Dog with health issues. PLEASE HELP!

Hello all, I’m hoping someone may be able to help me out as I’m at my wits end and just don’t know what to do.

I have an almost 13 year old greyhound girl who currently has chronic diarrhea, IBD and suspected Lymphoma.

The vet gave me Royal Canin Gastrointestinal tins and I’ve read the ingredients and am less than impressed.
I know her health issues mean that she is on borrowed time anyway but she still has a zest for life and I feel that I owe it to her to see if I can get her bowel movements under control. After all, if she’s still fighting then I have to fight too.

She’s on James Wellbeloved dry food but only eats it occasionally now. She’d much prefer to eat moist food but so far I’m having trouble finding anything to agree with her. She’s also on the Dorwest tree barks supplement powder but we haven’t had any luck with that so far either.

I don’t know what else to try. Currently, as her bowel movements are so bad I feel that anything is worth a go but it really needs to be something she can’t resist, as she isn’t eating properly and is a mere 20kg currently…

Any advice at all would be much appreciated, as I say, whilst she still has a zest for life, I feel that I should do all I can to make her more comfortable.

Thank you in advance to anyone who could offer any advice, it would be so much appreciated

Charmaine & Toffee

P.S - sorry, I forgot to add - it’s been confirmed that she has a mass on her liver, which we suspect to be the Lymphoma but because of her current condition, we are unable to do a biopsy to confirm this. She is also on 25mg of Prednindale steroids a day

Hi Toffeegigsy and welcome to the forum! I’m really sorry to hear of your poor girl’s troubles. The priority should certainly be to settle her stomach as without that foundation, any new food is likely to just make things worse.

Although I am no fan of Royal Canin, their GI diet can be very effective at easing digestive problems and may be worth considering, at least until the worst of the problems have subsided. Another alternative would be the good old tried and tested rice and chicken approach:

Day 1: no food at all
Day 2: a very small amount (no more than a few spoons a couple of times a day) of very well cooked brown rice. It really does need to be cooked far more than you would do for yourself, until it is overcooked and stodgy. You can cook a large batch at the start of the process and take from that rather than cooking every day.
Day 3: A bit more brown rice and add in a little boiled chicken.
Day 4 onwards: a bit more brown rice and chicken.

Whether you go with Royal Canin, chicken & rice or some other option, the whole point is to rest the system and allow any damage that has built up over the course of the problems to heal so keeping the feeding amounts low is key.

The solid motions are what you’re aiming for as they are a sure fire indication that the system is back on top of things. Now that she’s solid, ideally for 2-3 days, you can start to phase in whatever diet you would like your dog to be on long term. Whether that is a commercial dry, wet or raw or a home prepared diet is up to you but whatever you choose, do ensure that the ingredients are high quality and highly digestible. We have a guide on picking the right food here. If you suspect your dog is allergic or intolerant to any foods, definitely avoid them for now.

The new food should be introduced incredibly slowly, replacing a very small amount of the temporary diet with the new food. In the case of a dry food for example, this would be no more than a few biscuits for the first meal or two. Provided the motions remain firm, then increase the amount slightly on the next day and so on until, after around 10-14 days, she is 100% switched over to the new diet. If, at any stage, the digestion looks like it’s struggling (i.e. if the motions start to loosen) then slow down. Go back to the last ratio of new food that didn’t cause upsets until the motions once again firm up and then continue the switch at an even slower rate. If the problems keep coming back, then you will have to try another food.

This process can be very tedious and stressful but I have seen it work time and time again and it really is the surest way to reboot the digestive system and start from scratch on a new diet. Once she is properly recuperated, we can look at gradually getting her wait back up to normal.

I really hope that helps. Whatever you decide to do, please keep us posted as your feedback could help countless other dog owners in a similar situation.

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Hi David, thanks for your reply.

I had already been using the Royal Canin with no success so I decided to revert back to chicken & rice, doing small feeds more often.
We ended up back at the vets for a check-up where she gave us antibiotics that my girl was on previously and some Pro-bind.
All of those things together have given us some improvement. It’s very small steps at the moment but it is all going in the right direction. The poop is far from ideal but is slowly improving still and the usual dog has just been fully re-introduced also. I’m still occasionally adding some chicken or whitefish & rice to it but that’s more so to keep her interested in eating. Our latest visit to the vet was Monday and I’m pleased to say that, although it isn’t a substantial increase her weight has gone from 19.0 to 19.8kg in the space of a week. Onwards & upwards I hope :slight_smile: