I have a few questions about my 3 year old German Shepherd. He has been losing weight for months now and had previously had diarrhea for a while. His diarrhea is more off and on now but he is still very skinny. His behind is awful and very irritated – it is very raw and he has been licking it a lot. He is about 65 pounds which is not at all a good weight for a German Shepherd of his size. He is still just as active as ever, he does not throw up or anything. There are no symptoms of anything other then his loose stools and raw behind. We had previously taken him to the vet where they did stool samples and a blood panel and both came back perfect.
I went to the vet today and we found out he has perianal fistulae. Do you know of any more natural way to help his condition. We were given a few options… however they are very expensive and none have a 100% chance that it will work for him. One of the more affordable options was to give him steriods to see if they could get it under control. I know that the steroids are bad for him and overall will just mask the issue. I hope you have some positive information on this issue. Everything on the internet is bad and not resassuring that we can help him without spending thousands of dollars and him having some bad possible side effects.
Please let me know you thoughts on this.
Thank you for your inquiry to Holistic Pet Info. Without being able to exam your Shepherd, it appears he may have an irritable bowel syndrome. Most irritable bowel issues are diet related, where the immune system is hypersensitive to an allergen and causes inflammation in the GI system. I recommend a diet elimination trial, by avoiding chicken, beef, corn, wheat, white rice and soy. Many dogs with this condition do much better on a completely balance home cooked diet. Environmental allergies can also cause an irritable bowel condition by ingestion of the allergens through grooming. Before starting steroids have you tried a strong antihistamine initially?
You may also want to support his GI and immune system with supplements. Probiotics and digestive enzymes such as Animal Essentials Plant Enzymes and Probiotics and Immugen by Thorne should both help. Fish oil is also very anti-inflammatory and immune supportive. If you can get his GI system back into balance, the diarrhea should resolve.
Perianal fistulas do not resolve without treatment, if you can resolve the diarrhea and get him to gain weight I would highly recommend surgical repair of the fistula. Best of luck.
Colleen Smith DVM, CVA, CVCP