Getting Frustrated - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 84 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Getting Frustrated

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)
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post #2 of 84 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Forrest is not at all normal for an 8 month old German shepherd puppy. He has no energy, no food drive, and no desire to go for walks. I can literally take him for a 10 minute walk, and he’ll sleep for hours. I’m nervous to even take him around the block though, because I don’t want his legs to give out. He can go an entire day without showing any interest in his food, even if I add yogurt to make it more enticing, and he is usually obsessed with yogurt.

His newest thing, which has me pretty worried, is a sudden and very intense fear of people. He has always been a “people dog”; I think he takes after our Golden. He was well socialized with people, and he couldn’t be happier to say “hello” to someone. He was never fearful, suspicious, hesitant, or anything but excited to see someone coming toward him. That is not the case anymore.

It started out a few weeks ago when we were heading back from a walk. He was heeling on my right side when a woman walked past on the sidewalk. Usually he ignores people who ignore him, or if I tell him to “leave it”, but this time he freaked out. His fur went straight up all the way down his back, he barked, then took off running away from the woman. She didn’t so much as look at him. I have no idea what happened. That is how it has been ever since.

I am very frustrated because I feel like this many problems with one dog is not normal. I have owned purebred dogs before, and never had even half of these problems. Do I seem like I’ve gotten unlucky with this, or is this more normal than I thought? I’m concerned that a dog that is this unhealthy as a puppy is a sign that the dog will be unhealthy for the rest of his life. I had an emergency vet fund of $1,000 when I first brought Forrest home, and I have already spent all of it on unexpected vet bills. He hasn’t even seen the neurologist or gotten treatment for the problem with his back legs, so obviously I will be spending quite a bit more on him. I’m not sure I can financially or physically (I’m disabled) take care of a dog that is this sick, and I am worried that I will have to return him to his breeder.

Do you guys have any thoughts or input? I'm not sure what to think anymore, because this is most definitely not what I expected when bringing home a puppy.
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post #3 of 84 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 02:16 PM
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All of the major issues sound neurological. This is not normal at all. My healthy 6.5 month old pup has been to the vet once for her rabies vaccination, I do her other vaccines at home. She is healthy, bright eyed, friendly, sweet, energetic, into everything and eager to play. This is how it should be!

I hope you can get some answers at the neurologist. None of this sounds normal to me.

Does the breeder have any insight?

How are his littermates doing?


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post #4 of 84 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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That is another problem, Muskeg. When I first contacted the breeder before getting the puppy, I had done the research and loved her dogs and her reason for breeding. Her dogs were exactly what I was looking for, and I read a lot of good things about the breeder. I did see some negative reviews from four years ago, but I figured that all breeders were bound to have SOME negative reviews. Anyway, I contacted her, she responded immediately, we spoke for a few hours on the phone, I went and met her dogs, I asked a ton of questions, she seemed great.

Well, ever since bringing Forrest home, she has not been so great. It is now hard to get ahold of her. I've emailed her multiple times asking about his brother, if she has any ideas, etc. I only got one response that said, "Please keep me updated." Calling her phone has never worked, so we have always spoken over email, except for scheduled phone calls. Calling without a scheduled time never works. Basically, I don't know how his brother is doing, and I'm almost expecting no support from her, which is another frustrating thing because I thought I had done the research and everything seemed good originally.
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post #5 of 84 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 02:47 PM
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You are right, that this is very abnormal for a pup. He has many issues. Returning him to that breeder I think is not the best way to go. She may put him down or sell him again as she seems to be unsupportive of you and thus doesn't care about the pups she has brought into the world. You need a good diagnoses and go from there. Keep us updated about the visit to the neurologist. Do you have a contract with the breeder?
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post #6 of 84 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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I do have a contract with the breeder. He has a 2 year health guarantee, though his health problem has to be genetic. If he develops any genetic problem before or at 2 years of age (like bad hips or elbows), she will give me a replacement puppy. I don't think that this neurological problem is genetic, but I honestly wouldn't know. Are there any problems like this that are genetic?

Something that concerns me when I spoke to my vet about the neurologist was that they would most likely have to do an MRI to figure out what the problem is. I asked, and it will be about $2,500 just for MRI. I definitely don't have that kind of money, and that isn't even considering the cost of whatever treatment he might need. As bad as it sounds, I could buy a whole new dog for the price of just the test. I feel like I'm completely stuck right now, and he is not getting the quality of life that he deserves.
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post #7 of 84 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 03:04 PM
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First, I am so very sorry for what you are going through.. Absolutely horrible... Here is a thought.. Try a chiropractor.. I know it may not be a first line of thought for most and it definitely is not the cure all for everything, however, sudden loss of back legs with pain could be compression on a nerve.. Believe it or not, but skin problems can be also related if blood flow is hampered, immunity response as well.. Behavioral changes, if he is in pain or feels bad couple exasperated.. He is still growing and his exposure to life could be tainted by pain and ill health.. A chiropractor is also much cheaper then an MRI and neurologist.. Not that I am saying to throw that idea out;not at all... Just maybe try the chiropractor before the neurologist and MRI.. It may be a solution..

I had a young male who suddenly became lame, it wasn't pano and he was wobbly on his hind end.. X-rays and vet visits said he had a vertebrae pressing on his spinal column and needed surgery to fuse it or he might die due to paralyziation... $6,000! I took the x-rays to my chiropractor who does animals as well... 3 adjustments and he was perfectly sound.. He also had flaky skin with red rashes at times.. Totally disappeared.. So, yeah, it can happen..
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post #8 of 84 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 03:20 PM
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Sometimes a puppy just gets a bad deal genetically, even from a good breeder. I would be very curious about this pup's sibling.

The question with an MRI, or any advanced veterinary procedure, that I always ask, is could you afford to do whatever treatment the vet would recommend, depending on what the MRI shows, and even more important, would the eventual outcome for the dog be very different if you did and didn't do an MRI?

What about physical therapy, or treating medically for now?

Collapsing on the back legs, for a young pup- very serious. I don't know how it could be anything not serious, could be tick illness but if he's tested negative. Might be worth a course of doxy just to see, before you would throw a lot of money into an MRI.

I'm assuming he's up to date on all shots?


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post #9 of 84 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Pytheis View Post
Something that concerns me when I spoke to my vet about the neurologist was that they would most likely have to do an MRI to figure out what the problem is. I asked, and it will be about $2,500 just for MRI. I definitely don't have that kind of money, and that isn't even considering the cost of whatever treatment he might need. As bad as it sounds, I could buy a whole new dog for the price of just the test. I feel like I'm completely stuck right now, and he is not getting the quality of life that he deserves.
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post #10 of 84 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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I have thought about physical therapy, chiropractors, and even acupuncture, as someone on one of my previous threads on this topic suggested. I was hoping that it would be something I could treat with medication and diligence, as I thought it would be easier in general, but now I am at the point where I will be seriously looking into those options if the neurologist can only do so much. The exam from the Neurologist will be $155, so I figured I may as well go see what they say. If they say MRI, I'll probably look for a chiropractor next.

I just don't have the money to continually be taking him to the vet constantly. Do you guys think that I will likely have problems with him for the rest of his life, based on everything he has been through already? I know I won't be able to provide that kind of home for him, and it may be best for him, as well as me, to say goodbye now. I'm not saying that I just want to dump him at the first sign of trouble; I just have to think about the future and be honest about what I can and can't provide.

Also, he is up to date on all shots.
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