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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

First post! 3 weeks ago I adopted a 9 year 10 month GSD mix (mostly GSD). I didn't realize until a few days after I got her that she had lost 20 pounds while she was in the shelter for 2 months. Since then, she's lost another 3 or so pounds. She's always hungry. She has soft stools (sometimes watery but has never been normal, usually a 4-5) with urgency and difficulty going, gurgly stomach, flatulence, and obviously weight loss. She has anxiety and some on leash aggression to (some) dogs only (maybe? but also possibly just not socialized to other dogs well). I haven't had her for that long so I have no idea if her behavior is different. She sleeps and rests a lot, but she's also pretty old. She's super sweet with me.

The cbc and chem was normal, but the doc doesn't think it's EPI. I have an abdominal ultrasound set up for next week. Until then, she's on a full bland white rice and boiled chicken breast diet.

Any suggestions? Anyone else have a similar story? Thank you all!!!

Also, isn't she cute :)
 

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She is beautiful and thanks for taking on an older dog. Puppies are fun, grown dogs are cool but old dogs rock!

Dog aggression is not abnormal for GSD's and being in a shelter may have made it worse.

Weight loss is concerning, I am assuming she has been checked/treated for parasites? Also what does she eat? The breed is a bit notorious for sensitive tummies so finding the right food can be a bit of a chore.
 

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What a beautiful girl, congratulations on your new friend. Hope you and the vet get her system figured out, and she starts feeling even better. I can't imagine how stressed she was in a shelter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, she was negative for parasites and infections. The rice did not sit well with her. I’m trying oatmeal. Could stress alone cause her to lose that much weight? The doc is worried she has cancer. I’m getting imaging done soon but hate not being able to do much in the meantime.
 

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Excluding the anxiety and leash aggression, the symptoms are identical to my last GSD who did develop EPI. It took several different vets before I found one who could accurately diag the problem. I'm no authority on EPI, but it might be beneficial to get another opinion or 2.
 

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She’s a pretty girl. Since you know her exact age, do you know her history? Why was she given up? Is her health history known? Sometimes people give up seniors because they don’t want the time and cost of senior health problems. At her age, if she is anxious around other dogs don’t force her into situations where it will be worse. It may not be aggression but a way of her setting boundaries about her own comfort level. I would walk her in areas where she can observe other dogs from a distance, then make it no big deal. Test how close you can get without triggering her anxiety. It could go away, but it could also get worse. Maybe a session outdoors with a one time trainer would be worth the cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi! Thanks! yes, she does well at a distance and then we go the other way. That's been working well for us. I also take her out when there aren't as many dogs around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Excluding the anxiety and leash aggression, the symptoms are identical to my last GSD who did develop EPI. It took several different vets before I found one who could accurately diag the problem. I'm no authority on EPI, but it might be beneficial to get another opinion or 2.
How old was your dog when they were diagnosed? Hope they are doing well now!
 

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Yeah, she was negative for parasites and infections. The rice did not sit well with her. I’m trying oatmeal. Could stress alone cause her to lose that much weight? The doc is worried she has cancer. I’m getting imaging done soon but hate not being able to do much in the meantime.
What food are you feeding?

Stress and anxiety could absolutely cause weight loss, but so could her food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm feeding her rice and chicken right now, and I switched to oatmeal and chicken because the rice was coming out undigested. She was on Victor's beef and rice for a week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, everyone! I don't know about her past, she did come from a family but they left her birthday and no other information, unfortunately.

She's eating oatmeal and bland chicken (the rice wasn't digesting at all). She now has some dark red/black blood in her stool. The bland diet seems like it's not really helping but it's only been two days.

She does well with most dogs now from a short distance, and she responds if we turn and go the other way. She feels safe with me.

I appreciate all the help!! It's hard because I don't know if she's acting differently since I haven't had her that long.
 

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Hey everyone!


I have 11 years old german shepherd and his health is not at its best. He do not have appetite at all these days.. His favorite food (the only one he wants to eat) isn't full of vitamins.. So I'm afraid that he might develope some kind of vitamin deficiency. I'm planning to buy him vitamins and supplements for senior dogs. And maybe you could recommend something like this to my dog. Also in couple articles I red, that old dogs needs special supplements for joint care, is it true? If someone is giving these supplements to dog, tell me if it really helps. Thank you !
 

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My first thought would be EPI....next would be the thyroid (although rare) some symptoms are similar to your senior.... did they test for thyroid issues ?.......& btw good on you for adopting her.
 

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She's beautiful! Thank you for getting her out of the shelter so that whatever time she has left can be full of love -- I hope it's a long time!



I'm glad your vet is doing the ultrasound. Cancer would worry me too at this age.


A probiotic and digestive enzymes would likely be helpful, no matter what you feed. An enzyme product like Prozyme can do a lot of good for gurgly tummies and flatulence.



For dogs with digestive upset, the I/D canned veterinary food from Hills somehow works wonders. It's not something I love to feed, but it really does work to settle the tummy down.



I'd also think about whether it might be worth seeing if she digests a non-kibble diet more easily -- commercial raw, Ziwi Peak, or The Honest Kitchen grain-free base mix (Preference) plus raw or home cooked meat would be the group of foods that I would consider if she's not digesting rice and/or kibble well. Or if you're worried about cancer, Dr. Harvey's Paradigm base mix plus meat might be worth looking at (though it's admittedly very expensive).
 

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Raw green tripe has helped all my dogs with tummy upsets. If she has never had raw, you probably giver tiny bits at a time. I love the looks of her. She looks like a very sweet dog. Good for you. I think that's the way I will go after Deja. No more young dogs for me. At least, that is the plan.
This is such a happy ending for this dog.
 

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I have also had the prescription diets help dogs out of tummy tail spins. I had good luck with Purina EN too, crap ingredients but hey it works. I'd definitely try that or the one Magwart said. Once when my girl was sick, I tried chicken and rice and the rice shot through her totally whole and indigested and just made things worse.

I was also going to suggest Ziwipeak. Very calorie dense. My old dog was skin and bones on prednisone and Ziwi was the only thing that kept her going.

If it isn't cancer, I would absolutely believe the stress of a shelter for an old GSD like this could totally wreck their stomach. If you took my white dog and put him in a shelter right now I bet he'd lose 20lb and go to liquid stools in a snap and once he gets out of whack it can be hard to get him right.

If it is an irritated stomach they can probably see thickening of stomach lining and intestine on ultrasound, they did with my girl. We also did an endoscopy to rule out another type of cancer but I doubt you'd want to put this poor dog through that.

Thank you for taking this old dog out of the shelter and taking care of her.

My old dog with the irritable stomach is doing great on Honest Kitchen and Ziwipeak as her diet now and she does also still take a very low dose of steroids to keep the inflammation down in her digestive tract. We were never able to know for sure what was causing it. She doesn't do well on kibble, and she might be able to com eoff the steroids now but her internal medicine specialist didn't want me to try and at her age (12) I am afraid to risk her getting sick again so I am not rocking the boat. She has excellent quality of life for her age, so I'm leaving well enough alone.
 

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Also, there is a prescription high cal in a can, I can't remember what it is called. I think it is made by Hills because that's what my vet carries. They gave it to me once when I brought in a young, thin boarder dog who had a pooptastrophe while boarding with me. Vet said it was very easy on their stomach but a lot of bang for a bite calorie wise so they could get something in there when things where out of whack.

I feel like it was called intensive care of something like that. @Magwart do you have any idea what I am talking about?
 

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I feel like it was called intensive care of something like that. @Magwart do you have any idea what I am talking about?

Yep, it's the A/D food that you linked. I've known it to be used vet in clinics after major surgeries and when dogs are anorexic due to life-threatening illness. It's more expensive than I/D because it only comes in tiny kitty-sized cans but keeping a few cans around would probably be a very good idea!



I also use eggs (boiled, scrambled or raw) and dried beef liver as inducements to get my hard-keeper to eat.
 
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