Any ideas of what could be wrong? - Page 1

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by ZweiGSD on 13 January 2018 - 19:01

Need some ideas as to what could be wrong with my brother's GSD.  He is a 95 lb., 6 1/2 year old, German showline, intact.  Since about May he has been lethargic, not wanting to go on his usual daily walks (about 3 - 4 miles on a forest preserve trail).  His hair has also thinned out, he itches himself a lot and has lost weight.  In August he started walking wobbly on his hind legs, MRI done  and a growth was discovered on his spine.  He went through a course of prednisone.  His walking has improved since but there is still a hitch in his gait.  He has been treated with Vectra 3D.

He has been tested for thyroid, Addisons and Lyme.  I told my brother to test for Cushings next but he has not done that yet.  He is thinking of changing vets as his vet told him he is slowing down because of age (6 1/2!!??!!) and the growth on his spine.  The specialist could not tell him anything about what the growth is/how it will affect him so don't know how the regular vet came to that conclusion.

If anybody has any suggestions they would be appreciated.  I'm running out of ideas of what it could be.  I'm hoping it's not the growth and something that can be treated.

He's a wonderful dog and my brother's buddy.  Would love to see him back to his "Let's go" attitude.


by Sunsilver on 13 January 2018 - 21:01

Weakness in the hind legs could definitely be due to the growth on the spine, but the general lack of energy, coat loss, etc. obviously is not.

Since the thyroid is normal, I'd be suspicious of cancer. Hate to say it, but it's something that needs to be ruled out.

And no, a 6 1/2 year old GSD should NOT be slowing down due to age!!

My older female just turned 11, and the only sign of her slowing down is she doesn't tear up her toys quite as quickly as she used to when she was younger!

by ZweiGSD on 13 January 2018 - 22:01

Cancer has been lurking in my brain as they can't tell exactly what that growth is unless they cut him open and go poking around his spine. Something my brother is highly reluctant to do as a disc surgery on his last dog was botched.

He's had a lot of blood tests and X-rays lately so would hope something a little unusual would crop up if it was cancer.

Keep hoping it is something curable as my one GSD has suspected degenerative myelopathy (late stage, front legs giving out) and don't want to face the prospect of losing another dog I love too soon.

by Sunsilver on 14 January 2018 - 02:01

Since the spinal growth is something new, if it IS cancer, I would suspect the primary growth is elsewhere in the body. A growth on the spine would not cause loss of weight.

They did an MRI. Was that focused on the spine only? If it did the whole body, ask them to check the scan for other abnormalities. And MRI should show cancer, if it's present.

Okay, they can't tell for sure without a biopsy, but it would show the location of any tumors or abnormalities.

by ZweiGSD on 14 January 2018 - 20:01

MRI was a whole body -- only thing that came up was the spinal growth.

Just read info about giardia. He hasn't been tested for that. However, my brother was playing ball with him and he yipped when he went to go chase it and then yipped again when he went up a few stairs into the house -- more than likely the spinal growth. Wish we could figure out if we are dealing with two different problems or if the spinal growth is causing everything.

Anybody got a crystal ball I could borrow?

by Sunsilver on 14 January 2018 - 21:01

Yeah, don't you wish!

Or that they could talk...

by DuganVomEichenluft on 16 January 2018 - 18:01

I don't believe this is cancer as it started in May. Not saying there aren't slow progressing canine cancers, but most I've ever seen are fast progressing. The yelping is obvious sign of pain. So, mark that down. Negative on Thyroid, Addisons, and Lyme. Lyme results can come back false. Maybe treat him for Lyme as it won't hurt. Also, what is his vaccine history? Write down all the vaccines he's been given and when and what age he was. Remember, you could be dealing with more than 1 health related issue. What cleaners are you using in your home, candles, etc? Anything in the yard that is toxic? These are just some ideas to help you out.
Referencing his vaccines, contact Dr. Jean Dodds: I've done so before when I thought possible vaccine reaction. Remember, vaccine reactions can occur years later.
I hope this helps.
I hope you find out what's going on.


by Kimmarsh on 16 January 2018 - 18:01

My just 8 year old German Shepherd passed away suddenly this past September. He became very suddenly ill and they Diagnosed DM (Degenerative Myelopathy). He also had Addison's but was treated on monthly medicines for that. As it turns out, he rapidly deteriorated (A matter of hours) but looking back we saw some of the tell tale symptoms such as the hind leg issues for a few months and the decrease in mobility (Jumping up). He was lethargic if he didn't get his shot for Addison's but wasn't otherwise. DM is usually slower to develop, but might be worth considering. We did a lot of research after finding out about it and it usually sets in at age 5 to 7 years.

by ZweiGSD on 17 January 2018 - 04:01

Dugan - He doesn't really have the symptoms of Lyme but I do want to look into other tick diseases. I had previously given my brother info about Dr. Dodds and Hemopet and hope he will contact her if this mystery goes on any longer. I have always been after him about over vaccinating (I titer my dogs after getting their core puppy shots).

Kinmarsh - Sorry about losing your boy at such a young age. Thanks for the suggestion but if there is one disease I unfortunately know too much about it is DM. My one girl as been affected since November 2015. I can say with almost 100% confidence that it is not DM.

Still wondering about giardia as he just had another bout of diarrhea. Seems like he gets it for a couple of days and then it clears up.
Western Rider (admin)

by Western Rider on 17 January 2018 - 05:01

Have you ruled out coccidiosis

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