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Jackson is a 7 1/2 month old pup from German and Hungarian show lines. I bought him from what appears to be a reputable small fairly local breeder when he was 8 weeks old. My previous shepherd had severe hip displaysia so I tried to do my homework before settling on Jackson's breeder. Both of his parents and at least 2 of his grandparents had certified hips.

Right now Jackson has 2 problems that really concern me. They may be related, they may not.

1. Ongoing Loose Stools
2. Real issues walking

For the first few months Jackson had a couple of bouts of loose stool. It seemed initially I was giving him too much water with his food. I was feeding him Fromm's large breed puppy. These cleared up. At 5 months he spent 3 weeks with a trainer, where he was housed in an outdoor kennel. When I got him back he had loose stools that would not clear up. The vet has checked his stool twice and says it is normal. For 2 weeks I fed him a homemade bland diet that seemed to help. Mostly Chicken Breasts and rice sometimes with cottage cheese mixed in. I usually mixed in a bit of plain yogart and we went through a box of fortafloura that he vet sent us home with. While on the bland diet, Jackson did not have as many bowel movements, but the ones he did have were much more normal. Around this time he was also diagnosed with a bladder infection and spent 2 weeks on antibiotics. After his urine test came back I began transitioning him to a grain free puppy food (not specifically for large breed puppies) Jackson is underweight and gained weight rapidly on the bland diet but is still a 2 on a 5 point scale in terms of body mass according to the vet. When I got to half bland diet/kibble, he developed a rip roaring case of the runs. I'm just so frustrated I don't know what to do. My vet seems to think I'm transitioning him too fast but this really isn't the case.

2. Jackson has difficulty walking. As a little guy he walked on his hocks and had severe cow hocks. He dragged hsi back feed and the nails on his hind feet are almost flat. At one point he bled everytime I took him out on pavement. He is very gangly and frequently trips. The vet has observed this and believes it is neurological. On one side his reflexes on a test where they turn his foot upside down he doesn't react quite as quickly as the other. He also says he has poor muscle mass in his hind legs. However, he says that Jackson does not appear to be in pain and he is actually improving as he ages. The vet says he is too young to do major neurological tests on and we should wait until he is a year old. Tonight while walking him, he was running down a hill and he crossed his hind legs completely several times and fell down 2 or 3 times. It's hot, he has the runs and couldn't bee feeling well, but really?? When I walk him or take him to the dog park people ask me what is wrong with him. I'm really at a loss.

Is it possible that the two conditions are related? Does anyone have any advice. It is long past take him back to the breeder for me. He's my guy and I'm keeping him. If he walks funny fine, but I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can for him...and I just don't know where to turn at this point.

I'd appreciate any advice.
 

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I'll address the loose stools - because your dog improved on a homemade diet, I'd give this brand a try, if not in your local store you can buy online from doggiefood.com or the actual company. It's called The Honest Kitchen, based out of San Diego. This is dehydrated raw food, easy to prepare, nutritionally complete. Or you can go a step further and try some prepared raw sold at some pet food stores in the freezer section. Using both these options have been wonderful for my dog's GI system.

The walking issue - I'd trust the vet, but curious if your dog has ever had any x-rays?
Or have you considered a specialist like an ortho vet? Do the breeders know of this problem? maybe they can help you?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for your reply, Gretchen. I will give the food a try.

Jackson hasn't been X rayed. I had considered an Ortho vet and was basically pushing for a referral but my vet really seemed to think I should wait and see. Because he seemed to take things seriously and was very attentive to Jackson's issues, I tend to trust him. But it is hard to watch the poor dog falling all over himself. There are several very expensive specialty vets in my area. I have one friend with a 5 year loan to pay for her dog's treatment. I'm not unwilling to go that route I just don't want to if there is nothing they can do.
 

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For the walking issues, can you post a video of him walking, trotting, running? Something does sound off about his rear-leg control.

Have you contacted the breeder about the walking issues? How are the other pups from the same litter?
 
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