Jasmine's IBD: Undiagnosed For Five Years (Part I)

Ever since Jasmine came to us she was having bad stools. 

It wasn’t a really bad diarrhea, and it didn’t seem to have affected her in any way, so at first we figured it might have been a response to change and that it would sort itself out. She was still on the same food the breeder was using.

Days were passing by and it wasn’t sorting itself out. 

Off to the vet we went.

They checked her out, analyzed her stool, everything was negative. Armed with antibiotics we returned home. Her stools improved. Yay, problem solved! At least so we thought.

Couple days after she finished her medication the bad stools returned. 

And our saga of frequent vet visits that never lead to anything began.

After seeing Jasmine with the same issue enough times, they switched her to a prescription diet. Not that it had made any difference. Neither did bi-monthly vet visits and seeing a number of different vets. Since the antibiotics would always temporarily help, that was the best idea they would have come up with.

Their onclusion? 

Jasmine has a delicate system and that’s just the way it is. That was their official diagnosis.

Today, such diagnosis would make me jump out of my skin. 

But back then I didn’t know any better. We took her to the vets, they didn’t find anything, what else is there to do? When she got a really bad diarrhea, she’d get antibiotics and things would improve for the time being.

Meanwhile,  Jasmine was getting less interested in her food. 

Dog that is not food driven? Hm, ok then.

We figured that was because the food was so bland. She would accept it when I added a bit of cooked chicken or broth. No harm in that, chicken was the main ingredient in the food anyway, right?

Apart from the stool and appetite issues she looked and acted healthy and happy. The vets didn’t seem bothered by the situation, so who were we?

The decline was gradual and hard to make too much of it. 

From time to time she’d refuse to eat for a day and her stomach would make all kinds of noises. The next day she’d eat normally. That too was attributed to her delicate system, particularly since she loved drinking from puddles which was blamed for the stomach upsets.

At the age of two she would have some nights when she would pace around the house, pant and keep asking to go outside. Since eventually she would produce some runny stool, this also was attributed to her delicate system. At first it would happen rarely.

She also seemed to have been prone to leg injuries. Three times she’d injured her leg and limp heavily. Nothing was found and we were told that it is probably just a soft tissue injury. Perhaps it was, perhaps it wasn’t. Each time it took several months to resolve, but eventually it would.

I also noticed that she didn’t like playing with her toys as much any more. 

She used to love playing tug-a-war with me. But now she’d play a little bit and then stop and did what to me looked like licking inside of her mouth. Another vet visit and again sent home with there is nothing wrong with her mouth.

Since there was nothing wrong with her mouth, when she lost interest in her chew sticks, we figured that she outgrew that. 

I mean, how many times can one take their dog to a vet and get sent home with either there is nothing wrong or that’s just the way she is?

So ... she had a delicate system, was prone to soft tissue injuries and there was nothing wrong with her mouth or otherwise… 

Since none of these things really seemed to have been affecting the quality of her life—she looked happy and enjoyed her walks and play with her fur buddies—perhaps there really wasn’t anything wrong?

Her stomach upsets would come and go, so would her episodes

I felt that there was something going on, but what else can one do than taking her to the vet?

Couple of times she’d get a hot spot on her cheek. That got treated and went away.

In the summer she’d get a flaky skin – attributed to drying slowly after a swim, so we started taking a towel and drying her thoroughly. That seemed to have been helping.

By the time she turned five, her episodes had increased on severity and frequency. 

Visit to a vet. No diagnosis. Another visit to a vet. No diagnosis ...

Eventually it got so bad that I simply declared that neither her or myself can go on like this. We are going to a vet and not leaving until he figures out what this is, because it is something! In a desperation the vet decided to test her thyroid. It came back positive, her thyroid levels were extremely low.

Ok, great, we got some diagnosis!

She was put on a thyroid medication. Her thyroid levels stabilized and her episodes also subsided. I was quite happy that finally we have solved at least one of the problems.

Or have we?

Continued in Part II

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