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I'm having a bit of a "let off steam" as I'm a bit shocked and put out at the mo.

My pup Elsa, as some of you will know, seems to have food sensitivities - we've been contending with diarrhoea/loose poo/soft poo for months. I've been to see the wonderful Jim with it as having tried to sort it on my own and failed I wasn't going to muck about. Some of you will remember Neo was very allergic - if it was edible he was pretty much allergic to it - so my first thought was food allergy and asked Jim to test for it - he refused point blank on the basis that you can get a false positive, but we are STILL faffing around and we don't have consistently firm poos. Jim is very good and I am happy to follow his advice - so we haven't done food allergy testing although I've raised it a few times - Jim doesn't think it will provide a reliable diagnosis.

He has tested for Campylobacter which she had so thats been treated, and did a blood test which suggested she has anti-biotic responsive diarrhoea, but he's resiling from that now.

We've tried a variety of foods, and generally if we avoid chicken (which I've concluded is a problem but don;t know if I am right or its coincidence) mostly things aren't too bad - we get some firm poos and some soft poos and occasionally diarrhoea but she is very itchy and uncomfortable so I do want to get this sorted.

Elsa isn't underweight far from it. She weighed at the last weigh-in almost 28kg and she isn't tall. Jim is very happy with her condition, I think she may be slightly on the chubby side but not enough to worry about -so apart from the poo things are pretty ok... just need to sort the food issue...

I've discussed and followed Jims advice on food - and in fact he has spent ages looking at food ingredients for me on more than one occasion but now he is muttering about trialling a prescription hydrolysed diet which I want to avoid if I can - experience tells me once they go on one they stay on it....

In asking one or two friends - someone suggested Millies Wolfheart saying they had a mutual friend who raved about it. So I looked at the website- and having had a conversation with Jim about glucosamine and chondroitin and being from "unspecified animal sources probably poultry" in relation to a few foods and him rejecting them on that basis - I decided to contact the two manufacturers I was thinking about and ask the question.

One, tails.com do tailor made food - they were very helpful but their glucosamine is poultry so I've decided I am not risking it at the moment. I then contacted Millies Wolfheart and gave them a shortened version of the above, and was shocked to get this reply

"Thankyou for your email

You say your vet does not wish to do tests , is this your decision I am rather astonished you as a customer and having a dog with such symptoms would not insist your vet does these tests for you as you are so desperate this would be the first test. I would insist on these tests for my dog, if it was in this condition.

As you see from our website our foods are produced chicken free, however we do use in some recipes duck and turkey.

Glucosamine is typically produced from shellfish and chondroitin is produced from cow or sheep cartilage. So I do feel you may have had some wrong information given to you.

We insist our products are chicken free and we insist all ingredients that are used are chicken free, we also do not have Chicken in any of our treats.

We would not suggest you trial any of our foods until you have a definite result to isolate what is causing your dog to be so ill and suffer.

As you say until you do you are “are stabbing around in the dark “

I hope our information helps you however I feel you should for the best interests of you poor puppy have the tests done.

Kind regards

Millies Wolfheart

01535 280319 or 08006124655

www.millieswolfheart.co.uk"

To me it reads like I am a bad negligent owner. Full Stop. I was really upset when I read the response - all I wanted to know was about the poultry content of the food but the glucosamine in particular...

Rant over...
 

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Well they're right about Glucoasmine being typically sourced from shellfish, but as Wikipedia says "Glucosamine is naturally present in the shells of shellfish, animal bones, bone marrow, and fungi" - clearly as that is not the only source you were absolutely right to ask and your information was in no way faulty.

I think they were trying to come across with good advice but made their points in all the wrong ways!

I feed fish4dogs superior, it includes
"Green Lipped Mussels providing a source of joint conditioners Glucosamine and Chondroitin" so you can be sure without asking where it's coming from!

In fact. Can I try and recommend it? Other LF'rs will have seen me pipe up about it several times and be yawning their heads off right now :)

But just look at the no-nonsense ingredients.

Superior (includes joint conditioners)
Salmon (Min 27%), Potato (Min 27%), Salmon Meal (15.3%), Pea (16.6%), (Starch 15.3%) Pea Fibre 1.3%, Salmon Oil (9.2%), Salmon Digest (1.8%), Seaweed Meal, Yeast Extract, Malt Extract, Potassium Chloride, Green-lipped Mussel Extract, Spirulina

Finest (without)
Salmon (27%), Potato (21%), Pea Flour (19%), Salmon Meal (11.7%), Salmon Oil (10.7%), Beet Pulp, Brewers Yeast , Minerals

There is a white fish option too, and you might find the trial size 1.5kg bags very handy for a try and see. We've all heard about dogs with allergies to certain meats or wheat products but there are none those in fish4dogs.

Gemma had constant loose stools whilst I was feeding her a chicken+rice kibble that the breeder used. I can only suspect there was something in there she didn't get on with. But instead of spending a lifetime trying to find out, I moved her to fish4dogs and within 48 hours she firmed right up!
 

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Although they were quite negative about you following the vet's instructions at least they didn't just push their own food so in my mind that goes in their favour.

Did the vet test for guardia?

Chappie Original is the usual recovery food recommendation but I'm not sure if it has chicken in it. Itmust be really frustrating not knowing what the problem is.
 

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Thinking about it when they have had the Campylobacter it can take some time settling down to regular firm poo's, this I found out when Mischa was a pup, it did seem to be 1 month good next soft, this was off and on for what seemed like forever.

The gut does seem to take ages to get the good bacteria back and combat the upset tums, [spoonful of yoghurt can help this I think, I did try it but was never sure if it was the yoghurt or just luck or myth].

I also think it is tempting to try different foods to get normality back when they start getting softer for no apparent reason, I think many of us are guilty of this, so to be honest I now make a decision on what food to give and stick to it for as long as necessary [initially adjusting amount down as it can be the quantity or spreading it over 3 small meals so as not to overdo the processing while the tum is repairing itself.

Just in case you want a recommendation on Millies I now feed all 3 of mine on the Salmon and Veg and have no complaint, especially with Bruno's output, it was always a bit whippy off and on but now is consistently firm.

I also feed the low end of the recommended amount and all 3 are keeping to a nice 25/26 kg, and their coats do look pretty good [often getting comments on their condition].

I do agree about the Chappie as a standby for a really upset tum, but my lot are known to feast on anything they find when off lead including poo, so Chappie original is in the cupboard for when they have picked up a nasty, a week at the most usually sorts them out.

June
 
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I used to ask questions on their FB page, Eve, but the woman who replies, although she gives good advise, can be rather abrupt. It sounds like it was her who replied to your email.

I do rate their food and their policy of not pushing their food to you, if they don't feel it's right, but I do feel this particular woman maybe losing them customers, simply because of her overly direct attitude.

So don't take it to heart what she wrote, as she just seems to lack certain communication skills ;)
 

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My experience of Millies Wolfheart customer service has been good so far. I rang to ask whether the tripe in the Tracker food was beef and they were really helpful. I explained my dog was allergic to beef and he asked if I had proper tests done and how high were the readings. He said he wouldn't advise to give her the Tracker as although only 4% tripe he said her allergic reaction was too high to tolerate it. I was impressed with their response and suggested they were more than just telesales people!

Eve, don't let it out you off the food though. I am very happy with it.

Chloe
 

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OK well I feel a bit guilty now since I was the one who said our mutual friends used the Millie's - sorry :(

However I think Jules is right I think this lady is just a bit abrupt and probably didn't mean it the way it came across. We know you're a great owner and that you know about all this stuff but she doesn't and she might have thought you were one of those wally types who see something in a magazine based on no facts whatsoever and believe it, she doesn't know you've been through the mill and back again and know far more about allergies than she does or is probably ever likely to. Try to see it as her trying to help even if she got it a bit wrong. I often try to help and come across as overbearing and I honestly don't mean to its just I forget that other people aren't necessarily interested in the same things as me or in minute details or 26 thousand reasons why or why not... I am trying to improve!

It is rather handy to know they don't use chicken and they have taken care with that and that Chloe, Jules and June's dogs are ok on it, that's really the only reason I ever considered it. :) As you already know I'm also in the try chappie camp though if that hasn't worked for you before I can see why you wouldn't want to.

Elsa looks good in the photos and its great her weight is fine. Chicken elimination definitely sounds like the way forward, how about going with John's suggestion of the white fish Fish4Dogs, steer clear of the added joint supplements altogether and then there is no issue about provenance.

A long time ago when I was in mega-worry-mode with Sammy I did contact Barking Heads and they were absolutely lovely about checking things, they do a few chicken free ones as far as I can tell so they could be an option too.

Whatever you decide I will have everything crossed that it works xx
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all for your comments - Emma's been through this with me really from the moment Elsa started having problems, so she knows whats been going in - probably in far too much detail - sorry Emma - and she's been a fantastic friend, making all sorts of suggestions and listening to me rabbiting on debating what to do, what not to do, getting my knickers in the proverbial twist..

And don't feel bad about making helpful suggestions - its not your fault that instead of giving the information or asking more questions they just launched off on a diatribe, maybe the person was about to go home and annoyed at another query coming in...

I've been through food allergies with Neo, so its not something that phases me - and whereas Neo was seriously ill - 15kg at 13 months, Elsa isn;t. My vet has said he doesn;t think this is a particularly serious problem and I am inclined to agree - she is almost 28 kg at 11 months, and is pretty well covered, she doesn;t look underweight, we just have this irritating problem which I cannot seem to get sorted.

I don't want to criticise my vet - if it wasn't for him Bramble wouldn't be here - but thats a whole other thread with all the efforts that he has gone to for Bramble - and consequently changing vets is not, for me, an option, although I DO wish he would be more active on Elsa's issue and get it sorted!

It was the reply that really upset me and i have to say I took it very personally indeed - hence my letting off steam here. When I compare their response with Arden Grange's both for Neo and for Elsa - their response is just wholly lacking. Arden Grange were helpful, listened and were very supportive - especially with Neo -AND they were honest, the first thing they said to me about Neo was "our food won;t sort this. I hope it will help but it won't sort it" - instead of launching off on a diatribe like the Millies Wolfheart person they asked questions to find out more information about what had and hadn't been tried, and then gave advice. I have, needless to say tried Elsa on Arden Grange but their foods contain Chicken (thanks Emma - I failed to spot that on one food I tried for Elsa!) in some form or other - and they haven;t worked.

And I have to say I was very offended when they suggested I was lying when I said that it was the vet who had refused those tests and suggested I had declined them!!

I've now asked that someone review the correspondence rather than say I am making an official complaint about it, but I am minded to make such a complaint - I still think the tone is utterly unacceptable.

And currently I am not minded to put a penny their way I see no reason to pay them for being abused! I am bothered about Elsa - not to the same extent I was about Neo (as I am sure Jules will recall!!!) - and a bit disappointed with the lack of veterinary support - although again some tests have been done and I do think he is right - but I hate her being loose and seeing her itchy....

I might very well give the Fish4dogs finest a go John - thanks, its funny as I've always actively wanted joint support in the food, but my vet was adamant that it be excluded - and having asked another manufacturer and been told that theirs was sourced from poultry I could see the point, but it goes against the grain as joint support was always something I actively sought!!

Anyway rant over.... we are currently trying a food that the vet recommended I'm not sure its working, but it isn't obviously NOT working so we need to carry on trialling it and see what happens before I muck about with her food again...

Fiz, yes we've retested for Campylobacter and she was clear - but it hasn't escaped me that there could be something entirely unfood related going on as well.

Thanks all!
 

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Eve it was Pam who suggested it may worth testing for Guardia:), I know my vet has usually tested on one then the other to rule it out.

Just how long ago was the positive test for Campylobacter done?

I hope you manage to sort it out soon, I know it is a worry when you are going over and over what may be causing dodgy tums:(.

June
 

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I think if I had all the stress you must be under and all the fustration you must be feeling then I probably would have taken offense at their reply too. Although I must say I have quite recently switched to Millies in the last few months and the difference I have noticed in Chewy is great. She seems to sleep better, her coat - I can't describe, but it feels luxurious lol. And most importantly after 18 months off and on whippy or watery issues not to mention stinky rancid anal glands, this is the longest she has been consistantly solid for (unless she had sneaked some cat poop) and thankfully she doesn't smell anymore!

Chewy's problems don't sound anywhere near as bad as your girls do but I was so glad to get it sorted. After taking advice from LF=ers this is what I did -
- Treated her with Panacur for Giardia for 3 days
- Put her on Chappie for a week with a spoon of live yoghurt in each
meal.
- Introduced fibre granules to her meals.
- Switched her onto the Millies Wolfheart Tracker mix which is great.
Nothing in there that upsets her and its also low fat as she packs on the pounds easy as anything.

Fingers crossed this continues to work. I found the customer services to be fine when I spoke to them on the phone, but like I said. I wouldn't have liked to received the response you did.

It may be worth giving them a call and explaining you are not happy with the response. It may help you feel better if you get an apology and I always think its better to speak to a real person rather than email when possible - as its harder to misinterpret the tone.

I do hope you find somthing that works for your girl - poor darling, but it really sounds like you are doing right by her so don't you worry about that!

Take care.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sorry I meant to respond to that suggestion - my vet did test for Giardia sometime ago - I asked as another friend had suggested that might be the problem so he did a general poo test - and that was when the campylobacter was diagnosed.

To be honest I can;t remember when the test was done - a while back, and then we retested a couple of months later I think - but it kind of all fades into a black hole of horridness. I have been wondering about asking him to retest as I'm a bit suspicious we may have another bout.... but what would I know??!!!
 

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Thanks Jen, I am calming down now - it was the inference that I was lying and being negligent that really wound me up and the sarcastic comments...

Things for a little while haven't been too bad but after a blood test the vet said she had antibiotic responsive diarrhoea and put her on oxytet which did help , but she wasn't completely solid so he is resiling from that diagnosis and took her off the AB's.

In general she hasn;t been too bad the general pattern is she "goes" twice first thing in the morning, the first one is fine, the second soft but still pickupable and then she will go late at night which is also fine - but I do think we have other issues going on too...

Last week at dog training, someone had clearly been spraying chicken around the training area - and Elsa (and some of the others!) went hoovering - then she was ill for 4 days. She has also started devouring Bramble's poo when we are out - just his, she leaves other poos which haven;t been cleared up - oh and I DO clear up - she just runs over to where he is and clears up before I get there. So I am thinking Bramble isn;t properly digesting his food hence its attractiveness as this isn;t a general poo eating fetish (thankfully).

She also helps herself to the cat litter tray - and they are fed on Arden Grange chicken and rice which I am debating changing to help her - as the cats are all fine on it.

And really she isn't bad, she is bright, lively her coat is lovely and thick and it isn't harsh, its just the rear end that needs sorting!

It might be worth giving them a call - but I need to stop feeling so defensive where they are concerned as right now I think I would take anything from them as a criticism and react very badly. It's a shame because prior to this both Arden Grange and Tails were lovely - and Tails was all done via e-mail because they wanted you to fill in a detailed form about age, exercise, intolerances, health issues etc - and the form wouldn;t register my responses so I e-mailed them and complained. I have to say the time and trouble they took was amazing, they were really nice and understanding. I felt quite guilty when I decided against their food, but they didn't push it at all...
 

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Hmm bloody training I suppose you could use a soft muzzle between exercises to stop her being able to hoover or offer to sweep the floor before you start? This'll give you a laugh I took Sam to [email protected] to fetch some bits and bobs the other day on our way home from the specialist and while I was putting my card pin in the sales chap leans right over the counter and before I could do/say/realise anything gives Sam some big treat right into his mouth - WELL - I thought bloody **** don't you realise its taken me months to get him well this time and his kidneys ARRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHH - fortunately I quickly said 'what you got' to Sam and he gave it me, the prized treat, right from his mouth (some giant carob/chocolate covered bone biscuit thing) - I was so grateful, I am certain the salesman thought I was the biggest headcase known to mankind but hey with Sam I cannot be too careful and bless him he was perfectly happy to have a handful of my treats from my pocket instead. I was half inclined to murder the salesman though despite knowing he was only trying to be nice!

I would make the complaint so that it doesn't happen to anyone else. If it was an employee of my company I'd want to know. Maybe write them a letter and send in the post that way you can put your point across without actually having to speak to someone or reply via email.

How about a baby gate between her and the cat litter? Touch wood that trick currently works here when I've got Ruby and Claude staying.

I bet it is a case of Bramble not digesting his food properly didn't you say she fancied eating his food - maybe she thinks second hand is better than not at all?! yuk!
 

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The staff at Pets at Home are not supposed to give treats to dogs unless they have asked the owner first - so he was in the wrong!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Have to say Emma I was debating muzzling her - I've got a soft muzzle and a baskerville one as Elsa seems to think that eating cars is an acceptable way to pass the time when on a journey - thats an expensive little hobby she has there!! But like you I don't really want to muzzle her as she is such a lovely friendly little thing and when people see a muzzle on a dog their attitude changes as they assume its because the dog is vicious...

I've also thought about asking if we can sweep the floor between classes but the problem there is time - I was going to mention it at the committee meeting this afternoon but got there late (I had other appointments and had told them) and I don;t think they heard the door bell so had a wasted journey...

I think full marks to Sam for that! Had that been Elsa the treat would have been swallowed before I had a chance to say anything!! She does the labrador, I've never been fed routine to perfection!!!

Mind you, I have to say that whenever I've had my dogs in Pets at Home, they just dish out treats without so much as a by your leave - I have just gritted my teeth and smiled sweetly and not said anything as I know they are trying to be nice - but tend not take either of mine in now as a result...

Poos were a bit better this morning so fingers crossed this weeks effort is now on the mend. I'm going to ahve another chat with the vet tomorrow - so Elsa is off to the vets for a weighing now....
 

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...This'll give you a laugh I took Sam to [email protected] to fetch some bits and bobs the other day on our way home from the specialist and while I was putting my card pin in the sales chap leans right over the counter and before I could do/say/realise anything gives Sam some big treat right into his mouth - WELL - I thought bloody **** don't you realise its taken me months to get him well this time and his kidneys ARRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHH - fortunately I quickly said 'what you got' to Sam and he gave it me, the prized treat
Hi Emma,

I read this and remembered I had come across this in my searches;

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Standard-Allergies-PREVENTS-Accidents-Warning/dp/6041027316/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1422609548&sr=8-4&keywords=do+not+feed+lead

I think its a great idea for owners of dogs with sensitive stomachs.
 

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They are lovely, great colours and lots of different texts for other messages too say for those with a blind dog or reactive one :)

People are very strange though even when you tell them your dog is allergic you often get a "well he can have one it won't hurt"! :rolleyes: Jules told us that people were even slipping bits of food to Guide Dog Una and making her ill and of course Una's Mum was blind so didn't see them do it :( yet everyone knows they shouldn't interfere with a Guide Dog when they are working and it says so on their harnesses!

Still message coats, harnesses and leads don't hurt and sometimes work so worth a go :) Keep the link people often come on LF and ask about 'recovering from surgery' or 'need space' coats to stop people letting their dogs run up to theirs/explain why their dog can't play today and these leads would be useful to them too.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Oh so true - I remember one fisherman post Christmas saying to Bramble "You'd like a doggy biscuit wouldn't you?" - now this chap and Bramble were out on a podium for fisherman so NOT easy to reach... to my absolute horror this chap then produces a tin of very chocolatey biscuits - so I shouted "No please don't chocolate is poisonous to dogs" - what did he do - as he fed a heavily coated biscuit to Bramble - looked at me and said "oh one won't hurt" then he asked Bramble if he would like another... but by that time I'd jumped off the boardwalk and waded through the mud got to Bramble, clipped the lead on and removed him saying "Sorry, no he can't"
 
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