DEAR DR. FOX: Shortly after I adopted a stray female Pomeranian who had been running loose in the country, I read your recommendation for a bad breath problem. It worked very well.
In recent weeks, my Pomeranian took a bite of a philodendron plant. It had been five years since I last had a pet in the house, and I forgot about the plant. I rushed her to my vet, where she received an IV. I was sent home with an antibiotic that tore through her with amazing speed. This drug was considered the best. An examination of her stool found that bad bacteria had taken over in her intestines. She was changed to another antibiotic that the vet hoped would be better tolerated -- Endosorb tabs and an over-the-counter stomach medicine.
All in all, there were at least three to four trips to the vet, and the dog was declining very quickly, with vomiting and diarrhea. Then we had a weekend visit to the emergency clinic for fluids and a stomach-settling injection. I had used my vet for years, but this time there was a new crew, and I never saw the same one twice. In desperation, I called the spay/neuter clinic that had treated my dog previously and asked it for a recommendation. We went to the new vet, and he took her off all meds except Endosorb and added FortiFlora, a probiotic.
She has been on this regimen for about three weeks. I have about two weeks of the probiotics to go, but see no improvement in her stool. I had to add a teaspoon of baby food chicken to each serving to get her to eat it. Her general health has improved, and she's still perky, though she needs shorter walks.
My mother died from the Clostridium difficile (C-diff) bacteria. I have been reading about a new successful treatment of this with fecal implants. Do you think that would work for a dog who has lost all her good bacteria? -- J.M.M., Glen Allen, Virginia
DEAR J.M.M.: The philodendron plant can cause acute gut pain, swelling of the tongue and throat, kidney failure and, in cats, convulsions.
I sympathize with the difficulties that you and your poor dog went through as a consequence of the antibiotic medication that depopulated the beneficial and essential bacteria in her intestinal tract. I don't understand why such treatment was prescribed for what was presented as an emergency case of philodendron poisoning.
A bacterium called Clostridium perfringens can proliferate in dogs' intestines and cause havoc. Amoxocillin, metronidazole or tylosin are effective remedies, followed by probiotics to repopulate/recolonize the intestinal flora.
Yes, fecal transplants, delivered by a rectal enema of a suspension of fecal material from a healthy donor containing these beneficial bacteria, have been given to dogs in crisis like yours with spectacular results.
Recently, capsules containing stored frozen bacteria-rich fecal material from healthy donors have benefited human patients suffering from C-diff and related intestinal dysbiosis. This malady regrettably costs $3.2 billion annually and is associated with 14,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
PET FOOD RECALL
Natura Pet Products has initiated a limited, voluntary recall of certain EVO dry cat and dry ferret food lots produced in its Fremont, Nebraska, facility. Due to a formulation error, these products contain insufficient levels of vitamins and excess minerals. The problem was discovered during the investigation of an ingredient inventory discrepancy. No other Natura products are affected.
Consumers who purchased the product should discontinue feeding the product immediately and discard as normal household waste. For more information concerning lot numbers, consumers can reach Natura Consumer Relations at 1-855-206-8297 or visit evopet.com/evo-recall/. Lot numbers are also posted on my website, DrFoxVet.com.
(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.)