German Shepherd with chronic diahrea

by michelle

I directly rescued a white German Shepherd from a lady and I'm now fostering him in hopes one day he will get better and find his forever home. He was a house dog until the woman met a man and got pregnant and the man made the dog live outside.

My boss approached me that this dog was going to die unless I rescued him because he was starving to death. So out I go to get the dog and sure enough you can see every rib and his bones stick out. He is pretty close to full blooded (if not 100%) German Shepherd and weighs 40 pounds.

He has been abused but doesn't seem to be a horrible case. Who let's some man come into their life and kick there beloved pet to the backyard is beyond me. He has quite the vet history because he has diarrhea and everything just goes through him and he has weight loss. His fur was also falling out.

When I picked him up he was on a chain in the backyard with an igloo. I didn't see any kind of food or water dishes. He is eight years old now and acts like he is a pup. He is full of energy and loves to play with toys.

His fur is better now and I took him to my vet. My vet looked over all his medical records and thought maybe it was a pancreatic problem where the pancreas wasn't producing enough enzymes so he put the dog on viokase-v. He has been on that for 4 weeks now and we were giving him pumpkin.

The vet said no pumpkin, just dog food. He had some more solid stool once in awhile, but then took a turn for the worse the other morning. He wouldn't eat his breakfast and I could tell he wasn't feeling well and the diarrhea was back in full force. He had an accident in his crate and then again in the house. He felt horrible about it :( I assured him it was ok.

I called the vet and the next step he thought was to go in the direction of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and prescribed my most favorite drug (sarcasm here) prednisone. He also suggested diabetes but wanted to try the IBS route first.

The dog is to take both drugs until the viokase-v runs out. I found out last night that I was dosing the viokase wrong (ugh long story and I feel horrible). He was supposed to get two tablets twice a day and instead my husband and I were dosing one tablet twice a day. So now he is on the correct dosage for both meds.

Right now he has a lot of stool that doesn't smell which means the food isn't getting digested. It is very runny and after he goes once he will try to go again and again and nothing more comes out, but maybe some dribbles of water. This seems worse than when we got him. When we first brought him home he just had dieherra and he wouldn't try to go multiple times. His stomach is also making some weird noises.

We were thinking a probiotic might be a benefit to him. Not sure what kind to go with. The vet said to keep him on plain dog food twice a day and follow the recommended dosing instructions on the bag.

The poor dog is hungry all the time and of course super skinny. The vet also recommended to keep him on a food with around 21% protein. I got no food from the lady I rescued him from. He was on Wellness she said and they just ran out that day and her husband threw the bag away. Yet there was a bag of Pedigree in her dining room. Hmmm....likely story.

So I put him on Natural Balance venison and potato which has 20% protein. I take him every Wednesday night to get weighed at PetSmart. We'll see if he has gained weight tonight. This is week four. The first week was at the vet and he was 45 pounds. Then the past two weeks at PetSmart he was around 41 pounds.

So, any suggestions or experience with this? I'll take anything right now! I feel so lost and helpless.

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Mar 02, 2010
sounds like EPI
by: L.Pietroski

Your vet should do more testing for EPI. I have a female that has had it for 5 years now. She takes Viokase-V which is a pancreatic enzyme concentrate of porcine origin.

It has to be added to moistened food for digestion as these dogs are unable to digest. A diet low in protein, fat and fiber is also recommended for this disorder especially because they are unable to digest fat.

Gusta is on HealthWise Weight Control and does very well.

She also receives a B12 injection monthly for the disorder and is periodically put on an mild antibiotic to cleanse the colon as bacteria builds from the illness.

Google EPI and see what you think, sure sounds like it to me.

Feb 13, 2010
Satin Balls
by: Anonymous

If he gets over his "runs" try Satin Balls! Just type it in and get the recipe it is amazing how shiny and beautiful it makes coats. It will put on weight fast so be careful!

Feb 01, 2010
Sensitive Stomach
by: Anonymous

My GSD also has the same problem, he was very thin
all the way to 5 months old due to loose stools. I did some research on line and discovered that GSD's are prone to this.

I also found a product called NatureVet Enzymes and Probiotics and it worked like a miracle. Now my dog is doing fine and actually a little overweight which can be a problem.

Is better for a GSD to stay on the thin side due to the Hip problem that they can develop. I'm feeding ProPlan Sensitive Stomach, tried all sorts of brands including prescription and did not worked.

Good Luck!

Jan 29, 2010
What a difference Probiotics make
by: aj

My rescued GSD has been on Kirkland (Costco)chicken, rice, veg food and he too has a sensitive stomach (I understand GSD's have a short colon).

I decided to try people Probiotics which are chewable. Got 100 for $8.95 from Vitamin World.

I crush one and put it in his food with every meal and WHAT A DIFFERENCE! No more diarrhea for no reason or even loose stools. I see no reason to change to a dog probiotic.

Jan 25, 2010
GSDs have Delicate g.i. tracts
by: Bette

Yes, GSDs do have sensitive systems. Recently, (three months ago) without consulting my vet because I knew he'd not agree, I studied up on Probiotics and got my 10 year old Beau some.

His stools are healthfully solid all the time now and he seems to feel better rather than sluggish and struggling to poop or suffering with periodic diarrhea.

I feed him Senior Innova kibble mixed with a little wet Innova. He's always been on excellent food and that's the main reason I think he's been as healthy as he has.

Jan 21, 2010
try grain free?
by: wendy

Lucky guy to have found you! Many gsd's have sensitive tummies & can have sensitivities to corn & grain. My pup had diarhea for a long time before I switched to
orijen large breed puppy. After the transition period was over the problem cleared up & he has nice firm stools now.

I respectfully diagree with your vet. Recommended amounts are for dogs who are at their ideal weight already. Yours is not, so I would feed him 3 or 4 small meals a day to encourage weight gain & decrease the risk of bloat from gulping down 1 or 2 larger meals.

Jan 08, 2010
by: Anonymous

My German Shepherd also had problems with diahrea all the time ever since he's been a puppy
- I spent quite some time investigating all kinds of food. Then I started him on
Canidae All Life Stages Dry Dog Food 35 lb.

He NEVER had it again ( I am serious!)- I have both my dogs on it and they are now 12 and 15 and are doing great... I believe in giving 'good' food, I know it's slightly more expensive, but it sure beats having your dogs suffer or buying all that medication. Maybe worth a try.

Shepherds have very 'delicate' stomachs, anyway. Good luck , I hope your dog gets better soon!

Jan 08, 2010
German Shepherd with diahrea
by: Debbie

From the symptoms that you've described it sounds as though your GSD could have EPI.

Read here for a few more details about EPI -

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

And I would certainly have your vet test your dog for this. It can be treated but you have to get a final analysis that your dog does have this before you can get the replacement pancreatic enzymes that your dog will need if it does have EPI.

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