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Hello all. I am new to the boards here. I am currently raising my first border collie puppy. I've had dogs before, but not border collies. I am currently struggling to figure out why my little girl (13 weeks old) is having issues with soft stool. I brought her home at 6 weeks old (at the breeder's recommendation), which was clearly a mistake, but that is what it is at this point. I started out feeding her Diamond puppy food, because that is what the breeder fed her. At about 8 weeks, I started gradually switching her over to TOTW High Prairie Puppy, and noticed a significant improvement once I got her completely switched (at about 10 weeks). But lately she seems to be regressing a bit, having some very soft and sometimes runny stool, particularly in the middle of the day. I feed her 3 times a day (at my vet's recommendation), 7/8 cup for breakfast, 1/2 cup for lunch, 7/8 cup for dinner (2 1/4 cup total per day). She is currently right around 12 lbs.

 

Would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions. Thanks!

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Has she been checked thoroughly for intestinal parasites, including protozoa and the like? Things like giardia and coccidia can be difficult to diagnose and treat, so this is something you might want to take up with your vet.

 

Alternatively, is she having to hold it longer before she's let out midday? That is, is the time between her last potty and when she goes out midday longer than it was before you started noticing the soft stool returning?

 

J.

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Welcome to the Boards and congratulations on the new pup.

 

The first thing I'd do is have the vet check for intestinal parasites.

 

Composite stool samples consisting of samples from 3 consecutive bowel movements often reveal things that single samples miss. Be sure to inform them that it's a composite sample, and refrigerate it between collections.

 

I agree with Sue that it seems like an awful lot of food. That alone could be causing the inconsistency.

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Thanks very much for the welcomes and responses. Sorry, I should have mentioned that yes, she has had stool samples analyzed (twice) for parasites and giardia, both times returning negative results.

 

"is she having to hold it longer before she's let out midday?"

 

Actually just the opposite is occurring. After sleeping/holding it all night, her stools first thing in the morning are much firmer. Later in the day when she doesn't need to hold it all is when they are soft and sometimes runny. Moreso in the middle of the day after lunch than later after dinner, which I can't make any sense out of at all.

 

"That sounds to me like way too much food for a pup that size"

 

On the side of the bag is says for a pup 3-4 months and between 10-20 lbs to feed 2-3 cups per day. SInce she is 12 lbs, it seems to me that 2 1/4 cups is about the right amount ratio-wise. Also she is in no way obese. I can easily feel her ribs (but can't see them), and her belly seems the correct size and shape (curved up as opposed to sagging at side profile).

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Things like coccidia and giardia can be very hard to catch in a stool sample, sometimes even with multiple tests. A negative fecal doesn't guarantee that the dog doesn't really have it. Of course, this may not be the issue, but something to be aware if this persists.

 

But if she truly has no parasites maybe it's just the food's not agreeing with her. I feed raw so don't have much else to offer when it comes to kibble.

 

The recommended feeding amounts on dog food bags can be notoriously, um, generous. But you've got the right idea to be gauging your pup's condition, so that's good. If she starts getting chubby on the amount you're feeding, just cut back.

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he recommended feeding amounts on dog food bags can be notoriously, um, generous. But you've got the right idea to be gauging your pup's condition, so that's good. If she starts getting chubby on the amount you're feeding, just cut back.

This!

 

Remember that the longer the digesta is in the tract, the drier/firmer it will tend to be as more water is removed in the intestines. My dogs often have a much firmer poop first thing in the day and even the end of that poop, or another poop on the morning walk, will be quite a bit softer as it's moved through the system a bit more quickly and not been held "in storage" for potty time.

 

One more thought - I had a dog with IGS or the inability to absorb Vitamin B12 (cobalamine malabsorption). He had periodic runny poops from a very young age. At that time, this genetic issue was not widely recognized and the blood test that finally let us know what his problem was, did not give us that information until it was too late for him. So, if you've ruled out other things (parasites and protozoans, incompatibility with certain foodstuffs, etc.) and still have a problem (especially if your pup's appetite is also very on/off), you might consider testing for this. I'm not meaning to be an alarmist but if someone had only told me about IGS, it would have been an easy and inexpensive save for a good young dog that I miss every day. Your pup is still very young and this should simply be on your radar if the problems you are seeing do not appear to have a cause and persist.

 

My first thought, since you've done testing for intestinal "visitors" is that overfeeding might well be your problem, and that's the place I would start, cutting back to no more than 1/2 cup three times a day or even a bit less. I hope someone else can suggest a good amount to try. I'd also try an adult food - it's not so "rich" and overfeeding, combined with it being a puppy food, might well be at least part of your problem.

 

Very best wishes!

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All my dogs have had a distinct tendency to have runny poops after hard exercise. That's one possibility.

 

Amount of food - the dog food company wants to sell dog food and many times the recommendation on the bag is too high. You might try reducing by an eighth of a cup for a week or so and see if you see any difference.

 

Congrats on your girl!

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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Thanks so much for the thoughts and insight. Not sure what you mean by " on/off appetite" but she eats voraciously every time she is fed, and never turns down food. I don't feed her table scraps but she always "bugs" me when I'm eating. I do give her treats (Wellesley farms pork and berry links) which I believe are healthy treats and she only gets them in very small amounts. I guess I'll try cutting back on her food a little for now and see how that goes. Thanks again for the thoughts!

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One more thought - I had a dog with IGS or the inability to absorb Vitamin B12 (cobalamine malabsorption). He had periodic runny poops from a very young age. At that time, this genetic issue was not widely recognized and the blood test that finally let us know what his problem was, did not give us that information until it was too late for him. So, if you've ruled out other things (parasites and protozoans, incompatibility with certain foodstuffs, etc.) and still have a problem (especially if your pup's appetite is also very on/off), you might consider testing for this. I'm not meaning to be an alarmist but if someone had only told me about IGS, it would have been an easy and inexpensive save for a good young dog that I miss every day. Your pup is still very young and this should simply be on your radar if the problems you are seeing do not appear to have a cause and persist.

 

 

I agree that this is something that should be kept in mind if the problem doesn't resolve. It can be diagnosed with a DNA test, and if your pup should happen to have it, she can lead a fine and normal life with periodic cobalamin injections -- you can easily learn to give them yourself.

 

However, I also agree with Sue that it's probably the least likely of the options that have been mentioned here, so you can wait awhile before pursuing it, especially if the pup is eating eagerly.

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Perhaps the problem is that she's just being fed too much at a time, even if it's not too much food for the day.

 

At your pup's age, I'm still feeding 4 times a day. Maybe you could try dividing her food into 4 feedings instead of 3? It might not be the answer, but it couldn't hurt to try for a week to see.

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I agree with Roxanne in that if it was possible, I would still likely be feeding a pup four smaller meals a day rather than fewer, larger meals. Sometimes our work/life schedules don't allow that.

 

What I meant by "on/off appetite" in the case of my dog with IGS is that he would eat eagerly for a few meals or a few days, and then while he would express every indication of being hungry for food, he just could not bring himself to actually eat. That is because IGS can cause ulcers and pain in the digestive tract so that a pup or dog can be absolutely hungry but can't stand eating because of the discomfort associated with it. A few meals/days of not eating, and he'd be comfortable enough to teat again for another few days or meals. And, all the while, he'd have intermittent diarrhea. IGS is a nasty problem but one that is so easily detected and solved. It certainly does not sound like this is your youngster's issue but I wanted to mention it as many people (and even vets) simply don't seem aware of it. I sure wish someone had suggested this to me when I was unaware and my dog was suffering from it - multiple vet vets and multiple vets, a variety of tests, and no results until it was too late because IGS was just not on anybody's radar until he was too far gone.

 

And, as Ruth said, vigorous activity can be followed by looser stools, and that's just a normal matter of the digesta moving through the tract at a faster rate.

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Thanks for the explanation Sue. I'm definitely ruling out IGS, as my girl has no issues eating whatsoever. If anything, I think she eats her meals too fast. But she NEVER turns aside a meal offering. I'll try to the 4 meals a day if I can. She current gets her first meal at 6:30 am and her last meal at 6:30 pm. Is that spreading the feeding out enough, or should I make the last meal later? I put her to bed @9:30-10, so I like to make sure she has time to get that last meal digested.

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My youngest dog has never had any issues eating either but he has been DNA diagnosed as IGS affected. You can't rule it out.

 

B12 injections slightly improved but didn't clear his loose stools long term. A complete raw food does seem to have done the trick as long as he doesn't go scavenging for disgusting stuff.

 

However, I too think over feeding is a more likely culprit. I never read the recommended guidelines on food packaging. Trial and error works for me.

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Take your day and divide into thirds or fourths, and feed accordingly.

 

As mum24dogs points out, symptoms of IGS-affected pups/dogs can vary so while no one symptom may be precisely definitive, it is just something to be aware of should there be symptoms that continue. And, with a DNA test, it is easily ruled out, or found out.

 

A lean and active youngster is healthier than a pudgy youngster so, as others have said, experiment and see how different feeding regimes suit you both.

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You might try feeding some raw bones, like chicken necks etc for one meal. Bone will help harden stools as well as clean teeth.

 

Otherwise, something like cooked pumpkin or green beans can add fibre to the diet without many calories. Be aware pumpkin will turn stools orange.

 

But I agree that the amount of kibble seems like a lot. You are obviously keeping an eye on her body condition, maybe back off the amount a bit and see if her condition is maintained.

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What they all mostly said.

Plus - you might ask your vet about Tylan powder. Its technically an antibiotic, but also provides relief to the muscles in the intestinal tract. It's relatively inexpensive, and you don't need much at all (my 40 pound dog gets 1/10 teaspoon twice daily when he needs it). I have no experience with IGS, but suspect my boy has some kind of minor GI problem. He gets soft stools now and then, and the Tylan clears it up generally within a day or two.

 

He's on a homemade, vet nutritionist-devised diet now. When he was a wee little lad, I bought a large bag of the food his breeder recommended - no small bags available then, of course. His litter had had off and on GI problems, had several doses of antibiotics before 8 weeks. I fed him a day or two of the food, then switched him cold turkey to raw. He's been on it for 11 years, and is doing quite well!

 

Hope he grows out of it quickly!

diane

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I'm definitely ruling out IGS...

 

Not suggesting your pup has IGS or B-12 malabsorption (similar symptoms but I believe there can be different causes for b-12 malabsorption other than IGS), but unless you're a vet and/or have had a vet do either a DNA test or blood testing, I think it's a bit cavalier to dismiss the possibility out of hand.

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What they all mostly said.

Plus - you might ask your vet about Tylan powder. Its technically an antibiotic, but also provides relief to the muscles in the intestinal tract. It's relatively inexpensive, and you don't need much at all (my 40 pound dog gets 1/10 teaspoon twice daily when he needs it). I have no experience with IGS, but suspect my boy has some kind of minor GI problem. He gets soft stools now and then, and the Tylan clears it up generally within a day or two.

 

He's on a homemade, vet nutritionist-devised diet now. When he was a wee little lad, I bought a large bag of the food his breeder recommended - no small bags available then, of course. His litter had had off and on GI problems, had several doses of antibiotics before 8 weeks. I fed him a day or two of the food, then switched him cold turkey to raw. He's been on it for 11 years, and is doing quite well!

 

Hope he grows out of it quickly!

diane

 

Just out of curiousity, how much do you spend on feeding your boy his raw diet?

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Not suggesting your pup has IGS or B-12 malabsorption (similar symptoms but I believe there can be different causes for b-12 malabsorption other than IGS), but unless you're a vet and/or have had a vet do either a DNA test or blood testing, I think it's a bit cavalier to dismiss the possibility out of hand.

 

I was ruling out IGS based on the assumption her appetite would be off if she had it. Now that I know that isn't necessarily the case, of course I am not dismissing it entirely.

 

Well, I've cut back her food amount by 1/4 cup per day and for the past two days there has been a drastic improvement. However, I also just opened a new bag of food, so I half suspect that stale or oxidized food may have been the issue. If she starts having loose stools again in a week or two I'm going to be quite unhappy, as I just spent $50 on a 30 lb bag of food. I also just ordered a Van Ness airtight storage container from Chewy, which is slated to arrive tomorrow, which is hopefully not too late.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just wanted to check in and say that about a month later, everything is going great, and thanks very much for for the help. I haven't seen any soft stool in quite a a while now. Apparently I was overfeeding my pup just a little bit, which I never would have guessed since her appearance did not suggest that.

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