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Discussion Starter #1
Ok. So I've been looking into getting a german shepherd puppy for months, doing my research, deciding on lines, breeders, etc. But on my last day of work at the SPCA (I've worked there for three years), ten minutes before we close up, someone surrendered a four month old female gsd puppy because of the landlord. Ofcourse I fell in love and my current dog, a five year old australian shepherd adores her as well, so now I have my first shepherd pup.

Health problems. Maybe I'm just over paranoid but I cant help but worry about HD, ED, and epilepsy. At what age can I get her X-rayed to tell how genetics has put her together? Will they be accurate? I've got access to the records that would give me the previous owners info, but she didn't surrender her with papers so I'm going to call tomorrow morning and see if she has any. Would be very interested to see if parents were OFA'd or even what lines she carries. Any suggestions? Anyone ever been in this situation? I go to school in upstate NY and make enough money to support vet bills and regular dog stuff, but 1,200$ surgery to correct each bad hip is a little out of reach for me, being on a budget and all.

PS. I've named her Adila (a-DEE-la)
 

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Congratulations on your new pup!!

For OFA purposes you can have prelims done at 4 months, but the older they are when they're done the more accurate they are for rating.

I had Dante prelimed at 14 months when he was neutered, "Good". 10 months later at 24 months his final OFA was Excellent.

What would you do if you found out she did have HD or ED? If your answer isn't "give her back" or "find her a new home" my advice would be to feed her well, exercise her appropriately, watch for any thing "off" (which we all do with our dogs anyway) try not to worry and have her x-rayed at a year.

 

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Congratulations on Adila, what a pretty name!! And welcome to the board


Just think, you may be lucky and end up with a great dog, with no health problems. (We can hope
).

I think genetics do play a role, but I think more important is the vaccine schedule and diet, overall. I think that you can avoid some disease triggers with those two.

Many of us use glucosamine/chondroitin products as preventatives, or at least to slow any progression of arthritis. In fact,we got our boy at almost 2 years old and I immediately put him on G&C. I have yet to xray him, but will if I see signs, he's 7 now.

I almost think that back problems are as common as hip problems (just an observation from being on the board), and digestive problems seem to be much more common than things like epilepsy. It's thought that GSDs are more prone to certain tick diseases if exposed.
 

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Agree with Barb....save your money, hope you never need it.
She's your's now, regardless.

The vet will either be glad to take your money, or if he/she's worth
a darn will tell you the same thing.

Note her weight. If she isn't too thin, double it, that's roughly what her adult weight will be. Feel ribs is good, just lean. See ribs is thin.

Having papers and knowing lines are nice, but it's more important to bond and train her to be easy to live with at this point in time. What would be really useful is to know what shots were already given...don't overdue those needlessly.

Thanks for saving her. Hope she becomes all you hoped for.
 

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Congradulations on your new pup. I wish you all the best of luck with her.

I have a female that I rescued at 6 months old. Know absolutely nothing about her life before she was found living on the streets. Turned out to be the healthiest and most loyal of the six GSDs I've had (well, 7 GSDs but Otto is only 12 weeks old)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, I already know if she did end up with HD or whatever, if I don't take any action and I'm her owner, someone else who barely even knows her isn't going to take on that burden. Whatever she has, shes mine now, like it or not. I am willing to take full responsibility for whatever lies ahead. Just saying it would be a huge financial burden.

She is definitely on the thinner side, so she needs to put on some weight for sure. Going with Wellness large breed puppy food. Anyone had any experience with it? I feed Wellness Core to my aussie.

As far as any joint or dietery supplement advice. Has anyone used any??
 

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Quote:If your answer isn't "give her back" or "find her a new home" my advice would be to feed her well, exercise her appropriately, watch for any thing "off" (which we all do with our dogs anyway) try not to worry
This is my feeling too. Unless you would like the option to do one of the early preventative/corrective surgeries for hip dysplasia (JPS and TPO surgeries must be done when the dog is young) then I wouldn't worry about x-raying her until and unless she shows problems. Some dysplastic dogs never show symptoms. Joint supplements, quality food, and a gradual excercise program that doesn't overtax her joints are all (relatively) inexpensive and will hopefully take you a long way.

Also, keep in mind that HD is not a death sentence nor necessarily requires surgery, although I think it's great that you're thinking ahead. There are quite a few dogs on this board with HD who have never had surgery and live quite active and full lives (BowWowMeow's Rafi springs to mind).
 

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I'm on the skip the puppy food side. Haven't fed it to any dog four months or over, and the last two have never had puppy food. I gave glucosamin/chon for a while, then got a food with it added, but don't really know how much it helped. To me over supplementation is just as bad.
 

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I too don't feed puppy food. I think it just encourages growth that tends to occur more quickly than nature intended.

HD/ED is largely genetic. But there is a lot we can do to affect that (just like many human diseases are genetic but we can modify their effects, whether we get them at all, by our life styles). As the others have mentioned, diet is key. Don't allow your dog to grow too fast or get overweight. Maintaining a healthy weight is probably the most important thing we can do for our dogs to keep them healthy throughout their whole lives.

Regular active exercise that is age-appropriate. For a puppy, that means no jumping and no running on hard surfaces. Now, having said that, I realize that of course, puppies are going to jump some. But do everything you can to limit that.

For example, If you have an outdoors deck that's 3-4 feet off the ground, don't let pup jump off it. Build a simple ramp and train her to use the ramp. Put x-pen panels around the edges so she has to use the steps and/or ramp. Puppies, like kids, tend to think they're indestructible. And they often seem that way. But we don't see the "destruction" when they're 8 months old, but when they're 8 years old.

No frisbee or other games that encourage jumping; no jogging on the road or sidewalk. When your pup is tired while playing or on a walk, then stop. She's tired. Don't "encourage" your pup to do anything that's active. Puppies will do ANYTHING to keep up with their owners. You don't want to overdo it. Encouragement should be used for mental activities like training. But puppies get to say when the physical activity is over. So don't plan to take any longish hikes, or you may be carrying her back to the trailhead. You'll know when she's built up enough stamina. But she sets the pace, not you with your 25+ inch legs!

On the other hand, you do want to have plenty of activity. And a variety of activity. Walks, bouncing playing games on soft grass (baseball outfields at the local park are usually perfect for this), swimming, etc. Ideally, more short periods of activity to start out with. In no time, she'll be running circles around you. If her joints are genetically predisposed toward weakness, she'll be building up strong bones, muscles and soft tissue that will be able to support those weak joints and should be able to lead a normal life. If they're predisposed toward normalcy (or better), you'll have one fiery active dog that you won't be able to stop!


We get one chance to shape how our dogs' bodies grow. It's a big responsibility. But I think it's exciting too. Yeah, a lot of it is genetics. But we get to have some input. Being able to ensure that your dog is healthy and strong is really pretty cool, when you think about it.
 

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Hi--

Welcome and congratulations! I know exactly how it feels to be in your shoes because the only dog I got with papers (as in registration papers and pedigree) had been terribly abused and neglected. All of the others have been mysteries. If it makes you feel any better, many people who have purchased well researched dogs with good lines have still ended up having expensive health problems.

My first gsd (adopted at 10 wks from an animal shelter) did get diagnosed with HD and I dealt with it as it progressed, along with all of her other health problems. She lived to be almost 12 and enjoyed hiking, backpacking and cross country skiing with me, among other outdoor activities.

My most recent rescue has hip and elbow issues as well (Rafi, mentioned above). I have no information about his background other than the obvious which is that he was severely malnourished as a puppy. After 7 months with me and good food, lots of appropriate exercise and supplements he is doing so well that no one can tell he has problems!

My advice is exactly like everyone else's advice. Put her on excellent quality food (and Orijen large breed puppy does have the correct ratios for a puppy so that's what I would recommend), supplement with fresh foods, including raw, whenever possible and go ahead and put her on a good joint supplement as a preventative. I disagree with the previous poster who voted against supplementing. I think it's very important for large breed dogs.

And just so you know, there are quite a few of us on here who are on really tight budgets because our money is all going into our animals!


If you are close to the Buffalo/Rochester area, we are going to put together a meet up in the fall and we'd love to have you join us!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks so much for the info everyone. I really appreciate the opinions and suggestions.

Ruth- I live in Buffalo during the summer with my family but go to school in Oswego. Would love to maybe meet n' greet. Keep me posted.
 
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