Serious Illness after Doxycycline and how we solved it

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Serious Illness after Doxycycline and how we solved it

This is a discussion on Serious Illness after Doxycycline and how we solved it within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Recently our little 22 pound Shih Tzu/Yorkie/Poodle mix Bella tested positive for Lyme. We live in Sturbridge, MA in a heavily forested area and deer ...

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Old 05-02-2018, 11:04 PM
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Serious Illness after Doxycycline and how we solved it

Recently our little 22 pound Shih Tzu/Yorkie/Poodle mix Bella tested positive for Lyme. We live in Sturbridge, MA in a heavily forested area and deer ticks are a serious problem. Bella has always been treated with Advantix II when the ground isn't covered in snow. It is not uncommon for us to have to pull ticks off anyway. Often they are dead but every now and then one seems to survive. So it was not difficult to believe she may have been exposed to Lyme. Our vet explained the test and the pros and cons of treatment of an asymptomatic dog and together we decided to treat her with Doxycycline. I now regret that decision.

Within a few days of starting the Doxycycline she became very ill. She was lethargic, shaking a lot more than usual, and clearly depressed. She wasn't eating and her biology was off. She had severe nausea and diarrhea. We stopped the antibiotic and brought her 3 times to the vet. They prescribed Metronidazole. We had her on a bland diet of rice and boiled hamburg to get some food she was less likely to throw up in her.

I was so scared she was going to die. She seemed so fragile and delicate. After over a week on the Metronidazole her loose bowels had not improved and she couldn't control when she had to go. She made a real mess of our carpets. We knew this was not her fault and not due to any lack of understanding of the normal doggy potty rules. I was beginning to panic and I called the vet yet again. The vet who had been working on her was not available so I talked to one of her partners. I knew him well as over the years I have worked with all the vets at the clinic. I recounted the history to him, he got the chart. He suggested that perhaps we needed to add some fiber and probiotics to the rice/beef.

I immediately began researching this and found lots of good info online. I went and got 100% pumpkin puree. I went into Petco and researched the probiotics they had in stock. I know that not all probiotics are created equal. I ended up buying a recommended and well reviewed brand called Tomlyn Pre and Pro Biotic for Dogs. It comes in individual packets with powder inside. I used half a packet or so each meal with some pumpkin, rice and beef. Within two feedings she was better. I believe that the fiber and probiotics reversed some damage to her gut done by the rather toxic Doxycycline. It saved her life.

It's now been a couple of months and she's back on her regular food. The pumpkin, rice and beef are no longer being given. But I am still giving her a smaller dose of the probiotic. When I stop she starts to get looser bowels. With the probiotic she seems to feel much better. I am not sure how long she'll need the probiotics but they seem safe and effective in keeping her stomach healthy after her run in with Doxycycline.

I am posting about this for two reasons: one I believe that Doxycycline is more dangerous than many people realize and perhaps it is best not to automatically treat a dog just for testing positive to Lyme antibodies if the dog is not exhibiting symptoms. I'm not a vet but this point of view seems to be shared by many, if not most, vets. Secondly, the solution to Bella's problem was not yet more prescription drugs but simple bland diet along with added fiber and a good canine probiotic. I researched this heavily after the vet suggested it might be indicated and found many stories like mine where either fiber or probiotic or both solved major intestinal issues.

I am interested if anyone else has experienced something like this? The web seems filled with Doxycycline horror stories.
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:02 PM
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I have an extremely sensitive ancient horse who's been on doxycycline for six months or longer every year for many years due to chronic Lyme disease. I believe she has neurological issues and permanent lasting allergies and immune issues from chronic Lyme. I know several people with chronic Lyme disease who also have chronic lifelong health issues.
My horse and my large dog have taken doxycycline many times with not one single issue.
My vet tried to tell me not to treat my dog as the vet felt he was asymptomatic. I felt the vet was an idiot who didn't believe in thinking outside the box. The dog suddenly started fighting at the dog park and was clearly in pain and sensitive. Within one week of doxycycline, he was back to his happy relaxed aelf with no more fights so clearly felt better. Lyme causes behavior and personality changes in people and horses. Vet tried to insist it doesn't on dogs. I think feeling lousy and pain can cause personality and behavior issues in any living creature.
If the medication you're talking about is the antibiotics known as flagyll, my dog was on that for a year, and it helped his diarrhea from IBD at first but then caused it. His diarrhea miraculously disappeared the say i ran out of it. He has no diarrhea anymore and does well on just a probiotic called proviable. If he looks or acts nauseous occasionally i give him antinausea pill and heartburn pill as needed.
Not treating Lyme is very dangerous and can lead to permanent and irreversible neurologogical and immune system problems.
I'm sorry your dog is so sensitive to doxycycline but minocycline us actually the gold standard treatment and may have been easier. There's also holistic treatments.
Advising not to treat for a positive test is very potentially dangerous, especially when it's so hard to get treatment from so many ignorant doctors and vets anyway and so many false negative tests happen. I've seen firsthand the danger and damage Lyme can cause. My mare just turned 29 and has never been 100 percent since she was 13 and first got Lyme. Neither have several of my human friends. Their lives have been completely ruined by this awful disease.
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:36 PM
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Some dogs, like some people, are very sensitive to medication, and react poorly to medication that is considered safe for the vast majority. Its unfortunate when that happens, which is something we have experienced multiple times with our girl.
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