed diagnosis.

aaarrrggghhhh Sat 14-Apr-18 21:01:09

My 13 month old has what sounds like exactly the same thing! Saw vet on Monday we agreed to give it another month on exclusion diet but then he was so sad and unwell on Tuesday (no obvious trigger - same hypoallallergenic diet) so I emailed to say he needs to see specialist now with endoscopy (is that the right sounding kind of scopey?). He definitely has food allergies, but I think that this is distinct from them.

If you find a solution I would love to know!

aaarrrggghhhh Sat 14-Apr-18 21:02:04

Biteyshark - did the steroids help? What about side effects etc? Thanks!

Aw12345 Sat 14-Apr-18 21:04:21

My doggy has IBD... He's on Hills zd diet now and doing brilliantly. He has the occasional steroid but he's a much happier boy now! It can take up to 8 weeks but my dog started to improve very quickly.

Good luck with it all :-)

User467 Sat 14-Apr-18 21:45:47

My guy is on Royal canin hypoallergenic. He does seem better on it but I've thought that before so I don't want to get too excited yet.

I'm keeping endoscopy (yes that's the right one argh, it goes from mouth down 😉) as an option but vet was a bit reluctant to put him through it just now as the only difference in their suggested treatment if we did get a confirmed diagnosis would have been potentially using steroids during flare ups which I'd like to avoid if possible. Of course we would use them if necessary but we had a not great experience with them and our old dog (different issues)....they're great at doing what they're meant to do but do have their side effects.

My vet seems to be steering away from the IBD idea so I'll def keep you posted if we get any answers.

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Sun 15-Apr-18 00:52:30

aaarrrggghhhh yes the steroids help his IBD. When it was suspected but not confirmed last year they gave him a couple of injections and it was like night and day as he went from really unwell to back to his normal self very quickly.

Yes they have side effects (thirsty, hungry, peeing lots amongst others) but because he does so well on them we are happy to use them when he is ill as he deteriorates very quickly now when he has a bad bout of IBD. We do wonder if the eating of the rag was connected with the hunger side effects so will probably limit them to when he has a flare up. The benefits still out weight the side effects for us because when he starts vomiting he becomes very unwell within a few days and is in obvious pain and stops eating and drinking.

villainousbroodmare Sun 15-Apr-18 01:15:31

Spike's disease (CECS) has a lot of parallels with what you are describing.

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