Cairn with Colitis – Caring for Critters!

Todays post is part of the Caring for Critters round robin.


Please be aware I am not a vet and I would always recommend that you discuss this with your vet. All I am doing is telling you about my experience. Be warned you may not want to read this post while eating as it will include such terms as ‘shooting out of both ends’ (well the first draft did)! So once we have all taken a moment to appreciate the alliteration attempt we will begin. Although I am not 100% sure where I will start… in fact I have already re-written this at least 3 times and now with one eye on the clock I am as concerned about finishing this as I was about starting.

I think the problem is is that Colitis is not an easy subject to write about. I don’t mean that as in it’s gut wrenching, painful, that you are fighting something aggressive like cancer more that it is just so…. random.

Google search the causes of Colitis and you will get a list as long as your arm; it can be related to stress, dietary issues, allergies, food in tolerances or some types of worms. It feels like pick a cause. So lets say you do, you chose dietary and decide to find out which types of food cause a reaction……… well I’m yet to see a definitive list.

Colitis makes no sense.

I have a Cairn that was horrendously ill when the dog food we buy him brought out a ‘new and improve’ recipe but yet he had no ill affects after stealing and consuming a large block of my dads best Stilton. We can’t predict what will make him ill, or when it will happen. So we just live day by day.

Advice from the Vet when Mity was first diagnosed was to buy him the cheapest food possible as generally they are the plane-est and this has apparently worked for him. I know other people buy prescription dog food and whether or not they have had success I cannot comment, but we have found the Chappie works wonders for him – so long as we pick the right flavour. Yep, accidentally grab the beef flavour (which my sister did once) and Mity will be ill for a week or more.

In the beginning the advice was to starve him when he had a flare up. 24 hours with no food and then slowly introduce boiled rice and minced chicken. However, recently the thought process has changed slightly and now the thought process is starving him agitates his bowels just as much. So if he is ill he switches back onto boiled rice and chicken or sometimes just rice – we have had him on this for months at a time waiting for everything to settle down. That’s another thing about this. There is no simple steps to get him better. He flares up (the runs) for almost no reason and settles down for the exact same unknown reason.

As I said it makes no sense.

To try and control the situation we carefully watch his diet. We have learnt that it isn’t worth giving the ‘occasional treat’ as the weeks of him being poorly just aren’t worth it. So over the years we have  list of foods and treats he can eat and we stick to that. Luckily my dog has developed an obsession with carrots and so we often use this for a treat. We stay away from anything rich, beef is a no and so is most forms of meat. In fact I can’t remember the last time he was given any fresh meat – he used to be ok with roast Chicken but even that caused problems last time he had some.

You may think that we have to be hard-hearted to not give in to his puppy eyes. Especially as since he is getting older he seems to always be wanting to be fed, but all you have to do is see him ill and you know it’s not worth it. I still remember one evening when he had it shooting out of both ends (and I mean shooting) he just sat there looking so sorry for himself, and so tiny.

I feel I should leave you with some words of wisdom, something ground breaking or just something more. But I’m afraid that I can’t. I think colitis is a very personal thing, specific to each dog, and all you can do is figure out what works for your dog and stick with it.

If your dog has Colitis and you want to discuss anything, any more details or just a good moan then you know where to find me.


And now I send you on your way to visit Leah at Let’s Go Dog and also remind you to visit the amazing lovely and wonderful Jodi at Heart Like a Dog where you can find links to everyone who has taken part in this round robin (I assure you their contributions are greater than mine!)

10 thoughts on “Cairn with Colitis – Caring for Critters!

  1. This was a great contribution, don’t cut yourself down!! Thank you for adding it to the Round Robin. Intestinal issues can be cause by so many different things! My thought process is start with the foods first. It is so much easier today with all of the limited ingredient foods to determine if a particular food is causing distress. Have you tried white fish? I’ve heard that is supposed to be very good for dogs with food issues as is venison.

    When Sampson was a tiny boy (I’d have to look up his records to be specific) he had a bout with gastritis. I woke up to find the poor little guy just covered in filth and he had it coming from both ends. I’ll never forget that drive to the vet with him draped over my lap vomiting. Thankfully it was cleared up with boiled hamburger meat and white rice, which he ate for a good few days. In fact, he became so accustomed to eating that stuff that when he was free to eat puppy food again, I took the containers out to use up the boiled meat and rice for our meal and the little stinker barked at me! LOL

    I do hope you can control Mitty’s colitis, I know how tremendously challenging it is to control in humans.

    • Tuna fish, you have suddenly reminded me we gave him tuna fish last time. Thanks for the white fish tip. It wouldn’t be so annoying if there was some rhyme or reason to it…..

      Thanks for organising!

  2. Not a nice thing to suffer from and better to be strict and healthy and happy than give in and then being back to being miserable again. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. Every dog is different. Sometimes trial and error is the only way to figure things out. Even then, you never know. Sounds like you’re doing a good job of taking care of Mity.

  4. I feel your pain about having a pet with issues that don’t have clear causes and clear solutions! My kitty has bladder problems that are basically a mystery and so it’s a puzzle to figure out treatments and prevention! He also had colitis and our vet said there were two types that he might be dealing with, stress colitis or allergic colitis, but there wasn’t a good way to determine which one he was suffering from. Our vet ended up treating with steroid shots, which seemed to help for a little while at a time, but led to horrible weight gain and wasn’t a permanent solution. We moved across the country and I determined it must have been allergic colitis because he hasn’t had an outbreak since we moved to a totally different climate and landscape.

    I know it can seem really hopeless and frustrating sometimes, but just know you’re not alone! If you ever need a virtual shoulder to cry on, let me know!

Looking forward to hearing from you....?!

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