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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! I saw a few posts about concerns about hind legs and puppy gait. It's my understanding that German Shepherds can look a little crazy as they mature. I worry because my 11.5 week old puppy sometimes seems like she's limping or stiff, and other times seems fine. There have been no pain symptoms. Sometimes her back legs seem weak. Sometimes it seems like they are slightly turned in. Her next checkup is on May 1st. I'm including some videos that I'll upload in separate posts as I saw those were requested a few times. I tried to get a mix of her running and walking.
 

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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this very cute pup looks very lame to me. Her left hind leg seems to collapse when she's trying to use it, almost as though it's dislocated. Has she had any injuries lately?

If she were mine, she would be heading for the vet as soon as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Something is going on. Whether it is genetics, and injury, or something else, the vet will have to say. Did you get her from a breeder? Or rescue?
From a breeder we'd previously been happy with. We have her 2 year old aunt (same grandsire; out of a half sister) who is absolutely amazing in disposition and development. We have a vet appointment in an hour and a half, and I left the breeder a message.
 

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Those videos reminded me of my 8 month old puppy. Doesn't look good.

Here are some videos of my boy:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We just got home from the vet. They were closing, so I don't have the write up of the technical terms, but after x-rays, she has shallow hip sockets, with the left being worse, and her knee caps are slipping, also with the left being worse. She has some muscle atrophy because she's been overcompensating on her right. We're going to do pain medication to see if that helps her balance out; they said it's possible muscle tone will straighten out her kneecaps, but she'll probably need surgery. It sounds like hips will be a problem at some point, but she's too young for them to know how badly. The breeder has already offered a replacement puppy pending their own vet's review, and I know it's a costly choice, but I don't think we'd have it in us. So we're going to do meds for a week, consult with an ortho specialist, follow up with our vet on her next shot date in 2 weeks, and go from there.
 

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I understand you have bonded with her but I think you are in for much more heartache over the life span of this dog than when you return her now. Not even thinking about the costs. And I guess that insurance will not take her on. I doubt that the breeder didn't know this.
 

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@Pytheis what was the verdict on your pup's gait?
He was put to sleep two days after that last video was taken. He was 8 months old, and he just stopped being able to get up altogether, he stopped eating or drinking, and he had no interest in playing, which was weird for him. The neurologist I took him to was unable to come up with a diagnosis, but he said that Forrest would never get better, even if it was possible to do surgery. He got too sick too quickly, so I was unable to do any more tests anyway. :/

Here is Forrest's thread when I was going through it: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/health-issues/698305-getting-frustrated.html

I am glad you have a diagnosis, OP! Hips are usually manageable, especially after surgery (if possible. It can be very expensive). The breeder for my puppy offered a replacement pup without having to return the old pup. Does your breeder offer something similar? Could you afford to have two dogs?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
He was put to sleep two days after that last video was taken. He was 8 months old, and he just stopped being able to get up altogether, he stopped eating or drinking, and he had no interest in playing, which was weird for him. The neurologist I took him to was unable to come up with a diagnosis, but he said that Forrest would never get better, even if it was possible to do surgery. He got too sick too quickly, so I was unable to do any more tests anyway. :/

Here is Forrest's thread when I was going through it: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/health-issues/698305-getting-frustrated.html

I am glad you have a diagnosis, OP! Hips are usually manageable, especially after surgery (if possible. It can be very expensive). The breeder for my puppy offered a replacement pup without having to return the old pup. Does your breeder offer something similar? Could you afford to have two dogs?
I understand you have bonded with her but I think you are in for much more heartache over the life span of this dog than when you return her now. Not even thinking about the costs. And I guess that insurance will not take her on. I doubt that the breeder didn't know this.
It's complicated. I know it's only been a few weeks, but we lost out 14 year old Cairn in November. Our 2 year old GSD took it hard, and the puppy finally has her perking up. She won't leave her side. On top of grief, I work as a child counselor for survivors of sexual abuse. I started a new job a few days after we brought Gracie home. We thought it would be good for new clients to bond with her, so she's been introduced to a full caseload of vulnerable kids.
 

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It's complicated. I know it's only been a few weeks, but we lost out 14 year old Cairn in November. Our 2 year old GSD took it hard, and the puppy finally has her perking up. She won't leave her side. On top of grief, I work as a child counselor for survivors of sexual abuse. I started a new job a few days after we brought Gracie home. We thought it would be good for new clients to bond with her, so she's been introduced to a full caseload of vulnerable kids.
That does make it really difficult. I'm very sorry that you're going through this. Would the breeder be willing to help with the vet bills instead?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That does make it really difficult. I'm very sorry that you're going through this. Would the breeder be willing to help with the vet bills instead?
No. The contract is for replacement, and when we spoke on the phone, they were very clear about the replacement offer and nothing else.

I just wish I could wave a wand, spend the money, and know she'll have a happy, healthy life. Losing Betty last fall to kidney issues was long and exhausting. I feel like it's a lose-lose.

Thank you everyone for your replies. It was why I got her to the vet right away.
 

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Thank you for letting us know what the vet found. I'm hoping that it isn't so serious as it seems, and that the pain medication and time and strength will help.

Please keep us informed and know that positive thoughts for a good outcome are coming your way.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thought I would post an update. Gracie was put on a liquid, oral, non steroidal pain med for 10 days, and today she went to the ortho. We did not think the meds did much. The ortho said he and another ortho were not concerned about the hips in x-rays, and given her age (now 12.5 weeks), he said we'll keep an eye on it. He did say the knee issues are rare in both her breed and age range. Her right knee was not manipulated as easily. I don't know if that's a difference between vets, or that the meds did more than we thought and helped her with some stability. We had kept her inactive this morning so her knee was in during her walking/playing. Her left knee is definitely a problem. Our vet and the tech rated it a level 2, but the ortho rated is a level one. He said it can pop into place and stay there, and that she does have a groove. He said there's a 50/50 chance that she'll need surgery because it's so hard to predict with her breed and age and that it can increase in level over time. So in the meantime, he said there is a chance we can avoid lameness and surgery if we keep her on straight line leash activity only (i.e. walks), no running, no wrestling with our older dog, continuing medication until it seems like she's improving and then weaning her off to as needed so she doesn't over do it, showed us how to move her kneecap back in (eesh), we got rid of the steps for the couch we thought were helping, my husband is building a ramp on our front porch as we type this, and if she does well developmentally, we can start her swimming in our lake in a few months. Inside he wants her crated or in her pen when unsupervised, which she is already. Initially he wanted the dogs around one another only through kennels, but our house is only 700 sq ft, so that's not a possibility - we are going to have to be very vigilant about their playing. He thinks social puppy classes will be ok, but we'll see him before she's set to start. Follow up is in two weeks, and we'll monitor closely afterwards. This felt SO much better than the initial visit. I know that things can change drastically with age, size, and breed, but we are motivated to do what she needs to hopefully heal, and keep her monitored over time. It's frustrating in plenty of ways, but doable and much cheaper at this moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
We had our 2 week follow up from the ortho this past Wednesday. No hip concerns. Right knee seems stable. Left knee is staying in on its own, but still is moveable - the real concern is any sudden turning or it being tweaked by another animal during play. We are decreasing "loose" activity (playing around in the house even when the adult GSD is outside) to kennel only most of the time or on a leash next to us, but adding 2 straight long walks/day for the next month to build the muscle. They'll see where she seems to be at development wise with the kneecap groove forming around then. She's definitely starting to work those back leg muscles! We can wean her off the pain medication to as needed once we feel comfortable with her response to walks. She's still cleared to go to STAR puppy (no one else signed up for puppy social). She's really becoming increasingly fearful of people unless Belle is present, so socialization now that she's cleared to be out is paramount to us.
 
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