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Dog can't chew toys without getting unwell

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by Ozcursio, Jun 29, 2020.


  1. Ozcursio

    Ozcursio PetForums Newbie

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    Hello folks, I'd like to preface this by saying that I've read the sticky post about medical advice on these forums and we've already been to two (hopeless) vets about the issue, and I'm looking to see if anyone else has ever experienced something similar or has found a solution to the problem, as my research has come up empty.

    My three year old rescue girl, Drew, is a large mixed breed, predominantly Rottie x GSD.
    She's a power chewer and really benefited from the mental and physical energy spent on chewing toys in the early days when we got her about a year and a half ago, but I can no longer let her chew for more than a minute else it's almost guaranteed to make her ill and I can't take the risk any more.
    To clarify - she has never had an issue with food or been sick in any capacity other than when she's been sat down for a while enjoying a good chew on a toy like a kong, and more recently, even her "consumable" long lasting chews like antler. Things like dentastix and rabbit ears which are edible and last no longer than a few minutes are fine.

    What I mean by "unwell" - she rarely actually vomits, and the few times she has it has been the grass and saliva she's swallowed as a result of feeling sick, but all of the symptoms she shows (panting, pacing, whining, gulping and licking the floors and walls) indicate she feels sick and from the intensity, in a fair deal of pain. As if that wasn't bad enough, each episode from just one chewing session can last a couple of hours, and it ALWAYS stays for about a week after - once I've managed to soothe and calm her from one bout of frantic pacing and licking, I know it'll only be a matter of time (another couple of hours, including through the night) before it rears up again until that week has passed. It's horribly distressing to watch and I've tried all manner of things to soothe her when it's happening but to little relief. I can't imagine how she feels.

    After whittling down external factors I've pinpointed it to exclusively after chewing for a (not very long) amount of time. I'm not a vet and can only speculate, but I would guess her chewing is causing some kind of acid reflux or stomach ulcers.

    Now, the vets that I have seen about the issue have been very dismissive as when I take her to see them to discuss it, she's not showing symptoms. The first gave her a once over, said she seems fine and it was probably a passing bug. Early days so I thought ok, hopefully it'll go away of its own accord, and at the beginning it wasn't nearly as severe - she could have a toy for 30 minutes or so and no problems. As time went by, it got progressively worse and that's when I realised it was the chewing. We'd moved house and so with a new vet, after another episode of it happening I visited and explained what was happening. They, too, gave her a once over and said she was fine. Later that week, when she was still experiencing it and I couldn't bear watching her hurt, I booked in to see them again and stood my ground. A slightly better vet listened and took it more seriously this time, but insisted it was probably that she'd ingested part of a toy or something that she shouldn't have. Drew does not find and eat things, nor has she ever had a toy unsupervised or let it get past a point where bits will come off. As it was a recurring issue and ongoing problem, I knew that was not the case.
    I'm not a very confident person, and suffer with anxiety and depression. The way these vets spoke it was like they MUST do an x-ray, ultrasound and blood tests to look for the foreign body she'd apparently swallowed that was causing her to feel ill. I didn't agree that was the case and felt like I really had to fight my cause, and eventually they agreed not to do the x-ray, but insisted on the other tests. Fine, I have insurance and I wanted to get to the bottom of this and perhaps with an ultrasound they could see stomach ulcers if they were present? I thought they're the experts, I should leave them to it.

    I went to collect her that evening. Nothing found, all round healthy dog. I asked if they saw anything that resembled stomach ulcers on the ultrasound. "Ulcers? We didn't know we were looking for ulcers, just for a toy she'd swallowed. Anyway, she's all clear so good news! Here's the bill."
    After the day I'd had waiting and worrying about her, I couldn't say anything more to them. I took her home, and we settled for the evening, while I tried to soothe the sore spots where they'd trimmed her fur and nicked her skin with the clippers. She woke up gulping again, and I was so upset that still, I hadn't been able to help her. I went back to those vets one more time where I met the only decent practitioner so far, that offered her fuss and gave her an anti-vomiting injection and prescribed me some probiotic-paste for whenever she displayed symptoms. Unfortunately, even that paste hasn't done much to help in times since then.

    To top it off, the insurance company I'm with decided that whatever it is, it was a pre-existing condition has underwritten any and all gastro-intestinal problems, and so the £700+ bill for the tests is still sitting above my head. I'm a full time mature student, the whole point in paying out for decent insurance was because I knew during this period I wouldn't be able to pay for any big vet bills. I'm feeling well and truly defeated and really at a loss as to what to do next.

    I know it's been a long post, but felt it all needed to be heard. Please, if you've ever known something similar, have an idea as to what her illness might be, or even something to help her manage the symptoms when it does inevitably happen - I'd be grateful to hear it.
     

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  2. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Has anyone checked her mouth carefully? Teeth, salivary glands, tongue...?
     
  3. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    If them symptoms had been posted in behaviour then people would suggest something in the environment were making her anxious or afraid. Not necessarily it means she feels sick.

    Obviously if her mouth hasn't been checked that would be my first port of call as @O2.0 states.

    The obvious thing would be, does she need to chew? Remove chews which are triggers how is she? Am not saying Kongs and longer lasting chews aren't great but there are many dog owners out there that don't even know what a kong is to be honest. It's not going to be any detriment if she doesn't get any.

    @O2.0 what would you say if these symptoms were seen in behaviour and training section as am struggling if everything has been given the OK, and am just assuming the most vets would do a mouth check as standard. I know OP says that external factors have been ruled out, but if the behaviours lasting a week and flares. Am sure the OP is constantly giving their dog a long lasting chew. The only other thing I can think of medically or rather two, would be front legs. Any problems there possibly from holding a long lasting chew.. Why would it go on for so long on and no limping but then dysplasia is odd especially being GSD, rottie mix. Or something completely unrelated again with the pacing etc would be neurological, seizure related. GSDs used to be highly affected by epilepsy, but no signs of any seizure.
     
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  4. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    I’m wondering if the chewing sets off a pain reaction in her teeth, jaw or even neck?
     
  5. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    I'm thinking that chewing may stimulate her to produce excess stomach acid, which will irritate her if there's nothing for it to digest. The suggestion of looking for stomach ulcers might not be too far off the mark.
    An experiment would be to give her some Omeprazole (which I've had prescribed for a dog) and a non-edible chew, to see if she still reacts.
    Slippery elm could help too.
     
    Lurcherlad and lorilu like this.
  6. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I was thinking maybe bloat. If she's swallowing a lot of air while chewing these long chews. The solution would be to no longer let her chew.
     
  7. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Not to be crude but if it were bloat the dog would be dead by now. Bloat is a medical emergency not something that can go on for hours and happen over and over without the dog being, well, dead.
     
    Enna Addair and lorilu like this.
  8. Ozcursio

    Ozcursio PetForums Newbie

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    The last vet appointment we went to the nurse checked her teeth and gums and didn't notice anything unusual, and I also brush about twice a week - she doesn't exhibit any kind of pain in relation to her mouth. Would there be something specific I should be looking out for?
     
  9. Ozcursio

    Ozcursio PetForums Newbie

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    I will consult the vets again about her mouth but it doesn't feel like that is the issue. And I realise I hadn't written it in the main post, but she is not given any chew toys any more since making the correlation between these bouts of sickness. It's more so that I find it a terrible shame as it's clearly an activity she enjoys and if there was a way to offer her chewing as a form of enrichment still without her getting ill, then I'd love to find it. Also curious as to why it seems to have progressed, as when she was adopted there was no apparent issue and had toys available often to chew with no consequence. As time went on, it took less and less time for the problem to appear when she chewed. Now if she were to be left with a toy for more than a minute (not that she is given the opportunity) she would undoubtedly exhibit those symptoms. I think she is probably enough of a mutt to thankfully not be affected by the worst of her pedigree breed traits.
     
  10. Ozcursio

    Ozcursio PetForums Newbie

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    She doesn't appear sensitive in these areas and even appreciates affection to help her settle and soothe when exhibiting symptoms. Would there be a way to check?
     
  11. Ozcursio

    Ozcursio PetForums Newbie

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    This is exactly what a friend of mine who works with small animals at a safari park suggested it may be. Omeprazole was something that kept appearing in my research but without knowing for certain that this was the issue, and without vets actually listening to my concerns, worried about trying it. Someone also suggested Gaviscon and heartburn tablets but reluctant to give her anything without a vet's ok for fear of harming her further. I'll look into slippery elm. I might register with a different vet as really haven't been pleased with the place I'd ended up at since moving! Thank you.
     
    Burrowzig likes this.
  12. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Jack recently had a problem with his pelvis/back and the vet gave his whole body a thorough exam, checking the flexibility in all his joints and points of the spine including neck.

    I guess ask the (new) vet to give him a good check over.

    I’d also ask for a trial of antacid as it won’t do any harm and might give an answer if it helps.

    Obviously you can avoid the non edible and hard going chews and toys but it would be good to find the reason for the future.
     
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