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.