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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all, I'm very new to this forum but so glad I found it. I'm a new GSD owner and am head over heels for our new baby, Hannibal. I've very worried though, from the start he's had issues. On the way home with him we found fleas and had to wait until he was old enough for flea meds, then he had a parasite, and we've had many visits to the vet trying to figure out his chtonic diarrhea. He's had diarrhea/soft stools basically since we got him. I could count on two hands the number of stools that have been firm and healthy looking. We've tried many meds and different types of food and this morning I took in a stool sample for a more comprehensive test, we get the results back tomorrow. I'm very nervous because I think the chronic diarrhea has affected his nutrition. He's very skinny even though I feed him plenty and he seems so tiny compared to other GSDs I see. I don't mind having a small GSD, I only want him to be healthy. He was born February 10th and weighs around 35 pounds (EDIT: he actually weighs about 25 pounds). I've attached some pictures. Has anyone else dealt with this? Any advice? General thoughts?
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He is cute. It is possible he is mixed with something else? Has the vet checked him for causes of soft stools beyond parasites? Have you tried a little pumpkin with his food? Did the vet do bloodwork? Did they check for digestive disorders?
 

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What do you mean you had to wait until he was old enough for flea treatment?
How old was he when you got him? How big were his parents? What parasite does he have? What are you feeding him?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
He is cute. It is possible he is mixed with something else? Has the vet checked him for causes of soft stools beyond parasites? Have you tried a little pumpkin with his food? Did the vet do bloodwork? Did they check for digestive disorders?
He's not mixed, I saw both parents and his siblings, all GSDs. They've only checked for parasites so far, depending on the results they come back tomorrow, I'm planning to request bloodwork or start going to a new vet, maybe one who specializes in nutrition. I have put pumpkin in food, it does help but doesnt firm it up completely.
 

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What do you mean you had to wait until he was old enough for flea treatment?
How old was he when you got him? How big were his parents? What parasite does he have? What are you feeding him?
Because of COVID I was having issues getting him to normal vet so I took him to a Banfield hospital in a Petsmart and they told me to wash him with Dawn soap until he was old enough for flea meds (I think 3 mos) I got him at 8 weeks. His parents are standard size I would say, mom is probably 65 lbs and dad is probably 70 or 80. He had an intestinal parasite twice, not sure which. The sample they are testing now is looking for giardia. He started out on nutro pro, switched to Kirkland puppy, switched to Purino Pro Puppy, switched to Purina One Large Breed puppy per my vets suggestion, currently he's on Taste of the Wild puppy salmon. The Taste of the Wild has been the best so far. I'm thinking he possibly has a chicken intolerance because everything before this was chicken.
 

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It could be his food. TOTW is grain free and is not recommended. Is there any way you can find a regular vet? He’s still young and can grow, but you need to know why he’s not digesting food properly.
 

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Who did you get him from? I don’t know why you had to wait for flea medicine. Nexguard is something you can get from the vet and is safe from 8 weeks on. If I suspect giardia, I will just treat it myself. You can treat it with a dewormer containing fenbendazole for 5 days and seeing you’re results. It’s pretty cheap. Giardia has a habit of coming back. 35 lbs is small, but not to far off where I would expect him to be. How are his energy levels? Does he act like a puppy or does he seem lethargic? He’s a good looking guy.
 

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It could be his food. TOTW is grain free and is not recommended. Is there any way you can find a regular vet? He’s still young and can grow, but you need to know why he’s not digesting food properly.
I have a regular vet now, all good on that front. I know grain free is not advised, I was just trying to step away from chicken and grains and see if that was the problem but I dont plan on keeping him on TOTW forever.
 

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Holy cow that's a ton of food switches! My first thought is stop doing that!
I've been trying to find one that fits well for him. Kirkland had something in it that gave him skin rashes so I switched to Pro Plan, vet said try Purina One so I did and he immediately got the runs again so I wanted to try something that wasnt chicken based so I switched to TOTW. It's been such a mess and I cant tell you how many hours I've put into researching food.
 

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Who did you get him from? I don’t know why you had to wait for flea medicine. Nexguard is something you can get from the vet and is safe from 8 weeks on. If I suspect giardia, I will just treat it myself. You can treat it with a dewormer containing fenbendazole for 5 days and seeing you’re results. It’s pretty cheap. Giardia has a habit of coming back. 35 lbs is small, but not to far off where I would expect him to be. How are his energy levels? Does he act like a puppy or does he seem lethargic? He’s a good looking guy.
Thank you! He came from a friends farm, my friend has some beautiful shepherds, just simply stunning so I know he came from good genes. Not sure why the vet said I couldnt give him flea meds, must not have known what they were talking about. Thanks for the advice on treating yourself, I didnt realize I had that option. This is not something I've experienced with my last dog. His energy is great most days, any day he has a really bad bout of diarrhea he gets lethargic but that would make sense if he's sick. He's just a normal puppy in all ways except that he's very small, skinny, and can't seem to get his crap together...literally.
 

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I get looking for the right food. But every time you switch foods it should take two weeks to switch over otherwise you are throwing his system into chaos.
It can become a vicious circle, once the digestive system is out of wack it just keeps rejecting anything. Beyond that you could be dealing with sensitivities or allergies or just simply a touchy stomach.
You cannot tell what genetics you have simply by looks. At all.
In addition anytime you are dealing with a parasitic issue the strain on the body can be tremendous. It really is important to find out what you are dealing with, but in the meantime I would get him on a bland diet for at least a few days and give his system a rest.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I get looking for the right food. But every time you switch foods it should take two weeks to switch over otherwise you are throwing his system into chaos.
It can become a vicious circle, once the digestive system is out of wack it just keeps rejecting anything. Beyond that you could be dealing with sensitivities or allergies or just simply a touchy stomach.
You cannot tell what genetics you have simply by looks. At all.
In addition anytime you are dealing with a parasitic issue the strain on the body can be tremendous. It really is important to find out what you are dealing with, but in the meantime I would get him on a bland diet for at least a few days and give his system a rest.
Yeah, I've had him on a bland diet and get his bowel movements mostly normal and then slowly introduce a new kibble and see how he would react. By slowly introduce I mean I would start by adding maybe 10 pieces of kibble to the bland diet and very gradually increasing by about 10 pieces each meal. Then when he would have diarrhea, I at least had a clue about if it was the new food or not. So far the only one that hasnt caused diarrhea has been TOTW. It's just been a mess and I feel so bad for the little guy, I want nothing more than help him. Hoping we get some results from this test tomorrow and get him on track.
 

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While you're there, I'd also ask the vet about the hair loss around his eyes. What have you named him?
 

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Agis's eyes were like that as a pup - he didn't have issues (we checked), just how he was. I would still ask your vet to be sure.

We fed Agis a grain-free food, because he was a poor eater on grain-inclusive (we tried two) and had some issues getting his grain-inclusive food on vacation - really we found out he goes crazy for grain-free by sheer chance. He loves his food now, and our vets - who are big promoters of grain - have said, the best food is the one he'll eat. We add powdered taurine to offset the fact that it's grain-free.
 
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