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Hi everyone, hoping someone has some advice on feeding my Great Dane. She is almost 8 and suffers severe gut attacks often. She has been diagnosed with colitis, but no known root cause. She does best on a grain free alternative meat diet but still has attacks 1-2 times a month with several days of pooping and vomiting blood (old and new) listless and unwilling to eat. She spends many days of the month on flagyl, Imodium, and Pepcid to help control symptoms. Her blood work is normal and stool sample showed a plethora of bacteria in an abnormal spore stage (I think that was the term she used), but it was a typical gut bacteria (cannot remember what). Obviously infected and irritated, hence the colitis. She is pretty senior and I am unwilling to put her under or do anything too invasive to her, she had knee surgery awhile back and her heart is slightly abnormal and she is difficult to rouse from anesthesia, and ended up 30 lbs underweight.


Long story short, she can't even stomach her regular food at times. I was wondering if it is possible to switch to an extremely bland diet permanently? When she can eat, I boil a big pot of water with some rice and ground chicken making a very watery soup that she drinks, eventually working back up to gruel stage and then normal food. I feel it's an endless cycle of getting ill and maybe trying a long term bland diet will lessen her gut attacks. Also would be willing to hear of possible prescription foods, but she is not a very good eater unless I can mix in a wet food.
 

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can i ask what food she is eating atm?
 

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@KayWilson is the one to ask re prescription foods she will know the exact ones that will help if you want to go that route
 

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Sometimes the use of a Rx food is a good last resort. If you want to go the prescription diet route, then should look into Hill's I/D or Royal Canin Gastro High Energy. I personally would recommend the RC High energy. It's formulated to be more calorie dense for pets that need a gastro sensitive diet and need to keep weight on. There's also the possibility of using the low fat gastrointestinal as well.

Otherwise I would possible look into a single protein freeze dried like the Honest Kitchen, but you should discuss a diet with your vet.
 

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I'd be wary of RX foods. They're not really nutritionally correct for dogs and many contain grains which should be avoided if your dog has sensitivities or digestive problems such as colitis. Check the ingredients before making a final call. If your dog does better on grain-free foods, avoid foods containing grains.

I used to visit an older dog with, I think, inflammatory bowel or something like that... whenever I went into the house I was assaulted by the odor of diarrhea and blood. At least the family was kind enough to leave a carpet cleaner out for me... unfortunately they were feeding something like Pedigree...
 

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I'd be wary of RX foods. They're not really nutritionally correct for dogs and many contain grains which should be avoided if your dog has sensitivities or digestive problems such as colitis. Check the ingredients before making a final call. If your dog does better on grain-free foods, avoid foods containing grains.
Actually this is incorrect, these foods are scientifically modified to be nutritionally correct for dogs. They are no more or less nutritionally incorrect for dogs than Orijen, Now, Taste of the Wild, or Fromm. You may not agree with their ingredients, but you can't say they do not meet nutrition requirements.

Also, unless your particular dog has an issue with grains than grains can be utilized in a day to day food for fido. Rx foods do have a place, particularly if you exhausted every other option and you're pet is still sick. I would rather feed a grain-inclusive Rx food and have a happy, healthy dog than have a pet who is sick constantly. I have seen Rx foods work for sick dogs and give them longer lives then other alternative diets because they solved the pet's digestive problems.

I agree the ingredients suck and am not a fan of their laborty testing on poor dogs, I also hate that they scientifically (sometimes molecularly) modify an ingredient that they put in their foods. Science should but out of food, but they have the results and it's always harder to argue with results.

I prefer to feed my dog grain free, though I do rotate in the odd grain-inclusive food occasionally as my dog has guts of steel and her only issue is flax not grains, but I have used a gastro food wet food when my dog was vomiting constantly for an entire month. We found the cause - she had swallowed a safety pin - and transition back to her grain free food. That gastro food was the only thing she could keep down during that month and was a god send while she recovered from her "foreign body" experience. We only went through a month of worry, I can only imagine what it's like for a pet owner to go through that daily for the life of their pet. If a food can solve this, then power to them.

To the op, I forgot to mention, I have seen a lot of people who have success with adding organic Kefir or the probiotic call Fortiflora to a diet to help with gut flora.
 

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@KayWilson

Not even going to bother continuing any sort of argument. We can agree to disagree like respectable adults.

My brother's Husky has a severe grain allergy (as well as poultry) and I have Celiac among other GI problems, so it's easier to just not shop for anything including grains as a whole (don't know how easy, if at all possible, cross-contamination would be, considering some members of the family aren't that hygiene savvy, but better safe than sorry I suppose).

I can tell you even as a pet sitter, seeing that one dog every day for the duration of the time I worked for that company (approximately a year)... not pleasant. In fact, they neglected to tell me about her health issues before I started seeing her, so I was extremely worried and shocked when I walked in to a nasty scene. It stops your heart for a moment when you walk into a house and the first thing you see and smell is bloody stool all over the floors. Poor old girl.

And yes, I have also heard of adding probiotics (and even digestive enzymes) to assist with stomach issues, so that might be something to look into. Not a dog, but adding probiotics to my horse's feed REALLY helped him (he gets a badly nervous tummy after any stressful event).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the helpful replies so far, I will look into those rx foods and ask the vet about them.

She is currently on a duck and potato grain free food. I wish I knew exactly what she could eat but she has noticeable gastric distress within hours of typical (not grain free) or beef or lamb based foods. However she is doing alright with a small amount of grain free beef wet food mixed in ( about a can a day for 135 lb dog). When she was young she had skin problems on chicken but we haven't tried in awhile.

I wish there were a magic bullet to fix her but I think lessening length and frequency of her attacks is the best I can hope for.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh and also forgot, I tried culterelle for awhile with no noticeable difference but I am certainly willing to try another probiotic option again, as I'd kind of forgotten about that route and haven't tried in awhile, thanks!
 

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Long story short, she can't even stomach her regular food at times. I was wondering if it is possible to switch to an extremely bland diet permanently? When she can eat, I boil a big pot of water with some rice and ground chicken making a very watery soup that she drinks, eventually working back up to gruel stage and then normal food. I feel it's an endless cycle of getting ill and maybe trying a long term bland diet will lessen her gut attacks. Also would be willing to hear of possible prescription foods, but she is not a very good eater unless I can mix in a wet food.
Why not keep her on the home cooking for a while it might help heal up the gut. I would also suggest using kefir in the diet daily to help heal the stomach. 1/4 cup each meal. The kefir will help with the bad bacteria in the stomach and bring it back into balance.
Original Helios Kefir - Lifeway Kefir
If you don't want to cook you could try Honest kitchen they have a bland diet food.
http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/marvel
 

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I'm not an expert on this or anything but if it were me, I'd put my dog on something he could stomach and keep down. If your dog does okay on the boiled chicken and rice, why not continue feeding him that, supplementing him with the wet food.

Add me to the "me-toos" wrt kefir. Also you might consider the probiotic capsules, open them and sprinkle them over his food.
 

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Have you tried raw? My dog had constant diarrhea and puked often before we moved her off kibble and over to a raw diet. It's been the best thing for her!
 
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