I have a bitch that was diagnosed with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) when she was about 1 year old. I never heard of this condition so therefore, I was very unfamiliar with it. All I know is that my bitch had a good appetite, threw up occasionally, and always had mushy, yucky pancake like stools. I thought perhaps she had EPI because she looked like she never had a decent meal in her life. She couldn’t put weight on. Truth be told, she was fed a high quality food and I had her on Dr. Kruger’s supplement and many of the other top products on the market. She still looked like she was underfed and therefore, undernourished.
So I took her to my vet and she recommended that we do some blood work on her. The tests were VERY EXPENSIVE but she called me up one day and told me the results showed she had SIBO. I questioned her about EPI and she told me no, she did not have that condition. She put her on an antibiotic called Tylan and told me she wanted to repeat this test again. So we did and again, it came back indicating she had SIBO. My bitch responded very well to the antibiotic and my vet told me that she might have to be on this for the rest of her life. I was not thrilled with that. I didn’t want her to have to remain on an antibiotic forever! So I did some research and found another way to treat her without medicines or antibiotics.
First let me explain to you what SIBO is. It is a condition where there is a great increase in the number of bacteria in the small intestines. This interferes with the absorption of nutrients. Some of the signs of SIBO can be diarrhea, throwing up, weight loss or failure to gain weight. Obviously these signs can indicate another problem as well. And sometimes, the dog may only have one of these things going on. But most of the time, the dog just doesn’t look healthy and most of the time this condition begins in the young dog. This condition may be related to a deficiency of the immunoglobulin A which is the primary immune defense in the small intestine. Dogs that have EPI or inflammatory bowel disease may also have SIBO, but not always as my girl does not have either of those problems. It hasn’t been determined what causes SIBO, but it is recommended that they not be bred.
I was desperate to help my dog put on weight and to start to thrive better than she was. I changed her food a couple of times, but that didn’t change the way she looked and her stools were still awful. So after going through many different natural or holistic supplements, I came across a product called Vibrant Pets. I never heard of it before but I read the different testimonials about it and I saw that Jimmy Moses used it and recommended it. I even tried an expensive herb product that had a strong smell to it. Well she hated that one and refused to eat her food if I added that to it. So I gave it to my other dogs. Anyway, I started using the Vibrant Pets supplement. She liked it, but I still had her on the Tylan antibiotic. Her stools were good, but I knew this was because of the medicine. One day the owner of Vibrant pets called me and I told him about my “problem” dog. He suggested that I take her off of the antibiotic and just use the supplement but told me to double dose her with it every time that I fed her. He asked me to call him in two weeks to give him feedback. Well I did what he suggested and I never had to put her back on the antibiotic again. I even did a little test. I stopped using the supplement and the soft stools returned. Long story short, the supplement will not cure her disease, but it helps her live with it. She looks like a different dog. She put weight on; her coat grew back and NO MORE YUCKY STOOLS! This is not just a sales pitch for Vibrant Pets because I use and sell it. It is the truth! This stuff helps my girl live a better life. I know it works because once in awhile if I’m running low on the product and I try to cut back on the amount I use, in sneaks those mushy stools again. So it’s not a cure, but it offers her a better quality of life. It may not help every dog that has SIBO, but it does for mine and all I know is that she looks and feels so much better because of it!
It is unfortunate that our breed can have so many digestive problems, but they are there. It is up to us as breeders to find a way to deal with it. Obviously we have a long way to go in understanding genetics. But if we as breeders can discuss the problems we have in litters instead of hiding them, perhaps we can help prevent this happening to other peoples puppies. We need to help clean up our genetic pool and the only way we can do that is with open discussions about it. The more we push it under the rug like it doesn’t exist, or say “Oh not my lines” the worse the health of our beloved German Shepherds will be.
My rating: Tylan antibiotic in treating this disease: (4), Vibrant Pets (in my experience): (4)