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Hi all—I am going crazy and would like to know if anyone has experienced anything like this before. My boy just turned 1 years old in December. He has twisted his back legs when he walks ever since I brought him home. The hocks will twist in and the toes will point out. The breeder said he would grow out of it. He has not. On top of that he started dragging his hind legs noticeably around 3 months old. He drags them enough to need to wear booties outside or he will scrape his toes open and find his nails down to nothing. Again, we were told he’d grow out of it. He did not, and now drags the front paws too.

We had xrays done of his hips and elbows. Elbows are normal. He has mild hip dysplasia and bone spurs in his right hip. We took him to a neurologist and she did an MRI and spinal tap. The MRI of his entire spine came back normal. His spinal tap came back with elevated white blood cell count. He was put on steroids. The neurologist couldn’t tell us why he is dragging but said he has mild neurological weakness causing the dragging. We still have no diagnosis. He goes to swimming therapy once a week. His rehab therapist is convinced he will grow into it he doesn’t have the muscle to support how fast he grew. Idk who to believe or what to think.

my question is, he is so young. I know the neurologist said he has mild neurological weakness but part of me thinks he doesn’t have the strength to lift his feet. He can lift them if he walks slow. If he moves at a fast walking pace they drag. He walks on the inside of his back paws. What more can we test for or do? Should we get another opinion on his hips? He doesn’t appear to be in pain and still runs around and is happy. I just want him to live a long happy life.
 

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Did you send the hip/elbow xrays into OFA for a prelim evaluation? It's not that expensive.

If he's a showline, some of them to have their hocks twist in and toes out. They will outgrow it to some extent but yours sounds pretty severe if he's scraping his nails down. Can you post a video? I don't know as anyone here can really help you. It sounds like you are already doing everyting that can be done. Xrays, neurologist, PT.

You should probably take a good look at your contract from your breeder too.
 

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I can't help but I'm so sorry you all are going through this.
 
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It is possible that all this is due to his structure. A video of movement would help, if that is possible for you to do. Amercan Showlines will be severely down in the hocks when young (if they are bred for extremes), and will 'come up' a bit with age. I dont know what lines he is from, but sounds like this. However, the hip dysplasia is going to affect that as well. He might be in pain and reluctant to lift his foot too high when moving. How long have you been doing swim therapy? What is the protein content of his food? The lower the better for his growth. The GSD is a movement breed. When you see them in the show ring, they are moving out at a good speed. In order to look good to the judges, they are bred with these extreme angles in their hocks and it will compromise the overall structure, what you are seeing in his ability to support himself. You cannot change this, this is what he was born with.

Jax asked if you sent in to OFA for an official evaluation. Why? Because breeders and buyers need to be aware of what is being produced in the bloodlines. Only after 12 months of age can OFA post public the results. And, I think non-passing is posted for free (cant remember which non-passing test are posted free of charge). However, there are requirements to submit x-rays. Proper identification needs to be on the x-ray, and it probably wasn't, since you weren't actually x-raying for OFA at the time. I would want to know if a breeder is producing HD in their lines. The general public comes here for information, we tell them to go to OFA website, but if no one ever puts dogs with HD there, then we don't know it is being produced. I would hope sire and dam of your pup has had their hips/elbows done before breeding, if not, lesson learned.
 

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They can do OFA prelims at 6 months. I was thinking that they would get the hips eval'd by professionals more so than benefit to the breeder or other buyers. This would give them a definitive grading of the hips, not just one opinion.
 

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I am sorry that you are going through this. Our GSD pup (now 10.5 months) had similar symptoms. I was convinced that it was neurological because our previous GSD had degenerative disc disease (DDD) in 2 locations in his spine - one in the cervical area and the more severe one in the sacral area. We had surgery on the most severe location. He was 6 yrs old when we had that surgery done.

Our current dog has actually been diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia in both hips and is scheduled for the first of two surgeries for bilateral full hip replacements on 2/25/2020.
 
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