German Shepherd Dog Forums - Reply to Topic
Thread: Sudden aggression and other issues... is he sick? Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

  Topic Review (Newest First)
02-01-2014 01:16 AM
Harry and Lola Sudden aggression or even a change in temperament such as gradual aggression can often be because of a medical issue as opposed to behavioural. My male has EPI and he has imo become fear aggressive, his change in behaviour is due to EPI. Have you considered checking his B12 levels, sometimes dogs with low B12 can become reactive, lethargic and become almost nasty.
01-31-2014 10:24 PM
More Ball! says Jake Jake's thyroid levels are now within normal range as he takes medication for it. Unfortunately his "aggression" issues are related to fear reactivity not a result of low thyroid levels. He was also experiencing GI problems so we had him tested for EPI at the same time we had his thyroid levels tested. He doesn't have EPI but his folate levels were low. We now have him on a probiotic and it has helped with his loose stools. It can be very hard sometimes to pinpoint the underlying problem but I hope you can find some answers soon. And if you haven't already done it you might look into applying for Care Credit to help with expenses.
01-31-2014 07:10 PM
Heidigsd ShepherdFan: I just thought of something else you could try. Does your vet or any vet in the area offer to do the rabies quarantine? I know some vet hospitals here do. I can't stand the thought of him sitting at animal control with possible EPI.

If they don't agree that he can finish the quarantine at your house, at least if he could finish it at an animal hospital they could start the testing also? Not sure if this is possible since I never had to deal with this. Maybe some of the vet techs on this board will see this and have some advise.
01-31-2014 06:10 PM
EDIT: looks like Heidigsd just beat me to it. Great minds think alike, eh?

You might ask specifically if any members with EPI dogs had experienced aggression issues before diagnosis.
I did experience it with Nikki about two weeks before the EPI symptoms started And the second time she got nasty with a dog she had always played with and never an issue, that's when I knew to check her B12 levels and she was deficient again. Since then she is getting her B12 weekly.

When Nikki had her recent anal gland surgery, the technician taking care off her actually had EPI. We talked a little bit and she said it was very painful until she was diagnosed and started treatment.
01-31-2014 05:25 PM
_Zero_ If finances are tight and you need to prioritize, I'd recommend checking for EPI and thyroid issues first.

A lot of his symptoms sound like EPI, and since he's seemingly gotten worse over his lifetime, EPI would likely be degenerative in his case, and the loss of pancreatic tissue can be very painful. At the very least it sounds like he may have a case of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). The coloration, the smell, and the "fluffy" texture, as well as the ravenous huger and weight loss are all indicative of EPI. The website Heidigsd linked to earlier with B12 information (Overview - EPI * Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) is the absolute best resource on the web for EPI information. They have a wonderfully supportive community on their forum and you might consider signing up for an account there and asking for advice from their members. You might ask specifically if any members with EPI dogs had experienced aggression issues before diagnosis.

Thyroid issues can cause aggression and problems with weight. Make sure you get the full thyroid panel (i.e. T3, T4, and TSH) if you do have him tested.

So, to recap, I'd suggested having him tested for EPI first, then thyroid, and then go from there if you still haven't found answers. The EPI bloodwork must be drawn after at least a 12 hour fast, or results might be inconclusive, so keep that in mind when you take him in.

Keep us updated, please!

EDIT: looks like Heidigsd just beat me to it. Great minds think alike, eh?
01-31-2014 05:14 PM
Heidigsd I totally missed that he poops 8 times a day...good catch Zero

I would have him tested for EPI & Cobalamin/Folate first and go from there. That would certainly explain why he is acting up, he isn't feeling well and starving

Serum Trypsin-Like Immunoreactivity (TLI) - Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Serum Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) and Folate - Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Why don't you post his story over on epi4dogs. Lots of good info and knowledgeable members. Forum - EPI * Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

Can you talk to your vet and see if you can finish his quarantine at home? He is obviously not well and being quarantined isn't helping matters. I don't know how you feel about this but I would look for another vet that is more knowledgeable, it's up to you of course.

If he does have EPI you can get the enzymes he needs from Diane much cheaper then at the vets. Enzyme Diane -

Let us know what you find out!
01-31-2014 05:14 PM
NancyJ Shepherdfan - gotta run right now but it may help people read future posts if you put some breaks to have white space in between paragraphs

Like this.
01-31-2014 05:05 PM
wyoung2153 As for your finances.. is there a care plan the vet can work with you on? Most vets will help you out especially if you have been going there for some time. Definitely good on the tests.

I'm so sorry you are dealing with that though.. it is NOT fun at all. Please keep us updated. Also consider the food allergy test.. not that it would be the cause of the aggression, but at least my help figuring out other health issues he is having which may eliminate a good amount of things too.

hope to hear good updates soon!
01-31-2014 04:42 PM
ShepherdFan Thanks so much for the replies, everyone. My biggest fear is that he is going to continue to get worse and end up in the same boat as my last poor GSD... so dangerous he was attacking shadows, growling at his own feet, etc Granted I adopted the last dog as an adult from the dog pound, he was absolutely petrified of everything, etc. But about 2 years after I adopted him... he just freaked out. Pretty much overnight. Vet said he believed fully it was some sort of neurological issue (he'd "zone" out, drool, etc)... I am hoping this is not my guy's problem.
Jocoyn, sometimes I wonder, too. But he seems happy, loves to fetch and practice obedience (all positive in this house. He thrives on working for a ball or treat.) and I have to do routine body/mouth checks often because he will keep going even when he is hurt (He got snagged on a barb wire fence once... was running and playing and I didn't even notice until he came in and I saw bloody paw prints) that was another trip to the E-vet. Anyway, I digress. I wonder if now that he is "middle aged" all of the infections, etc. are just overwhelming him
MadLab, I could totally see that. He is always on antibiotics, steroids for itching, heart worm prevention, flea treatment more than most dogs, etc. I should have said that he does get lots of exercise. We live in the middle of nowhere on acreage where he swims in the creek, gets to run flat out, fetch until his hearts content, take his bones and bury them up the hill, and until recently he loves to run beside me while I dirtbike. I had an accident that left me unable to ride, so we can't do that anymore. Scent work is an excellent idea, I think he'd really excell at that. He is a focused, smart boy... probably the job for him.
Wyoung2153, he had a full blood panel about 2 years ago. When he was anesthetized for his gastric lavage, his heart went haywire and they recommended bever having him put under again. I really wanted him neutered as a roaming dog will get shot in my beck of the woods, so consulted with my current vet about if and how we could do it. Everything was within normal ranges at that time. Hedid end up neutering him just fine. It's been quite some time, he needs another panel for sure. We haven't done an allergy panel, vet just recommended benadryl and high quality feed. I had always been told that 2.5 years is about when they are "cooked" in personality and it is abnormal to see personality changes around 4-5... it happens again when they become seniors and may be feeling achy. I hope Titan makes a full turn around!
Momto2GSDs, he had his rabies shot in late november/almost december. This does sound possible. About a week before he bit, he actually eliminated on the floor in the house. He hasn't done that in years. I thought it must have been something he ate even though it wasn't diarrhea, cleaned it, and thought nothing else of it.
Blanketback, thank you. Oh he's not going anywhere until he is straightened out, that's for sure!
HeidiGSD and Zero, EPI sounds JUST like him!!! His stool is a bit firmer now, but for the first coupe years of his life it was always diarrhea. My vet mentioned he may be lacking an enzyme, but it wasn't worth testing for because while he was very thin, he wasn't so thin it was a major concern. He suggested high quality feed with supplements of fish oil, blanched eggs, etc... that's just kind of been what we've done. His feces are very "fluffy" now, if that makes sense. Soft, not wrinkly, and when I go to pick it up with a bag it smushes down into the grass and is too wet to handle. They always have a yellow coloration, and yes, they smell like death :X
I think EPI may be the culprit. Thank you THANK YOU! He has gotten increasingly ravenous as he ages. When he was a pup, he was difficult to coax into eating. I had to cut his kibble with mackerel. Now, he will eat- and eat, and EAT. Several months ago I gave him his supper, and went to bed. Sometime in the night he jumped up onto the counter, got a brand new bag of treats (six lbs!) and ate every last one. Luckily my vet and I induced vomiting (because he has gone into bloat before, we wanted it out!) and he was fine. But that's the appetite he has now... if it isn't on top of the fridge, he WILL find it and he WILL eat it.
I purchased him at 8 weeks old from a good source. I did all my homework on getting a pup from OFA tested stock... He was not what you'd call an inexpensive puppy, and I chose to go this route because of the terrible results with my rescue boy. I just feel at a loss. All I want is for him to feel better and stop lashing out.
Okay, so tests we need done- cobalamin and folate levels, cTLI, complete thyroid, Lyme disease.
The biggest obstacle here is that my finances are finite. The accident I previously mentioned wiped out my savings. All of it. Like I said I got a loan to diagnose as much as I can for him, but something like an MRI is sadly out of the question It makes me feel even worse that I have to be prudent with $$... like I am putting a price on what he's worth to me and I will only go that high or something. It feels awful to not be able to say money is no object. But I don't have what I don't have.
Moreball!Says jake, I was thinking that too. I was reading about Dr. Dodds and it seems to make sense that levels differ for breeds, sexes, etc. I'm glad to talk to someone who has sent the test there. Did he have improvement?
01-31-2014 04:07 PM
More Ball! says Jake I agree that you should have some tests done to see if there is some type of underlying GI issue or urinary tract issue. I would also recommend that you have your vet send his blood off to Hemopet for testing for possible thyroid issues. They have developed specific breed values and it does make a difference. Our Jake is borderline hypothyroid - something we would never have known if we hadn't sent his blood off to Hemopet. Thyroid problems can cause aggression. If you have his blood sent to Hemopet - be sure to include any other test results available. Good luck - we hope you find some answers.
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome