It was five months ago today that Jamie was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. He’s been off the prednisone for almost seven weeks now, and he’s doing great. I’m amazed, relieved and grateful, since following his IBD diagnosis last January, he started at 25 mg of pred twice a day and the vet thought he might have to take it for the rest of his life. Guess she didn’t tell Jamie that.
He’s eating potato and venison kibble and probably will be for the rest of his life. It agrees with him and I have no desire to start experimenting with changing his diet. I still have nightmares about the endless vomiting and diarrhea from last fall and winter. The good news is, there are a lot of venison and/or potato treats and canned food on the market now, so he’s not lacking for “special” goodies. Plus, the Farmer and I both love homemade mashed potatoes so there’s no lack of leftover taters for him to enjoy, either, usually stuffed into a Kong or sometimes delivered right off of the spoon.
His funky poodle clip from the IVs on his front legs has grown back, more or less. He’s got thick fur all over his tummy again, from where he was shaved for the ultrasound. And his butt fur has grown back nicely after my unconventional chop job with the kitchen scissors when I reached the peak of frustration with cleaning up diarrhea.
There’s always a chance the IBD will flare again and he’ll have to go back on the pred but I’m not going to borrow trouble. Right now, he feels good and things seem to be on an even keel.
I’ve cautiously started adding a few things back to his diet. First was Nutrigest, a probiotic supplement recommended by Jamie’s chiropractic vet. In addition to probiotics, it contains oregon grape root, cat’s claw, garlic, aloe, ginger and deglycerized licorice, all herbal elements that heal the gut and aid digestion. It’s a powder and has a wonderfully sharp, herbal smell. At first, I wasn’t sure if he would eat his food with this gray powder sprinkled over the top but he didn’t care. Raised by shelties, remember? He’ll eat anything and he’ll eat it like there’s no tomorrow.
The second thing I’ve added back is a fatty acid supplement, in this case, plain old fish oil. It’s the same stuff I take for my heart. Jamie gets two capsules a day. His coat is a mess right now, even though the bald spots have re-grown. I think the stress of being sick, going under anesthesia and the months of prednisone finally caught up with him. He started to drop his coat in May. Last weekend I gave him a bath to get all the old dead fur out. When I blew him dry, huge chunks of fur were flying out of his coat. It was pretty incredible, like big clumps of my dog were flying through the air. He looked like a molting coyote. Honestly, he has not blown coat like this since he was 1 or 2 years old.
He looks a little rough right now but he feels great and that’s all that matters. He turns 12 next month. Yay, Jamie, you are my Big Red Dog.