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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, we are currently fostering a GSD pup. We took our previous foster back to go to his new home and saw this little guy being bullied by his littermates. He was skin and bones. They were trying to separate him to feed him, but he was so scared to eat and they didn't have an empty kennel for him. So we brought him home and he's been with us for 2 months now. He's about 8 months old now, so 6 months when we brought him into our home. He was about 8.5 lbs when we got him and we were able to get him to about 14lbs within a few weeks, and that's where he's staying. He's staying around 14-15 lbs. He eats about 3 cups of food a day, his poops are solid until he gets ahold of something he's not supposed to have... He eats puppy pads, even the washable ones, toys, anything that gets close to his playpen. We have an 8 month old GSD and two other rescue dogs and they occasionally will leave their toys next to the playpen, and this little guy will grab it and eat it, whatever it is. I don't know how I haven't had to rush him to the emergency vet yet because the same piece of fabric from a toy had gone through his system 3 times! He'd eat it as soon as he pooped it back out, before I had a chance to grab it. The only reason it didn't go through a 4th time was because it was stuck coming out and I had to pull it out...fun!

Anyhow, he's been treated for worms and all of that when we first brought him home, and he's very alert and eats and drinks well. He's just not growing. I know that his mother doesn't produce enough milk and the pups from her previous litter are on the smaller side, but nothing like this little guy. He doesn't even look like a GSD, more like a coyote. But I know both his parents and both are champion bloodlines with all the health checks. We're ready to find him his forever home, but not sure how to go about it and if there's something more I can be doing to try and help him grow.

Pictures are of him and our GSD about a month ago, so they were around 7 months,
and then one of him enjoying the sun on the back porch. And yes, he often has patches of hair missing around his eyes or nose, but it grows back in within a few days, so not sure what that's about.
Dog German shepherd dog Carnivore Dog breed Companion dog
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Fawn German shepherd dog
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've been doing some research this morning and I'm starting to think he has pituitary dwarfism. It's the only thing that makes sense. Even if he was malnourished for a week, that was a couple of months ago and he's still not growing. I did just weigh him and he's at 15 lbs.
 

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do you have / can you take a photo of his teeth?

also, it’s unclear…. you placed your last foster dog in the same home that this puppy came from? who are you fostering through?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
do you have / can you take a photo of his teeth?

also, it’s unclear…. you placed your last foster dog in the same home that this puppy came from? who are you fostering through?
I foster for the breeder. When we took our last foster back for his vet check before going to his new home, we picked up this little guy. And I did the best I could getting a picture of his teeth, lol. Hope it works!
Hand Felidae Finger Carnivore Nail
Dog Carnivore Wood Dog breed Fawn
 

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For comparison, I have an 8 month old male who is kind of small-ish who just topped 60 pounds.

ETA: If this is truely a pituitary dwarf, he's going to have major medical needs, and possibly very a short life span. I sent you a PM, as I may know of a potential rescue placement where he could get access to a vet with vast expertise on this condition.
 

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What kind of breeder would allow him to bullied to the point of not being able to eat. Obviously needed fro them to take him to a vet, and ensure proper care. Per you he was 8.5 lbs at 6 months? None of this makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What kind of breeder would allow him to bullied to the point of not being able to eat. Obviously needed fro them to take him to a vet, and ensure proper care. Per you he was 8.5 lbs at 6 months? None of this makes sense.
As I stated, they were separating him so that he could eat, and we treated him for worms, just in case. They definitely take care of their dogs. Hip and elbow certified, DM testing, ultrasounds for the mom's, etc.
We took him home to give him more one on one care and to get him in a more relaxed living situation. After 2 months, he hasn't grown much, which is why I suspect dwarfism. Plus, he still has his puppy fur. He started out on par with his siblings and just stopped growing.
 

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As I stated, they were separating him so that he could eat, and we treated him for worms, just in case. They definitely take care of their dogs. Hip and elbow certified, DM testing, ultrasounds for the mom's, etc.
We took him home to give him more one on one care and to get him in a more relaxed living situation. After 2 months, he hasn't grown much, which is why I suspect dwarfism. Plus, he still has his puppy fur. He started out on par with his siblings and just stopped growing.
Skin and bones, still with siblings, 8.5 lbs @ 6 months. No, I'd say they weren't taking proper care of him. Is this an Amish breeder?
 

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I don't know much about it except from some reading a long time ago but when I read your initial post I thought maybe you meant weeks not months. Then I looked at the pictures you posted. My guess would be dwarfism as well. It would also explain the hair loss and it is common with dwarfism for them to lose hair. I would look into it. Talk to the breeder and have the pup tested by a vet. Throwing a dwarf pup may have implications for the breeding pair and the breeder should be made aware for sure. He is a cute little guy.
 

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Whether rightfully deserved or not, bashing the breeder is counter productive to the intent of this thread. Lets just not. Let's help the OP help this pup. The OP has had the pup for 2 months and hasn't been able to get the pup anywhere near normal size and weight for it's age. Likely a genetic health issue that any of us would have struggled with.
Although I am surprised the vet didn't pick up on the extremely low weight and size for the breed and suggest looking into further testing for diagnosis. But then again pituitary dwarfism in GSD's is extremely rare. But still the vet should have had concerns long ago.
 

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Skin and bones, still with siblings, 8.5 lbs @ 6 months. No, I'd say they weren't taking proper care of him. Is this an Amish breeder?
This is extremely confusing as well. I'm shocked that a vet didn't bring up the concern of dwarfism in the past 6 months. It could indicate that the dog didn't get to see the vet after like 2-3 months? I'm pretty sure these puppies grow like a weed. OP you should tell the breeder to bring it to a vet. I hope expenses are covered while you are "fostering".
 

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I'm not shocked. This is so rare that the vast majority of vets have never seen it, know of it only theoretically from a textbook, and would more likely assume the owner mixed up weeks and months in writing down the pup's age (and the pup is much younger). Routine blood tests can come out totally normal -- for a while. Unless a vet has a special endocrinology background or has had this come through the practice before, it's not something most vets would have front-and-center in their mind in a routine "digestive issue" or puppy shot visit.

I have long said that I'm confident that NO shelter vets I know would recognize a dwarf during their quick exams and speuters. They'd adopt them out as young puppies with "skin allergies" and never know that one passed through. General practice vets would have to have multiple visits over a few months to notice that the weight hadn't changed and start digging into why it wasn't growing -- a single visit might not catch it, unless the owner made a big thing about it. One reason I'm a big proponent of frequent vet weigh ins of dogs that aren't thriving is that the weekly measurements start to tell a story to figure out the cause.
 

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There's now a genetic test for pituitary dwarfism for GSDs. The gene was identified around 2011, I think -- not terribly long ago, but a genetic test rapidly became available to help identify dogs who should not be bred. Some vet schools with genetics labs can run it. It's also being offered privately too. Examples:
Paw Print Genetics - Pituitary Dwarfism in the German Shepherd Dog
and in the UK: Animal DNA Diagnostics

Interestingly, this one is not on the Embark list of health conditions that they include in their genetic test for GSDs--at least not yet.

This vet has published a nice, short summary about testing and treatment: http://wendyblount.com/handouts-disease/endocrinology/ClientHandout-PituitaryDwarfism.pdf
Please share it with the breeder here and point out the line that says "carrier dogs should not be bred." It's heart-breaking for a breeding program that someone has potentially invested years into.
 
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