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Dr. Elizabeth
Dr. Elizabeth, Veterinary Internist
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 730
Experience:  I am a veterinary internal medicine specialist with over 20 years of experience.
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Can I give my dog Acidophilus and what is the dose?

Customer Question

Can you give a dog Acidophilus and if so what would you recommend the dose for a 34lb mini schnauzer? My dog has stage 1 lymphoma cancer (in remission) and is in his 3rd month of chemo. His last chemo drug (Adrianmycin) is causing some problems. He got the chemo tuesday and friday morning he started having diarrhea and then he also threw up.

The vet gave us Metronidazole for the diarrhea but it takes a few days to help. We took our dog Milo in today b/c there were a bit of speckles of blood in his stool and the vet said he had colitis from the chemo. He's also taking Cerenia for the vomiting and nausea. He is eating just a bit of food but is drinking fine.

I take probiotic acidophilus everyday and it seems to strengthen my immune system and i read online it can help with diarrhea in people and dogs but i just want to make sure how many million of the acidophilus to give him. The ones I take have 1 billion in them but I've seen online dog dosages anywhere that range from 90 million to 500 million then other sites that say to give our size dog 1/4 of the human dose on a human product label.

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Elizabeth replied 6 years ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. My name is*****

First, let me say that I am sorry your pet is having problems post Adria therapy. Unfortunately, it is not that uncommon. It is good that you have metronidazole and have started it.

There are unfortunately no great studies to validate the exact amount of acidophilus to give to dogs. Many veterinarians do use probiotics in patients, but tend to stick with a product called Culturelle brand or those made specifically for dogs from Purina (Fortiflora) or other veterinary specific brands. The dose for Culturelle is 1 capsule daily for dogs over 20 # and 1/2 capsule for less than 20#. I am not sure of the strength of the Culturelle capsules.

I will check the Culturelle website further and see if I can figure out the capsule strength. For doxorubricin colitis I frequently recommend adding a tablespoon of canned pumpkin twice daily (just add it to the normal food) as the fiber in pumpkin is beneficial to the intestinal lining cells.

Okay, the Culturelle product has 10 billion lactobacillus! So, the 1 million in your product will do no harm!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Well he's being picky about eating. A vet i talked to on here last night also recommended the pumpkin but he wouldn't eat it. Milo had colitis (non chemo related) about 5yrs ago and my regular vet told me to give him plain oatmeal so i gave him a bit of that about an hour ago to help. His regular food which he has eaten a bit of too today is from Natural Balance.

It's canned sweet potato and venison. I'm assuming sweet potatoes are pretty similar to pumpkin in terms of fiber. He's also drinking a bit of pedalyte along with his water i have them in 2 separate bowls. Where online can i buy Culturelle? 1800petmeds and sale probiotics but the amount of culture in them seem really high, like 1 billion, the same amount I take that I buy from The Vitamin Shoppe.

Expert:  Dr. Elizabeth replied 6 years ago.

You can buy Culturelle directly online from them. Just google culturelle and it should just pop up. Yes, sweet potato is generally the same fiber type as pumpkin but just less of it per gram of food. We recommend pumpkin since it is easy to find and don't have to cook it like you would sweet potato (we wouldn't recommend using canned yams or sweet potato).

As you can see, the amount of active culture in Culturelle capsules is 10 billion! The reason many DVMs use the Culturelle product is because they actually verify that each batch really does contain that much in active culture. The tough part with any of these products is that the culture does die the longer it sits on shelves. Culturelle stands by what is in their product.

The oatmeal is fine as is the Pedialyte. You can also try a scrambled egg (microwaved or cooked in just a little oil), cottage cheese and good old chicken and rice. I try to stay low on the carbohydrate side for my cancer patients as cancer can readily eat carbs but not protein and fats.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Scrambled eggs really? I didn't think dogs could eat dairy. This is the stuff i take. I was just thinking of giving 1/4 of each tablet to my dog.

Expert:  Dr. Elizabeth replied 6 years ago.

Really, scrambled or hard boiled! Cottage cheese is mostly protein and is really easy for dogs to digest. I just tried to open the link and it said that the site is down for regularly scheduled maintenance. Figures!

I really don't think you will have an issue using your current product. If anything it seems as it will be less than what many think is the "correct" dose for a dog. Again, there aren't any published studies in dogs that we can hang out hat on to know what is the best dose.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
For the scambled eggs is it ok to use Egg Beaters? Since they are much healthier and that's what i eat. Plus there have been alot of egg recalls lately so i'm not sure i want to use regular eggs for him right now
Expert:  Dr. Elizabeth replied 6 years ago.

No problem with using Egg Beaters....don't know how much taste-wise it will be an issue for him but give it a try. I would expect that he should really start to feel better soon. If he doesn't, please give your vet a call. The nadir (or low point) of white blood cell counts post doxorubricin therapy is usually around day 7 post treatment, but can be a little sooner than that.

If he stays punky you might consider getting a rectal temperature on him. Normal is between 100 and 102.5F. I tell my clients that if the temperature is greater than 102.5F on two readings an hour apart that they should come in to have a white cell count checked and possibly be put on something other than just metronidazole.

I know you didn't ask for that last bit, but I've managed a ton of lymphoma patients in my years so I figured I'll add that!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

We did a rectal temp on him last night and they did again this afternoon at the cancer clinic and it was 100.5 last night and around 101 today. Our cancer clinic is 24hrs so if there is an overnite emergency we can go there anytime. With the white blood cells yes Milo has an issue with that to. He cant do chemo once a week his white blood cells dont rebound enough (and are too low to give chemo) in that time frame so our oncologist has him doing chemo once every 10 days to give his body a chance to fully recover. It's funny i've read on various sites online that only about 5percent of dogs experience side effects from chemo and they generally tolerate them well.

My luck that i'm in that 5percent that have the side effects. Oh well he's been on chemo for 3 months now and this is only the 3rd time he has problems. The first time was on this same drug....had diarrhea gave him the Metronidazole took it away in 3 days with no vomiting. 2nd time was on Vincristine (the 3rd time he had taken it at the same dose which was odd that he got sick)......he had vomiting so we gave him the Cerenia and things got better for him really fast. This is the worst it has been for him .....with both the diarrhea and vomiting at the same time it's shooting out both ends! lol. The thing is my oncologist upp'd his dose of Adrianmycin this past tues knowing full well the 1st time he took it he got diarrhea so i'm gonna have to have a little chit chat with my oncologist about dosing and quality of life for Milo. I'm actually really upset with my oncologist b/c i feel like he is partially to blame for this happening.

He knew the 1st time he took Adrianmycin he got the diarrhea but then this past tues he still chose to up his dose and now things have gotten really bad. He should have taken into account what happened the 1st time when dosing him this past tuesday. This cancer clinic has 5 locations and about 15 oncologist i'm actually thinking of switching oncologists i'm so upset about this dosage issue.

Expert:  Dr. Elizabeth replied 6 years ago.

I hear your frustration. We do want them to live as long as we can, but quality of life is the most important factor. Without quality, what do we have? More heartbreak and guilt.

Doxorubricin is the drug that usually we see the most side effect with, but vincristine is second. Cerenia has been a godsend in cancer therapy as it works better than most of the other antiemetics....but is much more expensive, too!

You should talk to your oncologist and express your concerns. Hopefully they will respond thoughtfully Having a great relationship with your oncologist is really important and you need to feel confident in his decisions for you and Milo, even if he is the "best" that they have.

Keep your chin up. It should be getting better. Milo has a sensitive gut! Consider starting metronidazole the day he get doxorubricin and then for a week after instead of starting it when he develops diarrhea. I have done that with patients if they have problems with the first dosing. I also tend to put them on metoclopramide with doxorubricin. It is a "wimpy" antivomiting drug but is often enough to keep you out of the emergency room!

Good luck,

Dr. Elizabeth