Does my puppy have HGE, IBS, Colitis, or nothing?
Does my puppy have HGE, IBS, Colitis, or nothing?
My 4 month old corgi puppy has had chronic issues with blood in his stool since about two weeks after we got him. It didn't really worry me the first time it happened because he had a really bad hookworm infestation he had to be treated for when we got him from the breeder. I simply chalked it up to the wormer working and that the hookworms were being pulled from the intestinal lining - i.e. blood in lower intestine and colon.
We also switched him from the breeder's food (some generic from Tractor Supply Co. to a puppy food with chicken and brown rice, chicory, blueberries, and all of those lovely ingredients we pay so much for.) The second time this occurred I took him to the vet, they put him on a 5 day dose of panacur, famodadine, and an antibiotic called metronidazole I believe. They also had me put him on the Hills Prescription I/D food. After a few days of this PooF! no more issues. Two weeks later it reoccurred.
The vet said he is treating our puppy as if he has HGE, so he prescribed the same set of wormer and antibiotics, and I put him on boiled chicken and brown rice. I also took away his nylabones, treats, and discovered he had been eating small pieces of wood off the bottoms of the kitchen cabinets; I have stopped all of this. No more problems for two or three weeks. I switched him off of the chicken and rice diet to Diamond small breed puppy with no corn, wheat, or soy, just in case it might have been an allergy that was causing stomach issues or inflaming his colon. I've been careful to avoid any kind of treats, and absolutely no human foods.
About two days ago I began giving him treats again (these are not wheat, corn, or soy free, which I didn't know until today). Just this morning, I noticed a small amount of blood in his stool again, not enough to really stain the papertowel I picked it up with off the kitchen floor. My vet is assuming that this issue is HGE, and wants me to get an abdominal ultrasound done. This makes no sense to me because dogs with HGE are usually 2 to 6 years old, and usually also have vomiting, lethargy, decreased appetite, weight loss, etc. My puppy is VERY active, eats and drinks like a horse, and wants to play constantly.
I try to keep the best eye on him that I can, but puppies are like 2 year old children, they put everything in their mouths! I also understand that he's been through 3 to 4 food switches since he was 6 and a half weeks old, and that he had really bad problems with fleas, ticks, and worms when we got him. (He had around 1000 seed ticks on him when we got him, and yes, I meant to type 1000). The vet says there is no reason to worry about lyme disease, and he has a negative Parvo test; what on earth could this be?
I'm not a veterinarian so I can really only recommend that you follow the advice of your vet and have some further tests done to try and find out exactly what is causing these chronic problems. However, I would also say that it's perfectly acceptable to seek a second opinion before going to specialists etc. if you want to be sure that this is necessary.
This type of chronic problem could be caused by a lot of different things, and many parasitic conditions (including things Hookworms) can take more than one round of treatment to be totally cured. Another possibility that I would consider is Coccidia (if you're not familiar with this, check out this page.. Coccidiosis In Dogs) but I'm assuming that your veterinarian has checked for this already. Double-checking doesn't hurt though as it's possible to get a false-negative for this type of parasite occasionally.
Your pup has also had a lot of changes in diet and as he was doing better on the boiled chicken and brown rice I would suggest getting him back on that for now. Dog food allergies do have to be considered here and I'd recommend stopping the treats again and looking for only single protein source, hypoallergenic dog treats for him. Or simply using tiny pieces of chicken as he seems to be okay with that. An elimination diet might be a good idea too and you'll find more info. on this on my dog food allergies page that I linked to earlier in this paragraph.
Sometimes inflammation and irritation in the colon can become chronic (ie colitis) simply due to recurring diarrhea and even after the original trigger has been cured. An anti-inflammatory such as the Metronidazole may help if this is the problem.
I agree that HGE doesn't exactly fit your pups symptoms, but it couldn't hurt to rule it out although I realize that all of this vet care is bound to be very expensive. Again, getting a second opinion may not be a bad idea at this point as you evaluate your course of action.
Luckily, overall your puppy seems happy and healthy, so whatever is causing these issues is not affecting his general health too negatively. Of course you need to get to the bottom of it all though and you are getting closer all the time. I wish I could help more, but I really think veterinary professionals are in a better position to give you the answers that you need right now.
Lots of luck to you both and I hope that your little guy is doing much better soon.