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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

Posting here because I am at my wits end on how else to go about this. I have 2 shepherds, brother and sister, both just turned 3 years old recently. Sorry for the long post but trying to be detailed.

A month or so ago, our male German shepherd started having really bad night time anxiety. They sleep with us in our bedroom. It got REALLY bad quickly with him pacing, and panting and barking, and I had to sleep with him downstairs for a whole week. While he was doing this I noticed he kept signaling (with his nose) towards his back end. This became the sign to us he was having anxiety. (Essentially just him looking back in a standing position at his rear end). He does not seem to be in pain, but I cant help but think something else is going on back there because he keeps pointing to it.

We took him to the vet who did an entire physicals, blood work, fecal work, urine work, but ultimately found nothing and prescribed xanax, and gabapentin. The xanax worked well and we were able to sleep again, but we weened him off, and the problem seems to be back or coming back. Usually around night time, we seem him notion towards his backside, and he has been waking us up in the early hours of the morning with anxiety.

Before this they used to sleep through the night with no issue until morning (they have beds built next to our bed). The vets next step was to put him on a long term anxiety med (prozac) and give that a few months to kick in. I cant help but think the looking back is signaling something wrong, but I am out of guesses. I am wondering if anyone has seen their shep do something similar and how they solved it.

Something we tried so far:

  • Taking him to the vet for full checkout, bloodwork, urine work, fecal work
  • Going back to old food (Merrick Dry food, with a can of wet food mixed)
    • (At the time we had just switched foods, not on purpose but based on avaliability)
  • Xanax, Gabapentin
    • The doc prescribed this 3x a day (2mg) for the first week, which def helped, but he wasnt himself. She was hoping it would break the cycle. Now we only give him 1 tab (2mg) when he cant sleep. But the gesturing is still present.
  • Googling anyone who has seen this behavior before (the looking back combined with restless nights, but so far found nothing)

I caught him on video doing the loopback and attached a screenshot below.

Screenshot_20210302-140021_Photos.jpg
 

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I've never seen this issue before. The first thing that came to mind was a problem with his anal glands.I'm assuming the vet checked to make sure they weren't compacted?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Correct that was the first thing she checked. (No scooting occuring either)

It may be worth noting some additional information.

  • No lack of energy or playing
  • Doesnt seem to be in pain, just starts looking back
  • Has some bad gas more recently
    • Not sure if this is connected but it might be
  • Hes not chewing on himself or licking himself so I dont know exactly what is hurting or bothering him

I am thinking possible stomach issues? And maybe its associated with the bad gas?
But I dont know how to solve that.

Thanks
 

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Honestly I would take him to another vet or keep pushing this one.especially if this is something he has never done before in 3yrs.
So they did an exam and blood-work etc. But there are other things...pulled muscle/slipped disc/pinched nerve/hips...
Gabepentin is usually for nerve pain...did the vet have any "educated guesses" ?
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We had two vets look at him (albeit from the same place). The best ending guess was just hes an "anxious dog" which I dont really buy to be honest.
Its 815Am right now and hes next to me (he has become somewhat of a velcro dog) and hes going the thing right now where hes looking back at his rear, but isnt necessarily exhibiting the full on anxiety we see at night trying to sleep, or when hes trying to jump into our laps scared.

Whatever it is its still there, but he only gets really worried about it sometimes. Again, doesnt seem like physical pain or anything, (often outside running full speed and playing with his sister) No limping etc.

We havent tried JUST the gabapentin on its own, we might try that and see what happens before going with the prozac.
 

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The gas could be a symptom of a food allergy. He's feeling bloated and uncomfortable? Think about transitioning him to a limited ingredient food.Whatever the main protein in the current food is,eliminate it and go with something different. Rabbit, lamb,salmon,etc.It's worth a try.
 
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Did they express his glands to check for infection? Looking at the hind end is something that my dog does and did. He had ongoing AG infections for 6 months that was a bear to resolve. Eventually, changing to a raw + base mix diet helped him, along with 3 different antibiotics/meds. Now, I am unsure that his glands work completely as intended because the vet expressed them bi-weekly for 6 months.

I don't really know how that relates to his behavior. If it is a contributing factor, then I know that it can be painfully uncomfortable and that could make him anxious.
 

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hes going the thing right now where hes looking back at his rear, but isnt necessarily exhibiting the full on anxiety we see at night trying to sleep, or when hes trying to jump into our laps scared.
Maybe @dogma13 is onto something. Gas cramps could come and go. How are his poops ? Is his tummy rumbling a lot ? It does sound like maybe some kind of pain/discomfort that comes and goes and makes it hard to settle for sleep.
At the end of the day we are all just guessing but I love how everyone on this forum genuinely cares and tries to put our collective heads together to try to help :)
 
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If it is gas, this won't address the long term, but our vet told us the dogs can take Gas X (they all had a bug once that gave them bad gas) and when we gave it, it worked great. You could check with your vet about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for your replies.

We have been feeding pretty much since they were born Merrick branded dry food. Eventually we started mixing in 1 can of some kindy of low end wet food (like a gravy thing) to make it more appetizing.

I do switch back and forth between the color bags (different ingredients) so I will stick to a single bag and see if that helps at all). I will also ask about the Gas X.
The stomach problem makes the most sense to me rationally, as he is not an anxious dog, but only when he starts to "feel it"
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Also, the glands were expressed by the vet and said they were fine. He had a full body check up and nothing came of it.
 

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The vet checked for heartworms and he was clear, and no yogurt in the diet
I had a crazy experience with a tape worm. Not sure how detectable it is with such a large sample stool. I would ask vet or deworm yourself as a precaution. Check poop if you find anything stringy can be hook worms and then deworm again the following week. If you do not find anything you only have to do that once. Vetco does for 25 dollars. Just a oral liquid or chew.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I had a crazy experience with a tape worm. Not sure how detectable it is with such a large sample stool. I would ask vet or deworm yourself as a precaution. Check poop if you find anything stringy can be hook worms and then deworm again the following week. If you do not find anything you only have to do that once. Vetco does for 25 dollars. Just a oral liquid or chew.
Thanks I will check his stool just to be sure
 

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The vet checked for heartworms and he was clear, and no yogurt in the diet
I had a crazy experience with a tape worm. Not sure how detectable it is with such a large sample stool. I would ask vet or deworm yourself as a precaution. Check poop if you find anything stringy can be hook worms and then deworm again the following week. If you do not find anything you only have to do that once. Vetco does for 25 dollars. Just a oral li
I had a crazy experience with a tape worm. Not sure how detectable it is with such a large sample stool. I would ask vet or deworm yourself as a precaution. Check poop if you find anything stringy can be hook worms and then deworm again the following week. If you do not find anything you only have to do that once. Vetco does for 25 dollars. Just a oral liquid or chew.
natural ways are pumpkin seeds and carrots but I have never tried. I have given watered down chamomile which does help with gas and upset tummy.
Thanks I will check his stool just to be sure
the crazy thing for me was, I never saw anything concerning prior to annual deworming. No symptoms and nothing visible in the rear. 8” tape worm suddenly comes out 48 hours after deworming.
 
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