View Full Version : Advice needed for my cavy with IBS

29th August 2009, 11:14 PM
Hi everyone,

I have been reading the boards as my cavy is 6 years old and for 4 years has been on anti- inflammatory and steriods for her stomach problem she takes 5 tablets a day.
And from what ive read this seems to be a common problem with the breed.
My cavy has colitus/ibs and over the years i have tried chappie and burns dog foods but when ever i have tried to reduce the tablets the conditions starts up.
I have also found when she gets stressed it seems to flear up as well.
I am really dont like her taking so many tablets so was wondering if anyone who has cavy with a tummy problem could help.
Also for a week she has been itching so bad she was biting herself so took her to the vets on thursday were she was given 2 injections antibiotics and steriods and has a weeks course of anti biotics on top of the steriods and anti-inflammatorys.
Also the vet i saw said her anal glands were very compacted and had to squezze them.
She also told me this is a very common problem with cavys which i had no idea about.
I am just surprised as she is a regular at the vets why this was never picked up this before.
At the moment she is not very well and not her usual self she is very lerthgic but i am putting down to the all the medication.
I would really like to get her off the tablets or at least cut them back so if any one has any advice how i could perhaps try to control the colitus/ibs by diet alone it would be very much appriciated.
Thanks sally

30th August 2009, 08:31 AM
One of my Cavs is prone to Colitis, sometimes lasting a few days and sometimes lasting a few weeks. She is usually put on meds short term (antibiotics, if needed, anti inflams and steroids) but this would only be for max a few weeks.

I have found that food plays a big role in her dodgy belly problems. While she is going through a bout I put her onto Royal Canin Sensitivity Control, it's a prescription food specifically for these kind of problems. It really works wonders. I usually keep her on it (depending on how long the bout lasts) for a while after everything has cleared up. It is free from anything that could aggravate her stomach and she loves it, even when she is feeling very under the weather. They can be kept on it for life, it's not just a short term food.

Have you looked into allergies? My lady doesn't do well with grains (not too bad with rice, but wheat and corn are a bit no no for her) while some dogs don't do well with a protein source (e.g. chicken, beef). Unfortunately it's a little bit of trial and error - gradually introducing food to see if it agrees with them. There are some great food out there that are grain/chicken etc. free.

Also, probiotics are a good way to ease symptoms or IBS/colitis, especially if they are going through a bad patch.

Sorry to hear about the anal gland problems. I know this sounds gross but is her poo firm generally? Anal glands drain naturally when they poo and often times if it is too soft they get clogged up. One of mine had some problems with anal glands but a diet change and regular draining fixed that. When my lady is having a bout of colitis her gland fill up quickly and need to be drained much more often than usual. Seems strange that with all of your vet visits it was never mentioned.

I think a good chat with your vet about reducing tablets would be a good idea. If you are not happy with how they are dealing with your dog then changing practice might be a step that needs to be taken. Different vets deal with conditions differently and keeping her on so many pills long term seems a bit excessive. Trust your gut on this one, if you are not happy with the service they are providing then elsewhere might be a better match for you and your pet.

Hope your little lady is feeling better soon :)

30th August 2009, 12:20 PM
There's a lot of information in the Health Library section on allergies and food intolerances that might help :). This includes info on food elimination diets.

The scratching sounds like she also has bad allergies or else, you will want to look at other possible reasons. These could be an allergy to fleas, fleas themselves, or if all other possibilities are eliminated, syringomyelia, which sadly is appearing more frequently in the breed: see www.smcavalier.com for more information.

However, I would not be worrying about getting her off tablets, especially as they definitely make a difference to her. But I would try working carefully and patiently with some different types of food to see what works best and if you see improvements THEN you can discuss next steps with your vet. Chappie is pretty mediocre quality supermaket food and has loads of additives -- this would be the last thing I'd try for a dog with colitis (check the ingredients list) so it isn't surprising there was no improvement there. You might try one of the James Wellbeloved foods such as the fish or duck or lamb flavour as these are more unusual protein sources, if Burns didn't help. Royal Canin also has a line of special foods for medical issues; does anyone have a UK link for a supplier of these?

You could try a different vet who might help you work through her food and allergy issues if yours aren;t sure what to do (vest can have different specialties and interests) and be aware that there could be other problems there to watch for. Food trials for colitis or allergy generally take several weeks and must be very strict (eg NO treats that may trigger the problems!). You might also consider a commercial raw preparation as raw foods sometimes really help dogs with colitis BUT I would only suggest getting one of the commercial brands available in the UK, so that you are sure the nutritional balance is correct.

You will need to be working closely with a vet or a dietary specialist (I would be looking a t seeing a specialist at one of the vet schools) to think about finding the core problem and then *perhaps* being able to remove her from tablets that are right now making life tolerable for her. It would be cruel to try to take her off pills until an actual solution is found, and of course, never decrease dosage without the direct supervision and advice of your vet. :thmbsup:

I hope you can narrow down what her problems are. Really the problems your vet is saying are 'typical' for cavaliers are common across lots of breeds. If you take your dog to a groomer they will generally do anal glands each visit, if you ask, or you can try a different groomers. That's an easy way to have them done regularly. If you opt for a small breed, their openings to the glands are smaller and get full and impacted more easily. Most vets will check glands IF you ask -- keep in mind caring for a dog is a balance between the owner being sure to be as informed as possible about dog care and possible problems and the unique issues within each breed and the vet helping with an annual check-up and any problems that come up; it isn't really the vet's role to try and inform owners of all these matters. My vets for example wouldn't check anal glands every time -- I ask if I want this done (there's lots and lots of breed info on the site to help owners know more about the breed and basic care and training and health issues :) ). Of course dogs also are living animals and there's no guarantee of good health (just as with kids! :) ). The best bet for anyone for getting a fit and health dog (http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=26677) is to only work with reputable, health-focused breeders. :) Casually bred dogs or those from people who aren't truly health-focused have a lot more problems, but no dog can ever come with a guarantee of lifelong health. Most of us will have some issues amongst our dogs at some point.

30th August 2009, 03:07 PM
Here's the link on food intolerances and allergies:


Hope that is of some help. :)

1st September 2009, 01:03 PM
Thank you for your quick replys after reading i am very interested in perhaps trying her on the royal canin sensitivity control food. I was wondering were you can purchase this ?
However before i do i am planing to take her back to see the vets and express my concerns over long term use of steriods.
It may be that her condition may always need some medication but i would like to make sure i am doing all i can to help her or at least not make it any worse.
I have found chicken does seem to cause her tummy problems so i have elimmated that but as for grains i will have to check for that.
Her itching isnt as bad now but im sure that will be with the medication she is on.
Pumpkin thats her name is not only my first cavalier but my first dog so with her i have learnt as i go.
Before getting her i was aware of the heart problems with this breed and so far she is great in that respect.
And only recently was horrified to learn about syringomyelia my heart goes out to all the cavys and owners who face this condition.
When i was first made aware of syringomyelia i watching her very carefully for any signs which there wasnt any and even her scratcing at the moment seems to just be her tummy so i dont think its that.
I will let you all know how she gets on at the vets and what the vets says.
Thank you for all your help so far there are some very knowledgeable people on these boards and all the advice is very much appricaited.
Thanks sally and pumpkin

1st September 2009, 03:59 PM
i am very interested in perhaps trying her on the royal canin sensitivity control food. I was wondering were you can purchase this ?

Becuase it's a veterinary perscription food it can only be purchased at vets or veterinary supply warehouses. There are some sites online that do vet foods, but I can't recommend one becuase I don't use them myself.

Good luck at the vets, hope you get some definative answers.

1st September 2009, 04:06 PM
You can order it here in the UK:


5th September 2009, 01:11 PM
Hi there,

I have spoken to my vets and expressed my concerns and about changing her diet and they recommend trying her on the james wellbeloved foods to see how she gets on with them. she said see how she goes and if that does not agree with her we could then try the royal canin sensitivity.
I was thinking of trying her on the JWB duck, lamb , fish dry as suggested but would it be ok to mix a little JWB wet with the dry as she can be quite a fussy eater.
Also it seems alot of people on the boards feed there cavys cooked veg as well and was thinking of trying this too.
I am going to go out and get her some food today and over the next week start gradually introducing the JWB food.
She also needs to get a little weight off as over the last week being on steroids daily she has blown up.
Hopefully that should start to come off as she is going back to normal routine of steroids every other day.
Thanks for all your help advice so far

5th September 2009, 06:15 PM
I changed my Cav with colitis onto JWB and we never looked back,he is very well now with no bouts at all really but because he has an allergy to poultry especially chicken, I always use the lamb and rice variety.

I do give the wet pouches now and again also, but only as a treat.

9th September 2009, 09:56 PM
Just a quick update, I bought some of the JWB dried lamb and rice and also the wet lamb and rice.
The first day she looked at it very unimpressed, the second day she picked up a little of the dried and rolled in it. She always does this to new foods does anybody else's do this?
She rolls on her back then eats it no ideas why?
But for the last couple of days she has been eating both well, been feeding her the dry and using a packet of wet which i divide into her two meals.
She especially likes the wet food it looks so much better than any other food she has had before.
And so far she seems ok so if this does continue over the next month will try to reduce her steroids and see how she goes.
Thanks sally