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I need the help of all you experienced maltese owners out there. My baby girl is sick and we can't get her better, and I am hoping someone out there may be able to shed some light for me. Here's the situation:

Gracie was diagnosed with HGE (Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis) on 5-31-10 at an emergency clinic, after having vomit and diarrhea that contained blood. She was lethargic and would not eat or drink, hence why I brought her to the Emergency Clinic. They admitted her, got her hydrated, and she spent the night. The next day, she was transferred to her regular vet, and spent another day there.

She came home and was doing better and was on a round of antibiotics, and prescribed special gastrointestinal food. The vet said to expect some gel like substance in her stool for a few days, that could have blood in it, and this would show her colon was recovering.

After the antibiotic was finished, this occurred as expected, and she even had a couple normal stools. Within a 4-5 days, she vomited again and we saw blood in her stool. We immediately went back to the vet, and he gave her another round of antibiotic, and said that this was probably a nasty bacteria, and didn't get completely knocked out the first time.

I trust this vet, and have been going to him for years with several different pets that have had various health issues over the years.

This cycle occurred two more times, with the only difference being that the fourth round of antibiotic, he switched to a gut specific one, called Metronidazole, and with the third round of antibiotic, he added a probiotic to be mixed with her food once a day, for a month.

This time, when she finished the antibiotic, two weeks passed, and I thought she was better. She was eating only the Gastrointestinal food, and was drinking plenty of water, and behaving like her usual self, giving the cats a run for their money (they like to play together). Then Friday evening, I found a little throw-up in her pen (she's in while I am at work), and she had a stool that was part normal and part the gel looking substance with a significant amount of red blood in it. Saturday morning, I called the vet, who said this was abnormal, and placed her on another round of the Metronidazole antibiotic, and something to coat her stomach.

I asked the vet whether it is possible something else is causing this, since she gets better, and then reverts back. He said that it is possible that it is some bowel disease (can't remember the specific name) or a lymphoma! He said that both would be very invasive to test for, requiring a biopsy of the intestine, and he wasn't ready to go to that yet, and said we'd try a fifth round of antibiotic and to bring her in if there was more blood after starting the antibiotic.

Gracie is a year and half old. She is very energetic, and has not had any previous gastrointestinal issues, or trouble eating any type of food, switching foods, etc. She has been behaving normally since she got over the first round of this. This may because we've nipped it in the bud each subsequent time, and watched her closely. She has eaten pretty normally, really the only symptom has been the occasional vomiting and stools as I have described.

I am hoping that someone out there may have some insight into this, or have experienced this before, and can give me some advice or information. I would be most appreciative for any feedback. I know my entry was long, and I appreciate you taking the time to read it, but I wanted to make sure I gave all the details. I am scared and love this dog with all my heart, and just want her to get better, and back to her sweet, spunky self. Please let me know your thoughts! Thanks!
-elisabetta
 

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Thanks for your response!

Thanks so much, I will check that. I just joined this site. Is there a way to search by title, or do I need to just scroll through?

It's comforting to know that other people have experienced multiple re-occurrences, and that it may not be something else.

I considered doing the homemade diet too, but the vet says we have to keep her on the gastrointestinal food until she's through this, and that switching food now, can cause a re-occurrence.

If I do try a homemade diet, would you mind sharing with me the ingredients you use in yours? I have been told chicken and rice, and a veggie, and that a multi-vitamin must also be added.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear what you have been through.

Regarding your question on how to search: There is a search button at the top on the black bar and toward the right-hand side of the page. Click on that and then "Advanced Search" and then put in your search terms. You can get the results by "Thread" or by "Post".
 

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Oh my that sounds like a whole lot of antibiotics for a little malt.
It seems like they have not found the proper one.
I think that home cooking is better than a "gastro formula".
I hope she's okay and gets well !
 

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Thanks so much, I will check that. I just joined this site. Is there a way to search by title, or do I need to just scroll through?

It's comforting to know that other people have experienced multiple re-occurrences, and that it may not be something else.

I considered doing the homemade diet too, but the vet says we have to keep her on the gastrointestinal food until she's through this, and that switching food now, can cause a re-occurrence.

If I do try a homemade diet, would you mind sharing with me the ingredients you use in yours? I have been told chicken and rice, and a veggie, and that a multi-vitamin must also be added.
I posted the link to thread in my other post. Just click on the link:

http://spoiledmaltese.com/forum/52-maltese-health-behavior/106548-casanova-sick-hge-update-post-1-a.html

Lady has liver disease from years of taking seizure medication so her recipe wouldn't be appropriate for Gracie. If your vet gives you the okay in the future to homecook, I would suggest consulting a canine nutritionist and getting a recipe customized for her special health needs. The nutritionist will consult with your vet based upon test results and tweak recipes as needed.

The supplements you must add depend on the recipe. Calcium, oil that supplies linoleic acid like canola, salt that supplies iodine, etc. all have to be added.
 

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Here is a list of canine nutritionists who follow AAFCO guidelines:

Sabine Contreras (see About Page)
Marina del Rey, CA
Ph: (310) 991-6673
E-mail: [email protected]
Better Dog Care, Better Dog Nutrition (site for consults)
The Dog Food Project (for food information)

Susan Blake Davis, CCN
CCN-Certified Clinical Nutritionist
VCA Arroyo Animal Hospital
Lake Forest, CA
Ph: 949-499-9380
E-mail: [email protected]
website: Holistic Veterinarian Pet Nutritionist Holistic Pet Care

Rebecca Remillard (PhD, DVM, MS, DACVN)
Angell Animal Medical Center - Boston, MA
(617) 522-7282
MSPCA-Angell: Nutrition Team
Veterinary Nutritional Consultation, Inc.
Welcome to Pet Diets

Joseph Wakshlag
Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine - Ithaca, NY
E-mail: [email protected]
Ph: (607) 253-4389
Fax: (607) 253-3534

Hilary Watson
Ph: (519) 836-7253
[email protected]
(Note: Please specify nutrition request in subject line to avoid spam filters)
Hilary Watson Pet Nutritionist
(Can ONLY be contacted by those in Canada at this time)

Lisa Weeth (DVM, DACVN)
Redbank veterinary Hospital - Red Bank, NJ
Ph: (732) 747-3636
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here is a list of canine nutritionists who follow AAFCO guidelines:

Sabine Contreras (see About Page)
Marina del Rey, CA
Ph: (310) 991-6673
E-mail: [email protected]
Better Dog Care, Better Dog Nutrition (site for consults)
The Dog Food Project (for food information)

Susan Blake Davis, CCN
CCN-Certified Clinical Nutritionist
VCA Arroyo Animal Hospital
Lake Forest, CA
Ph: 949-499-9380
E-mail: [email protected]
website: Holistic Veterinarian Pet Nutritionist Holistic Pet Care

Rebecca Remillard (PhD, DVM, MS, DACVN)
Angell Animal Medical Center - Boston, MA
(617) 522-7282
MSPCA-Angell: Nutrition Team
Veterinary Nutritional Consultation, Inc.
Welcome to Pet Diets

Joseph Wakshlag
Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine - Ithaca, NY
E-mail: [email protected]
Ph: (607) 253-4389
Fax: (607) 253-3534

Hilary Watson
Ph: (519) 836-7253
[email protected]
(Note: Please specify nutrition request in subject line to avoid spam filters)
Hilary Watson Pet Nutritionist
(Can ONLY be contacted by those in Canada at this time)

Lisa Weeth (DVM, DACVN)
Redbank veterinary Hospital - Red Bank, NJ
Ph: (732) 747-3636
Thank you so much for the information. I did find and read the Cassanova thread you sent. I have read a lot about HGE in the past month and a half, it's the frequent re-occurrence (5 times in one and a half months), or not really getting rid of it, that has me most worried. I really appreciate the dog nutritionist info. you provided as well. I will check into that too, as based on reading the Cassanova thread, that may be the best way to go. Thanks again for the info.
 

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I would get a second opinion with a boarded veterinary internist. Your vet should be able to refer you to one.
Endoscopy for biopsies is not terribly invasive. It does require anesthesia, but your pet can go home the same day. There is no cutting or sutures involved.
Maltese are also prone to hereditary liver disease which can present with GI problems. Your vet can rule this out with a simple blood test (pre- and post-prandial bile acids).
 

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Everyone has given you great advice. I would also highly recommend probiotics to balance intestinal flora once your dog is on the mend. Probiotics are almost a must these days, even for healthy dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to all that have responded. I have gotten some great advice here from you all today. I will follow-up on the suggestions that were made. I don't know that I knew that specialized vets existed, but it makes sense. I really appreciate the well wishes and support, it really helps! Thanks.
 

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Thanks to all that have responded. I have gotten some great advice here from you all today. I will follow-up on the suggestions that were made. I don't know that I knew that specialized vets existed, but it makes sense. I really appreciate the well wishes and support, it really helps! Thanks.
I noticed that you are in Atlanta. Georgia Veterinary Specialists are in Sandy Springs: PetOwners Home Page
 

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I'm assuming your vet did a fecal panel to try and isolate the type of bacteria and also rule out more serious illnesses. If he hasn't, you may want to ask about it rather than just trying to treat some unknown "bug".

Hugs to you and your little sweetie!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Gracie Update

Gracie is doing okay. She finished the fifth round of antibiotic, and the vet switched her food from the Gastrointestinal food that is chicken and rice based, to one that is catfish and potato based. The vet thought she might have developed an allergy or hypersensitivity to chicken, and since she's been on a chicken based gastro food since this all started, that that might be re-irritating her stomach. He said we need to isolate the ingredients she's eating so we can see what may be causing the re-occurrences. So it's the fish and potato food only right now, no treats. It's been almost a week since she finished the antibiotic and switched foods, and so far so good. I'm holding my breath and hoping this solves the problem. She has had at least three different fecal tests, and all came back normal, no parasites.
 

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Here is hoping Gracie is back together completely and that there won't be any more upsets---neither for her or for you! Sometimes figuring out what is wrong is so frustrating and the vets are not always able to do that soon enough. Keeping you in our prayers. Keep us posted.
hugs!
 

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I hope Gracie's health issues get resolved soon. It is so hard to see our little ones sick.
 

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well im happy to hear shes doing better , i will be praying that she continues to get better poor baby .. on another note what are probiotics?
 

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I'm so sorry about Gracie! We know how scary HGE can be.

What worked for us was feeding 4 times a day home cooked food (wild fish or organic chicken with minced organic veggies). Breakfast is chicken rice porridge to soak up acid in the empty stomach (cook the rice down until it is like gruel if your pup doesn't like rice, or substitute potato or you can try a banana). I am very grateful that Casanova seems to be totally back to normal and in perfect health. Our vet is fabulous and really helped us figure out a better system quickly.

I think for dogs with sensitive GI's, it is very important to feed them very often and in smaller amounts- we go only 6 hours maximum between meals (feed right before bed and feed rice immediately upon waking). Not all dogs can eat just 2 times a day. Not every dog can or is willing to eat kibble, no matter how high quality. Not all dog should eat 100% grain free. You need to find what works for your pup under the guidance of a good vet and nutritionist, and help them guide you by diligently keeping a journal of food/poo/vomit/stress/meds, etc.

Good luck! You will figure it out!!
 
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