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Digestion and Gastric Problems FAQ

Digestion and Gastric Problems

By Lew Olson • November 2007 Newsletter
The information contained in this newsletter should only be used as a guideline. Always make sure you have a correct diagnosis from your veterinarian before proceeding and always follow their directions and protocol.

Frequently Asked Questions Digestion and Gastric Problems

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November 2007


Lew Olson,

PhD Natural Health, LMSW-ACP

Frequently Asked Questions: Digestion and Gastric Problems I hope November finds everyone well! It has been a big month at my house and I have included a picture of some of the excitement here! We have a new litter at our house and I will post more pictures next month.



This month, we are going to cover a topic that often affects our companions during the Holiday Season. During this time there is a lot of excitement, over eating, and holiday treats which can cause some tummy troubles. I hope you all find this information helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions about Digestion and Gastric Problems 1. My dog has diarrhea. What can I do? The two most common causes of diarrhea are either too much food or too much fat in the diet. Most adult dogs do well on 2% to 3% of their daily body weight. Check the amounts you are feeding, and feed less if needed. If this doesn't alleviate the problem, then try using less fat in the diet. It is often a good idea to fast your dog for 12 to 24 hours (except toys breeds – do not withhold food this long for toy breeds) to help the digestive system heal and get back on track.

If a dog has continuous liquid or projectile diarrhea, be sure to check with your veterinarian. This can cause dehydration, which can be very serious and your dog may need fluids.

Other causes for diarrhea can be gluten intolerance (found in grains). In other cases, dogs can develop allergies to foods if the diet doesn't provide a variety of proteins.

Sometimes it is helpful to add a bit of plain canned pumpkin to the dog's food. For small dogs this would be one teaspoon, medium dogs two teaspoons and a tablespoon for large dogs. The fiber acts to help absorb moisture in the large intestine. Be careful with fiber though. Continued use of large amounts of fiber (grains, starches, fruit, beans and high vegetable content) can add extra labor to a dog's digestive tract, as they are built to readily digest animal proteins and fat. Too much fiber can cause large stools with much odor, so a balance is needed.

2. The diarrhea has ceased, but my dog is vomiting, what can I do? As with diarrhea, make sure dehydration doesn't occur. Always consult with your veterinarian with uncontrolled vomiting.

A suggestion to help stop nausea is ginger. This can be given in powder form, herbal tincture or even ginger snap cookies. Cabbage juice is also helpful for controlling nausea. Boil a cabbage for 20 minutes, and give the cooled liquid at one CC per ten lbs of body weight as needed.

Meclizine (also known as Dramazine Less Drowsy) can also help with nausea. Be sure to check with your veterinarian on proper dosage for your dog.

3. My dog eats a raw diet with bones, and sometimes I see shards of bone in the stool, should I worry? No, this is not uncommon. Usually it means either you are feeding the dog too much, or the bone is a harder variety (i.e. lamb, beef). These bone pieces are not harmful; your dog just probably had too much bone to handle in one meal. Try softer bones such as pork or chicken.

4. Even after diet adjustments, my dog still has diarrhea. It would be a good idea to take a stool sample to your vet and have a wellness checkup. If the cause isn't diet, it could be a variety of things. This could include parasites, bacteria and/or inflammation of the intestinal lining.

Parasites can be a common cause of diarrhea, always rule these out first with your veterinarian. Causes can be roundworms, coccidea, giardia, and hookworms to name a few. Once these are identified, treatment usually clears up the cause of diarrhea.

http://www.hartz.com/Dogs/ArticlePreview.asp?Animal=1&Article=93&Topic=3 http://www.canismajor.com/dog/giardia.html SIBO- Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth This is a bacteria overgrowth that is becoming more common in dogs. This problem creates large, gassy stools with weight loss and often appetite loss.

http://www.upei.ca/cidd/Diseases/GI%20disorders/small%20intestinal%20bacterial%20overgrowth.htm http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/courses_vm546/content_links/DfDx/Dog%20Case%203/small_intestinal_bacterial_overg.htm http://shilohgtf.com/S.I.%20Bacterial%20Overgrowth%20Syndrome.htm Irritable Bowel Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Colitis IBD symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting, which is caused by an inflammation of the intestinal lining. The causes of diarrhea listed above can be the cause of IBD. IBS is stress related, while IBD is chronic and ongoing.

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_inflammatory_bowel_disease.html EPI – Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency EPI – Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency is a condition where the pancreas does not secrete the proper enzymes to digest foods. This is found commonly in German Shepherd Dogs, although seen in other breeds as well. Testing is needed to determine this disorder, and prescription enzyme medications are needed for treatment. Like SIBO, EPI has large stools with odor. These are grey in color, often with a greasy texture.

Symptoms of EPI include INCREASED appetite, fluffy, huge smelly, greasy, gray colored stools, loss of weight, gas, loud stomach noises, etc. The dog's pancreas doesn't produce enough digestive enzymes to break the food down and therefore no matter how much they eat, they can't digest their food and therefore they start to starve to death. Loss of weight is fast.

http://www.healthypets.com/expaine.html http://www.copypastearticles.com/article/2392/epi-in-the-gsd/ http://www.entirelypets.com/expaine.html HGE – Hemorrhagic GastroEnteritis With HGE – Hemorrhagic GastroEnteritis, there is bloody diarrhea which is often red and clotted in appearance. Vomiting and lethargy can develop later. A high packed cell volume (PCV) in a blood panel will confirm the diagnosis. Toy breeds are more at risk, but HGE has good recovery outcomes.

http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/dogdiseasesh/a/HGEindogs.htm http://www.pets.ca/encyclopedia/hemmor_gastro_dog.htm http://www.thedogplace.org/Articles/articles167.htm 5. What supplements are helpful for diarrhea and gastric problems? There are several important supplements that help with digestive problems. Here are a few that are most helpful: Ultra Probiotic Powder These are often a blend of beneficial bacteria that aid in digesting food, preventing gas and discomfort and also help to boost the immune system. Antibiotics indiscriminately kill the good bacteria along with the bad and it is important to replenish these with good flora and fauna bacteria such as acidophilus, streptococcus and enterococcus. These also help to fight yeast overgrowth and keep bacteria from multiplying into harmful amounts by keeping a balance in the digestive tract. Healthy amounts of these friendly bacteria help fight spasms and cramping. L-Glutamine This is an amino acid that has shown promising results in the last few years to provide healing in the digestive system. Studies have shown it helps to repair intestinal tissue at the cellular level and it is a precursor to glutathione, an antioxidant. L-glutamine is also an aid to help restore muscle atrophy. It also induces the large intestine to remove excess water, which is helpful for dogs prone to diarrhea.

Digestive Enzymes There are several types of digestive enzymes that help break down certain foods. Protease help breaks down proteins, lipase helps to break down fats and amylase assists in breaking down carbohydrates. There are many enzymes that fall under each category and different types for various stages of digestion. The two types of enzymes that are most common are those from either from animal or plant sources. Both are necessary to aid in all phases of digestion.

Dogs with irritated or inflamed digestive tracts have difficulty breaking down the food for the nutrients, and digestive enzymes can help with this process and offer better nutrition in the small intestine. Some plant enzymes help fight inflammation and reduce swelling. The one that is most useful one is Bromelain, an enzyme that comes from pineapple. Important enzymes for fat digestion include pancrelipase. Trypsin is also helpful for gastric retention and fighting inflammation and helps to speed healing of the digestive tract.

B-Naturals carry a product called Berte’s Digestive Blend, which not only contains probiotics, Berte’s Zymes and l-glutamine, but also ginger and N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG, which helps restore permeability to the digestive tract lining).

I hope everyone finds this information and links of benefit and I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween! Thanksgiving is coming up soon, be sure to look for good supply of turkey necks that will be plentiful this month! Lew

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