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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 30360
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Our 6 year old Shiba Inu has frequent belly aches--you can

Customer Question

Our 6 year old Shiba Inu has frequent belly aches--you can hear the growling, rumbling, squeeking. The vet had her on Pepcid for a long time, but that did not seem to help. I dropped one of my own fish oil pills one day, and she grabbed it and ate it. I started researching fish oil and dogs and found that it's actually not harmful to them. And her belly aches stopped with her taking one fish oil pill daily. Until lately. Now she has started having stomach aches several times a week. No throwing up, diarrhea, etc.--just the terrible stomach noises and wanting to be left alone. Pepto Bismol does work if she lets me catch her!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

It would be prudent to look into why Zora experiences such frequent gastrointestinal distress. Such chronicity often suggests food intolerance, chronic pancreatitis, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) but there's actually quite a litany of both primary gastrointestinal disorders and metabolic disorders that affect the gastrointestinal tract that can manifest similarly. I would begin by dosing Zora with a broad spectrum anthelminthic such as the over the counter fenbendazole available in pet/feed stores for 3 consecutive days in case occult GI parasitism exists. If you didn't see a positive response, Zora's vet can perform a diagnostic panel of blood and urine tests including a specCPL blood test which is most sensitive for detecting the presence of pancreatitis. If nothing untoward were found, an ultrasound of Zora's abdomen should be considered if only because such imaging is very sensitive when evaluating the GI tract itself. We're primarily looking for the inflammation suggestive of IBD. Alternatively, you might test for food intolerance.

Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that Zora's immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. The prescription foods are available from her vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (a hydrolyzed protein diet is my preference). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after our patient has been eating the same food for quite some time.

Should such testing not be helpful, I proceed to scope and biopsy my patient's GI tract - an invasive procedure but one that isn't done soon enough in too many patients. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Zora. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin