Begley's been home about 8 weeks now, and is 15 weeks old. His breeder had him on Royal Canin, and when he came home I started switching him gradually over to a 50/50 Orijen/Acana Puppy blend, because I like their ingredients and approach to dog food. We switched over about 10 days, and things seemed fine. His poop was never really super firm right from day one, but it was okay and he was on a regular poop schedule. A day or two after he was totally on the Orijen/Acana blend, I started increasing the Orijen percentage slightly. He started having diarrhea that night, and that continued for three nights (he was eating/drinking/acting fine otherwise). I figured the Orijen food was too rich, so got a bit panicky and cut that out over about two days (so now he's just on Acana puppy). We did go to the vet, and did a course of medication, into which she mixed some keopectate. For 10 days his stool was more normal, and I figured we were good. Two days after he finished his meds, though, the diarrhea returned (he's still on 100% Acana puppy). Back to the vet. We took in a stool sample and are awaiting the results, but even our vet said she had a hunch the results would come back negative for any bacteria/parasite/infection etc. She quite rightly observed that I've now made several diet changes (Royal Canin -> Orijen/Acana -> Acana), which makes diagnosis a bit tricky if it's food related and, in fact, could be a contributing factor to Begley's problems, and we're awaiting next steps.
So we're sticking with Acana for now and waiting for test results to come back, but in the meantime I've been looking at dog food reviews, and Acana Puppy still seems to be pretty high in protein (32%) compared to other puppy foods (usually 26% - 28% protein). Is that 4% - 6% difference enough to actually make a difference? Has anyone else had similar experiences with Acana Puppy? Any thoughts on protein levels, etc.? I'm going to wait and work with our vet before making any more changes, but I do like to do my own research, too, and have some ideas to talk about with the vet.
At this point I'm just hoping it's not a chronic thing like irritable bowel.
I have to give my mini girl x amount of her food.. Like say a level 1/4 c scoop 2x a day, but if I give her a heaping 1/4c scoop 2x a day then she will have loose stools/ diarrhea. Maybe if you cut back and stay there and only slightly increase If he starts to lose weight that might help. I generally look on the bag and feed the lower end of the rec amount and see how it goes. Acana is less rich than Orijen so that's a start. If that doesnt work try adding white rice to lower the protein a bit. When my girls have tummy troubles they are on rice only for a day and I start to add a bit of kibble and monitor poops. If all is good I increase kibble. Something that helps with diarrhea is GSE. I use the nutribiotic brand.. It's grapefruit seed extract. All natural antibacterial, anti fungal, antiprotozoal, and even antiviral lol. It does not adversely affect the good gut flora. Anyway if you get the liquid I mix like 3-4 drops with some honey for taste, and an ounce of warm water to dilute things. I give this about three times a day and it works well for diarrhea. Better than antibiotics IMO.
So, the results from the stool sample test came back this morning, and our puppy has Cryptosporidium (a parasite). It's tough to say exactly where this came from, but typical symptoms are very soft/stinky stool with occasional or persistent diarrhea. This fits our situation... Begley's stools were very soft ever since he came home, which we initially attributed to a change in his diet and just general "puppiness," and the diarrhea came and went. We're starting a new prescription for him this afternoon.
Our vet was kind of surprised... apparently this is a really uncommon thing for puppies, and is generally contracted through ingestion of contaminated feces (often from surface water or cow poop). Adult dogs can be infected but not showing symptoms, so transmission could be something as simple as adult dogs tracking in contaminated surface water where puppies will get it, infected adult dogs' feces being in the vicinity of puppies, etc. Given that I live in an urban house (no cows), with no other dogs, and any surface water nearby has been frozen ever since Begley came home, I'm a bit mystified. At this point I'm focusing on a hopefully successful treatment instead of trying to pinpoint blame.
I know I looked on this forum for other people's experiences with similar symptoms when I first became concerned, so I wanted to post this update in case other/future readers experience the same thing. So, in case anyone has a puppy with these kinds of symptoms (symptoms can also include vomiting), the really expensive stool sample test that the vet runs is probably worthwhile, and I'd opt to get it done as soon as you suspect something isn't right.
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As a forum user, I appreciate being able to look at old threads and know how situations resolved themselves. So I thought I'd post another update on Begley, in case other people are unfortunate enough to find themselves dealing with cryptosporidia in a puppy.
To recap, Begley had soft stools ever since he came home in the middle of November. On December 13th, he began experiencing acute diarrhea (pudding-like or soupy stools, having to urgently go out to poop several times overnight). There was no blood in the stool, but it did smell TERRIBLE (not parvo-like, just really, really poopy). We took him for an emergency vet visit after three nights of this. He was put on 10 days of metronidazole and panacur, with keopectate to alleviate the diarrhea and Florentero for a probiotic. Stools seemed to improve.
Three days after finishing those meds, the diarrhea returned in exactly the same form. Another emergency vet visit, but this time we did a PCR panel (a stool test that tested for many things). It came back positive for cryptosporidia. We started a 14 day course of azithromycin, along with keopectate and Florentero. Stools seemed to improve. After 10 days on the azithromycin, Begley's stools seemed to worsen again. I suspect this was a side effect of the azithromycin, which is quite harsh and commonly causes diarrhea (ironic, since it's often treating diarrhea to begin with). The vet recommended we discontinue those drugs and re-test for crypto.
The test for crypto (we're now in January) came back still positive. We elected to feed a high fibre diet (in the form of his regular Acana Puppy with 1 tbsp pumpkin added twice daily) and continue the Florentero probiotic. His stools were still kind of soft, but there was no more accute diarrhea.
At the beginning of February we retested for crypto AGAIN (test #3 - vet bills are adding up!) along with a test for pancreatic insufficiency (which included B12 and folate level tests). The crypto was STILL positive, the pancreas was okay, and B12 and folate levels were actually high, indicating that Begley had too much "bad" bacteria in his gut and not enough "good" bacteria. At this point, nearly two months after the initial onset of acute diarrhea, we had the option of going back on the metronidazole and doing a seriously heavy duty dose of worming medication. After discussion with our vet, we chose not to, instead giving Begley 1 tbsp of pumpkin twice a day with his food, along with 1 tsp of metamucil twice a day, and start him on a super-duper probiotic. We bought Jamieson's 30 billion 8 strain probiotic (a people probiotic) on our vet's advice, and gave him one of those a day. By this time, we're occasionally getting good solid poops, with an occasionally still kind of soft but not puddingy poop. About two weeks in, I switched him from psyllium fibre to inulin fibre, reportedly a better prebiotic. We did discuss the idea (with our vet) of a fecal transplant for Begley to address the gut bacteria issue. We didn't pursue this very far and didn't undertake that treatment, but our vet didn't dismiss it as an eventual treatment option if things didn't improve. In case anyone else is ever in a situation like ours, I just offer that idea as something that came up when I was researching online.
At the beginning of March, we did test #4 for crypto (at this point we've tried to stop paying attention to the total cost of vet bills), and YAY! It came back negative! B12 levels are also closer to normal. Poops are generally quite solid and Begley now must wonder exactly why hubby and I pay SO MUCH attention to his stools. Hopefully this is the end of our experience with crypto.
To be clear, I'm not saying that we made the correct or the only possible choices we could have along the way with Begley's treatments, or that these treatments would affect another dog the same way, but when I was looking for information on crypto in dogs, I had a hard time finding much, so I just wanted to share this anecdotal documentary of our experience working through this.
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Glad the baby is doing better. Wish I saw your update sooner I would have really pushed the GSE. My birds had a really bad case of giardia ( a protozoa) same as you multiple treatments and probiotics and still positive.. It's only when I added GSE to the treatment regime that I was able to cure them. It also does not adversely affect the gut's good flora.