I would say the first year of living with Aspen was pure hell.... I am in no way kidding!! We brought home a puppy that had sever chronic diarrhea. He was to the vet on a monthly basis and sometimes even a weekly basis. As of now Aspen has been seen by 5 different vets and one of them was even from the University of Minnesota. This all occurred in his first 12 months of life. We spent thousands of dollars on stool samples and exams and no one could help him!! I shed lots of tears .. I honestly didn't know what we were going to do and if he would ever get better. At our visits to the various vets it was suggested that he was allergic (Irritable bowel syndrome) and later in his life they felt it was because he was the nervous sort. I knew it was neither of these... he never had an issues around being nervous or eating. I could change his food and he would be fine, but out the blue for no reason he would again start to have issues. So while most if not all the vets I've encountered disagree with me, I feel it was the administration of dewormer that started this problem.
I know for sure Aspen was given too much wormer by his breeder. She gave him his vaccinations and wormer right before we left and she didn't weigh him on a scale. I remember her picking him up and saying "he's around 40lbs". We found out later that she was wrong, he was only 30lbs. This is where I think things started us off.
At this point all the veterinarians we consulted believed he had IBD... He went from diamond dog food, to nurtro, to science diet (vet recommended), Innova, and wellness. Nothing seemed to agree with him and it was strongly suggested that he go on prescription dog food. Through the process of comparing brand and ingredients I felt that would have been a poor choice for Aspen (and I was right!!!). I fought with many of them saying that we were not going that rout. Those vets can be darn mean but I think they found I could be way meaner!! We hopped vets until I found someone that would work with me and not against me. YOUR VET NEEDS TO BE LIKE THIS!! NO EXCEPTIONS!! I
Besides the food switching here is the run down of what was done- we added Metronidazole- didn't work, we added fiber with dextrin- sorta worked but not really, we had done every blood panel known to man and still nothing came up abnormal. At this point (year old) we wanted something better, so off to the U of M we went. We needed an expert!! I kind of expected our visit to be this grandiose Mayo Clinic (Mayo clinic is a world renowned people hospital close to us) type of environment. I was sadly disappointed. I got a general vet and an intern. She wanted to put him on prescription dog food, but again I refused. She suggested doing an exploratory surgery (HELL NO!!) that may or may not give us results and likely would not change course of treatment?!?!? Finally we agreed on Fiber with pysillium and tylan an antibiotic. ***TMI coming up**** This did help and he wasn't just exploding everywhere all the time, but it was a jelly like consistency(so still not normal).
It wasn't until Aspen and I did a session with Anne Nichols that we started looking at nutrition again. Probably a 3-4 months later. Anne is a well known raw feeder and I expected her to want me to do the same but she didn't. Again we need to seek out people that want to work with us not against us and that is Anne to a T!! I never once felt judged by her in her training or nutrition suggestions. Her main suggestion was to pull Aspen off Tylan and see if he could do without it. Sure enough he did just fine.
He still had sort of strange bowel movements, but it remained manageable, which was a relief for us. Once P&G had taken over Innova I had started looking for alternatives and I wanted to know more about raw. I went to a class that talked a lot about feeding raw, but also about the better choices if you decided to feed dog food. I already had switched Aspen to grain free (taste of the wild) at the time, but I learned more about how rotation was important and how constantly feeding a dog one thing brings about a lot of these "allergies" and problems. In the wild dogs wouldn't eat the same thing day after day after day after day (you get the idea). I equated it to eating cereal... if you just ate one brand of cereal day after day after day you might not thrive as well either. All of this was wonderful information, but most importantly I learned about probiotics.
At my class they suggested finding a probio that had lots of different strains. It was then I found a Mercola the key to our problem. I watched a lot of their videos and I ordered a probiotic and a digestive enzyme and the rest is history. I gave this to him for a few months (i occasionally toss some in now) and he is fine!! 100% fine. Never has a problem fine!! This dog can eat anything and be fine. I can't believe how lucky I was to find this for him and what a difference it has made in his life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Mercola and all those people along the way that brought us to a cure for a dog that had been doomed with IBD!! I don't know if it will work for your dogs but please please try it!! Do it way before the prescription dog foods and the medications!! Then email me so I can have evidence that this works for others too :-)
I am proud to report Aspen has done wonderful on raw as well. I get him big tubes of whole ground meats, bones and organs at the butcher shop. Believe me I was worried about him not tolerating raw, but not once have we ever had a problem. I still do a rotation of dog food which includes Orijen, natures variety(instinct with no grains) and taste of the wild. We only supplement with bight eye herb (for his cataracts), occasional fish or cod oil (people caplets), and then the occasional probios and digestive enzymes. Variety is the key I've found. His coat is shinny and beautiful and he's doing great. If anyone has any questions don't hesitate to ask me I'm always up for emails!!
Tomorrow is bath day for Mr. Aspen so I'll post a bit on that :-) Thanks for reading!! I'll part by leaving a photo of baby Aspen!!! I have been starting to sort photos and I just want to scream when I see pictures of him as a puppy... Is he not the cutest puppy you have ever seen???? ;-) He was so sick, but gosh he was one cute little peanut (he now is a cute big peanut)!! I'll also share my favorite adult picture of him tomorrow... Taken by thee one and only Ray(this one is also taken by Ray)!!