Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog.

Gastric Problems

Gastric Problems

By Lew Olson • July 2002 Newsletter
One of the leading problems in dogs today is a gastric problem. The problems are frequently accompanied with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. These can lead to either poor appetite (or always appearing hungry), loss of weight, and coat and skin problems, which result in worry and frustration for the owner.

These problems appear to be inflammation of either the small or large intestine and in some cases both. Some dogs may suffer spasms in the digestive tract, which create pain and loose stools. This creates increased inflammation in the digestion tract and poor absorption of the nutrients in the food.

It is generally believed that if the irritation and inflammation is in the small intestine, more vomiting will be seen. If the seat of the problem is in the large intestine, frequent loose stools will be seen. It can also be a combination of both of these symptoms.
There is no way to diagnose this problem through blood work or a physical examination. Occasionally elevated liver enzymes may be present or decreased protein appears in the blood work. However, the most definitive way to proper diagnosis is through the use of an endoscope. A gastric specialist can use an endoscope to obtain a small sample in the intestine. The sample is checked by biopsy to note inflammation of the intestines. If inflammation is found, often a diagnosis is given of Irritable Bowel Disease.
While there is no apparent reason for how this disease occurs in some dogs and not others, some theories include genetics, poor immune system, autoimmune disorder, allergic responses to food and even a particular tendency in dogs that are hyperactive or of an anxious nature.
Other problems that can mimic IBD symptoms include parasites, hyperthyroidism, bacteria infections and liver disease. These problems need to be ruled out, so it is important to always get a veterinarian check up and diagnosis for gastric issues.
Traditional treatments for gastric problems include the use of antibiotics, metronidazole (flagyl), steroids, certain immune suppressive drugs, anti-inflammatory agents and antidiarrheal drugs. Most frequently high fiber prescription diets are offered. Another management technique is to use hypoallergenic diets with one protein source and one carbohydrate source.
While some of these treatments may be effective to help reduce vomiting and produce better stools, they don’t offer a permanent solution, they often keep the immune system suppressed, and they offer a less than nutritious diet. High fiber foods help to remove excess moisture in the large intestine for a more normal looking stool, but it also continues to irritate the intestinal tract. Thus these methods may offer temporary solutions, but only while they are being used. Most dogs will relapse once these techniques are stopped.
Long-term use of steroids (including prednisone) can cause liver and kidney problems, increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, panting, increased chance of pancreatitis, thinning of hair coat, and continued immune suppression. The following website link contains information on tapering off of steroids for IBD patients and side effects: http://homepage.mac.com/sholland/Papers/Steroid.html
Flagyl is not FDA approved for dogs and long-term use can cause liver problems, neurological signs and occasionally allergic reactions such as itching.
While most of these treatments are recommended and prescribed, common philosophy is that IBD and other gastric problems cannot be cured, but merely controlled. Consequently, the owner and the health care practitioner battle to create a balance between anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, anti-diarrheal medicines and steroids, along with high fiber diets.
Newer treatment options have been developed for human patients over the last few years and many of these have been also found effective in dogs. These have few if any side effects and are designed to help digest the foods better, help to heal irritated and inflamed digestive tracts and assist better assimilation and motility of the food through the digestion process.
These include:
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 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 help offer better nutrition in the small intestine. Some plant enzymes help fight inflammation and reduce swelling and the 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.
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.
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.
N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG)
Research has shown that heavy mucus lines the digestion that is replaced every three to four days. Part of the make up of this mucus is NAG. However, in dogs with gastric upset and IBD, this mucus can turn over in production much more frequently. It was discovered in humans that with such a rapid recovery rate, they were unable to manufacture enough NAG.
NAG is part of the important process to prevent permeability in this lining. Without enough NAG, a condition called leaky gut syndrome developed. Improper digestion and poor healing resulted. Studies showed that patients given NAG were able to produce enough NAG to stop the poor digestion and help in developing a healthy mucus coating. It was also shown to help repair damaged tissue. More information on this can be found at this website: http://www.integratedhealth.com/infoabstract/glucosab.html.
Salmon Oil and Marine Lipids. There is a promising study that shows the anti-inflammatory properties of Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are helpful for patients with Crohn’s disease. You can read this study at the following website: http://homepage.mac.com/sholland/Papers/fishoil.html.
Fish oil possesses some immune regulating properties. This may be helpful to IBD and other gastric upsets. There is also some speculation that these disorders may be autoimmune related.
Antioxidants are important for dogs diagnosed with IBS, as the poor digestion in these animals often creates a deficiency in these nutrients. These would include vitamin C, Bioflavanoids, vitamin E and zinc. Equally important are the B complex vitamins. Mineral supplements could be offered by kelp, alfalfa and algae blends (such as Berte’s Green Blend), which are high in phytonutrients and other immune enhancing nutrients. These single cell foods are easy to absorb.
This is an important topic for dogs with gastric problems. Most commercial dog foods offered, including premium or prescription foods, are high in fiber and grains. These generally come in kibble form and the texture, dryness and high fiber content tend to make digestion more difficult and it adds a burden to the dogs short digestive tract, which is not designed to handle high fiber foods. They also contribute to gassiness and spasms of discomfort in the intestinal tract. Even human IBD and Crohn’s diets are suggesting less fiber for times of setback and relapse. Both raw diets and home cooked diets are a better alternative for dogs, as the fiber content can be reduced to amounts that are better tolerate. Fresh foods that aren’t heavily processed such as in commercial diets are more bioavailable (easier to digest and absorb) and aid in ease of digestion and absorption.
Raw diets seem to be most helpful in that they are served with raw meaty bones. The bones help to keep the stools firm. Easier digested fiber can be utilized, such as pulped or pureed vegetables rather than grains. Higher protein amounts are found useful and fresh fat or lightly cooked fats are easier to digest than the heavily processed fats found in commercial diets.
A suggested diet would consist of a higher amount of proteins, medium amount of fat and low content of carbohydrates and fiber. The following is a sample diet:
Meal One
(feed 2% to 3% of body weight in total food daily)
3/4 meat, either raw lean hamburger, beef heart, canned, drained and rinsed mackerel or salmon
1/4 pulped vegetables (as in a juicer), mostly cabbage and broccoli, celery, dark leafy greens (collards, mustard, turnip greens or spinach).
I also add one egg and two tablespoons of plain yogurt.
Meal Two
(suggested amount for a 100 pound dog)
Four to six chicken necks (raw, skin removed), or four chicken backs, or five chicken wings.
A cooked meal would not include bones (these splinter and can be dangerous if cooked) so the first sample meal (meat and vegetables) would be repeated, with the addition of calcium. Save the eggshells from the eggs, dry overnight and grind in a coffee bean grinder. Add at Ÿ teaspoon per pound of meat served.
Vegetables from the cruciferous family (cabbage, broccoli) are helpful for healing the digestive tract, so remember to include these daily.
A helpful hint for helping to stop vomiting is to boil organic cabbage for twenty minutes and let cool. Save the juice and give 5 CC’s to a small dog, 10 CC’s to a medium and more to a larger dog for aid in settling the stomach. Repeat as needed.
For diarrhea, plain canned pumpkin is helpful in absorbing moisture from the stool. Give one teaspoon to a small dog, half a tablespoon for a medium dog and a tablespoon for a large dog. Repeat as needed.
I do own a Rottweiler named Bud who was diagnosed with IBD at age three. He has followed the supplements outlined above and is maintained on a low fiber raw diet. Bud has not had a remission in five years, and is currently maintained only on the Berte’s Immune Blend for the antioxidants and small amounts of enzymes, Berte’s Green Blend, and Salmon Oil capsules for inflammation and immune system. He did take the enzymes and other supplements for the first two years, with the second year at much reduced doses. Each dog is an individual, but I have several reported success cases with the above protocol.
B-Naturals will soon be offering two new products that should be extremely helpful for gastric problems!
Berte’s Zyme!
This is a new and improved version of our popular Di Acid Dim. It aids in digestion of food, helps relieve inflammation and helpful for weight gain. One tablet of Berte’s Zyme includes:
– Glycine, 30 mg
– Pepsin, 100 mg
– Papain, 50 mg
– Pancreatin, 100 mg
– Pancrelipase, 50 mg
– Bromelain, 60 mg
– Ox Bile Extract, 60 mg
– Amylase, 30 mg
– Trypsin, 25 mg
– Betaine, 30 mg
Small dogs, one half tablet with each meal, medium dogs one tablet with each meal and two tablets for large dogs. This product is made with all human grade ingredients.
Berte’s Digestion Blend
A powdered blend for easy dosing, great for all types of gastric disorders, assimilation problems, tummy problems and aids in digesting of food.
Per Teaspoon:
– Equivalent of one Berte’s Zyme
– L-glutamine, 50 mg
– Lactobacillus acidophilus, 100 million cfu
– Lactobacillus gulgaricus, 75 million cfu
– Streptococcus thermophilus, 75 million cfu
– Enterococcus faecium, 75 million cfu
– Ginger root, 10 mg
– N-acetyl-glucosamine, 50 mg
(This product will be available the middle of July)
1/2 teaspoon per meal for small dogs, one teaspoon per meal for medium dogs and two teaspoons per meal for large dogs. This product is also made with all human grade ingredients.
Contact Me
If you would like to ask me any questions about my products, I would love to hear from you. Please check your return address when you send me email from my web site and try to write me again if you have not heard back from me.
To email: lew@b-naturals.com
To order call toll free: 1-866-368-2728
To fax an order: 1-763-477-9588
Email orders are also accepted
© Copyright 2002 Lew Olson, All Rights Reserved

Leave a Comment