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Hello all. I am new to the forum. This is Dillon. He is 3 years old. He is a big Havanese weighing close to 20 lbs. He has always been a very picky eater and has stomach issues. The vet thought he might have pancreatitis. After trying a few commercial foods that only have made him vomit I decided to reach out to a nutritionist. She provided a recipe so that I could try home cooked food while adding a supplement and a probiotic. He has stopped vomiting but has other issues. My goal is to try to get him back on a commercial food that he can both tolerate and enjoy. I have tried some of the prescription diets as recommended by the vet but that didn’t help. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
 

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Welcome to the Forum. My Boo is 18 years old, and has had eating issues all his life. In my experience, eating issues can be behavioral, medical, or a combination of both. Sometimes you really need a lot of veterinary work-up to get to the root of the problem and determine the best course of treatment (i.e., diet, medication/supplements, behavior modification, or a combination). If Dillon has not had abdominal ultrasound, it might be helpful to get a more clear diagnosis.

Boo has presumptive IBD, which causes intestinal inflammation, contributing to a loss of appetite. He also has issues with B12 absorption. His conditions are treated with diet, medication, a probiotic, and supplemental B12. He eats JustFoodForDogs, a homemade diet. He tolerates it well with solid bm and no vomiting. Still, he is very lean, and at times, refuses to eat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome to the Forum. My Boo is 18 years old, and has had eating issues all his life. In my experience, eating issues can be behavioral, medical, or a combination of both. Sometimes you really need a lot of veterinary work-up to get to the root of the problem and determine the best course of treatment (i.e., diet, medication/supplements, behavior modification, or a combination). If Dillon has not had abdominal ultrasound, it might be helpful to get a more clear diagnosis.

Boo has presumptive IBD, which causes intestinal inflammation, contributing to a loss of appetite. He also has issues with B12 absorption. His conditions are treated with diet, medication, a probiotic, and supplemental B12. He eats JustFoodForDogs, a homemade diet. He tolerates it well with solid bm and no vomiting. Still, he is very lean, and at times, refuses to eat.
Thank you for your response. It’s greatly appreciated. Boo looks great for being 18 years old. I agree with your comments. Especially behavioral since I have had some problems in that area. The vet is going to continue to do more tests on Dillon. She did perform an ultrasound about 2 years ago. I think the pancreatitis was a guesstimate. I’d be interested in JustFoodForDogs. It would save me from cooking almost everyday. Can you tell me which recipe Boo prefers?
 

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Thank you for your response. It’s greatly appreciated. Boo looks great for being 18 years old. I agree with your comments. Especially behavioral since I have had some problems in that area. The vet is going to continue to do more tests on Dillon. She did perform an ultrasound about 2 years ago. I think the pancreatitis was a guesstimate. I’d be interested in JustFoodForDogs. It would save me from cooking almost everyday. Can you tell me which recipe Boo prefers?
Since Boo is older, his vet prefers him to eat a fish based meal. So, he eats the wild cod and sweet potato recipe, though he prefers the chicken/rice or venison recipes. JustFoodForDogs will make custom blends. Good luck.
 

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I am sorry Dillon is having issues. You mentioned that the homemade diet fixed the vomiting but that he has other issues. Just curious what those other issues are and if they started when you started the homemade diet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Since Boo is older, his vet prefers him to eat a fish based meal. So, he eats the wild cod and sweet potato recipe, though he prefers the chicken/rice or venison recipes. JustFoodForDogs will make custom blends. Good luck.
Thank you.
I am sorry Dillon is having issues. You mentioned that the homemade diet fixed the vomiting but that he has other issues. Just curious what those other issues are and if they started when you started the homemade diet.
Thanks. The other issues are loose stools with mucas. And as of the last 2 days there has been small amounts of bright red blood. The problem did start after I started him on home cooked meals. There have been days when they have been solid but then with no changes to diet they would go back to being loose. The vet prescribed probiotics 2 weeks ago to see if that would help. It did for a few days. I will be calling the vet tomorrow about the blood. This is very worrisome.
 

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Thank you.

Thanks. The other issues are loose stools with mucas. And as of the last 2 days there has been small amounts of bright red blood. The problem did start after I started him on home cooked meals. There have been days when they have been solid but then with no changes to diet they would go back to being loose. The vet prescribed probiotics 2 weeks ago to see if that would help. It did for a few days. I will be calling the vet tomorrow about the blood. This is very worrisome.
The mucus and blood sounds like clostridium overgrowth. Has the vet done a fecal on this?
 

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Thank you.

Thanks. The other issues are loose stools with mucas. And as of the last 2 days there has been small amounts of bright red blood. The problem did start after I started him on home cooked meals. There have been days when they have been solid but then with no changes to diet they would go back to being loose. The vet prescribed probiotics 2 weeks ago to see if that would help. It did for a few days. I will be calling the vet tomorrow about the blood. This is very worrisome.
From my experience with Boo, fresh bright blood was caused by straining whereas dark tarry stools were more suggestive of internal bleeding. Hopefully, it is only straining.
 

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Did the nutritionist give you options for slowly transitioning to another food option? When I looked at consulting with a nutritionist there were options for working up meal plans based on long term goals. Home cooking makes a lot of sense to stabilize a puppy or as part of an elimination diet but long term it’s pretty complicated so I imagine a fair number of people don’t want to do it permanently or burn out on it. We ended up being able to resolve my puppy’s food issues with a food change so I understand the feeling of not wanting to make any changes once it’s resolved!

I think I would want help from the nutritionist. It sounds like at the time the need was urgent, and the goal might have been to find anything he could tolerate. But another reason for consulting a nutritionist can be to get specialized support for elimination diets, trials, etc. in order to avoid prescription diets. There seem to be more high quality limited ingredient diets available compared to just a few years ago when I was looking so a nutritionist up to date on the latest options could be helpful, especially if you have a relationship with the person.
 

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I think I missed that this was recent and not back when he was a puppy. I would start with the vet and go with the limited ingredient diet he suggests until medical issues have been completely ruled out. If he didn’t do well on the prescription diet and the vet is still pushing it without pursuing other medical issues I’d get a second opinion from another vet. I think a nutritionist is most helpful in conjunction with a vet you trust during an elimination diet or other treatments, or once a dog is stabilized on a prescription or limited ingredient diet and the owner is looking for a replacement. I wouldn’t want my Havanese on some of the vet office brand diets forever but short term is different. If none of them work I’d try to work with the vet and the nutritionist together, especially with the concerning symptoms you mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
From my experience with Boo, fresh bright blood was caused by straining whereas dark tarry stools were more suggestive of internal bleeding. Hopefully, it is only straining.
That makes sense. He was trying to have a bm a couple of times last night with no success. Thank you.
I hope the vet gets to root cause. Let us know what you find out. I wonder if parasites could be the issue.
Thanks again, That was a consideration but they tested him for that.
Did the nutritionist give you options for slowly transitioning to another food option? When I looked at consulting with a nutritionist there were options for working up meal plans based on long term goals. Home cooking makes a lot of sense to stabilize a puppy or as part of an elimination diet but long term it’s pretty complicated so I imagine a fair number of people don’t want to do it permanently or burn out on it. We ended up being able to resolve my puppy’s food issues with a food change so I understand the feeling of not wanting to make any changes once it’s resolved!

I think I would want help from the nutritionist. It sounds like at the time the need was urgent, and the goal might have been to find anything he could tolerate. But another reason for consulting a nutritionist can be to get specialized support for elimination diets, trials, etc. in order to avoid prescription diets. There seem to be more high quality limited ingredient diets available compared to just a few years ago when I was looking so a nutritionist up to date on the latest options could be helpful, especially if you have a relationship with the person.
Yes. The nutritionist gave me the choice of a home cooked meal or the commercial prescription diets. I tried both transitioning
slowly. I started the change in his diet over 8 months ago. We also discussed an elimination diet with the thought that he could be allergic to chicken. We’ve since ruled that out. Can I ask what problems you had and how you resolved them with your pup?
 

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I think I missed that this was recent and not back when he was a puppy. I would start with the vet and go with the limited ingredient diet he suggests until medical issues have been completely ruled out. If he didn’t do well on the prescription diet and the vet is still pushing it without pursuing other medical issues I’d get a second opinion from another vet. I think a nutritionist is most helpful in conjunction with a vet you trust during an elimination diet or other treatments, or once a dog is stabilized on a prescription or limited ingredient diet and the owner is looking for a replacement. I wouldn’t want my Havanese on some of the vet office brand diets forever but short term is different. If none of them work I’d try to work with the vet and the nutritionist together, especially with the concerning symptoms you mentioned.
I have been working with both. I feel more comfortable with his vet.
 

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Welcome to you and your very handsome boy, Dillon. I’m sorry he’s dealing with these health issues 😔. It’s fortunate he has you to take such good care of him! Forum folks are the best with helping whenever they can, as you can see! Thinking good thoughts while you get it sorted out!
 

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We also discussed an elimination diet with the thought that he could be allergic to chicken. We’ve since ruled that out. Can I ask what problems you had and how you resolved them with your pup?
It was hard to pinpoint for a long time because his diarrhea was cyclical. I tried a couple of food changes that didn’t really work, but didnt make it worse. He also had diarrhea from small amounts of random treats and I couldn’t track what they had in common. To complicate matters, he had giardia right when we brought him home and a couple of bouts of it during his first year, until his immune system matured. When we stopped using Heartgard his second winter, I noticed his poop slowly improved. It remained a little soft, so I tried one more food change before intending to do an elimination diet and allergy testing, and he hasn’t had a problem since with his regular diet. He does occasionally have problems with new treats so I’m careful with those.

On Heartgard he had terrible diarrhea with a lot of mucus in it for a couple of days afterwards, and then he’d have soft poop for a week or two. He had several fecal panels and they usually came back normal, and by that time he'd seem a little better. Then because his poop was still a little soft, his glands would fill up and we had to go back to the vet because he’d start scooting. The last week of the month his poop would almost be normal and then it would be time for the heart worm preventative. This was all really clear in retrospect, of course. Fortunately heartworm is uncommon here so we do tests instead. If we ever need to use preventatives in the future I have since learned there are better options.

I do believe he has some kind of food sensitivity, and if he ever has trouble again or we need to switch food I’ll do allergy testing. However the bigger issue was he couldn’t tolerate the medication, and once he stopped getting it, it’s been very manageable. Even the last time he had a flare up of giardia, a couple of months later, he only had diarrhea a couple of times but I took him to the vet and he was treated because of his history. i'm sure some of it was maturity, and by that time he was on probiotics, but sometimes you just know what is at the core of it, especially in retrospect.
 

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Thank you for your response. It’s greatly appreciated. Boo looks great for being 18 years old. I agree with your comments. Especially behavioral since I have had some problems in that area. The vet is going to continue to do more tests on Dillon. She did perform an ultrasound about 2 years ago. I think the pancreatitis was a guesstimate. I’d be interested in JustFoodForDogs. It would save me from cooking almost everyday. Can you tell me which recipe Boo prefers?
My Mom's scotty has gall bladder issues so sees a specialist once a year for monitoring. He also occasionally vomits - and the doctor said that if it continued that we really should do an endoscopic exam so that they could check out what was going on in his stomach to figure out the issue. It might be something to consider - in order for the vet to get a better idea of what exactly is going on in his gut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
This sounds very similar to what Dillon is going through. I hope he continues to do better. What kind of food are you feeding him if you don’t mind sharing? Thanks.
 

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Welcome to you and your very handsome boy, Dillon. I’m sorry he’s dealing with these health issues 😔. It’s fortunate he has you to take such good care of him! Forum folks are the best with helping whenever they can, as you can see! Thinking good thoughts while you get it sorted out!
Thank you. You have a cutie pie. How old is he, she?
 

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This sounds very similar to what Dillon is going through. I hope he continues to do better. What kind of food are you feeding him if you don’t mind sharing? Thanks.
The vet didn't suggest any special food for the gallbladder issues so he's just on normal kibble (Wellness brand). For the vomiting though - the vet said that if he did it often then we should do an endoscopic exam so that he could do a culture and figure out specifically what was causing it. However, he doesn't do it often enough (don't think he's thrown up at all since his last appointment about a month ago) so we haven't done that yet.

Perry used to throw up all the time - but his issue was drinking water too fast so we switched to a water bottle and problem mostly solved. He still will on occasion but again, not often enough to really worry about it.
 
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