This will probably be a very long post, but I am feeling pretty frustrated right now, and I'm not sure what to do.
First off, I'd like to start by saying that my 8 month old puppy has had more problems in my five months of owning him than I would have thought possible, and I'm sure some of you know what that's like! From the very beginning, Forrest was not a very healthy puppy. After bringing him home from the breeder (where he looked perfectly healthy), we went to the vet to make sure everything was okay. I would like to add that I had a very negative experience with this vet and have not been back since. Forrest had an eye infection, not a big deal; we just got eye drops and were good to go. I asked for a fecal test because he started having diarrhea about 24 hours after coming home, but the vet said that it wasn't needed as the diarrhea was just from stress. I was stupid enough to accept that answer and leave.
Well move forward about a week, and the diarrhea, as well as his appetite, just got worse. Forrest would not eat any food unless I hand fed him, and even then he didn't eat much. I took him to a new vet and voiced my concerns, and the first thing the vet did was ask for a fecal sample. Sample came back, Forrest has giardia, we treat for a week and a half, do another test, giardia still present, treat for another week, switch to a simple ingredient dog food, diarrhea finally went away.
During the whole giardia fiasco, Forrest also had pretty severe dog-reactivity. His fur would go up, he would bark his head off, then start lunging. It was to the point where I couldn't let him within ten feet of another dog. His behavior when close to the dog wasn't really aggressive, just unbelievably annoying to the other dog, which would then start a fight. It seemed like he just never learned basic manners around other dogs and completely ignored their signals for him to back off. I worked with him a lot, and he got MUCH better. He can now be totally trusted around other dogs (off leash) without annoying them. His reactivity can still be bad sometimes (only on leash), but it is only barking now (instead of lunging as well).
Move on about a month, and Forrest started limping on his front legs. I removed exercise completely for a whole week, and the limping went away for about three weeks. Then it came back with a vengeance, so we went to the vet. He was diagnosed with Pano and given an anti-inflammatory as well as pain killer. Ever since then, Forrest has not been able to get exercise like a normal dog. His walks are literally 15-20 minutes, and that is it. Any more than that, and he will start limping. I do take him to a large park and have him on a 30-foot lead so that he can have some freedom and "off leash" time to do whatever he wants. He also gets lots of play time and training.
On and off since bringing Forrest home, he has had very itchy skin and rashes, which he then turns into hot spots. I'm sure that it's allergies, but I don't really know to what. I switched his food, and the rash went away and has been gone for at least a little while. Maybe it was just his food.
The very worst part is what happened on April 9th. At 4:00 in the afternoon, Forrest woke up from a nap and was unable to use his back legs. He would stumble, walk like he was drunk, shake like crazy, and eventually just fall over from his legs not being able to support him. He wasn't able to walk well or play, and he had a difficult time standing up from a sit or down, but otherwise he was acting okay. He was still eating and drinking like he normally did. I called the vet and made an appointment for the next day.
Over the course of the next 20 hours before his vet appointment, Forrest only got worse. It got to the point where he was clearly in pain, he was panting non-stop, and he didn't even want to go to the bathroom. At the vet appointment, we did full x-rays, and everything looked perfect except for possible slight hip dysplasia on his right side. I got a second opinion on that, and it was decided that he looks good, no dysplasia. His spine looked good, his knees looked great, they checked his muscles for a tear, nothing. We went home with no answers.
Two days after his vet appointment, Forrest's symptoms went away completely. He was totally back to his old self again. That lasted for two weeks, and then his back legs gave out again. We went back to the vet to get blood work and a tick panel done. Everything came back normal for the regular blood work and negative for the tick panel. Now Forrest has an appointment with a neurologist on Thursday.
(continuing on another post, since this is getting long)