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Unknown stomach problems
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 279
    So I'm starting a new thread here because after searching I've read a few similar but none that were conclusive.

    Rhyzik is having exploratory abdominal surgery tonight.


    Backstory, as much as we know:

    Back in January during the recovery from his first patella surgery Rhyz started to develop some GI issues. First time it happened was when we started introducing the raw fish in to his diet. We knew he didn't do well on fish based kibble but were hopeful the raw fish would sit better with him, but after eating it (like immediately after eating it) he regurgitated it a few times over the course of an hour.

    We assumed, falsely, that it was the fish and withdrew from introducing raw fish in to his diet. He continued to experience regular episodes of mild regurgitation that was always accompanied by burping, sometimes only burping and not regurgitating.

    Took him to the Vet, discussed acid reflux possibility and potential protein sensitivity, did a fecal float and also a follow up CBC because prior to his first patella surgery his panel showed slight anemia. The float and CBC came back normal and his anemia was resolved.

    We tried Pepcid to treat acid reflux to no avail. We tried treating it as nausea to no avail. We limited his diet to protein free to no avail. We tried different proteins including some rare ones, also to no avail.

    We discovered that if he ate smaller portions he had no issues whatsoever, so we switched to feeding 3 portions instead of 2 and he was fine.

    Queue second patella surgery at the beginning of March, his pre-surgical blood work came back perfect and he was still otherwise a perfectly healthy and happy dog that had managed to gain weight and was sitting at 31 lbs (he's a tall boy). When he went in for his suture removal 11 days post-surgery he was at 28.5 lbs.

    When I took him in today for further testing he weighed in at 26 lbs.

    I booked todays appointment because I could see that he was losing weight and the smaller portions were not treating the issue but rather just dealing with the symptoms, which is what we agreed to do until he was all done the knee surgeries ... but his weight loss was bothering me too much and I didn't feel the issue was being handled even though he was otherwise a very happy and healthy pup.

    So this morning when we went in they did a preliminary physical (all good), another CBC (all good but slightly anemic again), and a barium with a series of 5 x-rays throughout the day.

    The first x-ray post barium showed something in the stomach but the Vet hoped it was just gas.

    As the day progressed and the x-rays continued it became apparent that whatever was in the stomach was absorbing the barium fluid so ... not gas.

    But also not passing with the barium.

    About an hour ago we authorized what is called "exploratory abdominal surgery" to remove whatever is in his stomach and, worse case scenario (as in a tumor or such), biopsy and pathology if necessary.

    While the Doctor was reading the consent waiver to us over the phone she starting laughing when going over the part that details their right to surrender your pet to the humane society or a foster organization should you fail to pick them up within 10 days of being discharged, because at this point she knows we're so financially invested in Rhyz (forget the emotional investment here) that it'd be ludicrous if we abandoned him now. :D

    So, yeah, here's hoping they find something removable and that whatever he ate isn't going to leave me feeling like a shitty human being. I keep wracking my brain trying to remember if there's a missing toy or a part of a missing toy or did he eat a sock or someones underwear or or or or or. Ugh.

    I'll update in the morning when we hear from the Surgeon. For the cost of it I half hope they definitely find something and it isn't another unsolved mystery like most of the stomach issue threads here.

    Post edited by spacedogs at 2017-03-23 02:05:36
  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 356
    Aw poor Rhyz! :(
    I hope they find out what causing him such discomfort. Please do keep us updated. Praying for his health to improve :)
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8315
    @spacedogs - I am sorry to hear that. Hopefully it just turns out to be a foreign body and removing it will resolve his issues completely.

    I had a similar issue with my oldest Shiba when she was a pup (about a year and a half, if I remember correctly). She was losing weight and having incredibly runny poop (think kind of melted soft serve) for months. Dozens of vet vists, dozens of tests, dozens of experimental treatments for potential issues... We ended up making an appointment with a vet school to have a biopsy of her intestines done. They gave her an enema to clear he out before the surgery and low and behold... A mass of white stringy rubber comes out (apparently she had eaten the inside of some sort of ball). It was not dense enough to show up on x-rays. No surgery and her issues were completely cleared up.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 279
    @sunyata See, I have a feeling that a lot of these unresolved stomach issues have to do with something stuck somewhere. I spoke with the overnight Surgeon about an hour ago and he opted to not do the exploratory surgery on Rhyz yet. He did a follow up x-ray in the middle of the night and it showed that whatever was in the stomach had finally passed in to the colon & the stomach was now empty, and he followed that up with an ultrasound to check the colon/etc., after a poop and Rhyz seemed all clear.

    They were going to feed him and watch for the burp dance of discomfort this morning and then I guess we'll discuss next steps. It's frustrating since this stomach discomfort is his only symptom of illness we have to work with.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8315
    @spacedogs - That is never good to hear. :( I am sorry this was not a case of a simple obstruction. Hopefully things will improve soon.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • JackStateJackState
    Posts: 91
    Wait, so the barium wasn't passing, then it did. Bad if symptoms didn't also pass, problem solved if the symptoms did pass, Right? How is he, post-tracer-poop?
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 279
    Well he's pooped out all the barium as of Friday morning's poop, they were a few solid chunks of white chalk, but todays poop is nice and normal.

    Symptom persisted up until today, but now that I'm more aware of what it isn't I've been watching him like a hawk and, I think, he's just a dumb dog and gulping air when he eats. If I give him a dish he'll spend more time licking it and swallowing air than he does actually eating his food.

    I started rolling his food in to meatball shaped things and hand feeding them to him, letting him basically swallow them hole, 2 egg sized balls at both breakfast and lunch today, dinner is in another hour. Today he's had minimal discomfort, almost no burps, and zero regurgitation.

    I have no idea how to train a dog to not gulp air when it eats, but if anyone has tips I'm up for trying just about anything. His raw food comes ground (ground meat, tripe, and bone) so I just have to mix in a little kelp and fish oil when I feed him. It has to be as quick and easy to eat as possible to reduce the time he has to gulp air with it. Jeez I wish I could just teleport food in to his stomach lol.

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