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Ask Dr. Altman Your Own Question

Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6272
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 15 years.
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I have a 9 month old rough collie, he has had diarrhea off

Customer Question

I have a 9 month old rough collie, he has had diarrhea off and on since we got him at 6 months old. I have tried all the diets (he won't have anything to do with any of them) he has been to the vet and she deemed him healthy as a horse. The only thing that is working is the anti-diarrhea medication that I give him, and thats expensive
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 10 months ago.

Dr. Altman :

Welcome! I am Dr. Altman, a licensed veterinarian and happy to answer your questions today.

Dr. Altman :

So sorry Odin is having such difficulties!

Dr. Altman :

Is there any blood or mucus in the stools?

Customer:

it looks like mucus in some of the stool but not every time

Dr. Altman :

Are they semi-formed or always soft, cow piled form? Normal brown color or lighter/ darker?

Customer:

most are semi formed, but even when he was regular on the medication he would still push out cow pile form and its almost always light brown

Dr. Altman :

What is the anti-diarrhea medication you are given for Odin?

Customer:

small amounts of cow pile stuff

Customer:

essential pet anti diarrhea liquid

Dr. Altman :

It is not a medication such as metronidazole, a probiotic, or tylan?

Customer:

no kaolin and pectin

Customer:

and he is on nutro-source food that has a probiotic in it

Dr. Altman :

The top reasons that dogs will have these chronic diarrhea issues can be 1.) Pancreatic insufficiency meaning that the pancreas is not producing the enzymes needed to digest the food and therefore the stool is loose. There is a test for this but it is pricey. It can rule this in/ out easily though, called tli/ folate/ cobalamin test

Customer:

I took him to the vet and they said that everything was fine.

Dr. Altman :

2.) Food allergies, which is tested by putting on a prescription food for allergies that the protein is broken down beyond what the body recognizes as those proteins. These foods are hill's z/d and royal canin h/p diet. They MUST only be on this food and nothing else for a 2 week period to rule this in/ out

Dr. Altman :

I understand but these are specific tests that you cannot know without ordering them specifically. There is no way your vet can diagnose this without doing this test

Customer:

what could they do even if he does have this diagnosis?

Dr. Altman :

3.) Inflammatory bowel disease which can begin in a dog of 6 months old or older. This is only diagnosed by endoscopy and biopsies taken and typically is only done when all other avenues have been taken because cost is often a factor

Dr. Altman :

There are supplements that are given to treat this condition

Dr. Altman :

There is an oral supplement and an injection that is given weekly to every 4 weeks depending on the need.

Dr. Altman :

The oral supplement is pricey but it really can make a big difference in these cases to limit the loose stool and help start forming regular feces again

Customer:

will he get better or will he alway have this problem?

Dr. Altman :

Depending on the cause, he likely will always have this problem but all are treatable once a diagnosis is made

Dr. Altman :

I have a dog with food allergies

Dr. Altman :

She is on the royal canin h/p diet and does really pretty well on it

Dr. Altman :

Does have the occasional flare ups but as long as she is on the food her stools are moderately formed

Customer:

does that come in puppy food?

Dr. Altman :

No it is a hypoallergenic diet to rule in/ out food allergies. If after 2 weeks he is having normal stools that helps give a diagnosis

Dr. Altman :

It is also a pricey diagnosis because the food is prescription and he cannot have anything else but the food during the trial

Customer:

because the anti-diarrhea meds work and sound way less expensive than all the tests. The vet said if it keeps working than to continue giving him the medication. How much is the food?

Dr. Altman :

It will vary depending on the area you live in and markup

Dr. Altman :

For my dog cost is about $80/month

Dr. Altman :

Since the treatment you mentioned is herbal there is no problem using that longterm if it continues to be effective

Customer:

is there any way to get this food over the counter or does it absolutely have to be prescription?

Dr. Altman :

It is only with a prescription

Dr. Altman :

Your vet can script it to petsmart who does carry it but they will not sell it without a prescription

Customer:

Because the meds last me about a month because I only have to put a teaspoon in every time I feed him, and he is an easy keeper

Dr. Altman :

Well if it does continue to work it is an option that should be considered...

Customer:

Definitely because money is tight right now and it doesn't sound like it can be fixed without a lot of tests and/ or food. I was contemplating calling the breeder I got him from and asking if he had any problems with this in the past

Dr. Altman :

It definitely would be something to ask but most breeders will tell you no never before...

Dr. Altman :

I do understand the tight budget, if I didn't own my clinic I might not be able to afford my dog's food!

Customer:

I hope that they would tell me, because I'm getting his sister (same parents different litter) in the next 6 months as first pick, and I hope that there isn't anything wrong with her! They are Mennonites from montana, do puppies from mennonite breeders usually have health problems? I noticed after I got odin that there seems to be a lot of mennonite breeders

Dr. Altman :

I have not heard that regarding these breeders in particular

Dr. Altman :

Unfortunately some breeds are more prone to problems then others. Although this is not a large problem I see with this breed, more hip dysplasia and skin problems

Customer:

I don't mean it in a discriminatory, just curious if there was a connection, if there was I would look for a puppy elsewhere. But Odin has really strong hips and we give him skin and coat supplemental treats.

Dr. Altman :

There are definitely some great breeders out there, I just tend to hear a lot of the defensive responses or that this has never happened before in our litters...

Dr. Altman :

I guess the question will be how they handle the phone call of your concerns...

Dr. Altman :

That can really shed some light on how they handle these types of questions

Customer:

oh gotcha, well hopefully its just in Odin and won't be in his sister. could this change when he gets older? at like a year or older when he hits maturity? kind of like changing hormones?

Dr. Altman :

I have seen this resolve with maturity in some cases yes

Customer:

Some enzymes change with hormones (in humans, I'm a CNA) but I wasn't sure if it could change in dogs. but as for now, I think that I will keep him on the medication, and see if it changes when he reaches maturity. He isn't fixed yet, and I was going to wait until he is 1 year or 15 months so he is fully developed. would fixing him help?

Dr. Altman :

It is unlikely neutering him will change the stool consistency, no

Customer:

okay. Well then I will keep him on the meds and hopefully the problem will resolve itself after he reaches maturity. If not i'll have him texted as soon as I can afford it.

Dr. Altman :

Perfect!

Dr. Altman :

Can I assist with any additional questions this evening?

Customer:

Thank you for your help! :)

Dr. Altman :

You are very welcome

Dr. Altman :

Believe me, I understand how frustrating this can be

Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6272
Experience: Practicing small animal veterinarian for 15 years.
Dr. Altman and 4 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 10 months ago.
Hi Karina,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Odin. How is everything going?

Dr. Altman
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Well we have him on the diarrhea meds and his stool is solid. The breeder said she never had this problem with him. Or Odin's parents.but I went into my kitchen last night and there was blood in his food and water dishes and he was making a heeving sound like he was choking or had something in his nose.

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 10 months ago.
Glad to hear those medications have once again controlled the loose stool. Did you have him evaluated today for the blood? That sounds very alarming to walk into! Is he alright now?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Yes there must have been something choking him or a cut on his gums cause it only happened once and the vet again said he was perfectly find. is cobalamin hereditary? because I contacted the breeder and she was very surprised. neither of Odins parents had/ or has a problem with loose stool, so maybe he just has a sensitive stomach?

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 10 months ago.
So glad to hear he is alright! Yes, it can be heritable but it can be recessive in both parents and have a puppy has two recessive genes and therefore have this issue. Or he could have perfectly normal parents and still have a puppy that has this issue...
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Will continuing him on the anti-diarrhea medication hurt him in the long run?

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 10 months ago.
No the ingredients of the medication/ treatment you listed should not have any longterm effects. Perhaps after a few months you can attempt to taper him off of the medicine but only time will tell...
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

okay, we figured out that his collar was a little to tight so that might have been choking him a little bit. and He'll be 1 year old on 1/1/14 so we'll try and taper him off when he turns 1 hopefully that will help him and give him a chance to gain weight and mature.

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 10 months ago.
That sounds like a great plan, I truly wish you luck!

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any additional questions in the future :)

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