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When I took in Jett, he was 20 weeks and weighed 30 lbs. I had found a GSD growth chart on line and realized he was significantly underweight/undersize and his owner admitted she might have underfed him (!)--and yet he didn't look horribly skinny; he was a bit thin but mostly small. He has gained 10 lbs/month with me (and that includes the episodes of gastric distress triggered by early training treats and trying to find a food that didn't also bother his tummy).

I have no idea what his breeding is--no papers, no idea who bred him/sold him to the person who couldn't keep him. I must assume he was from a very irresponsible BYB and may have all sorts of future health issues. I just know I need to be prepared and vigilant.

Anyway, where might I find information on the effects of early underfeeding in GSDs or dogs generally? Does anyone have experience that's relevant, taking in an underfed dog? He's pushing 60-65 lbs now and looks good, and I'm just wondering if his growth will be permanently affected by the first few months. I know he might be just a smaller GSD, too. He is now, and for the past 2.5 months, has been, on a vet-recommended diet including supplements, etc. and seems healthy and happy.
 

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They bounce back once they get on good nutrition. Many of the dogs that come into our breed rescue are underweight. If it's during key growth periods, you need to be very careful to go slowly -- there's extremely high probability of Panosteitis until about 2 y.o. in these dogs that were malnourished as pups and then suddenly get on good nutrition and have a growth explosion. Our rescue's vet wants them on a large-breed puppy food as she thinks it may improve their odds with respect to pano.


My personal dog who was with me for 12 years came to me malnourished at 11 mo. old. His people couldn't afford to feed the dogs they had that kept breeding, so eventually they dumped half of them at the pound. His immune system was shot from the long-term malnourishment. We fixed that. He then started growing and became huge and beefy -- around 90 pounds in his prime. He was a spectacular dog. He went through a bad bout of pano between 1-2 years old though. He got through it and had a long, happy, active life.


Follow your vet's advice and just let him grow. He may be small, or not -- his genetic code for the size he's supposed to be will catch up, if given the chance.
 

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They bounce back once they get on good nutrition. Many of the dogs that come into our breed rescue are underweight. If it's during key growth periods, you need to be very careful to go slowly -- there's extremely high probability of Panosteitis until about 2 y.o. in these dogs that were malnourished as pups and then suddenly get on good nutrition and have a growth explosion. Our rescue's vet wants them on a large-breed puppy food as she thinks it may improve their odds with respect to pano.


My personal dog who was with me for 12 years came to me malnourished at 11 mo. old. His people couldn't afford to feed the dogs they had that kept breeding, so eventually they dumped half of them at the pound. His immune system was shot from the long-term malnourishment. We fixed that. He then started growing and became huge and beefy -- around 90 pounds in his prime. He was a spectacular dog. He went through a bad bout of pano between 1-2 years old though. He got through it and had a long, happy, active life.


Follow your vet's advice and just let him grow. He may be small, or not -- his genetic code for the size he's supposed to be will catch up, if given the chance.
Thank you! Jett just started limping and I had never heard of Pano until you mentioned it. I will get him to the vet ASAP.
 
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