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Mystery illness (Long)

I have a 9 year old female black lab, and an 8 year old female chocolate lab, both spayed. My chocolate lab had the first bout of diarrhea in October, which she went on antibiotics for. Around Christmas she started vomiting several times a day, and also started having diarrhea shortly after the vomiting started. She has always had a touchy stomach so we did not go to the vet for a few days but was put on a bland diet of sweet potato, rice, and chicken. Then she started having blood in both her vomit and diarrhea. Her energy and appetite have remained normal.

The vet tested her for a number of parasites and bacteria and all lab work came back clean, her blood panel also came back normal. She went on a round of antibiotics, which cleared up the diarrhea, but came back within 2 days after finishing it. She was also given an anti-emetic because she was vomiting her medications, which she had to take on an empty stomach. This all took placer over a month, and she lost 14 pounds. She has gained back 10 lbs, but has not been able to  put the last 4 lbs back on. She also had lab work to test if she was absorbing nutrients and that came back normal.

Then my black lab also started having diarrhea. She also has had clean lab work, and was given a round of antibiotics. At that point we packed out bags and moved in with my parents. After being there for 3 days both dogs were back to normal. We stayed for 2 weeks and then moved home again. We have been home for 2 weeks, and last night my black lab started having diarrhea again where she needs to go out every 2 hours since about 4 pm yesterday. She ate last night but was reluctant to eat this morning and has vomited once today.

They successfully transitioned back to their normal dog food after being at my parents. I have had them on bottled water since we moved back home, and have supervised all their time in the yard. We did 3 separate yard sweeps before returning home to see if there was anything suspicious and did not find anything. The yard is fully fenced, we have neighbors on either side that have dogs who hare not sick, and there are wild rabbits around. The mushrooms in the yard have been removed and did not seem to be the cause.

 So my questions is, does anyone have any ideas? Things that the vet does not think are making them sick - rabbit poop, Giardia or other parasites/bacteria in the yard, tap water, rodent poison, mushrooms, and probably not pesticide or insecticide. We've been in the house for a year and this is the first time they've been sick. I have never used any insecticide or pesticide. I did put down fertilizer and some herbicide down in July.

Re: Mystery illness (Long)

  • A question for you:

    What food are you feeding them now? Since you said they "transitioned back" to it after being at your parents' house, I'm assuming they weren't eating it while you were at the other house? 

    Because they're having diarrhea and vomiting, this definitely seems systemic and not environmental. Food would be my absolute first thought, with water or getting into things in the yard as follow-up considerations. Since you're giving them bottled water, that doesn't seem a likely source of the problem. Do you watch them closely when they're out in the yard? It's entirely possible they're getting into something that you never noticed or thought could be a problem. I wouldn't think they're current symptoms have anything to do with products put down in your yard 7 months ago; fertilizers and herbicides will be gone by now.

    image image
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    TTC since July 2012
    BFP #1: 11/9/13; spontaneous m/c at 6w2d, 11/25/13
    BFP #2: 12/31/13. B/w 12/31: betas >1000, progesterone 13.6; B/w 1/2: betas 3065, progesterone 10.2
    B/w 1/8: betas 17,345, progesterone 25.6
    Progesterone suppositories started 1/2. Please stick, baby!!
    Fiona Elise born 9/9/14 - welcome beautiful girl!
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  • They are on Simply Natural Duck & Sweet Potato. Strangely, I have not been able to find much information about it on the internet. I get it from the local holistic pet food store. They've been on this food for 4-5 years now without any problems. I started adding in the dry food about a week after the diarrhea cleared up. They switched back to just the dry food over the course of 1.5 weeks.

    We wondered about the food, but I wasn't sure it was an allergy / intolerance, even though those might develop after a while because it was both dogs. I only by one bag of food at a time, and it typically lasts about 4 weeks.  It is stored in a rubbermaid container. The bag of food they are currently eating is new. 

    I haven't ruled out them getting into something while I'm out watching them, but I can't figure out what it might be. I did catch my chocolate lab trying to lick a slug again this afternoon.

  • Because vomiting and diarrhea are generally cues to a food allergy/intolerance, especially after bloodwork and tests have ruled out any illnesses so far, I'd recommend trying a switch. If it is the food, they'll start feeling better in a few weeks. If it isn't, at least a foid switch is easy and doesn't hurt anything to try. I thought Simply Natural was PetSmart's new food brand, but I could be mistaken. I'd recommend looking into brands like Wellness, Taste of the Wild, Natural Balance, Evo, etc. I don't know if the Simply Natural is grain free, but going with a grain free food might be a good first step if they're currently getting them. GL!
    image image
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    TTC since July 2012
    BFP #1: 11/9/13; spontaneous m/c at 6w2d, 11/25/13
    BFP #2: 12/31/13. B/w 12/31: betas >1000, progesterone 13.6; B/w 1/2: betas 3065, progesterone 10.2
    B/w 1/8: betas 17,345, progesterone 25.6
    Progesterone suppositories started 1/2. Please stick, baby!!
    Fiona Elise born 9/9/14 - welcome beautiful girl!
    image
    Badge Unicorn
    image
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