Happy New Year! To start off the year, let me tell you a story about dogs and antibiotics.
So Boomer, my dog, had an eventful December. I was at work one day when the husband sent me a picture of his mouth… he had a mass growing on the roof of his mouth, right up front behind his incisors.
Well, great. This is the dog who made me what I am, and we haven’t had any problems with him in the 6-7 years since I got his body healed.
But it wasn’t over.
Later that week, our puppy Casey was playing with something on the floor. Now, she tends to like to find little tiny things (usually her baby teeth- we found 8 of them!) and throw them around, but I couldn’t figure out what she might have found. When I finally managed to find it, it was actually a piece of a tooth, but not hers. Turns out a day after finding his mass, Boomer also fractured the huge molar in the back of his mouth.
Yay! (Insert sarcasm…)
Over the next few days, he developed a nasty smell out of his mouth. I didn’t think the tooth looked that bad, but I have often found pus and abscessed teeth underneath teeth that don’t look that bad overall. Since we still had about 3 days before I could deal with his tooth, we started him on antibiotics.
On the day we did his surgery, we found several surprises. First, his tooth was actually fine. My associate who did the procedure for me actually thought that the tooth had fractured ages ago. Odd since I had the piece, but maybe it had fractured and the piece just never fell out? On the dental xrays, there was no sign of abscessing, so we left the tooth.
The biopsy of the mass also went fairly smoothly. We were actually able to remove much more than we expected. So no surprises there.
He woke up great, did fine after surgery, and we just had to wait for the biopsy results.
So far good news, right?
Well, it still didn’t end.
The antibiotics that we had to put him on for the infection resulted in some major diarrhea.
Now, diarrhea is never fun, but in his case it reminds me of his younger years when he had diarrhea for two years! Luckily, ever since we healed him up, he gets over things really fast. Including this round of diarrhea.
So what did I do?
And what do I recommend for anyone who ever has to put their dogs on antibiotics (or themselves, for that matter!)?
Probiotics! Absolute first step. The antibiotics are going to wipe out the problem bacteria, sure, but they’re also going to wipe out the good bacteria that are necessary for the immune system! So we have to re-establish those good bacteria to help the gut re-stabalize, which often times by itself can resolve the diarrhea.
Pumpkin! Canned pumpkin (make sure it’s not the pumpkin pie filling!). Pumpkin is full of fiber, and while I don’t believe fiber is as much of a necessity in the diet as we have been led to believe, it can be very helpful when we have an active case of diarrhea.
Gelatin! We’ve talked about gelatin before, and the fact that in the human world we know that it can help to heal the lining of the gut. Boomer is on it regularly for his bones and joints, and because of his past history, but we made extra sure to keep him on it while he had the diarrhea.
Bland food? This one is debatable. I am definitely an advocate of bland food for a short time, but not necessarily some of the foods used in bland food diets. For example, I never recommend rice in dogs. I learned many years ago, after trying to use it and wondering why dogs weren’t getting better, that rice is actually an allergen for many dogs (or cross-reactive with wheat, which doesn’t make much difference when we’re talking about inflammation!). So if I’m choosing a bland diet for whatever purpose, I will usually do the boiled chicken and hamburger, maybe scrambled eggs, but not with rice!
Other herbs can be used as well, if you’re not getting sufficient response. Things like slippery elm can definitely help resolve diarrhea if it keeps going longer than expected. But remember, if you see any blood or mucous, I do recommend taking them to the vet! Those are signs of inflammation in the colon, but that often means it’s to the point where it can cascade and get worse quickly!
If there’s not major inflammatory issues going on in the body, these steps are often enough to resolve a basic case of diarrhea, and I always recommend the first three anytime a dog needs to go on medications (especially antibiotics)!
Remember, any time you have a health concern (yourself or your pets!), pay attention to the gut first!
What have you tried on your dogs?
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