Relapse…and recovery

Yikes! I’ve been gone for a while. It’s well intentioned though. Reggie has been very sick, and of course I have been taking good care of him.

Last summer he had an awful bout with a new development, irritable bowel disease. He stopped eating (literally, zero food) for several days and took little food for about three weeks. He developed a skin infection then had a terrible reaction to the antibiotics. It took about two months to fully recover but he did, and I thought we were past it.

Um, no.

Irritable bowel disease is akin to an autoimmune disease that has periods of flare-up, and periods of remission. Reggie went into remission. Also, it is very common for dogs with food allergies to develop IBD later in life.

Right at the new year, Reggie developed a skin infection again. He gets itchy, then he scratches and licks, and it develops into a lesion. More and more frequently these scratchy spots are becoming infected more easily. This time, one of the lesions became infected with staph, a staph infection. He stopped eating again, he had to get a monster shot of antibiotics, and recovery was slow. But, recover he did.

Then it happened again! Reggie is fond of hunger strikes and a month ago he decided he was over this whole eating thing. He got another staph infection- this one was worse, even the staff at the vet’s office noted that he was not his usual bubbly self- and another monster shot of antibiotics. He lost six pounds in a month (that’s 10% of his weight- that’s a big deal), he was dehydrated, his proteins were extremely high (due to malabsorption in his inflamed intestines), and he had a seizure due to the lowered threshold. Yikes.

He was started on a common G.I. anti-inflammatory medication to “calm down” his intestines. He also started eating prescription hypoallergenic dry food in addition to the hydrolyzed protein wet food he was already eating. Problem was, it wasn’t working, and he didn’t like the food.

So now we have a different medication that seems to be slowly working, and a new hypoallergenic food that he likes. He has gained four pounds, and his immune system is stable enough that he was able to get his vaccines. But what is our goal? We need to be striving for some sort of normalcy.

There is a plan. Reggie needs stability on this medication and food for 3-4 weeks. No G.I. distress, no infections, and continued weight gain. Then we have to do G.I. challenges with different foods to establish any reactions. Reggie will never eat his duck food again. We had a good run with it, but your G.I. system changes over time and his is saying “no” right now. The thinking is that duck is too close to other poultry that we know he is allergic to (chicken, turkey). The difference here is that we are not doing a true allergy challenge, but a G.I. challenge which requires less time and is looking for different reactions. He will also have all dairy eliminated from his diet because he is allergic to beef- milk and cheese still come from a cow.

So you might be wondering what he will be eating. Well his protein choices are limited. In discussions with the vet, we are going to try…rabbit. There are actually two sources that I can get quality, commercial dog food in both wet and dry form in rabbit that doesn’t have any of his allergens in it. We’ll see. I’m not sure he’ll eat it but we will try. Way back in the beginning we tried bison and he just sniffed it and walked away! Our other option is lamb. I’m partial to the lamb because I know he likes it and there are many more sources I can get good food from.
So in another month Reggie should be all healed up and eating new food. I’ll be able to report if we are buying rabbit or lamb and how it’s working!

Sleeping it off

Sleeping it off

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4 thoughts on “Relapse…and recovery

  1. We tried venison and fish in the beginning as well- he didn’t like the venison and he ate the fish for a few days I think because it was new and then gave up 😦

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