DEAR DR. FOX: After having three healthy dogs over the years, I adopted a 15-month-old rescue dog. One vet said it's possible he has irritable bowel syndrome. I am not committed to supporting a sickly dog, so I hope to get this problem corrected. Two vets have suggested canned pumpkin. This works if the dog eats all of his food; however, if he doesn't, the problem is assured to manifest immediately.
My dog's first bowel movement of the day is normal. The second is characterized by straining (sometimes yelping that I assume indicates pain), mucus-textured bowel movement, concluding with further straining resulting in wet droplets. This is frowned upon at the dog park because it is interpreted as evidence of an owner who is lax in providing medical attention for her dog.
Regardless of the number of walking/dog park opportunities he is presented per day (usually four), the dog's bowels move on average only twice a day. Is there some kind of fix for this condition? -- A.R., Washington, D.C.
DEAR A.R.: If your veterinarian ran no fecal tests to rule out parasites, did not try a short course of treatment with metronidazole or Tylosin and only suggested you give your dog canned pumpkin, I would take your dog to another animal doctor.
Check my website, DrFoxVet.com, for details on the various factors that can trigger this common animal condition and its various treatments. These can range from a diet free of grain/cereal to giving psyllium husks, digestive enzymes and probiotics in the food. Peppermint tea can be beneficial for dogs and humans alike. This is also true for fenugreek, aloe vera and ginger. Veterinarians are leading the human medical profession in using fecal transplants from healthy donors to help animals in need of gut microbiome replenishment, especially after prolonged antibiotic treatments.
DEAR DR. FOX: Our 3-year-old bulldog has a serious problem. He has a kink in his tail, which makes it necessary to clean him after he does his business. It's not a problem for him or for us, but he has developed a hot spot at the base of his tail on top so he can't stand to be touched. Our vet has prescribed cleaning the spot twice a day with diluted Nolvasan, applying Vetericyn on the area two times daily and giving him cephalexin every 12 hours and Previcox once daily as needed for discomfort.
Someone also suggested removing his tail. It sounds like a terrible thing to do. He is in so much pain. Do you have advice for us? -- M.G., Ridgefield, Conn.
DEAR M.G.: Your poor dog who is suffering from the consequences of generations of selective breeding for these kinds of deformities. Bulldogs do need high maintenance for skin-fold dermatitis, chronic respiratory distress and eye problems associated with ectropion, all of which should be eliminated by breeding longer-muzzled, smaller-headed bulldogs with fewer wrinkles.
A healing application of dermatological aloe vera ointment may help. You can also try a mixture of essential oils applied two to three times daily at the ratio of 5 drops each of frankincense, myrrh and helichrysum in 100 drops of olive oil. The ultimate cure may well be corrective surgery. Imagine the discomfort and psychological effects of feeling pain every time he tries to wag his tail.
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.com.)