CIL, how it works, and what you can (and shouldn’t) do to get your dog eating

A recent discussion in the comments section on a post here led me to think that we probably need a thread about what happens in the body with CIL.  Symptoms of CIL can be very confusing, and I think a more detailed understanding can be helpful.

There are a number of things that happen with this disease that affect how your pet looks and feels.

This is a protein-losing disease, and the loss of protein is a big part of what makes this a “wasting” disease.

Briefly (and somewhat simplified), the way it works is this:

  • The intestinal lining contains specialized lymph cells, called “lacteals,” and their job during digestion is to collect up lymphatic fluid that brings specific nutrients, such as protein, into the bloodstream where they can be used by the body as nutrition.  
  • In CIL, the lacteals are inflamed and distorted in shape (distended) and this impairs their ability to bring these nutrients into the body.  
  • A direct cause of lacteal distention is exposure to dietary fat.  
  • A direct result of lacteal distention is the inability of the body to take in certain nutrients and, especially, proteins.  
  • Therefore, when the lacteals are distended, your dog’s intestines are functioning improperly, and key nutrients simply pass out through the body as though they were not being consumed at all.  

This is why the single most important thing to do is get the lacteals back to their normal shape, and the way you do this is by reducing the exposure to fat in the diet and reducing the inflammatory response, by changing foods and giving steroids.

Inappetence (not eating) is one of the most frustrating and commonly discussed issues on this blog.  It is not unusual to have owners come here saying something like, “My dog was diagnosed with CIL, now she isn’t eating, and she’s losing tons of weight, and I just want to get her to eat!”

Many owners who see this rapid weight loss really just want to get their dogs eating again, believing that the weight loss will stop once they do.

From the above bulleted list, you can begin to see that it really isn’t that simple.  If you have ever had a severe intestinal flu with symptoms similar to those your CIL dog is displaying, it isn’t too hard to imagine why your dog might not have an appetite.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • Protein loss leads to muscle wasting, because the body will rob protein out of muscle tissue when it doesn’t get it through the diet.
  • The body really needs protein, so, once the body gets desperate enough to rob the muscle tissue, wasting happens very rapidly, and leads to very large and fast drops in weight, accompanied by profound lethargy.  
  • The muscle wasting, lethargy and weight loss will continue unabated until the intestines start absorbing protein through the lacteals again, no matter how much food your dog eats.  
From this, we can see that we really need to get the intestines functioning properly again in order to halt the disease.

Because the weight loss is so dramatic, many people, understandably, believe that eating at all costs is the solution to the problem, and will be tempted to feed inappropriate foods in an effort to entice their dogs to eat.  I have even seen veterinarians fall prey to this temptation.

In truth, the last thing you want to do for your CIL dog is to tempt it with fatty and inappropriate foods.  You need to recognize that even the smallest morsel of fat can be deadly.  I say it again and again, but I cannot overstate that very strict adherence to an ultra low-fat diet is the single most important part of your treatment plan.

A much better approach to inappetence is to try stomach-soothing medications.  Again, think back to how you felt the last time you had a major digestive upset.  You didn’t want to eat until you started to feel better, and neither will your dog.

To soothe the stomach and digestive tract, famotidine (Pepcid) can be given at a dosage of 2.5 mg per 10 lbs of body weight.  I’ve also used slippery elm and supplements containing that, and other soothing herbs. Just be cautious that anything you give is very low in fat content.

Anti-inflammatory medications, such as steroids, will likely be prescribed, and most of us would love to give these in a treat or a piece of cheese, but I caution against this.  Again, even tiny amounts of fat are more than enough to keep the lacteals inflamed and distended.  Instead, crush up the medications and give them using an eye dropper or something similar (check with your vet first, because not all medications should be crushed).  The reality here is that your dog is very sick, and you may have to force medicate for a few days in order to get the inflammation under control.

Hopefully, one or two days of anti-inflammatories and stomach soothing medications will be helpful in getting your dog to find her lowfat diet somewhat tempting again, beginning the road to remission.

218 comments to CIL, how it works, and what you can (and shouldn’t) do to get your dog eating

  • Mandy

    This is really helpful for understanding how this disease works.

  • Louies Mom

    Thanks. It’s nice to feel like writing again.

    • Very helpful explanation. My then 11-year-old Sheltie was diagnosed with IBD and secondary lymphangectasia in November of last year during surgery to remove his gallbladder. Learning to manage these diseases has been an incredible challenge, but he is now 12 and doing very well, although we still have some soupy stools and he wears a belly band because the steroids make him a bit unreliable. However his albumen levels and all other bloodwork are stable and he seems happy and interested in life. I’m so glad we didn’t put him down when he was so terribly sick, though I wouldn’t criticize anyone who takes that step. I have found (finally!) the easiest way to get him to take the 12 pills he needs each day is with a pill gun followed by a tiny piece of dried liver, okayed by the vet. He comes running to take his pills now. It’s bliss to see him excited!

      • Donovan's Mom

        What great news. So happy for you.

      • Megan

        Hi Diane –

        I know i’m a little late to the party but was hoping this site notifies you of my response. My yorkie was diagnosed with this disease just a month ago now, and it has been a rollercoaster of trying to get him on the right meds and foods to help him. After 3 weeks of “soupy stools” on a bland chicken and white rice diet, my vet decided to try him on Hill’s Science Diet i/d Ultra Low Fat. It was very nearly an INSTANT difference in his stool, from soupy and yellow to formed, brown, still pretty soft but NOT diarrhea. Last night, though, it was a little “soft-serve” again, but still brown. From your experiences, does the recurrence of “soupy” stools indicate another low point on the rollercoaster, or is it just something that seems to happen periodically with this disease?

        • Sorry to hear about your pup’s diagnosis. I probably don’t have a good answer for you. We tried so many different foods and medications, and while there would be a tiny improvement here and there, none lasted for very long. Probably the most helpful thing we used was a product called Perfect Form herbal supplement from The Honest Kitchen (you can buy it in pet shops and on Amazon). It helped firm up his stools (firm being a relative term) for a while. Ultimately, we lost the battle with Keeper. Both his life and ours had become miserable. I hope you have better success with your pup and can give him the happiest life possible right now.

  • Donovan's Mom

    A wonderful synopsis of this disease. Makes me know I am not wrong on insisting no one feed my Donovan ANYTHING I do not get to see. Basically he gets NOTHING but his diet. Also I always try to remember every day that it is just a “remission”. He will never be cured. Thanks again for this post. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s post and will continue to do so. Lots of good ideas and answers here. It all helps to keep us going.

    • Louies Mom

      You bet! I used to put up signs about not feeding the “skinny, starving dog” whenever I’d have a party. It’s hard to get people to understand that they are skinny because of the disease, not because they need to be fed everyone’s table scraps, and that table scraps will kill them! Keep up the great work with Donovan!

      • Donovan's Mom

        Thanks for the support. You help so many. It isn’t easy.

      • Britta

        Thank you Louies Mom! I am reading up as I may be fostering a dog who was an owner surrender due to diarrhea and has since been diagnosed with CIL.

        My other foster dog has condition known as megaesophagus caused by PRAA, although she had open heart surgery to correct the PRAA. When she came to me she was 21 pounds (and is now 38), but EVERYONE wanted to feed her because she was so skinny. More than once, I’ve had to grab treats out of her mouth given to her and people look at me like I’m nuts.

        While these two ailments are vastly different, there sounds like there are similarities, and hopefully we can find the “sweet” spot of diet and medication that works for this dog as it did with my other foster. This is just amazing what you have compiled over the years!!

  • Donna (Charlie's mom)

    That’s really informative. I’m pretty sure that after reading your synopsis a lot of people will have a much better understanding of this disease. Thank you again for continuing to educate, help and support (especially the “newbies”)in their difficult journey.

    • Louies Mom

      Thanks, Donna. I’m glad this article was helpful!

      • Lola's Mom

        Thank you for all the information you post on the website. I have 2 yorkies that are 11 yrs old and my female Lola has this disease. Lola has had this disease for years however it went un dignosed up until last June when I almost lost her to it. It was a grueling recovery since she lost a lot of weight, wouldnt eat, stopped playing and had massive diahrea. I am happy to say that she is back to herself now and is on a strict diet of Z/D can food, prednisone, Leukeron, calcitriol and a diretic. It was a battle for months to find that right combination for her and there are still some days of bad stools etc however for the most part I got my Lola back.

        This disease is so scary and I thank god that i found your website and was able to find great information that would help me help my Yorkie get better. I wasnt sure she would make it since one Vet told me she wouldnt however after reading your information and others posts I refused to give up and went to a specialist that turned things around. Now I thank god for every day I have with Lola and learned not to feed her Anything but her strict diet. Thank you again for all your post’s!

  • Morgan's Mom

    If it is hard for you to get pills into your dog, try wrapping them in potato mashed in some fat free broth, or potato flakes in FF broth. Also, if you are feeding low fat canned food, wrap the pills in that. You just need to find something that your dog will eat that has no fat to wrap the pills in.

    • Louies Mom

      Excellent point! If you think your dog will take something freely if it is tempting enough, this would be worth trying, for sure.

  • Sedavis

    So far my Yorkie, jake, still has an appetite.
    I give him his meds using canned pumpkin, butternut or spaghetti squash. His doctor has prescribed science diet id and he eats that ok. I am adding white potato and sometimes quinoa or nonfat plain yogurt. His protein levels are still very low (1.5) The vet wants to do a fasting blood panel to be sure his liver is functioning correctly before he adds a different medication. Right now he is just on prednisone. His weight is back up to what it was pre diagnosis and his abdomen swelling is staying down. What I’m saying is, physically he seems ok. His stools are fine, he eats, sleeps, runs and plays. His protein level is just too low. I can feel his little spine more than I used to. I am starting to wonder if I should see a holistic vet that will be more on board with supplements? Anyone have a similar situation? Do y’all think I should just stay the course? His protein level has only gone up one tenth since we changed his diet and started prednisone.

    • Louies Mom

      So glad to hear that Jake seems to be doing better. My observation here is that the blood test numbers can take a while to “catch up” with improvements we see in terms of behavior, firm stools and energy level, so I’m always hesitant to suggest any changes when things are improving. The basic rule is that if it’s working, you don’t change anything. Remissions are very fragile for a while and it doesn’t take much to mess everything up. So I’d give him a little more time to stabilize before doing anything else. If he starts to get worse again, then you might want to try switching out foods.

  • Jill's Mom, LaVanda

    Thank you for such an easy to understand synopsis. We nearly lost Jill this summer from a very rough bout with her CIL. She went from 11 pounds to 8 pounds and had become skin and bones. It took 4 months of daily meds: metronidazole, metaclopromide, budesonide and pro-pectalin gel to get her intestinal tract calmed down. She started out on the Hill’s ID diet (then quit eating), then Hill’s WD diet (quit eating again), boiled chicken (quit once again), turkey baby food (in desperation one weekend) and finally back to the Hill’s ID (now she is eating it again in 4 smaller meals a day)! Her protein levels were in the basement and now are in the normal range (YEAH!)and the vet is amazed she has gained back almost a pound. We learned she does best with liquid meds, even the steroids come that way. The pro-pectalin gel is one her daily treats, it smells like malted milk. Her other treat is a couple spoonfuls of canned pumpkin daily.

    Jill is a 16 year old Jack Russell and it seems we are in a better place these days. We almost gave up on her but I guess she has 9 lives like a cat. Thanks to everyone for your comments and suggestions, we have found them so helpful.

    • Louies Mom

      So happy that Jill is doing well at the ripe age of 16! Louie went through several bouts of not eating for us, too. Seems to come with the territory for some of us!

  • Cyndi Snedden

    So sad to say that my little Buddy Bee lost his battle Saturday the 9th of November. We just couldn’t get his numbers back up. We were feeding him Hills ID in gruel form through a tube but nothing worked. He was on so many meds and they just didn’t work. We never knew he was even sick until a few weeks ago…he suddenly stopped eating and got really skinny. He never had diarreah or vomiting but the specialist said it was one of the worst guts he ever scoped and biopsied. The hardest part is that he has eaten nothing but low fat ID food most of his life so we are still trying to figure out how he got the illness to begin with. He had Pancreatitis when he was young so has been on low fat ID ever since. I wish you all luck with your babies. I also lost my other Yorkie the same day to Brain cancer…quite a shock since the only symptom she ever had was what we thought was a compressed disc in her back 6 days before she died. She was going to Philadelphia for an MRI and possibly back surgery and she died right after she got there, without the MRI. They did an Xray of her lung and brain and diagnosed the Cancer. After losing two Yorkies in one day we are trying to heal. Please keep helping all these Moms and Dads with their babies. If your blog saves just one it will be worth it! Thanks for all the help and encouragement that you gave us. In Memory of Heidi and Buddy Bee…keep trying!

    • Louie's mom

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Cyndi. It’s a difficult disease to manage. (((hugs))) to you.

    • Donovan's Mom

      I am so very sorry for your loss. Since Donovan is a Yorkie it hits especially close to home. He is the only one of mine to ever have it. I grieve for all who lose the little loves. May you heal and be able to love again.

  • Linda Lewellen

    Oh, my. My heart goes out to you. About 5 years ago I had a nurse because I had surgery on both feet. The nurse was afraid of my two small 5 year old Yorkies so hubby took them to his office. It was a rainy day and it was rural Tx next to 100 acres. They ran out of his truck in a rainstorm never to be seen again and our best bet is feral pigs. We searched for nearly 2 years. I know your pain.

    I now have five wonderful Yorkies aroud age 6 and one of 4 pounds was successful with a small cancer mass and now one of my sweetest boys is 2 months into IBS and lymphangiestasia. His albumin went from 1 to 3 but this is an indisious disease and we are working hard but we recognise the outcome is likely a rocky and shortened lifespan.

    We hope you will soon be able to welcome another loving friend into your home. We mourn deeply the dear ones we have lost but wish you the strength to embrace
    new love into your home.

    So sorry for your grief.

    Linda and Gabe and family.

  • Carolyn

    We said goodbye to our sweet buddy, 11 year old Westie, Truman, one week ago. He was diagnosed with CIL a year and a half ago and adapted very well to a diet of Purina EN combined with Preference greens formula, on a low dose of prednisolone.
    He did not die from CIL. He lost his sight and then smell which turned out to be a tumor and cancer.
    I have had some very dark days this week, but I want to thank the community of Louie the Love Muffin for all of the support with CIL, because I feel like we were blessed to have gotten that under control with all of your help and suggestions.
    Give all those sweet dogs a kiss on the head for me!
    PS-I would also be happy to ship a large portion of Preference or Purina EN to anyone who is using these.

    • Donovan's Mom

      So sorry to hear about Jake. Once our babies get so old so much can and does happen. You gave Jake a good life and did everything you could for him. I hope your heart heals and you can “love” again. Sincerely,

    • Audra B

      I would gladly accept the Pref/Pur EN kibble. Rocky Mountain Cocker Rescue currently has a CIL dog and are working on his dietary needs; your donation can be tax-deductible. Please contact me at Audra@RockyMountainCockerRescue.org for a mailing address. Truman thanks you for helping keep him in remission; unfortunately, Cancer is just too tough to conquer.

  • Louies Mom

    Carolyn, I am so sorry for your loss. It is hard, but time helps. (((hugs)))

  • YorkieMom13

    Hello ladies and gents.

    Quick question – low fat is the priority, but not always the only factor. I know we’ve had this discussion regarding Royal Canin Low Fat (LF) vs Royal Canin Hydrolized Protein (HP), but each dog’s disease process and previous symptoms are important when determining just HOW low fat.

    For example, my boy is on the HP, and doing incredibly well. We fostered (albeit for a short while) a little girl who we were feeding HP and it seems that she was also doing well on it. While HP does not have as low of a fat content as the LF, it is important to note that they BOTH have a lower fat content than the typical dog food, and may be appropriate in certain situations.

    • YorkieMom13

      Sorry, my question wasn’t really a question, but more of a find a good veterinarian who understands the way this disease works and how to treat your little one.

    • Louies Mom

      Yes, some cases of CIL are secondary to IBS, and in those cases, treating IBS with a hypoallergenic diet can be the major factor in overcoming the disease. I believe this is stated here in many other posts, but it’s always good to have a reminder.

  • Thanks for all the great info.

    My working dog Reese went through a dramatic transformation about a year ago dropping from 75 lbs to 55 lbs in just over a month. We did blood tests and messed with food but all I ended up with was a skinny barfing dog that wasn’t well. We went to a emerg hosp for ultrasound and the vet thought it may be lymphoma. He went through surgery, biopsies were completed, and he was found to be cancer free. Because of all this he was finally diagnosed with CIL. He’s been on pred, Royal Canin GI low fat, and Pancrease powered enzyme to assist with digestion. We have times of flare ups and vomiting… but overall he’s healthy, back to about 70 lbs, and he continues to catch criminals and work the streets. I was actually researching raw diets when I came across your site and the post about potatoes. Reese is very active and eats 8 cups of food a day to try and maintain his weight. I think I’ll add potatoes into the mix. Great information here… Thank you!

    Jeff

    • Louies Mom

      I’m glad to hear that Reese has been doing better, and I hope that he is still feeling well. Wondering if you added the potatoes and if that made any difference for him? Hope all is well!

      • Jeff

        Hi,

        I did start adding potatoes into his food (great way to add cals and carbs without much bulk). I started with a box from the local grocery store, then a small bag from the Bulk Barn, and now a 10 kg bag as it’s something I’m going to stick with. He loves the difference and he’s put on about 4 lbs with it in his diet. I’ve consulted his vets about it’s use and they both agree that if it’s working then to stick with it. Reese still has some issues in his bloodwork with protein loss but we’re adjusting his pred dose to hopefully fix that. All in all… he’s happy and working hard.

  • Cathy

    Today my baby Niko was diagnosed with CIL. We have been through years of testing for other things as flare ups have occured but he had a scope today after a scary night last night and it is confirmed. He is still in the hospital and the vet will have a plan for us tomorrow. I have been reading so much information on your site and it is very helpful! We are fully ready if necessary to make him homemade food and there have been several comments about potatoes. Can you tell me more?

    • Donovan's Mom

      My little guy was diagnosed over a year ago. I immediately put him on Royal Canin Low Fat dry. The swelling in his little belly went down within a week and a half, but he still had flare-ups with diarrhea (which he had been having for a couple of years (the start of the CIL). Anyway, decided to add potatoes to his dry food, along with some ginger and fiber powder. The potatoes are really magical in that they soothe the stomach (remember grandma and her potato soup)and seem to coat it. The rest I did for regularity and nausea. I was given a prescription for Budesonide and Metronidazole which I have been fortunate enough not to have to use. Don’t know how big your little guy is but my Donovan weighs 5.8 lbs. He gets 1/4 cup of RC LF, with a tablespoon of whipped potatoes (whipped with the potato water, nothing else), 1/4 capsule of ginger and 1/4 tsp of fiber powder. I also give him 1/2 tablet of Miraclezyme (a pre and pro biotic). He gets all of this twice a day. Like I said it has been a year and you would never know he was sick. All these babies are different and it might be a trial and error but hopefully you will find what works for your little one. He may have other things going on too. There is no one diet for all. I wish you nothing but the best in your quest for Niko’s health. I am sure others will respond too.

      • Louies Mom

        Sometimes a diet will work for a while, and then will not work. You probably want to be prepared for that. I also had good success with the Royal Canin for a time, but eventually Louie became sensitive to that and I had to switch to a vegetarian diet for him. The best advice I can give is that all dogs seem to have a unique set of things they will respond to and sometimes we just have to keep swapping out low fat proteins until we find what works. So glad that you found us, and please keep us posted on how Niko is doing.

  • Cathy

    He remains in the hospital another day and they are reluctant to let him come home just yet. He vomitted on the Royal Canin low fat last night and are trying it again today. It may be just a coincidence as he had his scope yesterday and was under anestesia. He was diagnosed by our vet prior to being referred to the specialist with food allergies. He has been on grain free diet for past few years very successfully. Royal Canin recently changed the food and added soy protein in there and we noticed immediately a change in Niko. That may be what triggered the flare up, we don’t know. The problem I see is RC doesn’t make a low fat grain free food. I am really worried about what we are going to do and am hoping the food today stays down.

  • Cathy

    Niko was released last night and it’s been a guarded 24 hours. He is responding well to boiled chicken and potatoes. He is really hungry but we are giving him small meals every 2-3 hours at the moment. He has had 2 bowel movements since he came home and they are both solid. I am hoping he can continue to tolerate the chicken. He is also on prednisone and metradiazone twice a day and pepcid and another pill to help eliviate nausea. So far so good…we are crossing our fingers. He actually chewed on a toy today which is a good indication for us he is feeling better. Has anyone tried any of the “raw” food websites? It was suggested to me yesterday from a friend to check them out. Does anyone have experience with that?

  • Louies Mom

    I’ve never fed raw, but I would not take anyone’s feeding advice unless it’s someone who has extensive experience with this disease and success with diet. There is a lot of well-meaning advice about good feeding out there but unless it addresses the very important concern of ultra (and I mean ultra) low fat, it will all quickly kill a dog with this disease. Raw feeding might be very healthy for an already healthy dog, but I don’t see anything about that diet that specifically addresses the special needs of CIL dogs.

  • cathy

    That is what I thought as well. Our vet has treated other patients with CIL so we are following his instructions. Until we get the biopsy results to determine primary or secondary we will keep him on the home made diet this week. No changes to what is working at the moment! BTW, this website is incredible. I spent endless hours on the internet this weekend and found nothing even close in reference to the disease, management and support. Thank you Louies mom!

  • Louies Mom

    Thank you, Cathy. I am so glad that we’re able to help! It’s been a labor of love and, even though I am not here as much as I used to be, I hope to always have the means to keep this place going. The support we have received in return from this community has been amazing!

  • Amber's Mom

    Amber is a cavapoo and will be 8 years old if she makes it to May 22.
    After she had anesthesia for a teeth cleaning, she contracted kennel cough and began to swell in her belly.
    She was diagnosed with IBS and lymphangectasia.
    She was doing well with some setbacks but at the end of April we had to have 3 liters drained
    from her abdomen. She weighed 30 lbs and is normally 23lbs.
    She is wasting away and her albumin is very low.
    We have her on 20 mg of prednisone, Cyclosporine 50 mg and various other meds. The vet says there is nothing she can do medically and sometimes dogs just don’t
    respond well.
    She has been eating Royal Canin lowfat and I/DCanine lowfat.
    Both of these are animal protein base and I thought trying a hypoallergenic vegetarian diet may help.
    We are desperate and want so badly to save her.
    Any suggestions?

    • Jeff

      Pancrease powder will help the dog deal with what fat is left in the food. My dog is on a strict diet of RC: gastrointestinal low fat and he gets pancrease powder on every meal.

    • Donovan's Mom

      Is CIL or IBD primary? From what I understand, it matters which to feed, the LF or Hypo. So sorry about your little one. My little guy had a huge swelling in his belly too. Putting him on RC LF immediately the swelling went down. He still had diarrhea sometimes, so I have added several ingredients and he has been picture perfect for a whole year. I truly hope someone has the answer for you. I wasn’t hopeful at first either. Good luck.

    • Lola's Mom

      If your dog does not respond after a week or so on what your vet has Amber on you might want to try a medicine called Lukeron. After my yorkie was not responding to what her doctor had her on which was pretty much the same as what Amber is on I took my dog to a specialist which switched Lola’s food to Z/D low fat prescription food, Lukeron every other day, Prednisone and a duretic every other day and within a week she was back to almost normal.It did take about 2-3 weeks to see her back to her normal self.Lukeron is a very expensive medicine and is not available in many places but it worked wonders and i believe it is sorta new to the vet field. Good luck and be patient some times it takes a while to see them back to them selves.

  • Just thanks so much for everyone’s helpful comments. I’m really struggling to get my little Goldie to eat anything and reading this has been such a relief and such encouragement to keep trying. We’ll try turkey and potato next and see what happens. Fingers crossed for everyone out there with a poorly dog. God bless them all!

  • Beans' Mom

    Has anyone had any issues with Cyclosporine (Atopica) and vomiting/muscle weakness/intense shaking?

    My 7 yr old yorkie was put on this (with the intention of being able to wean her off her Pred.) a week ago and is exhibiting the above signs. Not sure if she is deteriorating or if this is a reaction to the medication.

  • Sulley's Mom

    My 4 year old Yorkie Sulley was just diagnosed with CIL and was prescribed Medium Chain Triglycerides, Prednisolone and the Royal Canin Low Fat dry & moist food. He ate both food’s as I give a small amount morning and night of the moist and lets him and his sister (also a yorkie) graze on the dry all day. I was wondering how long before I see his belly go down. He was just diagnosed last night. He has had some diarrhea but not much and vomit once in a while. He also sounds like he has asthma attacks mostly at night I am assuming this is because his abdominal cavity is so full he has a hard time breathing sometimes. Anything I can do when this happens to help him calm down? I sure hope he has a long life with us yet and we can get this under control. I am so worried!

    • Donovan's Mom

      Sounds just like my Yorkie. His swelling went down in about 1 1/2 weeks after changing to the RC LF. He still have bouts of diarrhea and I tried a few things. I add about a Tablespoon of whipped potatoes (in their own water), 1/4 tsp fiber powder (Benefiber or its equivalent), and 1/2 capsule of ginger root with each of his meals(twice a day. It has been 1 1/2 years now and he is picture perfect. It took about a year for him to eat with relish but now he gobbles everything down with no coaxing (I always made him eat his food. I also give him 1/2 Miraclezyme (a pre and pro biotic by Nusentia) and the vet can’t believe it. I know every dog is different so just want to encourage you not to give up. I have, as yet not had to put him on any meds. I have a script for Budesonide and Metradiazonole but don’t plan to use unless all else fails. No one would know he has ever been as sick as he was. Keep trying and hopefully you too will have success, even if you do have to use medication. Love from our house to yours.

  • Virginia, Sophie's Mom

    Donovan’s Mom,
    I was curious about the ginger root. Do you ground up fresh and insert into an empty capsule? I’m really interested in this. Thanks in advance!
    Virginia

    • Donovan's Mom

      I buy the 550 mg capsules at WalMart and cut them in half and sprinkle about 1/2 of the two halves per meal. Doesn’t have to be exact, it’s safe and just as a nausea reducer. It actually adds flavor too, but not too much. About the 550/4 a meal.

      I even use on some of my others if they have an upset stomach. Great for puppy mill dogs until they are use to eating good food.

  • Virginia, Sophie's Mom

    Thanks so much!

  • Cocoa's Mom

    Cocoa’s Story:
    Cocoa is a 7-1/2 year-old minpin, rescued almost four years ago along with her sister Katy, who were both kept as breeders until they were abandoned. She has never been sick since I’ve had her. I noticed that she appeared to be getting a bit chubby, maybe I’ve been giving too many treats, for a week or two. Then, on October 2nd, I just felt that something was wrong. She had a bit of a wheeze for the past three days and she looked like she just didn’t feel well. I immediately took her in to my regular vet who ran some tests. Cocoa had fluid in her chest and abdomen and fluid was tapped from both areas. Her albumin was critically low, 1.5 g/dL. I was told that she needed a plasma infusion and was referred to an emergency vet hospital immediately and was evaluated the next day by a veterinary internist. After four days and nights and numerous tests and treatments Cocoa was diagnosed with Lymphangiectasia secondary to Irritable Bowel Disease by biopsy via endoscopy. She improved after a few days of human plasma infusion to increase her albumin level. She was put on Sucralfate, prednisone,omeprazole, metronidazole, Cerenia and Hill’s I/D diet. After the biopsy results came in she was put on cyclosporine modified twice daily and vitamin B12 injections weekly and her food was changed to Purina HA kibble with just a teaspoon of Hill’s Z/D for taking pills. She has responded so very well with this treatment and currently she is on the prednisone, omeprazole, cyclosporine modified, weekly B-12 injections, HA kibble with a teaspoon of Z/D. She is tested every other week for her albumin level. Her albumin was 3.5, then 2.9 and last week 3.0 g/dL. If her albumin stays steady over the next month the plan is to gradually taper the prednisone.
    I am so glad to have found this website! Thank you for having it!! I had never heard of this disease and this site made me realize that it is something that I have to deal with for the rest of her life. I would like to add a probiotic to Cocoa’s food, but I am afraid to change anything as she is doing well right now. I would also like to find some recipes of treats that I can make for her as I have to be strict with her diet while my other three minpins get to have their favorite treats.
    Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories!!

  • Kathy, Max's Mom

    Max was diagnosed with CIL on Oct 8,2014. We have been on a roller coaster ride since then. We finally seem to be making a little progress. His belly is slowly getting smaller but his albumin level is still low. His diet consists of Hills i/d gastric restore and poached cod. He is in prednisone, pepcid, probiotics and digestive enzymes. The nausea has stopped and he is eating well. I pray this works since we have tried about 10 different foods,kelp, and so many other things that failed. thank you so much for the information on this site. It has helped me tremendously. Please keep up the great work you are doing.

    • Di

      Just keep going with Max! My little Goldie was diagnosed at about the same time as him but (fingers crossed) we’re getting there. She had stopped eating completely and was slipping away fast, but Manuka honey seemed to be the key turning point. She now has her medication (down to 1/2 table metronidazole and one pred per day!!) in ‘honey bombs’ – little pieces of bread with the pills inside, dipped in honey. Works a treat! The other thing was she refused point blank to eat any prescription food but our local Asda (Walmart) el cheapo food is very little different in analysis in that it is pretty low fat, so combined with Hi Life food (also good protein, lowish fat), and plenty of fresh stuff (you know, fish, very lean meat, poultry, vegetables including the magic sweet potato) – she’s eating with great gusto, put on 9lbs in a month, tum is full of food and not fluid and even better, is back to her joyful, silly self. The last blood test showed all levels normal or above normal but my vet is still giving her monthly vitamin B12 injections for the next few months and retesting to make sure she’s not just in remission. At least if she is, we know what to do now to alleviate the symptoms, even if she never gets rid of this beastly condition completely. So hang on in there and every best wish for the New Year from England!! God Bless. XX

  • Heather

    My 2 year old cattle dog was diagnosed in October. We have had many ups and downs. More downs than ups at this point. Recently she acts like she is hungry for everything. However, anything we give her, low fat items only, she will take a piece or maybe two then spits them out. Has anyone else seen this with CIL? She has done this for so long that we have had a feeding tube put in. Her stools will be normal then soft the next time. She is eating RC GI low fat. Currently on pred in injectable form, metronidazole, amoxicillin, probiotic, azathioprine,lasix and omeprazole. She also has fluid in her chest and abdomen. We have drained her chest a few times and that has seemed to stabilize. Thanks for any help.

    • Cocoa's Mom

      Please see my post above that I made in December. My Cocoa had no symptoms until a few days before I took her to my vet and was then referred to an internal specialist. I used my notes for all of the details and I am very lucky to have been able to see this internal specialist, who knew about the disease and was able to get a diagnosis within a few days. Fluid was tapped from chest and abdomen and her albumin was critically low. All of the other vets really thought that Cocoa was dying because she was. The key was all of the meds that I listed along with a very strict diet of Purina HA (I’ve always hated Purina, but this is what the internal specialist said I had to feed) with a teaspoon of Hills canned Z/D to put the pills in. Cocoa had to have an infusion of human albumin and can never have another one. Her albumin is tested every two weeks and although it has dropped it is still in the low but normal range so we have been tapering her prednisone and cyclosporine. She has not had anymore fluid build up. The only problem I’ve had lately is pustules have formed under her skin and then ooze, followed by her hair peeling off. She was put on antibiotics and then a few days after finishing the antibiotics the pustules formed again, so back on antibiotics. She finishes this round later this week so I’ll keep a close eye on her skin to see if they form again. Sending positive thoughts your way!

      • Cocoa's Mom

        Sorry, I meant November when I made the post.
        One more thing to mention, Cocoa’s abdomen has been looking swollen lately so my vet did an ultrasound last week. No fluid, just an enlarged liver due to the prednisone, which we are still slowly tapering.
        I’ve done so much reading since having to deal with this disease. Since Cocoa’s Lymphangiectasia is secondary to IBD the type of protein is more problematic than the amount of fat, so the Purina HA diet is a plant-based protein so this may be why she is doing so well on it. They also make a dog biscuit called Gentle Snackers that she can have. They are $50 for an 8 oz. bag, but at least she can now have treats.
        Cocoa’s prednisone and cyclosporine have been lowered, but we have recently started her on the budesonide. If her albumin stays in the normal range then we will continue to reduce the prednisone and cyclosporine. Feel free to share Cocoa’s treatment regimen with your vet as most are not familiar with this disease as it is so uncommon. I hope that what I’ve gone through with Cocoa may help someone else!

    • Donovan's Mom

      Stabilizing a diet is the hardest part, but you can do it. You just have to find the right combination. My recipe has worked for my little guy for two years now. Potatoes cooked in their own water and then whipped, 1/4 tsp of fiber powder, 1/4 tab of ginger and a pre and pro biotic. What works for one doesn’t work for the other. He was a picky eater for the first few months but I insisted he eat and he now eats with gusto. Don’t give up. You can find the right combination. Good luck.

  • Kathy ( Max's mom)

    Thank you for this post. I as well as friends have a hard time not giving treats. I do know that bad food and treats will end in his demise. Thank you for posting this wonderful info.

  • Heather

    Cocoa’s mom, Just curious what is cyclosporine modified? I’ve heard of cyclosporine but not ever modified. Rae was on atopica but switched to the azathioprine when her blood values didn’t respond. I also have not heard of the budesonide. I will have to check with her doctor about that one. When we first found out Rae was sick in October she was put on hetastarch. Her albumin has never gotten any higher than 1.5 and has been as low as 1.0. It is currently at 1.3. Hoping that I can get her feeling well enough that she will want to eat on her own more than a few kibbles. Right now I am tube feeding her every 3 hours. Lots of work but she is worth it. I am concerned that she may have an ulcer or something else that is making her not want to eat because she acts so hungry but when given food she will eat a bite or two and be done or will not eat it at all…… so frustrating but still trying. She is worth every minute I spend with her.

    • Cocoa's Mom

      Cyclosporine modified is the generic of Atopica. The internal specialist made it clear that it had to be the modified cyclosporine, not just cyclosporine. I searched everywhere for the less expensive medication and found it at California Vet Pharmacy as well as Costco. The budesonide will replace the cyclosporine as the cyclosporine acts systemically, on the whole body, whereas the budesonide acts more locally, just on the GI system. Budesonide has to be compounded by a compounding pharmacy.
      My internal specialist had narrowed down the problem to either cancer in the duodenum or CIL after bloodwork, ultrasound and endoscopy, but was able to confirm lymphangiectasia secondary to IBD after she got results from the biopsy during the endoscopy.
      Cocoa’s albumin was so low which causes the vessels to leak fluid which is why the abdomen and chest have to be tapped or drained of fluid. When the albumin is normal there is no leaking of fluid. Cocoa had to have an infusion of human albumin as vets are no longer collecting canine albumin. Due to compatibility issues she can only have this one infusion and can never have another. It had to be super slowly infused over three days while she stayed at the emergency hospital.
      I was giving Cocoa vit B-12 injections every week to help her appetite for 6 weeks straight and now I give them monthly, although she never had a poor appetite. She has always seemed hungry, even trying to eat sticks and leaves outside. I went from her usual two meals each day to three small meals daily.
      Cocoa was on Cerenia for nausea the first few days after she left the hospital. She continues on the omeprazole to reduce stomach acid.
      Is it possible for your vet to do an endoscopy of the stomach and small intestines and take a biopsy of the inflamed areas to confirm a diagnosis? This is such as nasty disease, but we have to be diligent because our sweeties are so worth it! There is no cure, so we have to manage it as best as we can. I am hoping the best for you and Rae. Keep me posted.

      • Heather

        Thank you for the information. From what I have been told the biopsies at this point could be inconclusive because Rae has been on the steroid for so long already. Do you still give prednisone with the budesonide? I’ve talked to my dr. and she was thinking that we could try budesonide but replace the steroid and continue the azathiaprine (the immune mediated drug). I also noticed that yesterday we gave Rae very small amounts of dry kibble 1/4 cup at a time throughout the day (that she did eat on her own) and her abdomen didn’t look as distended as it does when I tube feed her the same food but larger amounts. I am wondering if the amount of food I am tube feeding her could be causing her intestinal tract to be angry. Maybe I should stick to letting her eat the amount she wants as long as she continues to eat something…… So hard to do when she is nothing but a skeleton at this point.. 🙁 Where do you get your budesonide compounded at? How much does Cocoa get? Sorry for so many questions. I feel that I have gotten a lot of information from this website that has been so helpful! But at the same time its so overwhelming with where to start to help Rae…. I don’t want to “do too much at one time” but the budesonide sounds very promising so going to try and start there. Thanks again for all your information!

        • Cocoa's Mom

          Yes, I am still giving the prednisone with the budesonide. Two weeks ago we started the budesonide, one capsule every other day along with the prednisone and cyclosporine (and everything else she is still taking.) a few days ago we increased the budesonide to every day and reduce the dosage of the prednisone. We are slowly tapering the prednisone since she has been on a high dosage for such a long time. I don’t know the dosage of the budesonide as it was for a larger dog that the owners didn’t want to give anymore. I should know the dosage in a few weeks when I get the prescription to fill, but your vet can check the published literature. I found a few articles, but don’t recall the dosage right now. You can search the Internet for “compounding pharmacy” in your area to find one close. If not, there are some pharmacies online that will compound. You most likely will be looking for a “human” pharmacy that will compound medications. I’m in Utah, USA, so if nearby I can send more detailed info. Does your kibble come in a canned variety? Most dogs like canned food better. I give Cocoa a teaspoon of Hill’s Z/D twice each day to hide her pills in which she happily devours and then will eat her dry kibble of Purina HA, that we now call “Cocoa Pops.” She gets a scoop of kibble twice each day plus one more scoop that I split into two “treats” each day to get enough calories in her and she gets treats almost like the other four-legged kids.

  • Bailey's Mom

    Hello All,

    I’ve been keeping up with your posts to keep track of all the pups. Bailey is now officially a year in remission. We have found the perfect remedy for him. He devours his food now and is a maniac at meal times. He is eating Iam’s Low Residue with a tablespoon of mashed sweet potato (they sell the sweet potatoes at pet stores- Nummy Tum Tum is the brand and is organic) he loves it! A little sprinkle of Metamucil (he’s only 5lbs so the Vet didn’t want to over do it) to help with fiber intake. His belly bloat is completely gone and his stools are now consistently firm. He is currently on the lowest dose of Budesonide possible (0.25mg every other day). He has the energy of a puppy all over again. I have found a couple of treats that are fantastic for this as well – Pure Bites Freeze Dried Turkey Breast, and Whole Life Organics freeze-dried sweet potato bites. He looks forward to these everyday. Just figured I’d throw out some options. I know treats can be the most difficult, and I always have to keep extras on hand when we go anywhere.

  • Kathy ( Max's mom)

    So happy Bailey is in remission. I’ve only been battling this horrible disease since October of last year. Seems like it’s been a forever battle. I finally found a food that works for my little Max. He’s on Hills I/d gastro repair. His belly is still bloated but he is eating well. He has no diarrhea and occasional nausea and vomiting. Is budesonide better than prednisone? I pray that one day I can say that Max is in remission.

    • Cocoa's Mom

      So glad to hear of all the kids that are in remission, it gives me hope for Cocoa. I too have only been battling this nasty disease since early October, so remission is still a long way away. I wouldn’t say that budesonide is better than prednisone, but it should have fewer negative side effects than the prednisone since it targets the GI system specifically. The prednisone is necessary early on or in severe cases to reduce and/or control the inflammation of the small intestines. It typically is given in a low dose only for a short amount of time, but in CIL it needs to be given in a high dose for a longer time. Poor Cocoa has suffered two very unpleasant side effects of the prednisone, an enlarged liver and pustules, pus-filled pockets under her skin. The pus eventually oozes out, but then her fur over these areas peel off. She then had to go on antibiotics to help prevent the pustules. When she goes off of the antibiotics the pustules return. She finishes her second round of antibiotics later this week and we’ll see if the pustules return, if so, back on antibiotics. We have to slowly taper the prednisone gradually to lower dosages while we gradually increase the budesonide. She is currently on 1 mg daily of the budesonide. We have to make sure that her albumin level stays in the normal range. When first ill her albumin was 1.5 g/dL, critically low. After her transfusion it increased to 2.9 g/dL, weeks later dropped to 2.7 g/dL where it stayed steady for awhile. Her last two tests were 2.5 g/dL, which is lower but still in the normal range or low normal. We test again next week. If it stays steady within the normal range we will continue to lower the prednisone until she can be completely off of it, but will remain on the budesonide until we can taper that one too, but it is possible that she would need to remain on the budesonide the rest of her life.

    • Donovan's Mom

      Budesonide only works in the intestine whereas Prednisone affects the whole body. It is better in that it can be used longer without harming other organs. Just depends on the dog. Glad Max is doing better. Have you tried adding potatoes (boiled and whipped in their own water). I also add a little ginger with the potatoes to my Donovan’s food (RC LF). Whatever works. Good luck in the future.

      • Kathy ( Max's mom)

        Sweet potatoes or white potatoes. Fresh ground ginger?

        • Donovan's Mom

          I use regular white potatoes. I cook about 4 of them every week or when necessary. I just peel them, cut them up, boil them and pour the whole mixture (potatoes and water) in my blender. Doesn’t matter if it is soupy or thicker. It works. The ginger I added for nausea. I buy the ginger root capsules at WalMart and cut them into 1/4 or just you could just use about that out of one of them. Measuring isn’t really necessary. I think it added flavor too and now he eats with gusto. I also mix 1/4 tsp of fiber powder in with his food. He only weighs 5 1/2 pounds so he gets 1/4 cup of his RC LF, a heaping tablespoon of potato mix, 1/4 tsp of fiber powder and 1/4 of the ginger capsule twice a day. I do not give treats unless it is a couple pieces of his food. I also give him 1/2 a Miraclezyme tablet, which is a pre and pro biotic twice a day with his meals. This diet has worked for him for about two years. He has not had to take any meds yet. No more fluid in his stomach or diarhhea. Not every dog is the same. I do feel lucky, and I am very vigilant. I have discontinued his vaccines also as I have heard this also can affect the CIL. Hope this helps. Love to your Max.

          • Kathy ( Max's mom)

            Thank you for the info. I’m pretty new to this CIL. I hate it.

          • Donovan's Mom

            Does your dog have CIL as primary or secondary? Donovan has primary. RC LF has been a blessing from the start. Didn’t completely solve the diarrhea issue until I added the potatoes, ginger and fiber powder. Just keep trying, one thing at a time until you know. I sincerely wish you good luck and much love.

          • Kathy ( Max's mom)

            He has had irritable bowel disease for year then developed this lymphangiectasia about a month after he was given a comfort is. Don’t know if that had anything to do with it or not.

          • Donovan's Mom

            He could have had CIL all along, just been treated for the IBD part. Was his diagnosis made with an ultrasound or biopsy? Donovan had “something” wrong for a year before it finally manifested in his stomach swelling from the fluid draining into it. After that the diagnosis was made and confirmed. He has been picture perfect for the past 1 1/2 years. I keep having to remember he was so sick. I hope you can do that with Max some day. I wish that for all these babies. It is such a terrible disease.

      • Kathy, Max's Mom

        Thanks for all the helpful information

  • Cathy Ludwig

    Well it comes with great sadness to report that we lost Niko to this horrible disease just a few days before Christmas. It breaks my heart everytime I see the crockpot not cooking his venison or the pot boiling his potatoes every 3 days. The disease just totally consumed his already weak and frail immune system and his last vet trip on Dec 20th confirmed he also had lymphoma. What this poor little guy put up with the last 6 months of his life was devestating. We too had transitioned to budescenide and saw great improvements however the prednisone was also suppressing the lymphoma which we were unaware he had until he was transitioned off the pred 100%. His last days with us were smothered with love and lots of pure venison and I wouldn’t trade my time with him for anything in the world. I wish there was some cure for this and I feel for each and every one of you on this blog. I pray for your fur babies and what you go through to keep them alive and well. Good luck to everyone….RIP my little wiggle butt.

    • Kathy ( Max's mom)

      So very sorry Cathy for your loss. I know you have fought with everything you had to keep that sweetheart alive. I totally understand. I’m fighting that fight right now. May God give you strength and heals your broken heart.

    • Cocoa's Mom

      So, so sorry to hear of your loss Cathy. Thank you for sharing so much and the continued support you show for us all. Although every pup is different, it is so important for each of us to share our experiences to help others. May you find joy knowing that you gave so much love and effort to Niko as well us those of us here!

    • Donovan's Mom

      My heartfelt condolences. I grieve with you for your loss. CIL is a horrible disease but he knew he was loved and you did all you could to make his life more comfortable. Peace and love.

  • Farley's Mom

    I am so sad and feel sorrow for all those moms (and dads) out there who have lost the fight for their dogs lives. My 11 1/2 year old dog, Farley, was recently diagnosed with CIL and possibly IBD. He had slowly been losing weight since March 2014 and his blood work was getting worse every month. My vet recommended an ultrasound followed by endoscopy and biopsies. His albumin was way below the norm and, well you know the drill. He is presently on RC low fat, B12 shots and prednisone. Interestingly enough he has not lost his appetite but actually wants more and more. I understand that he is losing protein and probably feels he needs more food to make it up. Lately, he has been sleeping much more and has, occasionally, an entire body shiver.

    • Audra

      BOILED EGG WHITE – talk to your vet about adding a boiled egg white to your dog’s diet. Our now 8-year old 25-lb Cocker was diagnosed with CIL/PLE about 16-mos ago and after losing hope I read about the benefit of the egg white. After talking with my vet, we said “let’s try it” with weekly blood draws for close monitoring. We added the boiled egg white to his diet of RC LF GI & pure pumpkin-his albumin levels jumped into the normal range just 4-weeks later. After a few months of stability, we started slowly decreasing his Prednisone and he will soon be Pred-free. His daily diet will now consist of one 2.2 mg Chlorambucil compound, RC LF GI, a spoonful of pure pumpkin, one boiled egg white and bi-weekly B12 shots. Every dog is different, but if it worked for mine and your vet agrees to try it? I get the boiled eggs from Costco and trash the hard yellow yoke.

  • Farley's Mom

    He is, however, thinner than before and seems lethargic sometimes. Added to this he needs to go outside at least 2 times a night to pee and is awake around 6:30 am to go out and poop. His poops have gone from firm to very soft pudding. I would like to know if anyone knows how to firm them up. He gets fish with his RC low fat diet and I have tried him on sweet potatoes. He needs something to firm up the pudding poop. It’s easy to pick up now as it freezes in about 10 minutes outside at -29 degrees celsius.

    • Donovan's Mom

      As I have posted before, my Donovan is on RC LF and it was a life saver. However his stools were not as firm as they should have been. I added some fiber powder, a tablespoon of potatoes (whipped in my Ninja) and a dash of ginger. I am thinking of discontinuing the ginger as he does not get nauseous any more. Good luck with Farley.

  • Farley's Mom

    I have another dog, Hogan by name, who has developed an interest in eating Farley’s frozen poopsicles. I discourage this as much as possible and try to pick up Farley’s poops as soon as I can. However, Hogan still finds and eats the odd one. Does anyone know if CIL can be passed on this way?

    • Donovan's Mom

      As far as I know CIL is not a contagious disease.

      • Farley's Mum

        Thank you for both your responses. Farley’s had a bad night tonight.
        He’s not very happy and i’m not doing well either.

        • Donovan's Mom

          So sorry to hear this. Have you tried the potatoes and fiber? It was the answer to Donovan’s problem. He has been good for almost two years now. Just peel and boil potatoes in water (I usually make enough for a week). Then put the potatoes with the water they were cooked in (very important) in a blender (or do by hand) and pulse until grainy (will be sort of watery. Every meal mix enough of this mixture to coat his food (depends on how much food you are feeding) and add 1/4 tsp fiber powder (unless your dog is larger than 6 lbs). I truly understand because I went through 1 1/2 years of diarrhea and finally stomach swelling before he was diagnosed (ultrasound). Anyway you have my complete empathy and if I can help in any way, please let me know. Love, from my house to yours.

          • Farley's Mum

            Thanks to both of you. I appreciate both your suggestions and your empathy. I’m giving him the potatoes and
            Benefibre tonight. I felt so bad for the little guy despite the mess. I could tell he was sorry but couldn’t help it. We both had a good cry and then finally got to sleep around 3:00am

          • Donovan's Mom

            I understand only too well. For a year and a half me and my little guy would get up in the middle of the night when he would have one of his “spells”. He was such a trooper as he always woke me up (they all sleep with me) and would hold it as long as it took. I was so glad when they finally suggested testing for CIL after his stomach became swollen. Like I said RC LF worked for the swelling but I had to add the fiber powder and potatoes. It took him a few months of being coaxed to eat all his meals to get regular. He now eats with gusto. There is hope. It is just finding the magic bullet. Again, I wish you good luck with your little darling.

        • Cocoa's Mom

          Hang in there! I used to order hydroponic grass for an indoor potty for my kids which would last about three weeks at about $30, but when I feel short on funds I have a stack of old towels that I place near the door. These work great as they absorb the urine and the poops are easy to pick up and dispose of in the toilet. The towels wash up nicely in the washer. I keep a container of “baby butt wipes” nearby for the times that need some extra cleaning.This is very handy as Cocoa is drinking and urinating more due to the medications.

          • Farley's Mum

            Hi both Donovan’s and Cocoa’s mums. I’ve been giving Farley the mashed potatoes and fibre wit his RC LF
            Kibble. He loves it and eats it all every time. His stools have a little bit, and I stress little, more form. Still very soft. Happily, no more poops in the house. We have an appointment on Friday for exam and blood tests at the vets. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks again for the tips. I’ve added some plain pumpkin to his diet– a tablespoon as a snack

          • Donovan's Mom

            It might take some time to get him “regulated”. I truly suggest not giving him anything but his food (you can even use them for treats). That is all my guys get. They actually wait after their meal for their “extra pieces”. Anyway, wishing you well. Just hang in there and find what works best for Farley. We send our love.

  • Donovan's Mom

    PS: I use the Equate brand to Benefiber. It is a little cheaper and the same thing (from WalMart).

  • Farley's Mum

    I love you guys! Farley has gained 1/2 a pound and his albumin level is within normal range!!! I guess this is a remission. He’s going outside an running around with his brother. Hallelujah!!

    • Cocoa's Mom

      Wonderful to hear the good news! Keep up the great work!

    • Kathy, Max's Mom

      That is awesome to hear. My little Max is finally getting closer to remission. Albumin is improving, belly is getting smaller and he’s finally enjoying life again. I’m so very happy for Farley and you.

  • Cocoa's Mom

    Cocoa’s update:
    Two weeks ago at our regular vet visit Cocoa’s albumin is maintaining at 2.5 g/dL, but one week after finishing her antibiotic, Zeniquin, another pustule forms. Since she hasn’t been on the antibiotic for a week we decide to take three biopsies of the pustule area. Results come back as staphylococcus and “a second” organism, but at least both are sensitive to the Zeniquin, so now we are doing a round of 28 days of the Zeniquin and will maintain all of the other medications. We did a full blood panel and everything looks good except for her liver values and leukocytes, which is to be expected. Her enlarged liver appears to have reduced in size just a bit. Two days ago her albumin was 2.6 g/dL so we totally stopped the prednisone! We are continuing with the budesonide every day as well as the omeprazole and the cyclosporine is down to twice a week. If her albumin stays in the normal range the next step is to stop the cyclosporin. Two weeks ago Cocoa started eating her feces, yuck! She has never done this before. At least she isn’t eating the feces of my other kids’ as this would probably be a bad thing. I mentioned this to the vet and she said it will be good to get her off of the prednisone. Still, she gets nothing except the Purina HA and a spoonful of Hill’s Z/D. I hope to be able to add in some other foods you all have mentioned, but my vet says no for now.

  • Farley's Mum

    Sorry to hear about Cocoa’s infection. Good to know it responds to the
    antibiotics. As for the copraphagia, Farley has started that as well and I’m
    not happy about it. Maybe they smell the protein being excreted and think it’s
    food.

  • Farley's Mom

    Hi Cocoa’s Mom,
    Did you discover Cocoa’s infection through blood work or was it external?

    I ask because in Farley’s last blood tests his leucocytes (white cells) were high and his neutrophils high as well usually indicating infection. The vet said to keep an eye on him to see if there was any change in his behaviours.

    • Cocoa's Mom

      Cocoa has been getting pustules, pus-filled pockets, that form right under the skin. She would flinch when I touched or petted her or picked her up before I saw the pustules form. The pustules would look like a lump under the skin that would get bigger after a day or two and then they would ooze or leak pus for a few days. Then the fur over the affected area would get firm and then would fall off in chunks. A bald, red area of new skin would then be seen. This happened over different parts of her body, her back, sides, neck, behind her ears, legs, but never occurred on her abdomen. When I looked for answers I only found one article that described this claiming it to be a side effect of the long-term, high dose of prednisone. It also could be a side effect of the cyclosporine or a combination of the prednisone and cyclosporine.
      I would suggest daily inspections of Farley’s hair or fur and skin, looking for small lumps. Cocoa’s lumps started out as pea-sized when I noticed them and then quickly grew up to walnut-sized lumps.

  • Farley's Mom

    Thanks for the info. I have been checking him when we cuddle but so far so good!

  • Bailey's Mom

    Hi All,

    Hope all the pups are still doing well. Bailey just had a 6 month recheck and levels are still normal. Yay!! 🙂 One problem: WEIGHT! This is a constant battle. The food is so low in fat that it’s hard to find a happy medium. He typically weighs between 5.4-5.6, but his latest checkup he was down to 5.2. That’s huge for a pup his size and the main concern was the prominence of his back bone. Dr. Phillips is questioning B12 and whether he needs more supplementation. However, we talked for a while about how hungry he is but that when he eats more his belly appears bloated. Of course my main concern when this happens is the dreadful ascites!! We’re now leaning more towards the fact that he needs to eat more and that as long as protein levels remain normal, his belly bloat has nothing to do with his disease, but rather it’s just a full belly. Ugh, am I starving my poor dog?? I currently feed him a 1/4 cup of dry food twice a day, he gets about a teaspoon of sweet potato and a little dash of fiber to keep his stools in check with each meal. I have bought freeze dried turkey and sweet potatoes for treats (he loves them and they’re safe). I know every dog is different in volume of food, and not only do I have to worry about Bailey being underweight, I also have to keep him below 6lbs due to the knee issues Yorkies tend to have. Hoping you guys may have some advice on keeping his weight stable for me. I just ordered a small pet scale as well so that I can keep better track of him. Thank you all! 🙂

    • Cocoa's Mom

      So glad to hear that Bailley’s levels are still normal!
      Cocoa gets weighed every two weeks when we test her albumin. She still gets B-12 injections every four weeks, but her appetite has always been good. At first she dropped some weight and we decided that I wasn’t getting enough calories in her since her new, prescription food was lower in fat and higher in fiber and she no longer gets salmon oil. She is around 9 lbs. 8 oz. and would get 1/4 cup of kibble twice each day with salmon oil once each day on her previous diet, but now on her prescription food she gets 1/3 cup three times each day. It took a few weeks to get this figured out but this seems to be maintaining her weight. She still has the bloated belly look, but this is due to her liver being enlarged, which was confirmed a few weeks ago via ultrasound. We are hopeful that her enlarged liver will go down over time as we wean her off the medications.

      • Bailey's Mom

        Now that I think about it, Bailey is getting 1/8 a cup twice a day for a total of 1/4 a cup a day. I’ve started adding in some kibble 3 hours after his breakfast and about 3 hours after his dinner to get him a few more calories. Because Bailey is considered stable and in remission we typically only have appointments every 4-6 months, so keeping track of weight is difficult. I know that he gets ultrasounds every time he goes to check for fluid, so I assume his organs do not appear enlarged otherwise we’d be changing some things. I debate on having his B12 tested since it won’t hurt to give him B12 supplements. For a while he was getting a dose once a week.

        Anyway, I’m so happy to hear Cocoa is doing better! That’s fantastic news! 🙂

        Also, thank you for getting back to me!

  • Cocoa's Mom

    Cocoa’s update:

    Last week Cocoa’s albumin level was 2.9 g/dL, yea, yea, yea!! It hasn’t been this high since her transfusion last October. She has been totally off the prednisone for two weeks and now we are stopping the cyclosporine. She continues on the budesonide 1mg once each day, but we are now tapering the omeprazole, from daily to every other day for 10 more doses and then we will stop the omeprazole. She finished her latest round of antibiotics for the pustules, and so far no new pustules. Her fur is finally growing back in most spots, but not all. She is still a happy and spunky little girl!

  • Farley's Mom

    So happy to hear that Bailey and Cocoa are doing better!! It’s hard to decide whether one is feeding too much or too little.
    Farley started this whole disease at 25 lbs. and over a year lost 5 of them. Since treatment began, he has gained back 1/2 pound. He hasn’t been in for a few weeks, and seems to be holding his own.
    I give him 1 and 1/4 cups of RC/LF with a tbsp. of mashed potato, a tbsp. of plain pumpkin and about a tbsp and 1/2 fibre powder to help bind his stools. He gets this 2 times per day and some loose kibble as snacks at least once a day. Next time he goes in (which should be soon) for blood tests, we’ll weigh hime and see how it goes.

  • Gunny's Mom

    Hi Everyone!

    What a great site! My 4 year old Rottweiler was diagnosed in October 2014 with this horrible disease. His is primary with IBD being secondary. Originally his vet believed he had IBD and we started there. He had horrific gas. intermittent vomiting, loose stool, and weight loss. We went through diets changes beginning Feb 2014 then prednisone, B12 shots etc before seeing a internist in Massachusetts. It has been a whirlwind of a year. Finally we got him off the prednisone in August and kept him on a good diet with RC venison. Then he had another set back. This was when we did the endoscopy in October and got a confirmed diagnosis of CIL. Now he is on Purina HA and budesonide which is strictly for the GI tract. Unfortunately he is ravenous on this but he put a ton of weight back on bc he is always hungry and this is the only thing he can have to eat. Two weeks ago he was put on azathioprine with the hope of getting him off the budesonide at some point. Gunny pants and drools excessively on it and is just so hungry. He was also placed on Carafate two months ago as they worry about ulcers from this budesonide and issues with his BUN (blood urea nitrogen) levels being. Over the last five days he will barely eat and has loose stool. On Friday he will have been on the azathioprine for two weeks. Need to check back in with internist to see is this azathioprine may be the issue. This is a very informative and supportive site! I really appreciate all of the feedback. This is such a terrible disease and a roller coaster of a ride!!!!

    Amy Gunny’s Mom

    • Farley's Mum

      Hi Gunny’ s mum, and welcome. This is a terrible disease indeed. It lifts you up when you hit a remission only to plunge you back into the depths when it resurges. I hope you find a remission soon!
      Some of the other mums in here have great advice for firming up loose stools. Check out both Donavon’s and Cocoa’s mums feeds. They hoped me a lot!

    • Donovan's Mom

      If CIL is primary, have you tried Royal Canin LF? I add potatoes and fiber powder to it twice a day and Donovan has been good for almost two years (no meds so far).

      Good luck with your baby. It is a great site.

    • Bailey's Mom

      Hi Gunny’s Mom,

      Which vet are you using in Massachusetts? If for any reason you are unhappy with results and need a referral, I am thrilled with my internist for Bailey.

      Best of luck!

      • Amy Gunny's Mom

        Gunny sees Dr. Rachel Cooper through Mass Vet in Woburn, MA. I have been pleased with her thus far. She is excellent about checking in with us and seems to have a good background on CIL.

  • Farley's Mum

    Has anyone out there noticed a change in behavior of his or her dog over the course of CIL?
    My dog has become growly and sometimes very uncooperative and then he will shift behavior back to the lovable, cuddly dog I know and love. Is this part of the whole discomfort thing?

    • Bailey's Mom

      Hi Farley’s Mom,

      Bailey is very temperamental now. I’ve basically attributed it to his Budesonide. He is still very lovey but sometimes is irritable and has a short temper. Luckily I have few of those days, but have definitely noticed he has no patience with new animals. Makes it tough since my sister and cousin both have new dogs.

  • Amy Gunny's Mom

    Hi Farley and Bailey’s mom’s!

    Gunny is also very temperamental on the Budesonide. My vet said it should have less side effects than the Pred given it is strictly for the GI tract. I did not find this with Gunny. He will bark and bark and bark until he gets food and is grumpy at times! I also notice the excessive panting at times. During the day he sleeps a lot. I do send him to daycare twice a week to get him out to socialize. He loves it!

  • Cocoa's Mom

    Hello Everyone!
    Cocoa had another two week checkup tonight. Her albumin was slightly down, 2.7 g/dL from 2.9 g/dL two weeks ago, but it is still in the normal range, so no worries! This is good news as she has been off of the cyclosporine for two weeks and off of the prednisone for four weeks.
    Farley’s Mum, I have noticed a change in Cocoa’s behavior since her illness. She always seems hungry, even after being fed, and she continually licks everything. She licks the floor mostly, but also the blankets on the sofa and dog beds, in addition to licking my clothes and skin when she can. The last few weeks she started eating her feces, yuck! Since we stopped the prednisone the feces eating has almost stopped, but she did have a “poop snack” this morning.
    Gunny’s Mom, Cocoa is also on the Purina HA with a teaspoon of Hill’s Z/D canned to put her pills in. I asked my vet about any treats and she found Purina Gentle Snackers. They are expensive, $48 for an 8 oz. bag, which is just a little above my vet’s cost. Cocoa does love them, but she would eat anything if she could. I hope to be able to give her other foods that have been shared by others on this site, but still have to wait until I get the go ahead from my vet.
    Hope all is well with everyone!

    • Donovan's Mom

      http://www.amazon.com/Purina-Veterinary-Gentle-Snackers-Treats/dp/B0016A590Y

      Gentle Snackers is available on-line. Just an example at Amazon.

      Glad to hear Cocoa is doing well.

      • Cocoa's Mom

        Wow! Less than $20 on Amazon. I can’t believe that I didn’t check there. I’ve been paying $47 plus tax at the vet’s office. I have nick-named these treats as Cocoa’s $5 cookies as they each cost me almost that much! Although Cocoa can have two cookies each day, per her vet, I’ve been a bit stingy with them since I was paying so much, but now thanks to Donovan’s Mom, I don’t have to be stingy anymore, thank you! I also noticed that there is a chicken flavored Purina HA kibble, so I’m going to ask my vet if I can get a bag and use the kibble as another treat for Cocoa.

        • Donovan's Mom

          I’m so glad to help. As much money as we spend to keep our babies well, it is worth checking sources. I always use the internet, just make sure they are reputable sites. Good luck with Cocoa.

  • Amy Gunny's Mom

    Hi Everyone!

    I too have the Gentle Snackers. I purchase them as well as his HA bag of food at Chewy.com. So much less expensive than the vet and they ship ASAP!

    Gunny dropped between 8 lbs in two weeks since having started the azathioprine two weeks ago. He has had very little appetite and terrible watery stool. Back to the internist yesterday for weight and blood work due to his symptoms. This morning we learned the Azathioprine has effected his liver as his levels were four to ten times higher than they should be. Now he has to take Denamarin for a month to repair this. His albumin was 2.5 and globulin was 2.2 which isn’t as low as it had been initially. That I am happy about as I was nervous he was going to be back at 1.7 given the lack of appetite and diarrhea. Our internist also added Flagyl for the diarrhea. Gunny has been on this before. She believes this is just an acute reaction to the medication. Hopefully he will be on track soon. I told her I rather have my dog on the budesonide and extremely hungry throughout the day than to see him like this. I hope he will now be on the up and up!!!

    • Donovan's Mom

      http://www.chewy.com/dog/purina-veterinary-diets-gentle/dp/50036

      Chewy.com is a good place to buy dog food too. I purchase my Yorkie and Chihuahua food from there as well as my Nutro Natural Choice. Pricing can’t be beat. Compare everything, every time and save without compromising anything.

    • Farley's Mum

      Sorry to hear about Gunny’s setback. I hope they can resolve it soon. 8 pounds is a lot of weight to lose in a relatively short time! Did you try adding the mashed potatoes and fibre powder? I hope you can find some good relief soon.

  • Farley's Mom

    On a lighter note, I am so happy to announce that Farley’s latest blood tests show everything as normal! Not only that but he has gained 2 more pounds.
    The vet tells me that this is not over and I know that around the corner there may be more heartbreak but for now, I’m glad. Farley’s outlook seems more normal as well and he has started cuddling again too. I’ll take what I can when I can.

  • Farley's Mum

    Well, so much for feeling happy, I guess.
    Farley’s back to having the diarrhea again.
    I’m trying to think what I might have fed him
    that was different. He didn’t get any pumpkin
    this week as I ran out. He’s had some raw veggies
    (Green beans) for snacks – not many. I gave him a
    small amount of dehydrated chicken yesterday and
    the day before – one piece each day. I hope he’s not
    moving out of remission.

    • Cocoa's Mom

      So sorry to hear of Farley’s set back. I don’t have as much personal experience with this disease except what I have gone through with Cocoa and never heard of it when I was a vet tech, but some of the research that I read stated that if CIL was primary then the amount of fat was most important, whereas if CIL was secondary to IBD then the type of protein was of greatest concern. Cocoa’s diagnosis is CIL secondary to IBD so this is why she is on the Purina HA as the protein source is plant-based. Because of this I hope that I can eventually give her baby carrots, pumpkin and other veggies as snacks. In cases where CIL is primary I’ve read that novel or new protein with low fat sources are used, such as kangaroo meat or fish are fed successfully. Therefore my first guess as to the culprit would be the chicken, although dehydrated, the protein and fat would not change. I don’t believe that I will ever be able to feed chicken to Cocoa again. My second guess would be the lack of pumpkin as this is very common in treating diarrhea in all cases. I really wish that I knew more about this nasty disease. Positive thoughts going your way!

    • Donovan's Mom

      Sorry to hear about his setback. Don’t assume the worst. I found with Donovan that his diet has to be routine, no deviation of any kind. Hence no treats other than the two pieces of his regular food after his meal. I think I told you about his diet of RC LF, mixed with boiled potatoes whipped in their own water, 1/4 tsp of fiber powder, and a pinch of ginger. The ginger is for the nausea and also it is a natural anti-biotic which also adds flavor to his meals. At first I had to make him stay and eat all of both his breakfast and dinner, but now he eats every bite and is as regular as can be. You will find what works for Farley, so hang in there.

      • Farley's Mom

        Thanks to you all, once again.(Audra, Cocoa’s mum and Donovan’s mum)
        I will return to the diet I was feeding him including the pumpkin. No more treats other than his food. I don’t know who this is tougher on, Farley or me. He doesn’t know there is an end to this, I do.

    • Bailey's Mom

      Farley’s Mom,

      Although diarrhea is not a good sign, it’s also not the worst sign. Bailey had loose stools until I added fiber to his diet. It’s difficult because the food they are put are is very low in fiber. Adding the pumpkin or sweet potato was a huge factor in eliminating the diarrhea for Bailey. I also add just a pinch of fiber powder. I avoid chicken at all costs. Bailey’s vet was wary of chicken and rice. Turkey and potatoes are acceptable alternatives. I have been giving Bailey freeze-dried turkey treats since the beginning of his diagnosis. I just recently found freeze-dried sweet potato treats too and he loves them. He only gets a piece twice a day. It’s worked so far and his stools are officially solid! I definitely recommend more potato (you can also purchase the cans in bulk through Chewy.com – that or mashed sweet potato). Of course nothing is cheap with the disease, but we love our fur babies! 🙂

  • Audra Bowen

    What I have learned about this illness, is no treats or changes in diet at all, none. If he doesn’t get green beans every day, he doesn’t get any. If he gets pumpkin every day, he gets pumpkin every day. My Foster Cocker (http://rockymountaincockerrescue.org/rmcr-dogs/moe-13-114) has improved so much since being diagnosed late in 2013. At one time, he was on 20mg Prednisone 2x a day and so many meds, I had to create a medicine log to keep track. His diet has not changed one bit in the last 10 months and he is possibly one week away from removing his Prednisone altogether (2.5mg every other day for the last month). Once you find something that works, do not change it, unless your vet says otherwise. I will never argue with a vet, but I know what worked for Moe, the Cocker Spaniel.

  • Farley's Mom

    Lately, I have noticed that Farley’s stools are coated with a whitish “sausage-like” casing that ranges from complete around the stool, to identical striated markings that resemble tree branches. Has anyone experienced this with their dog’s stool?

    • Louie's Mom

      I did experience this with Louie and I believe he had whip worm. It’s one of the symptoms. I got rid of it by giving him Sentinel. You can use that or any other antiparasitic that contains milbemycin. I guess their systems become weak and it’s harder to fight off parasites.

      You should still have Farley checked by a vet, though. Louie’s symptoms cleared right up when I gave him the Sentinel, but there’s always a chance that Farley has something different.

      • Farley's Mom

        Thanks Louie’s Mom for your reply. I did in fact consult with my vet this morning and she will be keeping an eye on it as will I. I sent her a photo of the stool for her perusal and potential diagnosis. I’m still trying to get rid of his diarrhea with pumpkin, fibre and potatoes. Somedays it’s a win win. Other days not so much.

        • Louie's Mom

          That’s great. If it is whipworm you will need to keep up with his antiparasitics, as they persist in the environment for a long time. None of my other dogs got it but I give them all the milbemycin to prevent infection. Hope he’s feeling better soon!

    • Cocoa's Mom

      I have noticed unusual stools from Cocoa, mostly a jelly-like coating in and around them. Early in her disease I was worried as this is often a sign of intestinal sloughing of mucus and cells. I did take photos and either emailed them to my vet or show them when I go in for appointments. She still has a small amount once in a while, but not as much anymore. Taking photos also worked well when I was dealing with the pustules, but the photos didn’t show the severity, so now my vet tells me just to come right in when I have a concern.
      I was glad to read the comments about the whip worm. I haven’t given Cocoa her heartworm prevention medication yet as I don’t dare change anything without running it by my vet. I took Cocoa in today and her albumin dropped another tiny bit, now 2.6 g/dL, but we are still within normal range, yea! Not bad for being off all medications except for the budesonide. Yes, we recently weaned off the omeprazole. I asked my vet about whip worms and the heartworm prevention. I can give the Iverhart Max chewable pills because it doesn’t have the beef flavoring, which could cause a problem. Glad to know this, so she gets this tonight!

      • Farley's Mum

        Thanks for the support and the knowledge that Farley is not
        alone in this and that other mothers stress over every new
        symptom that comes along. My vet mentioned the intestinal
        sloughing as well. Farley gets his Sentinel pill once a month
        and he was also dewormed just before Christmas.

  • Cocoa's Mom

    Super flaky skin: Is anyone dealing with flaky skin? All of my dogs have had flaky skin, partly because we live in a dry, desert climate in Utah. A few years ago, I started adding wild salmon oil to their dinner and their coats improved and no more flaky skin. Well, poor Cocoa can’t have salmon oil anymore and has flaky skin. I asked my vet today about adding coconut oil to help and she likes the idea because it is plant based, but will do some looking into it. I needed to order more Purina HA and discovered that there is coconut oil in the kibble! I also found that there is a new chicken flavored HA that contains hydrolyzed chicken liver and my vet tells me that I can try it as a treat for Cocoa!

  • Farley's Mom

    how is the coconut oil going?

  • Cocoa's Mom

    I haven’t added any extra coconut oil, over what is included in the HA kibble as I don’t have the okay from my vet yet. She likes the idea and wants to look into it, but we are still waiting to see if Cocoa’s albumin level stabilizes or drops again. If it drops any more we will go to twice a day dosing on the budesonide instead of the current once a day dosing. Just still waiting for now and brushing away the flakey skin. Thanks for asking. Hope everyone is doing well!

  • Cocoa's Mom

    I’m glad to report that Cocoa’s albumin is holding steady at 2.6 g/dL! We’ve gone from every two week testing to every four week testing and now every six week testing, so it takes longer for the update posts. Cocoa’s liver seems to have gotten bigger. Ultrasound shows that it is still just liver, not fluid, and that the liver is uniform without any nodules or suspicious areas. She is still getting the 1mg daily dose of budesonide. I found a local compounding pharmacy that will compound 100 capsules for $80. They contacted my regular vet and specialist vet to use the correct capsules and fillers. I’m going to start supplementing a little organic coconut oil in her mouth as well as on her skin. Keeping fingers crossed. Hope all is well with everyone!

  • sharin dodsworth

    Can anyone tell me how you tell the difference between a sickness and diarrhoea bug and a flare up please?

  • Makita's Dad

    Not sure what to do:

    Makita was diagnosed with CIL 9 weeks ago….she was on prednizone for 6 weeks, now on budesonide, metronidazole, then we added baytrill for a UTI, and have since added azathioprine, and gabapentin for pain. She was 55 lbs (healthy normal weight) she balooned up to 65 lbs due to the ascites and edema in her hind paws…..now the fluid is gone and her belly is normal, however, her weight is plummeting. Wehn first diagnosed, she was put on RC low fat kibble. She had horrible diarrhea but the vet said to keep her on it. We tried the wet version of the food and the diarrhea continued. Her bloodwork improved and the swelling disappeared. Then she stopped eating the RCLF kibble. We tried Hills id Low fat, she didnt do any better, still the diarrhea, then stopped eating that kibble. In a matter of 8 weeks, she has gone from 65 lbs to 41 lbs. She wont eat the prescription kibble so I am trying to go with a raw diet. I fasted her for a day, then started her off with ground turkey, two feedings of approx 1/4 to 1/2 lb each went really well. The third feeding didnt go so well and she has been throwing up for the last 24 hours. She kept 2 feeding down, but not the third. Havent been able to get her meds into her today due to the vomiting. I may have given her too much of the raw to start off with……this trial and error trying to find a food she can eat and can tolerate while her weight drops is so hard to do. Am I wrong in trying the raw/cooked turkey???

    • Donovan's Mom

      Although my baby didn’t weigh as much as yours, I had the same problem. After his fluid had gone down (within two weeks) on the RC LF he still had diarrhea and didn’t want to eat. Instead of putting him on the prescriptions, I started adding things to the RC LF (it’s the best store-bought food as far as fat goes). Anyway, I added about a Tablespoon of potatoes (boiled in water and mixed with the same water), 1/4 tsp of fiber powder (diarrhea) and a pinch of ginger (nausea). I made him eat his regular amount on a consistent basis and he has been “perfect” for over 2 years. I still watch him like a hawk and give him very little else (no one feeds him ANYTHING but me, house rule). He has thrived. There are a lot of diets that people have had success with and I’m sure more people will share their experience. Don’t be afraid or second guess yourself as long as you follow basics and of course keep the medical side in mind. Even my “specialist” didn’t know too much about diets. He gave me a prescription for the same thing you have (Budesonide and Metronidazole). I had them filled, kept them on hand but never had to use them. I sincerely wish you luck with Makita as this is a horrible disease with so many other things that can go on at the same time. Just know that you are doing your best. Good luck. Hugs from our house to yours.

  • Amy-Gunny's mom

    Did your vet give you anything to help with the diarrhea? Each time my dog has had a set back we are prescribed Flagyl which works. Also we had a very bad experience on the Azathioprine. I came home to my dog having diarrhea in my house which has never happened. He wouldn’t eat, started losing weight again, and he was so weak. This medication “angered” his liver and we stopped it. He then had to go on medication to repair the liver. He is now only on Budesonide 1ml daily. I have never used any fresh home cooked foods. I am scared to try anything and diligent to make sure he gets nothing other than his prescribed food. Gunny has been on Purina HA which he eats no problem. I add water to it which helps. We have tried Royal Canine Hydrolyzed Protein cans but only when desperate. They are too expensive. I do by the Hydrolyzed treats online as well. Sometimes they just won’t eat because they don’t feel well. I know when he doesn’t eat it’s not a good day for him. I also keep a careful eye on his stool because he is very gassy. Hope this helps! I know what you are going through. It is such a roller coaster.

    Amy-Gunny’s Mom

  • Outstanding writing! It is well written and very edifying. kudo for your post!

  • Gucci's mom

    My 5 year old Yorkie was just diagnosed with CIL. We first found out when his belly bloated up so much, it looked like it was going to pop. So we took him to the ER Vet and they drained 400 ml’s of fluid and suspected that he had CIL and to follow up with his Vet. We just relocated to Colorado, so I quickly looked for reviews and found one. They seem to be great so far. Please let me know what you all think regarding Gucci’s treatment. They did blood work and confirmed he did in fact have CIL. His albumin was very low and so was his protein levels. They gave me a dog food to special order. It won’t be in until Friday, so in the meantime they gave me a diet of 1 5/8 oz of turkey breast, 8 1/8 of cooked potato (skin on), 1/2 tsp of corn oil (which I found interesting because I always thought most dogs were allergic to corn), 1/8 tsp of canine cod liver oil. He loves this diet and has had no problems eating it. They also put him on prednezone. They are doing vet starch 3 times this week via IV and they also had to drain another 300 ml’s from his gut on Monday (that was 8 days after the first withdrawal of fluid). He had his first IV on Monday and is there today for his second dose. His belly has not bloated up again yet. He has not “acted” sick since this diagnosis. He has always thrown up after drinking too fast, or occasionally at night. His previous Vet said if it wasn’t everyday and only once in a while, that it was nothing to be concerned about. They sent him home for this IV procedure because he acts fine. I just have to flush out his IV line 3 times a day until his next visit. It’s usually an inpatient procedure. So I am hopeful. They said he will not have a normal life span. Does that mean that we do this just to keep the condition under control and then it will progress to where no sort of treatment will help him? As you all know this is devastating news. I am especially sad because he is my 14 year old daughter’s dog and she LOVES him to death! Is there anything else I should be asking the Vet? What are the ages of your dogs and how long have you been treating your dogs since finding out about CIL? Any comments are helpful….thank you!

    • Donovan's Mom

      My Donovan became ill at 5 years old too. Thought it could be IBD (which covers a host of things) but he continued to have diarrhea off an on. Finally, after his stomach became swollen, my vet referred me to a Specialist for an ultrasound. 90% sure it was CIL. Immediately put him on RC LF. The swelling went down immediately, without draining. He still continued to have occasional diarrhea so I decided to try a few different things, one at a time. I added a T of whipped potatoes (in their own water), 1/4 tsp of fiber powder (Equate to Benefiber), and a touch of ginger mixed with his 1/4 cup RC LF (lowest fat of the dry foods available). He never has had a problem since. I do insist that he eat ALL of his meals (not much anyway) and I have never deviated from what worked. He turned 8 years old this July and no one would every know he has CIL. Without an ultrasound or a biopsy, guessing it is CIL is questionable from what I have read. I was given a prescription for Budesonide (works only in the intestines unlike Prednisone) and Metronidazole, and I never had to use them. There is no cure so I know this can change any time. To me it is finding the right diet for whatever your baby actually has. I would make sure that CIL is primary and not IBD. Sometimes less is more. It may take some time to find just the right thing but I do encourage you to make sure what you are treating Gucci for. There are many PLE diseases. This is a wonderful site and has all kinds of “what worked for my baby” info on it. I sincerely wish you good luck. Hugs.

      • Gucci's mom

        Thank you for responding. The ER Vet did do an ultrasound and gave the first diagnosis of CIL. I forgot to add that info. We could not afford the biopsy. They are trying this diet until the food comes in. They did suggest the Royal Canin. Monday was his last draining. Last time it took 8 days for it to fill back up but he was not on a specific diet yet. Thank you for your well wishes. I wish the best for your Donovan as well!

        • Virg, Zoey's Mom

          Fat is the real enemy. THE VET IS MAKING YOU WAIT UNTIL THE ORDER COMES IN???? IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE ROYAL CANINE IN STOCK AT THIS TIME, THEY COULD HAVE GIVEN YOU A SCRIPT SO YOU COULD CALL AROUND TO OTHER VETS TO SEE IF THEY HAD SOME IN THEIR INVENTORY!@!!!! OR, THEY SHOULD HAVE CALLED AROUND FOR YOU! THEY COULD STILL DO THAT SO YOU HAVE THE FOOD BY TOMORROW. I found out that when it comes to my Zoey, I’m more assertive than some might feel comfortable being. But, it’s my dog’s life…

          Also, I could not afford a biopsy for Zoey either so I asked the Vet to treat her as if she had IBD with secondary CIL or visa-versa. The Royal Canine has the vitamins and necessary lubes, so to speak. Donovan’s mom has some other goodies to add to the diets. But, fat is the enemy.

          • Diane

            Yes, I too am concerned and confused about that oil. It’s worth a call to the vet to see what his/her thinking is. My dog Keeper, a 12 year old Sheltie, has CIL secondary to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He was diagnosed a year ago and it’s been a rough year, though he is happy and that’s what matters. He is on: two parts Royal Canin low fat gastro kibble and 1 part Royal Canin fiber kibble. At times he won’t eat it and I add the RC low fat gastro soft food, which makes him gassy but at least it gets him eating. He will eat something happily for a few days and then suddenly turn his nose up at it, so it’s always a challenge. Meds wise he is on: gabapentin for arthritis pain since he can no longer take Rimadyl, metronidizole, Atopica, Budesonide, Odansetron (excuse all the misspelling!) for nausea and pepcid. His meds bill is astronomical! Although his labs are now good and his weight is steady, his stools remain very soft and un-pick-uppable about half the time. It’s very frustrating. I’ve tried Donovan’s Mom’s suggestions of potatoes, fiber etc, but to no avail. I’ve recently had some success with an herbal formula called Perfect Form, and if I continue that I need to check with the vet to be sure it’s ok. The reviews on it are excellent, but we’ve had good improvement followed by no improvement. It’s a frustrating disease to treat, for sure!

          • Virg, Zoey's Mom

            Hi Diane,

            I guess my attention perks when you say that Keeper sometimes eats then becomes disenchanted. This thing with his mushy stool and the fact that he is not always happy with his food might indicate there is some other disorder going on. My PomChi (who does not have CIL or IBD) reacted the same way. Found out he has microvascular dysplasia (under developed vascular portals that go to the liver). The Vet said the other disorder could be that he has a liver shunt. Were these disorders ruled out for Keeper? I treat my PomChi with Denamarin, a supplement in pill form, per my Vet’s strong recommendation. So far, so good.
            As far as RC food, Zoey is only on the RC GASTROINTESTINAL LF Dry Food and I add a little water to it to make it moist and more desirable for her. She’s very happy with it. You wrote that you give Keeper the RC Fiber. If Keeper moves his bowels daily, why give him fiber? You may have another reason for that which I’m not aware of.
            So let’s say there is nothing else going on with Keeper, what about adding a small portion of plain white rice (NOT INSTANT) to his RC LF Dry (also add water)? I may be misguided, but I thought rice can harden the stool which might eliminate the soupy bowel movements. Please refer to “Donovan’s Mom” posts and her info. She is pretty versed on the diet part. Also, is Keeper getting B12 shots? I think this is something that is helpful for CIL and IBD. Best of Luck.

          • Thanks for your thoughts, Zoey’s Mom. Keeper had his gallbladder removed (which is when they visually identified the IBD and CIL) and I have a feeling his problems are a combination of those three conditions, but I’ll ask the vet about the liver issue as well. I think the canned food contributes to his loose stools unfortunately so next we’re going to try to find a way to entice him to his kibble again. He definitely needs it softened–terrible teeth on top of everything else. The fiber kibble was added at the vet’s recommendation to try to firm up his stools. Fiber treats diarrhea as well as constipation. I’m going to contact the internal med vet for more recommendations.

          • Virginia, Zoey's Mom

            Zoey only has 6 teeth left. I take the dry RC LF kibble a and soak them in water the day before. They become soft.

          • Gucci's mom

            Zoey’s mom, they said that he would be fine on the turkey and potato diet until the food came in. He hasn’t had a problem eating it and he loves it. My concern is that he won’t want to switch to the RC dog food. His poop is very yellow and sometimes we see chunks of potato in it. I stopped dicing the potatoes and starting whipping them…but why is it yellow? He’s had an IV drip twice this week of protein starch. I’m wondering if it’s that. He went from almost 11 lbs of fluid back down to his normal weight of 8 lbs. So I’m happy about that. Hopefully we can maintain that.

            Here is exactly what his Doctor gave me regarding his diet:

            CUSTOM RECIPE SETTING USING POTATOES, TURKEY, NORDIC, OIL AND BALANCE
            generated by Heather Toyne at BalanceIT.com
            The following homemade recipe was specially created for Gucci Thomas, a 5 yr old neutered male dog. This recipe has been formulated for the condition(s) of fat intolerance­severe restriction (pancreatitis, hyperlipidemia, lymphangiectasia). Gucci currently weighs 9 lb with a body condition score of 5/9. Based on his weight, his calculated energy requirement is around 281.46 Calories daily. The following recipe provides 288 Calories, enough for 1 day.

            GUCCI’S HOMEMADE FOOD RECIPE Ingredients Grams
            Amount 8 1/8 oz
            1 5/8 oz
            1/8 of a Teaspoon
            1/2 of a tsp
            (1) POTATOES,BLD,CKD IN SKN,FLESH,WO/SALT
            (2) TURKEY,FRYER­ROASTERS,BREAST,MEAT ONLY,CKD,RSTD
            (3) Nordic Naturals Pet Cod Liver Oil
            (4) OIL,CORN,INDUSTRIAL & RTL,ALLPURP SALAD OR COOKING
            230.3 g 46.1 g
            0.6 g 2.2 g
            You MUST also add the following supplement(s) to prevent essential nutrient deficiencies: 1 7/8 teaspoons (3.75 gram) of Balance IT® Canine once a day
            1 bottle of Balance IT® Canine will last about 160 days
            Per Above Recipe: 288 Calories; 25% protein calories (71 Calories); 11% fat calories (30 Calories); 65% carbohydrate calories (187 Calories); 73.9% moisture. Notes: These percentages do not correspond to the percentages listed on commercially made food.
            Preparation Instructions:
            Prepare the above ingredients in the amounts indicated above and mix together before feeding. If the recipe uses a Balance IT Original Blends® product, be sure to cook the Blends with water and/or the selected protein source as the degradation of vitamins from cooking the Blends has been accounted for in the recipe. If the recipe uses a Balance IT® all­in­one supplement (i.e., Canine, Canine K, Feline, or Feline K), Balance IT DHA Omega­3®, and/or a combination of human supplements, these should be added after cooking the rest of the recipe.
            The recipe must be followed exactly. Any alteration in amount or substitution of ingredients may cause adverse health consequences.
            Finicky/Picky Eaters:
            A slow transition to the new diet can improve acceptance and tolerance especially for any added supplement(s). This is especially true in pets that are ill or pets that have been fed a diet without supplementation for awhile. If you are new to home cooking, it is best to start feeding the recipe once all ingredients including supplements are available, so that the
            https://secure.balanceit.com/tools/recipes/recipereport_view.php
            1/3addition of supplement(s) doesn’t make a pet wonder why a recently introduced and enjoyed recipe now suddenly smells and tastes different. Such a change may normally be readily accepted, but in some pets any change can affect their willingness to eat a food especially when they are ill.
            Supplements for certain health conditions that need to be high in essential amino acids and vitamins, can have an inherently strong natural odor that is not masked when in powdered form. In the occasional case where supplement palatability is a concern, gradually working to the full dose over 5­10 days may be helpful. Since some sources of needed essential nutrients intentionally may not have any flavoring or palatant added (especially if added antigens are a worry), you may need to work with your veterinarian to identify whether mixing the needed supplement(s) with something other than the ingredients listed above is needed and appropriate. The addition of called for supplement(s) is NOT optional as this provides needed essential nutrients and prevents nutrient deficiencies from developing.
            Substitutions:
            Ingredients should not be substituted. Ingredients that may seem similar can vary greatly in the amounts and types of nutrients they provide. This is especially true of any vegetable oils used as they have very specific fatty acid profiles and changing from, say, corn oil to olive oil can make the diet potentially deficient in linoleic acid, while using walnut oil instead of corn oil would be okay. Please make additional recipes using the desired ingredient(s) or purchase and request a custom recipe setting if none exists with the desired ingredient(s).
            Measuring Ingredients:
            The fastest and most accurate way to measure the major ingredients in the recipe is to use a gram scale. These scales can be inexpensively purchased at office supply stores as well as at stores that sell kitchen supplies.
            If a gram scale is not available, the common measure can be used. Some helpful common measure conversions: 1/16 cup = 1 tbsp, 1 tbsp = 3 tsp, 1 oz = 28.35 grams.
            Multiple Pets:
            Recipes are created for specific pets so it is usually best to have recipes created for each individual pet in a household. If you have other pets, please make a specific recipe(s) for them.
            Storage:
            Prepared food can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Do not reheat any food that already contains vitamin containing supplement(s) as heating vitamins can degrade them.
            Purchasing Supplements:
            Please use only the supplement type(s) that are called for in the above recipe. Substitutions should not be made, and could potentially lead to harmful effects or an improperly balanced recipe. Needed Balance IT® products can be purchased from BalanceIT.com or from veterinary clinics.
            Please use the following veterinary code: fzB6­Lmbi­36613 when purchasing Balance IT® products online. This allows you to buy certain supplements that are only available with your veterinarian’s permission. It also provides a way for your veterinarian to keep track of your purchases, and thus, use of the homemade recipe(s) using Balance IT®.
            Needed human supplements can be purchased at most drugstores, some supermarkets, and online
            .

    • Virg, Zoey's Mom

      There is hope. In addition Gucci may have secondary IBD, in which case fat/oil is bad. (So, I’m concerned about the oil they are giving him.) My Zoey cannot have anything that has oil or fat, so watch Gucci with this. My Zoey did well immediately with Royal Canine (dry with a little water) Low Fat Intestinal Food. It requires a prescription from vet. If you don’t have any, get it quick. Zoey’s bloating went down within a day after being on this diet and she remained so. Also, B12 shots help. Gucci may need addition treatment, but the food (diet) is the most important. Others with more experience than I have posted here with info on treatments and diet. Please look for previous postings from “Donovan’s Mom”; she knows much and shares here knowledge. Good Luck

      • Gucci's mom

        That is true, I was thinking the same thing about the oil, but I was thinking maybe they need a little fat. I will ask the Vet when I pick him up today. They did suggest B12 shots as well. They did order the Royal Canine food for him, it’s supposed to be in on Friday. Hopefully that works for him. Thank you so much for your response as well. Just having someone to talk to about this is helpful. Best wishes with Zoey!

  • Colleen

    My 6 year old Boston Terrier was just diagnosed with CIL last Friday. Niki has had diarrhea for about 2 months, loss of appetite and bloating. The vet did blood work and an ultrasound. Niki was put on prednisone, 20 mg twice a day, baby aspirin and RC GI LF can food. The very next day she was eating and the bloating went down some. One week later, she has no appetite, is shaking all the time and has lost more weight. She is still a little bloated She used to be a little chunky, just over 30 lbs…now is 23 lbs, losing 4 lbs this past week! Reading all the posts has been helpful but I’m really unsure about, well, everything! I’m going to try and crush the med, mix with a little of water and give it to Niki in a syringe. My vet does not have a lot of experience with CIL. Any advice would be very welcome, please…

    • Virg, Zoey's mom

      Hello. Sorry to hear this. First, you absolutely must find a Vet who is very knowledgable or Vetinary school at a university where they have much experience with CIL. Also, your dog may have secondary IBD. Which means no fat at all. It’s strictly low fat food and no treats. Check the posts written by “Donovan’s Mom” on this site. She has some recipes that can work. My Zoey ate the RC LF wet at first, but then stopped. I did give her the dry kibble version with a sprinkle of water on top and she’s been scoffing it down for two years now. Also Zoey gets a B12 shot.
      Why is Your little Guy on aspirin? It could upset his stomach if he has IBD (irratible bowel disease).

      Again, please find a Vet who has much experience with both CIL and IBD. Be proactive with the Vet and don’t worry about hurting your Vets feelings. Your guy is what matters, now.

      Praying for you and him.

      • Colleen

        Thank you for replying, Zoey’s mom. I did have the vet order the dry RC LF, was going to give to her as treats. I don’t know why the vet put her on the baby aspirin, she did say Niki has IBD…I’m realizing there is a lot of info I didn’t get from the vet…I don’t know what blood work was done and any levels…Niki has already had 2 B12 shots this past week.
        If I’m starting to understand correctly, she is not eating because her stomach is upset and needs something for that, then to find the right food for her…I will go back and reread the posts from Donovan’s mom for the recipes.
        I will definitely find another vet..seeing Niki all skin and bones, shaking and not eating is really upsetting.
        It is so nice to know there is a place to go for info, help and support, where others are going thru the same problems, fears, heartache and, I hope, better days!!

        • Zoey's mom

          Usually when a dog shakes, it is in pain. So, remember aspirin can upset the stomach. Next, you need to take control and ask for a copy of the blood/lab reports so you have them. Also, you need to ask why baby aspirin? The RC LF kibbles make a wonderful meal. You can start by adding a little water and 1/2 teaspoon of the wet food mixed in. If Niki does not like that, then don’t add the wet food. Also, sometimes you have to sit and hand-feed your doggie until they eat enough. Also, a strange thing happened to Zoey last year. All of a sudden she yelped when we picked her up and she was shaking. This went on for a couple of days. Come to discover, it was her anal glands and they needed to be expressed. Have the vet check the glands if they haven’t. Also, as I mentioned, shaking is sometimes related to pain. Our Vet recommended we give Zoey 10mg. of over-the-counter pill of Pepsid (not 20) for stomach upset. We hid it in some wet food. Check with your Vet to make sure Niki does not have another problem that Pepsid will make worse. But, it is only an antacid. Another thing, please make sure your Niki gets no other foods except the prescription food at this time. If he stops eating that altogether, quickly make one of Donovan’s mom’s recipes to get him to eat. Or, as I mentioned, try hand-feeding Niki. As far as steroids, please check this site for what other steroids worked or didn’t work on other doggies. Correct dosing of those meds is very important. Again, my thoughts are with you and Niki.

    • Donovan's Mom

      You might ask your vet about Budesonide instead of prednisone, at least for the long-term. I never had to put Donovan on anything, but this is what I had a prescription for if I needed to use it. I was fortunate that he responded so well to the RC LF dry food that I only added the potatoes (helps coat the stomach), ginger (for any nausea) and fiber powder (as he still had bouts of diarrhea). I think any vet would agree to natural remedies as long as they work, unless things are so bad that scripts are needed. Anyway, just wanted to wish you well and hope your little Niki responds well. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, change vets, and try things (as long as they can do no harm). Eating is important, but finding a palatable and low fat diet is the challenge. You can find what is right for Niki. You are the one who is with your baby all the time and can see how she is responding. I wish you good luck. Hugs from our house to yours. Lots of good information on this site. So many wonderful people who love their dogs.

      • Virg, Zoey's Mom

        AS ALWAYS, DONOVAN’S MOM, WELL SAID!!!!

        • Donovan's Mom

          You are so sweet. Just read your posts I just think the more info out there the better. What works for one, doesn’t for another. Sharing is caring. I just can’t stand to think of another dog suffering if we can all help. Your support is appreciated so much. Hope your Zoey is doing well. Hugs.

  • Zoey's mom

    Oh, that’s good that Niki is getting the B12, but I don’t know how much is too much. So research whether Niki should get another one at this time or not.

  • Colleen

    I just wanted to let you know that I took the advice of you wonderful moms on here and took Niki to the veterinary specialist hospital tonight. The ER DR put her on Cerenia 24mg once a day for 4 days, Pepcid and cut her prednisone to 10 mg 2x a day. She also said to stop the baby aspirin, which I already had after Zoey’s mom mentioned that it can upset her stomach…thank you, Zoey’s mom! I also got copies of Niki’s blood work and the ultrasound report. We have an appt tomorrow with the int. med. specialist.
    I also researched about the B12 shot and found out that they will only absorb what they need and the rest will go thru them, so they can’t get too much.
    I feel much better tonight than I did yesterday….thank you all. Hugs!
    I’ll keep you all posted.

    • Colleen, I’m so glad you’ve found a doctor who understands these illnesses. Where do you live? It may take a while of trial and error to find the right combination of meds and diet to help Niki. Hang in there. My 12 year old Sheltie’s had an extra year since the day I thought we’d have to put him down and he doesn’t appear to be getting any worse, but he’s still a challenge when it comes to managing his diet and meds. We take it one day at a time. Did Niki’s bloodwork show a low albumen level?

      • Colleen

        Diane, We live in West Palm Beach, Fl. It really gives me hope to hear stories like yours, I’m so glad that your baby is doing ok. Niki’s albumen is 1.6 and her protein is 2.9.

        • That albumen is quite low. When they get the disease under control, you’ll see it rise and it’ll be time to celebrate. We live in NC and the Specialty Clinic here has been wonderful. Keeper is on 12 pills a day, RC LF gastro kibble (mixed with baby sweet potato and Perfect Form supplement at the moment. We have to change things around from time to time to keep him interested in food). Keep us posted on what regimen you end up with.

          • Farley's Mum (Patricia)

            Keep up the good fight Colleen! The remissions are worth it.
            Unfortunately my happiness with Farley’s remission came to a
            temporary (I hope) end. He has been hospitalized 3 times since
            the end of August for mega bouts of diahrrea, inappestance
            and dehydration. As of now he is sort of holding his own except
            for vomiting up his dinner in the middle of the night. It’s hard to
            get him to eat, so I’ve had to get creative with his meals. Still on
            his prednisone but his activity level is almost nil. He sleeps 23+
            hours out of 24! I just focus on his comfort level these days.
            He’s very boney and can’t seem to gain any weight without losing
            it again a week later. He’s 12 and we’ve had a long Ang’s happy
            time together; but now, we just take it day by day and love each
            other. He never leaves my side.

    • Virg, Zoey's Mom

      Great!

  • Colleen

    Niki saw the specialist today and is now on Atopica, prednisone, Prostora, Tylan powder, Cerenia and Mirtazapine, as needed. She also got another B12. She will have her protein checked in 3 weeks..I’m trying to stay hopeful.
    The problem I’m having is with the Atopica, its a big capsule and her mouth is so dry that when we tried dropping it in, it stuck! The Dr. said to keep this med in the freezer, that would help reduce the nausea. After the 2nd time, there was no getting her mouth opened! Before that I tried wrapping it in bread, a little peanut butter..I don’t know how I’m going to get this pill down her 2x a day.
    Any advice?

    • Virg, Zoey's Mom

      No peanut butter! Do you have a can of the wet Royal Canin Low Fat food? Please get a can and try wrapping the pill in a ball of it and see if Niki will eat it. That’s how I give one of my dogs their pills. They just swallow it up. There are some pharmacies that will make it into a compound in liquid form so you can put it in some food, as long as the compound they use does not have items that are bad for Niki. Also, ask the Vet for options concerning this pill. If you can’t give it to Niki, what good is it?

      • Colleen

        I already have an email into the vet about the giant capsule. He had suggested the peanut butter/bread/cheese..I did question him on this as it surprised me.I do give all the other pills in balls of the wet food, with not too much problem. I’ll have to try the giant capsule the same way. This one is stressing me out!!

        • Keeper takes Atopica twice a day plus a load of other pills and believe me, we struggled. However, we found a solution about 6 months ago by using a pill gun. It took a while to master using it. We give the pill then follow it with a tiny piece of dried liver (the vet said a small amount of dried liver is ok). He comes running for his pills now because he loves the treat. Pill guns are sold in the pet store or possibly at your vet. What we learned is that you really have to poke it way back in his throat. I do it quickly and while he doesn’t love it, he tolerates it to get the liver. As for the gassiness, hopefully that will pass. Keeper gets it when he is on the wet food, less so on the kibble, however early in his treatment he had it continuously. Definitely room clearing! good luck.

        • Zoey's mom

          Don’t stress, you’re doing all the right things. Don’t forget to discuss making the pills in a compound liquid (low fat).

    • Gucci's mom

      My Vet approved low fat cottage cheese to crush up Gucci’s steroid in. I only give him a teaspoon and it’s very high in protein. Has anyone heard of this being okay for CIL? Also, since Gucci has started the RC GI LF food and the steroid, he has been extremely gassy and always lays on cool floors. His Vet said to keep him on this regimen and to contact her if he’s having any problems. Would you consider these problems? Before he was filing up with so much fluid, he had to have 400 and 500 ml’s of fluid removed within a week’s time, but since being on this regimen, these are the only other new things he’s had. Do you think I need to contact his Vet or is this normal? She wants him back in when were down to a few pills.

    • Donovan's Mom

      I have a large capsule I give one of my other dogs (not a CIL one). I cut it in half (I assume it is a powder?) and then wrap in some RC LF or a small piece of cheese. You can also just coat it with cottage cheese liquid or anything low fat to make it go down easier if you decide to poke it. Good luck, it is always something.

      • Colleen

        Morning Everyone, I’m happy to report that I got that giant capsule into Niki, with the help of her wet food!! Its liquid inside, so I can’t cut it in half.
        She has been more hungry since seeing the Dr yesterday. Is that due to the B12? She is also moving around more and wagging her tail more. Last night, she even wanted to get on the sofa with me. But when I tried lifting her up, she yelped, so I just sat on the floor with her….
        I now have the kibble food which she likes. I’ve been giving that as extra.

      • Colleen

        Good idea about coating the capsule…I’m going to pick up the pill gun, just incase. Thanks, the more ideas, the better!!

    • Cocoa's Mom

      Cocoa was on the Atopica, as well as many of the other medications that you are using, for many months. It is the same drug that is given to organ transplant patients to help keep their body from rejecting the new organ so I suspect that a similar process is occurring in our CIL kids. Cocoa eats only Purina HA kibble along with a teaspoon of canned Science Diet Z/D to hide her pills in which works like a charm. It will be one year next week that we have been battling this disease.

      • Colleen

        Cocoa’s mom, how many pills does she get now and how is she? It gives me much needed hope to go back and read everyone’s story. I’m so happy to hear that a whole year has gone by for you.

        • Cocoa's Mom

          Cocoa’s albumin was critically low at 1.5 g/dL and had to have a plasma infusion. Biopsy yielded a diagnosis of CIL secondary to IBD. She was put on sulcralfate, prednisone, omeprazole, metronidazole, cerenia and cyclosporine modified (Atopica) twice daily and weekly B-12 injections. She was put on Purina HA kibble with a teaspoon of Hill’s Z/D for pills. Her albumin was tested every other week. She responded so well to this regimen that we were able to gradually, and I mean gradually, taper all of her meds. When she was weaned off of the prednisone we added the budesonide. We have since gone from budesonide twice a day to once a day and now we are at five times a week. We check albumin again Friday. We’ve had two issues to deal with. One, she started getting pustules forming under her skin removing the layer of skin and hair, which only partially grows back. She goes on antibiotics for this every time it happens. Two, her liver is enlarged ever since being on the prednisone and has not gone down. Ultrasound shows that it is liver and not excess fluid.
          Still battling this disease, but feel it is under control, but also realize that things can change any time so we just appreciate every day that we have. If interested, you can go back to my previous posts as I documented her albumin results and the changes that we made with her meds as it was so complicated and I wanted to share with others specifically what we were doing as I was very lucky to find a local internal specialist who continues to consult with my regular vet. Wishing you and everyone the best!

  • Also, another thing we did with the smaller pills was mix them with a spoonful of baby food sweet potatoes, but Keeper quickly became too smart for that trick!

  • Farley's Mum (Patricia)

    Good to hear that things are coming together
    for your puppy and ultimately for you, Colleen!
    As I said in my recent post, Farley has come out of
    remission and is really not well. I pray your puppy will
    normalize soon. We take what we can and just love
    them throughout this horrible disease. I will hold the
    “Fars” as long as I can-no matter how short a time
    that is. God bless.

  • Cocoa's Mom

    If hiding pills in food is not working for any of you, often times a capsule can be opened and sprinkled in food as I had to do this with the omeprazole and other meds. Another option is to use a mortar and pestle to grind the hard tablets and sprinkle the powder in the food.

  • Colleen

    I’ve been searching online for where to get Niki’s med, the Cyclosporine, because the vets office is way too expensive. I remember reading on here somewhere about a pharmacy called diamondbackdrugs.com and after looking at some different sites, I found that they are the cheapest. Thank you to who ever recommended this site!!
    Niki is doing well this week, eating good, quite a few small meals, getting the pills into her have been easy, her diarrhea has improved, not as many accidents in the house, wagging her tail a lot more….I still see her shaking on and off.

    • Zoey's mom

      Hi Niki’s mom. This is good news. I’m sorry about the shaking; it’s many times because the dog is in pain. Are you permitted to boil some plain white (non-instant) rice for her? If so, 1/2 teaspoon in her meal may make her stool harder. Check with your Vet on this. Also, I forgot if you are giving Niki 5-10mg of Pepsid for an acid stomach or stomach aches. If not, check with your Vet. Maybe you are doing all these things, but I cannot recall. Just remember, no treats or fat food at all; these are the killers. When she is better, try 100% sweet potato (dehydrated) slices for treats.

    • Cocoa's Mom

      I was getting the cyclosporine modified (generic for Atopica, and yes, it has to be the modified form) from my local Smith’s pharmacy. I also found that I could order it through Costco online, but the prices were similar. I later found the least expensive (if I recall correctly without looking at my records) was just over $1 per pill for the Atopica brand (no generic) through California Pet Pharmacy online, but I had to order $100 to get free shipping so 3 boxes at a time. Their shipping was slow so to get it faster I would have 1800Petmeds do a price match for me when it was in stock.

  • Cocoa's Mom

    Cocoa’s update: Cocoa’s albumin has reached 3.1 g/dL! This is absolutely amazing since it has not been this high since her plasma transfusion almost one year ago! We can now again taper the budesonide to 1 mg capsule four times a week now. I remember being so scared doing the transfusion last year, not because it had to be done super slowly in the emergency hospital, but because we had to use human albumin. They stopped doing canine albumin, in which they could blood type it, years ago. Using human albumin meant that she could have one and only one transfusion her entire life. It worked and she could have the surgery, the endoscope and biopsy, which confirmed her diagnosis. I still wish I knew what food was causing her problem so she could have different treats, but she is doing so well on the HA kibble and gentle snackers cookies, that is all she ever gets. Reality tells me this could be temporary, but I am thankful for any positives that buy me more time with my little spunky punky!

    • Zoey's mom

      This is wonderful. I know it is scary about which treats she can have after all that she’s been through. Do you know if she is sensitive to sweet potato? There is a product sold at Pet Supermarket that is 100% sweet potato dehydrated slices. There are other dehydrated sweet potato slices, but some are not 100% only sweet potato. The name brand is “Healthfuls”. I cut the slice up to fit Zoey. Again, wonderful news.

    • Donovan's Mom

      Wonderful news. One day at a time. Good information too about the transfusions. This disease is so unpredictable but sounds like you have a good handle on it. It’s been three years for Donovan. I too didn’t know if he would make it. No one seemed to know much about how to treat the disease since there every dog is different. I feel very fortunate for any more time I have with him. He is eight now and we celebrate every day. Wishing you well. Hugs.

      • Sad news here. We let Keeper go to the Rainbow Bridge today. It was very difficult to make the decision since he still occasionally had good moments, if not good days, but he was clearly losing weight again, the diarrhea had become constant, and he was hobbling from arthritis. I know we made the right decision and are happy we were able to give him an extra year. On another note, I’d just gotten many of his prescriptions filled and I wonder if anyone can use Atopica 50mg, Odansetron, Gabapentin, Budesonide (2mg), or Metronidazole. I don’t want to see expensive drugs go to waste.
        Thanks for the wonderful information this group provided over the last year.

        • Farley's Mum (Patricia)

          I’m so sorry to hear your news. I am almost at that point with my Farley as mentioned in previous posts.
          Your corsage and love in making that decision for Keeper is to be commended. Keeper knows you did the right thing and that it was done with love and compassion?. I only hope I can make that decision for Fars as I call him. I can’t read this keyboard anymore for the tears in my eyes. May God bless you as Keeper runs and plays in the warm sunshine
          .

        • Guccis mom

          I am so sorry for the loss of Keeper! Thank you for all your wealth of information you have provided for us that are just starting with this horrible disease with our pups. I’m glad that Keeper is not suffering anymore. Don’t feel bad about your decision.

        • Virg, Zoey's Mom

          Diane, so sorry to hear this. But, we all know that Keeper is no longer suffering and he will have lots of wonderful pals to hang with.

        • Colleen

          Diane, I’m so sorry about Keeper…my heart goes out to you.

        • Soon, I might be sharing your heartache. Sorry to hear Keeper’s health was falling. He is now free from pain and I’m certain he loved you as much as you did him.

          Moe, a 9-yr old foster cocker in Colorado could benefit from the Gabapentin & Metronidazole. Please contact me at Audra@RockyMountainCockerRescue.org.

        • Donovan's Mom

          So very sorry to hear about Keeper. I know you did what was best for him. Sometimes there is just nothing more to do. I am quite sure there should be someone who could use the prescriptions. Please re-post if no one sees your reply to me. That is very generous and I know someone will put them to good use.

    • Colleen

      That’s great news! I’m so happy for you both!!!

  • Farley's Mum (Patricia)

    Sorry I meant to say courage instead of corsage!

  • Amy

    Diane,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you during this difficult time.

    Gunny’s Mom

  • Cocoa's Mom

    Diane, so very sorry to hear about sweet Keeper. It is so difficult to watch them suffer and my vet reminds me that it is a gift to help them not suffer anymore, but it is still a difficult decision to make. Although Cocoa is doing well right now, one of my other sweeties is in renal failure and I’m constantly battling whether to keep fighting or let him go. The thought of not having him around just kills me and Cocoa just loves him so much!
    Patricia, sending hugs to you and Farley as well as to Audra B and everyone else nearing this heartbreaking time.

    • Farley's Mum (Patricia)

      Thank you very much for your thoughts. It helps to know others care and are facing similar problems which we all wish we weren’t. Love to you and Cocoa. Love to all of you beautiful moms.

  • Liz

    please help me take care of my Beloved Berner Kody

    My story is on go fund me. I have managed to take care of him since he was a puppy with this awful disease. He fractured his hip (due to low calcium/vitamin D absorption)- he is 6- I need help to treat him!!

    https://www.gofundme.com/9v6fpdyg

    I promise- someday I will financially help another dog lover in need

  • Ian, of Chiswick, I’m really pleased to pass on some interesting immune system improving news and a health idea, to really improve your travel performance, thereby allowing you to get more from your travels and life in general.