Tummy Woes

It’s been a bad few days with Silas’s stomach. I have no idea why.

Because his food allergies go pretty quickly from “barely any symptoms” to “three weeks of antibiotics” I really watch him, especially in the morning. Since the weekend, he’s just seemed a little off. Browsing at the grass, eating a little reluctantly. I blamed the latter on me trying to introduce some new foods, of which he was deeply suspicious. We’re talking new shapes, not new proteins. Nothing that should be triggering his allergies.

Now, I don’t know. This morning he did the old routine of going outside first thing and eating plants until he threw up. Then he came inside and ate his breakfast.

There are a few possibilities, ranging from a surprise allergic reaction all the way down to the random, everyday reasons that dogs have upset stomachs.

The “randomness factor” is what makes Silas’s stomach problems hard to live with. From what his vet and I can piece together, he has a predisposition toward acid reflux, just like some humans do. Sometimes food aggravates the acid reflux, but sometimes it flares more or less randomly. (There’s a whole deal that could go here about allergies vs. intolerances, but I’ll spare you. Practically, it makes no difference.) He can handle things in isolation that he can’t handle in combination–additional stress plus delayed meals, for instance, is worse than either on its own. There’s also what I think of as the “stress circle.” Anxiety upsets his stomach, an upset stomach increases his anxiety.

I tend to leap toward the allergy explanation, both because it is historically likely and because it is an easy diagnosis. Check all the product labels, realize something is wrong, take that thing away. It’s also, in a lot of ways, the worst case scenario. We’ve already eliminated everything that can be eliminated, and have just now added back enough foods to make life reasonably easy. So, paranoid brain also wants to go there. (Un)fortunately, it’s something that time will test on its own. Either today will start a pattern, or it won’t.

Blah.

(As a kind of post-script: I can and sometimes do medicate him for the random stomach upsets. I can’t do it while I suspect an allergy flare, though, because it masks symptoms that are really important. Since he’s been eating a new protein for only a few weeks, we’re still in Red Alert.)

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