Where Paranoia Gets You

I think I may have finally gotten to the root of Silas’s most recent stomach problems.

He threw up six times in February. I cut his diet down to the bare minimum. Just turkey. No supplements, no snacks, no bits of food from peoples’ plates. It didn’t really help. In fact, it got worse as the month went on.

We made it through until the tenth of March without another incident, but only because there were a few near-misses. That is, Silas was doing his morning “I’m going to eat grass and then throw up routine,” but we caught him and got him to eat real food instead. This set my brain to spinning a little (we’ve never been able to “divert” him before), and I realized that I think I’ve got this all wrong.

Fact: Silas was at week 11 of his 12 week trial on pork when this started, and he’d had zero problems.

Fact: Silas ate a lot of acorns in February, before we realized they were bad for him. Acorns are both physically *and* chemically bad for dogs’ digestion.

Fact: Silas’s skin and ears are still perfect, even though he’s been having other symptoms for over a month. He’s itching slightly more, but taking all the potential allergens out of his diet cut his daily fat intake dramatically.

Fact: When he’s only eating turkey, Silas is convinced that he’s starving to death. He fills this gap by foraging for rocks and sticks. (I also wonder if there isn’t a mineral deficiency that encourages this, too, since he’s up to a few weeks without his usual vitamins.) His poop assures me that I am not getting all of these away from him.

Fact: Rocks and sticks surely irritate one’s stomach.

So, my new working assumption is that this particular outbreak has nothing to do with his allergies and never has. In fact, I’m pretty sure that my allergy paranoia has made it all worse. I think, instead, that he’s just made his already sensitive system even more so by eating acorns and rocks. (His vet and I have never been entirely sure of the relationship between his food allergies and his stomach acid issue anyway. Sometimes it seems causal, sometimes not.) He threw up from eating acorns, and I panicked and cut everything out of his diet. Because turkey has fewer calories than pork and much less fat, he thinks he’s starving. Because he thinks he’s starving, he’s eating more rocks. I also have a hunch that I’m feeding him less turkey now than I should be. It’s been a while since we’ve done the one-ingredient diet.

Now I’m trying the logical thing–treating the acid reflux as its own case. The usual theory with dogs who vomit bile is that their empty stomachs are overproducing acid. Silas is getting three meals a day now, including last thing before bed and very first thing in the morning. I’ve upped his food quantity slightly. I’ve added back in all of his supplements, including the L-glutamine that’s supposed to be good for his stomach.

It’s too early to tell if it will really help, but I’m pretty optimistic. If this does turn out to explain everything, we’ll probably be in for another round of veterinary work.

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4 thoughts on “Where Paranoia Gets You

  1. For me it’s always trial and error. But it was not unreasonable for you to think pork might be the culprit. How do you keep track? Do you maintain a food journal for him?

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    1. I do. For a while I kept it here, in the “food notes” tab, but right now I’m just writing it out long hand.

      I think my original assumptions were fair, but I stuck with them for too long. It will be interesting to see if this works–I suspect it will mean that his food allergies aren’t as bad as I’ve thought. His “allergy” to duck might very well be because he hated it and kept not finishing his dinner. (I mean, that’s a fair enough reason not to feed him something, but lower stakes.)

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  2. What a process this is…poor Silas,poor you…so much work without any conclusive findings…though seeing the acid reflux as it’s own issue does make a lot of sense…How much longer will you stick with the turkey only and what’s next after that?

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    1. Just until his stomach settles. I’d like him to go at least a week without throwing up now that I’ve added his vitamins back. I still have to be careful to only add one thing back at a time.

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