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I have a 2 year old fox red lab. I can tell when a episode…

I have a 2...

I have a 2 year old fox red lab. I can tell when a episode is about to start, cause he starts gulping, then he starts gulping frantically. If at this point I put him outside he will consume what ever he possibly can, then vomit, then repeat gulp, eat , vomit! I've learned to just keep him inside and clean up the puke. But why is this happening, why does he have these episodes? So frustrating that nobody know. If I could treat him I would. I've raised his food bowl, soften his food, raised his water bowl, and stay attentive to his swallowing, but still out of the blue he gets a panic uncontrollable episode! Help!!

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. The Expert will know if the dog will be able to digest that. What is the dog's name and age?

Jason is 2.5 years old

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Jason?

I feel this has been happening since a pup

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Answered in 2 minutes by:
3/20/2018
Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11,020
Experience: I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help with this concern about Jason.

Please give me time to type back a response for you. I'll thank you in advance for your patience since my reply about this particular syndrome is rather lengthy. Deb

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you for considering and possibly helping our situation! I just don't know how to help jaxon, I'm even considering putting him down, as his quality of life as being sick is no quality ��

This type of behavior is actually a common problem in a fair number of dogs, believe it or not. I've labeled these episodes "Licky Fits" since it tends to capture the behavior fairly accurately. Dogs who are nauseous will often eat things that are not nutritious (it’s called pica when they do) but these events are much more intense and set themselves apart from “simple” nausea. As you noted, there's a desperateness to them which isn't often seen with other gi conditions.

As to the underlying cause, it's likely different for every dog who has one of these episodes: some of them will have motility disorders, others appear to have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), some may even have stomach masses (not likely in a dog this age) while others may have gas buildup. Trying to determine the reason for these events can often be quite challenging and is not always found despite diagnostic testing.

Some vets have categorized these episodes as a form of seizure activity but I'm not sure I agree with this assessment for most d ogs who experience these episodes. If neurologic in origin, it will be difficult to prove unless you put him on anti-seizure medication and the episodes never recur or the frequency is reduced.

Regardless of the underlying cause, there are, however, several things that you can do to help which may be successful which I'll list below. I wouldn't continue to raise either his water or food bowl since to do so has been associated with an increased risk of bloat in certain breeds such as Great Danes.

Short term solution (what you can do during an episode and which should be initiated immediately at the first sign of distress).

1. Give gas-x or what ever you would take for gas (products with Simethicone on the ingredient label). Give 1/4 -1/2 of what you would take.
2. Give bread soaked in milk.
3. Allow grass ingestion if it is untreated with chemicals. Vomiting may occur, but that’s fine since some dogs appear improved after this happens. This may not be true for Jason but it is for some patients.

4. Ginger snaps have a calming effect on the stomach; the number to give is variable but they shouldn’t contain the artificial sweeteners, Xylitol

5. Over the counter antacids may be of benefit.

Pepcid AC (Famotidine) at a dose of 1/4th mg per pound of body weight twice a day or

Zantac (Ranitidine) at a dose of 1 mg per pound of body weight twice a day or

Prilosec (Omeprazole) at a dose of 1/4th mg per pound of body weight once a day

6. Ask your vet about dispensing Xanax which may help when there’s another episode. (see below). Many patients appear to respond well to its anti-anxiety properties and stress may play a role for some dogs.

7. Some patients will benefit from abdominal massage which may help to soothe them.

Long term (trying to prevent recurrent episodes)

1. Consider a change in diet especially if IBD may play a role. Take the label of his current food and find something totally different. There are many, many options available at pet stores.
2. Feed smaller meals through the day and before bedtime.
3. Use Zantac (which has a prokinetic property) on a daily basis.
Dose would be 1 mg/lb and can be given twice a day

4. Consider soaking the kibble in water for 15-20 minutes prior to feeding although it sounds as if you've already tried this.
5. Consider Erythromycin which has better pro-kinetic properties if Zantac doesn't help.
6. Consider metronidazole for IBD.
7. Stress probably plays a role for some dogs; consider DAP diffusers or a collar (available at local pet/grain stores) if this might be the case or Solliquiin: http://www.nutramaxlabs.com/media-center/item/523-nutramax-laboratories-veterinary-sciences-launches-solliquin-behavioral-health-supplement

I have had a great deal of experience with dogs who behave as you describe (I have a breed that is genetically prone to IBD and frequently have these "attacks). These episodes are often managed but not prevented and are rarely "cured"…at least in my experience.
What appears to work for one dog will not work for the next. You have to try different things to see what helps.

Many of these dogs will not have episodes that are quite as severe as they age while others will continue to experience them their entire lives....there's just no way to predict.

For those dogs who have episodes frequently (once a week or more), I treat them with Xanax for 2 solid weeks or longer, if necessary. I also advise owners to modify the diet (as mentioned above in long term solutions). I've been fairly successful in reducing the number of subsequent events.

I know how scary these episodes can be because the intensity is so extreme but I hope this helps you understand what might be going on and ways to deal with it. Deb

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
We have been to the vet numerous times, by the time we get there, it's over, til we get home. Seems a Lot of distraction helps...and not panic. What I do find interesting that our vet said was...that there is a scivinkter type thing in the throat that isn't resetting itself. Possibly when he has acid reflux it irritates it.. layman's terms, but does that kinda make sense as to what could be going on?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Plus we have tried the rinidadin ( zantac) made no difference
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Or megaesophagus?

by the time we get there, it's over, til we get home. This doesn't surprise me since distraction does seem to help curtail the intensity of the behavior.

Possibly when he has acid reflux it irritates it.. layman's terms, but does that kinda make sense as to what could be going on? I'm not sure what your vet was trying to convey but I do believe that acid reflux may explain this phenomenon in some dogs which is why the antacids that I mentioned will help some of them.

Plus we have tried the rinidadin ( zantac) made no difference Again, this isn't surprising since what works for one patient doesn't work for them all. If this were my patient, I'd likely try Erythromycin (see #5 in Long Term Solutions) although I'd likely also dispense Xanax.

Or megaesophagus? This behavior doesn't fit with this condition.

Deb

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ya I kinda ruled out megaesophagus as well! Isn't erythromycin a antibiotic?

Isn't erythromycin a antibiotic? Yes but it has prokinetic properties as well..

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
would he be on that for life?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Is there anything natural in a supplement I can give him? I dislike meds for life. Would rather treat naturally as I have myself

Not necessarily. In my experience, this is a trial and error sort of process but multiple things are tried at one time....not just one thing. If a combination of treatment options are effective, then some of them can be discontinued but only one at a time.

I think it unlikely that Erythomycin by itself will be sufficient to stop these episodes since they're so intense. I'd likely start him on Xanax which may be a drug that would need to be given for a long period of time.

I'm not trained in alternative or homeopathic veterinary medicine although I have an interest in it. I'm not aware of anything which would be of benefit but you could consult a vet with more expertise in this area.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ok I will see how he does for the night tonight! It is odd tho cause he has gone almost a year without a episode and now 2 violent episodes in 2 days. Can Xanax be purchased over the counter or do I need a prescription?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I will also look into a lower fat content food. He is on lamb and rice right now and is very lean. He needs extra weight but doesn't seem to retain it. Odd!

It is odd tho cause he has gone almost a year without a episode and now 2 violent episodes in 2 days. I can understand why you would feel this way but it's consistent with my experience.

Can Xanax be purchased over the counter or do I need a prescription? Here in the States, it requires a prescription.

Deb

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ok thank you very much for your advise and will check back in the morning and let you know how he did. My hubby is up with him now as I try to research this .

You're more than welcome.

Best of luck with him, Deb

Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11,020
Experience: I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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