Case history: – Inflammatory Bowel disease & Gastro – Oesophageal reflux from gastritis causing pneumonia and inflammation of the upper bronchi due to micro – aspiration.
Sharon’s own young Belgian Shepherd Chiron challenged everything she knew about canine nutrition, digestive disorders and related health issues.
Since Chiron was a pup he always had a sensitive stomach, reacting to certain foods, getting diarrhoea or periodically in the early morning vomiting bile. From the age of 1 ½ years however Chiron slowed down in his physical development and gradually started losing weight. The Vet check reassured there was nothing to be concerned about and that ‘it can be common in some breeds during this growth spurt period to lose weight and appear thin’.
Sharon tried slowing the weight loss and improving his overall health by trying various home prepared foods and suppliments to rule out additives being the cause of his sensitive digestive system? These changes generally slowed Chiron’s weight loss but during a week away in the highlands in May 2018 something triggered Chiron to lose weight drastically and daily. An Emergency Vet check in the highlands suspected EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) and prescribed medication to help get Chiron through the rest of the holiday, advising to increase meals further and see her own vet when home.
When home Chiron’s usual Vet carried out initial investigations all which came back negative for EPI and various other potential causes? As his weight loss was still too low but settled, his Vet said to monitor over a couple months but increase his meals to 4 times a day.
Unfortunately Chiron’s weight plummeted further and he then also developed a cough. Chiron had ultrasounds, blood tests and stool samples – all came back negative so the vet prescribed antibiotics – these were ineffective, and Chiron’s health worsened, so Sharon requested a referral to a specialist as the Vet could not explain what the problem was?
Chiron underwent further investigations = blood tests, ultrasounds, Endoscopy, a bronchoscopy with a broncho- alveolar lavage (lung wash). He was found to have gastro-intestinal inflammation & diagnosed with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). Also inflammation of the upper bronchi as well as the gastric mucosa and suggested these symptoms were due to gastro-oesophageal reflux. They also explained all these areas had cellular changes suggesting chronic conditions. The specialist prescribed Omeprazole to manage the oesophageal reflux to help settle the cough, further antibiotics and suggested experimenting with different diets to find the one that suits Chiron, explaining that IBD is something that ‘every dog is different and it’s a case of trial and error’.
Chiron started the Omeprazole just as they were heading up to the Highlands for a 2 week holiday. All was going well until Chiron reacted
badly to the Omeprazole – with severe vomiting and could not keep anything or even water down. It was at this point a friend started forwarding information from a Holistic Vet in Austria regarding managing IBD and it was at this point Sharon decided to followed the teachings of Dr. Jutta Zeigler.
Sharon gave Chiron 2 hourly – 24/7 Slippery Elm (herb) and as the days went by slowly introduced cooked carrot juice, then mashed carrot and then slowly introduced chicken.
Being completely grounded to get Chiron stable, in a cottage in the middle of the Highlands, Sharon worked closely with Chiron also giving regular acupressure treatments. Slowly Chiron stopped vomiting, stabilised and was able to eat and drink.
Sharon stopped the Omeprazole at once and although an email back from the specialist advised giving a couple days break then re-starting it Sharon did not.
Although stable Chiron’s weight remained poor despite having 4 large meals a day. Sharon requested a referral to a different specialist for a second opinion? but despite more scans and tests Sharon was left to try more different diets including the ones they sell.
At a loss and frustrated Sharon sought the help of Dr Ziegler and her team who offered support and recommendations via email. Although Chiron stabilised, despite home prepared food and the various supplement’s, homeopathy and regular acupressure sessions, Chiron remained skin and bone with little muscle mass. Amazingly Chiron remained bright and full of energy but clearly ‘something’ was preventing him from absorbing the valuable nutrients required to sustain growth and in the long run life. Despite 4 large meals a day Chiron remained desperately ravenous the whole time.
Extremely concerned and aware that dogs can die from IBD, with orthodox Vetinary medicine having nothing else to offer, just a variety of processed foods they sell and other drugs to try, Sharon sought the help of Holistic Vet Dr. Nick Thompson.
Nick was thorough and explained a lot more about diet related issues than Sharon had ever learnt. In particular the value of Lamb Tripe. Nick suggested introducing green Lamb tripe slowly, while reducing the chicken. The important fact about Lamb tripe is that it is one of the easiest feeds to digest and has a soothing action on the intestines. Beef tripe (which Sharon had tried) on the other hand can cause sensitivity and reactions.
Over the months Sharon continues to support Chiron with acupressure while following the dietary advice from Nick. When giving Chiron acupressure Sharon soon noticed that the meridians and acupoints which use to be so reactive were no longer as reactive and energetically Chiron was doing a lot better. Chiron also started to consistently gain weight.
After a year battling to find answers and to get Chiron back to health, he has managed to return to his baseline weight of 19kg (which was in the April before he started getting poorly and since struggled to maintain 16.4kg on 4 meals + suppliments).
He is no longer skin and bone when you stroke him and he is having his adolescent growth / coat changes now at just over 2 ½ years. He will always be a pint size Belgian due to his poor health throughout the vital time of growth, but now he can resume normal physical activity and walks plus training just like her other dogs.
Sharon continues with acupressure assessments and sessions with Chiron for maintenance and balancing his meridians but his sessions are now weekly as opposed to the high level of acupressure sessions he needed beforehand to prevent him deteriorating any further.