Sudden aggression and other issues... is he sick?
I am coming here in hopes I can find some theories about what may be going on with my shepherd. He is purebred, 4 years and 7 months old, neutered at about 3 years old. He has ortho dissecans in one shoulder, which rarely acts up and he takes prevacox for when it does. He has had an episode with gastric torsion for which he recieved a gastric lavage and did not get his stomach tacked. He never did fill out to be a robust male as you'd expect.. he kept a very tall, thin, almost boney appearance. He has always had flea allergies and the occasional ear infection.
About a month ago we had an electrician over, and unprovoked he jumped up and bit him in the shoulder, leaving a deep fang mark and some bruising. While he has NEVER bitten anyone or had an issue with people, we chalked it up to a man walking towards the door. Lesson learned... be more aware.
About a week ago, he was outside with my SO on leash. SO was talking to a friend of ours, who was being quite neutral and did not even touch our dog, when again he lunged up and bit. He got him on the chest and our friend ended up going to the ER for medical care. This landed my dog in bite quarantine for ten days. When I took him into animal control he was at my side as usual, and when the man came back to get him, he threw himself towards him, all teeth. I have no doubt if he could have reached him, he would have gotten him.
What ... the... this is NOT my dog. It's like he has been replaced with an alien. This is a dog I have consistently socialized since day one, this is my good boy who can and does go everywhere with me. I can take him to any hardware store or pet store and he stays at my side. When people reach out and pet him, he doesn't care. He was a very fearful/head shy puppy, but with positive reinforcement he learned to be neutral. He does very much like little dogs, cats, and females, but largely ignores affection from men or large dogs. I have taught him to simply IGNORE kids and "watch me", as they even make me nervous. I should note he has never shown a desire to harm one or run after one. Kids= watch my mom and get a cookie!
I feel traumatized. This is the SECOND dog I have had that has inexplicably turned very aggressive. The dog before him... my vet recommended euthanasia as he was so explosive. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, but I did it. As traumatized as I feel, I can't even imagine how he feels sitting in the dog pound right now. Poor boy :'(
After spending many hours thinking about what could have gone wrong, I compiled a list of other things going on with him that may or may not be related. Here is a list....
-Marked aggression, obviously.
- Increased elimination. He usually eliminates up to 3x a day. He has been eliminating up to 8x a day now.
- constant infections. He has had two rounds of staph within the last 3 or 4 months, plus a double ear infection. The staph was horrible and had open, oozing sores even with antibiotic, antifungal, drying powder and cleansing wipes. They did finally heal up, though they got worse before they got better.
-CONSTANT itching. He never stops itching anymore, his coat is stinking, generally unkempt and full of dandruff. He gets flea treatment (vectra 3D) every 2-3 weeks at vets direction as he is prone to allergy. He doesn't have fleas.
-Stinking mouth and lip fold pyoderma- he has always had some degree of pyoderma on the mouth, but within the last few weeks the sides of his mouth are just big scabs :( the hair folicles are large and irrritated around his mouth. The stench from his mouth isn't external though... it smells "deep", like fishy or something dead. It's from his gut.
-increased whining. He will NOT settle. He's always been a fusser, but he's just hysterical these days.
Please understand I have my boy at the vet a few times a month usually. This is not a neglected dog. He eats taste of the wild, is indoor, gets plenty of recreational bones, etc. My description of his condition makes it sound like I don't care about him, I know. I DO, very much, and could easily have bought myself a new car with how much I have paid the vet just to keep him in this condition :(
What is wrong? What am I missing, what is the vet missing? I can't stand to have to put him down because I failed him. I feel like the worst owner on the planet... dog number 2 I couldn't get right. I have heard some snarky comments "Well, German shepherds just turn..." BS!! I know this isn't true. I have taken out a loan to afford a full work up on him. I want his thyroid tested, tested for Lyme disease... what else should I specify? I do know his brother had Intussuseption when he was a pup. I realize this couldn't be that, but could it be some sort of intestinal problem? Also while fully vaccinated, my SO'S bosses dog who is always at the shop *has Parvo*. Could it have come home on clothes, infected my vaccinated adult dog, and be causing atypical symptoms? Sigh.
Any help is appreciated. Please no rough comments, this is **** on earth for my family already. We want to do right by him, that is all.
I, personally, don't have any good answers for you and it sounds like you are doing all you can. He sounds miserable with all kinds of health problems which are undoubtedly contributing and, despite all the wonderful care you give him, wonder about the quality of his life.
I would probably train him at home to wear a GOOD muzzle at this point (while you are sorting things out) and never take him in public without it.
The dog is probably over medicated and now his immune system is not working properly.
All his health issues may be contributing to his bad behavior.
Also he may have just had enough of meeting people and been a good dog. Dogs prefer to be running in forest and swimming rather then going to the hardware store and doing human activities. They have animal needs and if they are not satisfied maybe they can turn to aggression to stop people getting near them.
It is good you do all the socializing with him but maybe he just doesn't like it and would prefer a nice walk in the country.
Personally I'd start using only natural medicine on him and start to feed a raw diet. Also I'd stop him having interactions with people until his health was better.
I'd start to exercise him with swimming, cycling, and trips to nature. I'd try to find activities he like doing like fetch, hide and seek or scent work.
What I use on my dogs for Fleas and skin or hair issue is Neem oil. It has cured mange on one of my dogs and hot spots on the other. It prevents fleas and stops any eggs hatching and guards against tics and mosquito's. It is anti viral and anti bacterial and anti fungal so should heal many skin conditions.
Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar is great too. You can put in the dogs water and wash his body with it(diluted). This will help with the infections.
I clean my dogs ears with ACV and neem oil too. First put in like 10-15 drops of neem and olive oil, and leave for 5 minutes. Then put 10 drops of 50/50 ACV water. Then 5 minutes later clean with cotton wool.
It sounds like your dog has a tremendous amount of health issues which, I beleive, is the main contributor to the sudden aggression. I agree with MadLAb - let the dog be a dog. Take him outside and walk, run, swim, anything that a dog enjoys.
I am a big believer in quality of life. I would rather have my dog enjoy the time he/she has and not be on so much medication, even if it means a sooner than expected end of life. It is not natural to have all of these health issues and be medicated so heavily. My guess is the dog is not reacting well to this and is releasing his energy in an aggressive manner. I am no expert and these are simply my opinions.
Another recommendation is to contact a dog behavior trainer and see what they recommend.
Susan, perhaps you could start a new thread on this so we don't get away from the OPs issue?
Wow I am so sorry.. just recently had a similar situation with my male 4 y/o too. Only it was a nip vs an actual bite, regardless, it was enough to make me go WTF. He too had been having health issues and had been extrememly socialized and worked with on OB since day one..
Definitely bring up that to the vet. That way they know there was a change in behavior and might actually be able to run more tests. Curious if you had your dog tested for food allergies? I just read on the forum somewhere that their dog was in terrible condition and no one could figure out what was wrong (lethargy, terrible skin and coat, runny stool, etc.), as a last resort they did an allergy test and learned exactly what was causing the issue.. switched to a protein he wasn't allergic too and he started feeling much better. I am actually doing that at the end of the month with Titan, he itches like crazy too and I cannot figure out why.
Has your vet run a blood panel on him, I'm sure with you being in there so often he has, but you never know. Some vets believe in temporary treatment rather than finding the root of a problem. Also, just out of curiosity, for the whining and not settling, what kinds of exercise are you giving him and how often. I know Titan becomes extremely "stressed" almost if he doesn't get to exercise. Just a thought..
Also a good trainer. Even thought Titan has been trained and is generally wonderful, my incident was an eye opener and I am seeing a trainer this weekend. I woudl very much encourage a one on one with a behavior trainer and get him evaluated. Something my vet told me was that 4 yrs for a GSD is also an age where they are reaching their full maturity and it may have played a role..
Anyways, I hope that you get some answers. In the same boat as you with the random "aggression" so I know the feeling. You aren't a bad owner, just need to deal with what's happening right now... Chin up friend! :o
Any neem oil will do once it is pure. I'm sure cold pressed organic is the best. The one i use isn't specifically cold pressed and doesn't have a brand. The only one i could get locally in liter form.
I do put on the edges of ears or anywhere if there are any bumps, cysts, cuts or scabs. Basically you can use it any where. It is a vegtable oil. Good for cleaning under belly of dogs too.
Rabies Miasm is something to consider.
Our first GSD had similar issues as yours but different health problems, which made her further aggressive. Very VERY hard. I’m sorry you are going through this. I suggest that you seek out a Homeotoxicoligist or a vet well versed in Homeopathy to help balance his body. A combination of homeopathic remedies, supplements, raw feeding, acupuncture, chiropractics and not giving anymore vaccinations is the only thing that saved her. If interested, I can post a list of registered Holistic Vets in your state.
Rabies Miasm In Dogs | Dogs Naturally Magazine
“The symptoms of rabies miasm suggest that it’s much more common than you might suspect.”
“Understanding the link between individual chronic diseases and the rabies vaccine involves what homeopathic physician Samuel Hahnemann called a ‘miasm’. The miasm is an underlying disease, like the part of the iceberg lurking beneath the water’s surface. You can see and deal with the tip of the iceberg — in this case, individual disease symptoms — but the iceberg’s essence (the miasm) is submerged, unreachable and deadly.”
Rabies Miasm Symptoms
Rabies Miasm In Dogs | Dogs Naturally Magazine
“Have you worked on treating a stubborn, chronic condition such as a goopy ear or constant itching for months and finally have resolution only to have it flare up even worse after a rabies vaccine?
Your lovely, sweet dog had an unprovoked attack by another dog at the dog park. Other than skin wounds, your dog seems to be alright. Except now she is acting out in an aggressive manner that she’s never exhibited before. Post trauma? Possibly…..
All of the above behaviors and symptoms could be part of the rabies miasm, acquired from a rabies vaccine or even the bite of another vaccinated animal.”
The Rabies Vaccine for Dogs: Side Effects and Precautions You Can Take
How to Avoid Vaccination Reactions in Dogs | Truth4Dogs
Rabies Vaccinosis AlertÂ*Â*Â*Â*Â*Â* by : Dr. Dym: “In other words, instead of seeing acute expressions of viral disease, we are, instead seeing symptoms of chronic illness which are actually documented to occur in rabid animals. Symptoms of rabies include restlessness; viciousness; avoidance of company; unusual affection; desire to travel; inability to be restrained; self biting; strange cries and howls; inability to swallow resulting in gagging while eating/drinking; staring eyes; swallowing wood, stones, inedibles; destruction of blankets, clothing; convulsive seizures; throat spasms; increased sexual desires; disturbed heart function; excited and jerky breathing. My biggest concern with pets are the changes in behavior after being vaccinated. This is usually along the lines of aggression, suspicion, unusual fears, etc. The essential aspect is a lack of control of impulses.”
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