First off, the only liquid medication syringe at my disposal only holds about 1/16 of a teaspoon at a time. Which means to give him 2 tablespoons in one sitting, took about 30 million little syringe shots. Needless to say, Theo and I both tired of it very quickly. I have since purchased a much much bigger syringe. Also, Theo kept trying to spit it out (see picture), which not only led to doggy spittle all over my hands (see picture), but also to a very pink dog (see picture). Not to mention a pink me. You can't see it in this picture because I look nice and covered with that paper towel, but my entire arm (my favorite sweater!) is covered in pink doggy spittle. Ew.
So it begs the question, did it work? Why, yes! It did! This was the same disastrous evening where Theo decided to upchuck his new "easy on his stomach" food (the I/D). Perhaps because his stomach was already upset. I think it was in protest to the slop. After the upchucking, Theo was mopey and obviously not feeling that great. I eventually wrestled enough of the pink stuff in him, and 5 minutes later he was back to his normal self: wanting to play fetch and eat. After the second day he obviously didn't even need it, so I figured I wouldn't even bother putting us both through the stress.
Where was Husband during this whole debacle? Well since I'm in the photo (like the fun I had with pixelation?), I'll give you one guess. Yep. While I was juggling a stubborn bratty puppy, cleaning up dog vomit, and getting covered in pink goop, Husband was snapping pictures. I guess I should be thankful, otherwise we wouldn't have a remembrance of this extra fun event! *sigh*
On the food front, I convinced Husband to do a trial run with Deli Fresh. From what I've gathered, their slice and serve logs are basically whole ingredients that are gently cooked (as in, cooked enough that their not raw, but not so much that all the nutrients are killed. So like people food rather than kibble). It's sold in the refrigerated section of my local big-name pet store. Unfortunately, they don't carry it at the smaller specialty pet stores I prefer to frequent. Oh well. I'm really liking this stuff so far because it feels like I'm just feeding him regular pre-cooked food. You can even identify ingredients like brown rice and carrots, and it smells like chicken. And you can't beat the convenience! Also, I feel like I'm feeding him a more complete diet. It has all the vitamins and nutrients that he needs added to it in the correct balance to keep him healthy, which was something that always kept me a bit worried with the diet I was feeding him. At my local store it was $15 for an 8lb log, which should last about 8-10 days. So about $45/month. No bad at all! Considering how much time I'm saving by not having to constantly be cooking chicken and chopping fruits and vegetables and cooking rice, I'm thinking this might be a permanent thing.
Oh, and Theo's health issues? Ok, it's kind of a long story. Do you need a bathroom break? Maybe a glass of water? Better get it now. We won't be having an intermission. Also, the rest of this post is mainly going to talk about poop, so the faint hearted should just stop reading now. Seriously.
Ok, so about 2 months ago we noticed Theo's poops were consistently soft. Not runny, not like diarrhea. Just soft. All the time. It wasn't anything to cause alarm, but I started restricting his diet to clear it up. I started by taking him off the kibble. Maybe it was just a bad batch. Then I took him off dairy. Then I added pumpkin. Nothing changed. Next to go were the fruits and veggies, leaving just the bland chicken and rice. Nothing changed, leading me to think it wasn't an issue with his food. This was over the course of several weeks. Then I got a postcard in the mail telling me it was time for one of Theo's vaccination shots. I figured while I was at the vet, I would have them look him over to see if they could shed any light on the issue.
$200 later I was sent home with some anti-diarrhetic (flagyl, I believe it's called) pills for the soft poops, and some probiotics for his digestion. They also did a fecal analysis that came back negative. He was on the meds for a week, and they seemed to clear things right up. Almost immediately his poops were hard. I remember scooping up the first hard poop, shoving it in Husband's face and saying "It's FIRM!" It's amazing how caught up you get about poop when you're a dog owner. And it's rather embarrassing how much it comes up in conversation with other dog owners. Sorry neighbors, for constantly steering the direction of the conversation to poop! After the week on meds things went back to normal. I reintroduced Theo slowly to his more regular diet, and his poops stayed good. I should also mention that through this whole process his appetite and energy level never changed. Other than soft poops he never had any other visible symptoms.
Then a few weeks later Theo's doggy daycare called to tell me Theo was having major diarrhea. I told my boss "I gotta leave early. My kid is sick at daycare." Just for effect. It was fun. It was a Friday evening. Theo had diarrhea (and I wish there was a worse term for what kind of diarrhea he had because I feel like diarrhea just doesn't cut it here) until we took him to the vet that Monday morning. Probably about every 2-3 hours he had to go, and usually felt like he had to go every hour. That includes the middle of the night. Husband and I had to take turns taking him outside every couple of hours. 3 nights in a row was brutal. Yes, I know we're not ready for kids. I'm fine with getting up once. Twice was a bit torturous. By the third time I was fed up enough to wake up Husband and make him do it. Hehe.
As I said, it wasn't just diarrhea. It was soup. It came with a complement of squirty noises. Lots of doggy wipes were involved. Theo had the most adorable embarrassed-looking face every time he went. But other than that, no change in his demeanor. He would be playing fetch out in the backyard, same as always, and suddenly stop and run off for the occasional pit stop. It was rather hilarious, actually.
So that Monday morning Husband took him back to the vet. You already mostly know how it turned out. Even though he told them Theo was on a chicken and rice diet, they insisted on pushing their swill on him. And the same exact meds as before. And another fecal test, which of course came back negative. The meds suppress his symptoms, but they made no effort to diagnose him. Why was he having the issue in the first place? I have to think it's related to the soft poops from the last few months. They apparently just shrugged it off and said he had probably "gotten into something". First off, he didn't. I watch that dog like a hawk. And second, what could he have possibly gotten into that would cause that level of diarrhea for 4 days?! Honestly, it never showed any signs of improving the entire weekend. When we took him to the vet, whatever was bothering his system was still bothering him.
The meds have suppressed the issue, so we're just going to wait and see. If it's something like an infection or some other issue that hasn't already cleared up on its own, it'll rear it's ugly head again. And when it does, we'll be ready. To take him to a new vet. Hooray!
In the meantime we're looking into pet insurance. Because really, I wasn't convinced, but I think in the long run it'll be worth it. Anyone have insurance with a company other than VPI? Just curious, since VPI seems to be what everyone has.
And that's the saga of Theo's poop troubles! My intestinally-challenged little troublemaker. Did you survive? Should I say diarrhea one more time just in case I didn't already offend you with the frequency of its use? Naw, I wouldn't do that. I'm classy like that.