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Discussion Starter #1
As you know if you have read some of my other posts, Chewy has been suffering from a bad tummy from time to time. She has had antibiotics and Panacur and probiotic granules and it still keeps happening.

The vet has now suggested a food allergy and sold me some food for poochies with sensitive tums. I am ashamed to say I actually cried in the vets room when he told me how much it was - almost 4 time the price of the Skinners food we usually feed her. If she stays on this food I will be eating nothing but tesco value beans myself to fund it!

I don't want to sound like a scrooge and if my beautiful baby needs it I will find a way to pay. The only thing is, and I know I am not a vet, but I am not convinced she has an allergy to her Skinners food, she ate it every day for 6 months, if she was allergic to it, surely she would be ill all of the time and not just every couple of weeks. She has no other symptoms of an allergy.

I wonder if she eats something out the garden when we are not looking that causes it - I am very villigent and watch her all the time, but my OH just lets her out and doesn't keep and eye on her despite me nagging! I know he said she ate cat poop the other day and then she had the runs later. I don't think this is a coincidence.

Anyway my point is (I do get round to it eventually) if she is allergic to her Skinners food, is there a cheaper / more natural way of dealing with it other than spending so much on this perscription food - which by the way, she doesn't seem to like that much (I also think it smells rank).

I had been hoping to get a second lab, but I just don't think I can afford it which makes me very sad :(
 

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Presumably it is a prescription food which the vet sells :?:

Royal canin or hills science plan or something similar? I know this isn't the same but similar, our youngest lab had problems with UTIs which the vet put down to the current food (Arden grange at the time) they wanted us to switch to a prescription food, for life! But we said no, put the dog a prolonged AB course, et voila, UTI cleared. I only post this as an example, I get on well with out vets but I do think vets in general are quick to sell prescription foods?

You say you fancy a second lab, how about a second opinion (from the vet I mean) :wink:

I'm no vet either, but would have thought that an allergy to a food would have manifested itself by now, and am not entirely convinced the presenting symptom would be vomiting?

If your dog has a sensitive tum, maybe look at Simpsons sensitive food, I often read on here that folks use this to great effect with their pooches
:)
 

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A dog won't be allergic to a particular brand of food as such, but may be allergic to particular ingredients within the food. Without doing an allergy test the Vet really has no clue as to if it is an allergic reaction and if so to which ingredients. For all they know the food they've prescribed could have a higher level of the ingredient that is causing the allergy!
I'd be seeking a second opinion from a different Vet, preferably one that isn't lining their pockets from pet food suppliers.
 

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Agree with above, get a second opinion. We were stupid enough to buy prescription food for months and months for our old cat. It cost an arm and a leg and didn't make the slightest difference to her. She was a very very old cat (no idea how many old's as we took her from folk who were ill treating her and the SSPCA wouldn't act - her tail was hanging off where the owner had cut it with a knife). In the end we went back to normal cat food, good quality, but not prescription.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm getting my OH to ring the vet and ask them more about why and what they think she is allergic to, I am a bit of wimp and it wasn't until I left the vets that I thought of all these questions. The OH is more scary than me lol.
 

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Has your vet had a 3 day poo sample tested for you?? If not, then it is highly possible that Chewy has some underlying bug which is reoccuring and causing intermittent runs, even though he has had some Panacur, it still could be giardia as that can cause the symptoms and is notoriously tricky to shift. It took my GSP two courses of Panacur and a week of metronidazole to finally shift his giardia so I certainly wouldn't be jumping to the food allergy conclusion so soon.

If it hasn't been done already then insist on having a sample checked but make sure it is taken on three consecutive days as otherwise things can be missed.
 

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Luna got a bad tummy pretty regularly when younger, it wasn't until I switched her to a Salmon based food that I realised 'pups' weren't supposed to have constantly 'softish' poop! Experimentation has shown up that any dog food containing a good amount of chicken/turkey/poultry in it (in the form of fat, meal, meat....) is what causes her problems - at one point she was on a Lamb based food which turned out to be full of poultry meal! She is fine with fresh cooked chicken though. I figure there must be something she doesn't digest well or tolerate from the preserving process.

Which Skinners food is she on? The Salmon version is a hypoallergenic one and my 2 do very well on it.

And just a thought if she does end up staying on prescription food long term could you claim on pet insurance?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The insurance won't cover it unless it is for a specified condition - then they would cover a portion of the cost.

She is on the Skinners Maintenance food at the moment. OR rather she was until she started on the prescription garbage.

The vet has not asked for samples to be tested. To be honest I am thinking about trying a different vet.
 

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I agree with the previous advice, you need to get a poo sample tested. If it's clear then you can start on allergy testing, but not before.
 

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Cor lummy, my vets use tinned chappie as their easy to digest food after operations etc, they don't push the Hills ID science type of stuff onto anyone. Without an actual diagnosis I think it's a bit unfair to *push* you into using that sort of food, it's incredibly expensive for what it is. You could probably, at a push, make your own home cooked versions much more cheaply.

I raw feed, I'm not suggesting that as an option for you, but to give you an idea, I get very good quality meat, including fish, and pay nothing for fish, pork, lamb and beef bones, and pay £7 for about 40 chicken carcasses and a bin bag of fresh green tripe. It costs me approx £10-£15 per month to feed my four retrievers. So it is definitely possible to feed a high quality diet pretty cheaply, and there are good quality kibbles out there to choose from with little or no grain content, and specified ingredients instead of the generalised *animal* ingredients.
 

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Hi,this may seem a silly question,she dosent eat the cats food?(cat poo in garden).If my lab steals the cats food,not often but he will try his best,he has really loose poos,he cant tolerate any fat in his diet,just a thought,good luck xx
 

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I'm afraid "food allergy" is an easy getout for a vet. Tell you to change the diet, maybe even sell you the food. And if things don't improve, "Well, food allergies are notoriously hard to sort. Lets try a different food."

I'm not saying that food allergies don't exist, they do. But I'm equally sure that they are not the correct diagnosis more times than not!

Regards, John
 

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I'd try changing her to a potato and salmon based food if u want to stick with dried food. Skinners maintenance didn't agree with one of mine either bizarrely.

I'd change the protein source so try fish and change the carb source so potato instead ? Wainwrights at pets at home do a salmon and potato
 

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You can shop around for these specialist foods you know. I had this problem when my bitch had urinary crystals that were aggravating her bladder! I nearly keeled over in shock at the cost of the food, so I noted it all down and went on line, I saved £35 and had it delivered free to my home in 24 hrs.
It pays to shop around.
 

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It would definitely be worth testing for giardia/other bugs. It is possible that if she has had a stomach upset then certain foods might cause upset now even though they didn't previously.

Skinners maintenance has wheat and maize as the top two ingredients, both of which come fairly high up on intolerance risk lists. You could try a meat and rice food or a grain free food instead.

Tinned Chappie seems to be highly recommended by lots of people to be used for a week or two to settle a dodgy tum and it is much cheaper than prescription foods (and often very well liked by the dog). A pro-biotic may help too, either in powder form from a health food shop or as live yoghurt/pro-biotic drinks
 

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If you are going to try Salmon & Potato, can't speak highly enough of Simpsons which is completely grain free. Great customer service, & delivery always reliable, plus it works out cheaper than Wainwrights S&P - it is good quality food and we feed a lot less than the bag guidelines (as advised by the lovely lady in customer service), and Max produces 2 lovely firm poops a day and no more :)

Also be careful with Wainwrights S&P - we used to use it and it was ok but Max still tended to go mr whippy on us from time to time. Then I realised that is is not completely grain free - they do a Turkey & Veg kibble which specifically says grain free, but when you look at the S&P bag there is something in it, can't remember the ingredient, but it is a type of grain I think.
 

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Like others I am not a vet or a dog food expert.

I am yet to be convinced your dog is having a bad reaction to a specific brand of food and including for the following reasons :

1. You report loose dog stools but only from time to time.
2. Your dog has not been allergy tested
3. Your dog has not been otherwise tested for other conditions.

Other observations :

a) The manufacturer of your prior fed food makes many foods and often with fairly significant differences in the ingredients not just the main named source of meat origin product.

b) You were feeding Skinners Maintenance. They make many foods, however, this specific one is not marketed as hypoallergenic. I feed Skinners F&T Salmon which is marketed hypoallergenic. It cost more than maintenance but Maize & Wheat are not listed in the ingredients.

c) I see positives for some dog foods labelled as hypoallergenic, however, relatively lesser problematic ingredients might still cause some sort of reaction.......Skinners on their own site are fairly transparent re claims & state......"Some dogs have developed sensitivities or allergies to many ingredients found in dog foods. The most commonly occurring allergies are wheat, maize, dairy, soya, beef and chicken. We produce several hypoallergenic diets which are free from these ingredients".

d) Some dogs can suffer a sensitivity or an intolerance to a certain foods, some may produce differing stools due to ingredients, amount fed and other factors such as excitement, recent significant exercise etc.Scavenging, eating cat food, licking/eating other animal faeces or soiled areas are unlikely to improve matters.


Despite me paying attention to dog food and being currently happy with what we feed, the end product produced by the dog can still vary occasionally.....Any occasional loose stools cannot in my view be directly attributed to what's in the food bag.

I would never buy a food from a vet on principal unless overwhelmingly convinced it was essential....It would be fair to say I would take some convincing.

I happily & currently feed Skinners. I am not associated to them and have also fed other foods marketed by others, (one cheaper two dearer). I am currently happy with existing kibble food but far not motivated to be tied to it forever. I keep an eye on what else is out there with current focus on acceptable, (to me), pricing & ingredients.

I haven't discussed raw feeding as I have never solely fed meat & bones diet and I have not discussed tinned as not fed it since the 1990's.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wow thanks to all for all the responses.
You are all very knowledgable!

We have now changed vet and I am feeling A LOT more confident in the new one. He has given us sample pots for the next time she has a bad tummy and proper instructions to take 4 samples over a 2 - 3 day period.

We fed Chewy the small bag of prescription food. It didn't help and she wasn't very keen on it. We haven't even opened the 12kg bag we bought and have gone back to feeding her the skinners food. I think we will look at changing to a salmon and pot food once the current food is gone (variety is the spice of life etc) but for now she seems just fine.

To the person who asked about the cat poo. I suspect she may eat cat poo yes, she loves all poo. I am vigilant for cat poo in the garden but can't always find it, I only realise it's there when Chewy starts digging it up. I don't know whether it's related to her issues but I will certainly try and monitor this more closely. The cat seems to favour using our veg bed as its toilet, but we are soon going to planting this and hopefully it will put the cat off....
 

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Glad vet situation seems to be improving.

I note with interest that you have indicated the food change did not sort matters. I also note you are talking of changing the food to a salmon and potato one without mention of any strategy discussed to reduce any risk of scavenging. Maybe be careful with the timing of this as if you add too many variable or newly introduced factors you may struggle to pin point the cause &/or identify what you remove to improve matters.

Personally I would stick with the original maintenance food paying significant attention to ensure feeding amount is conservative rather then generous. I would watch for and try to stop or at least see any scavenging if present, (maybe causing lead/line supervised garden toileting etc). I would wait and see if frequency of episodes reduce & submit samples in event of further episode.

I am not discouraging changing food in the long term or indicating you are already feeding the best dog food available with the maintenance.

I have also prior looked at fish and potato foods as made by others however I am currently happy with Skinners F&T Salmon & Rice. The Burns working foods are rice base, rated by many but dearer than some. I also keep an eye on other foods and have prior considered Simpsons premium & 80/20, some swear by fish4dogs, others look to barking heads with fish & sweet potato. Lots of options depending on the depth of your pockets relative to what you want for your dog. I try to keep a fairly sensible middle ground hence the current choice for now.

Also bear in mind that switching to a Salmon & Potato may seem a good choice, but there are some foods, (one name which is available at a leading supermarket) that are salmon and potato that still contain wheat and maize. Not saying wheat and maize are bad ingredients but, some are keen to avoid these. On the flip side if you do later switch to a salmon/potato with maize/wheat and matters stop then you know there isn't an issue with maize.

Bottom line for me would be trying to narrow down or carefully time introduction of factors so I can have a better chance of identifying or at least guesstimating the cause.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sorry I didn't explain myself very well. I meant we will concider changing her to a salmon and potato food (without the wheat and maize) if the faecal tests don't show anything up to see if it is wheat or maize she is allergic to.

She is currently on reduced portion sizes as she needs to loose a bit of weight. She was 30kg and is now down to 28, but we would like her to lose at least another 1 kg.
Since we put her on reduced rations she has been trying to scavenge more on walks - although she is not doing this in the garden (other than if she finds buried cat poo that I haven't spotted).
 
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