German Shepherd Dog > 6 Month Old--Weak Rear (99 replies)
by CMGSD on 16 May 2012 - 16:31
|A few thing to clarify first.|
1. He is WGSL, not American.
2. Of the two pictures that show his face, in one he's being coy because I kept throwing a toy to get the shot and he'd been running around, and in the other it's a terrible blurry cell phone shot with his eyes closed. He is not miserable, often smiles etc. I have a ton of pictures whre he doesn't look like that. I also have a reputable vet okaying his health. Believe me, if my vet thought he looked miserable, they're do/say something about it. They're a bit neurotic. ;)
3. When I got him he was 8 weeks and looked fine. His brothers do not have a steep croupe like he does.
4. As I said in my first post, he runs around and walks just fine, no limp, not impeded by anything. He has high energy, however his posture is really bad and the muscles in the rear aren't developed as much as the muscles in the front. This is what I'm trying to solve.
Anyway, yeah, I've put off getting the 42" for far too long. I'd planned to order I next month, but I guess I can order it now. He had a growth spurt and a month ago he could chase his tail in that thing. It kind of snuck up on me!
His feeding is being taken care of. I will not be giving him any major supplements outside of my normal regime (salmon oil, RMB, cheese, digestive enzyme, some raw chicken, egg, etc) until his food has been successfully upped to 4 cups a day. Then I will re-evaluate the need for supplements. I want to see if it was related just to underfeeding. If I load him up with supplements now, I'll never know what the cause was. Then I might try NuVet and vitamin C.
I always wanted a WGSL, and a working line. I was really worried about it being too high drive for me because this was my first dog (I mean, I've dog sat my whole life, but never owned one), let alone my first Shepherd which is why I planned to get a WGSL first, dabble in dog sports (no serious competition, just trying everything out), and then after a few years get a working line (breeder is already picked out for that, very reputable and more well known than my breeder). I've seen plenty of WGSLs do well in agility, schutzhund, dock diving, etc. However I went with a lesser known WGSL breeder to save money and distance, when I should have gone for the other two I was considering. I think he should be able to do some sports, though not competitively. So far he's done pretty well with agility (not starting a class yet) and schutzhund. He's exceptionally confident, not really afraid of much of anything, and loves to work. To me "winning" doesn't matter, it's just playing the game and having fun.
We don't have a yard. He does dog training 2x a week, schutzhund once a week, and every day we go to the park either on a long lead or off leash (depends how many people are around) and let him run about on grass for 2 hours. Some days he gets a lot more than that (it's not uncommon for me to stay at the park for 4-5 hours, I just wait until he's tucked out and then go home). On top of that he's walked for 15 minutes 3x a day and goes to an extra puppy playtime once a week. Before, we weren't giving him enough zoomies time, and I have seen mild improvement since that started (breeder kept warning us not to overdo it when we exercised him and it scared me into not exercising him enough). When he's inside he's not exactly only walking, he runs around and expends energy too and then relaxes.
So far he's been checked for digestive issues and has come out fine.
I've had his temperament and drive evaluated and both are excellent. He's well rounded. Not a competition dog but should have no mental issues doing sports because he loves doing it. The only issue here is physical. I'm very annoyed with the breeder right now because I grilled her with questions about schutzhund and was told all of her dogs do it and are good at it. Then I found out the father wasn't titled (after I signed the contract and put money down). Now I'm finding out that she gave me the least drivey puppy of the litter because she conveniently forgot I was interested in dog sport (despite me mentioning it in almost every conversation with her). She offered to take him back and give me a replacement puppy, but I've refused because I made this commitment.
He's in for his PennHIP and spine right now. Hopefully I'll get the results in soon. Vitals were good. Vet's going to do a more thorough exam while he's still 'under' so she can exam him while he's not fidgeting, but she said he looks healthy so far except for being underweight. We'll see how it goes. Thanks for all the tips, guys.
One of the things I had started doing was tying a weight to his harness and having him drag it behind him on walks (usually a gallon jug of water filled 1/3-1/2 way). This mae him really start actually putting his weight on his rear and forcing him to use his back legs more. I did notice a difference. I've put that on hold while I get him evaluated for PennHIP, spine and PT exam (if all of that comes up with nothing, and building muscle/weight doesn't work I'll go to a neuro department and have an mri) but if he's cleare for it I'll continue with it because I think it does help.
by Conspicuous on 16 May 2012 - 17:00
|I can't offer you any advice, but I just wanted to say you sound like a very caring pet owner. He looks like a dear soul. Thanks for taking such good care of him.|
Best of luck with him, I hope you can sort him out.
by joanro on 16 May 2012 - 17:12
|Not having a yard usually means concrete or other hard, unyielding surfaces. Exactly why I will not let my puppies go to situations like that. A large breed pup needs free exercise and natural surface to develop properly. Good luck.|
by macrowe1 on 16 May 2012 - 17:20
|I'm with Smiley. I have a SL, and she's never showed any problems, especially not dragging feet or tender in the hips. IMO, he's underweight, doesn't look too bright eyed like most pups, and if he has this problem it could by HD or something else, like suggested earlier. The pup's weight is an issue, it could be due to the amount of food but could be something more difficult to treat. I would do bloodwork along with an xray and go from there.|
by CMGSD on 16 May 2012 - 17:40
|I'll have to ask about getting bloodwork done. |
As for yard--we live in a townhome on the border of some hiking trails. When he is walked, he is walked on those trials, not the sidewalk. We usually take him along the easier and shorter trailers (there is a hard one that's two hours each way). It's literally across the street from my house. When he's at the park he's on grass. Having a yard does not guarantee a dog good exercise. Please be aware of this. Our house is carpeted. Don't judge based on the kind of house I live in. Currently saving up for my next house (I've been living here for 3-4 years now, and picked the place because it was what I could affor close to nature. I live in a very expensive area and moving farther out doesn't really help because it's expensive there, too. I'll probably be moving within the next 5 years). I would hate it if a breeder rejected me just because I had no yard when I give him more exercise than most dog owners I know with yards do for their dogs.
by myret on 16 May 2012 - 18:00
|the dog is overly angulated|
many gsd looks like they have a weak rear because of their angulated hindlegs sorry but many gsd especially showlines look like this
by SitasMom on 16 May 2012 - 18:31
love that last photo!
is there possible a sandy place or a place with loose dirt where you can let him walk and play?
what i see is a puppy that doesn't have enough time to run and play at his own pace.
as far as food, be careful and make sure he has enough nutrition, but not too much either...
off balance minerals and vitamins can cause all kinds of havoc when they're growing.
by Jenni78 on 16 May 2012 - 18:47
|What specific formula of California Natural are you feeding, and when you say egg, how much, how often, etc.? Cheese, supplements, eggs, etc. ALL contain calcium and excess calcium can wreak havoc on developing joints. This dog looks shockingly like the one I just went through this with- splayed feet and everything. It CAN improve- but you must go to a lower calcium, moderate protein food and stop playing around with add-ins unless you are figuring out the nutritional analysis of all of it. Keep in mind, there is a school of thought becoming more prevalent that believes synthetic vitamins and minerals in pet foods are much more likely to cause growth disturbances than the same amount of the vitamin or mineral in its natural form. Some raw feeders believe this is why they can feed high protein, high calcium, and have no joint issues, where a "super kibble" feeder has major dysplasia feeding the same amount of protein and calcium. Not enough research has been done to make conclusions on that definitely, but it's something to think about since this dog definitely doesn't look quite right.|
by magdalenasins on 16 May 2012 - 18:58
|I am glad I am not the only person who thought the puppy did not look 'good'. You do sound like a great owner (and we live in a flat with 3 dogs who get plenty of exercise) so I wish you luck, but ouch to that angulation.|
by CMGSD on 16 May 2012 - 20:44
|While his angulation is a lot more than I want, I've seen angulation much worse than his and his walking is NOT hindered by it (he doesn't have the lawn mower look that a lot of the super steep croupes have when he runs). He still has a German Shepherd gait. He's not in pain, either. He gets fidgety when I try to move his hind legs because he doesn't stand up on them, not because it hurts.|
The stuff I feed him isn't daily, it's stuff I'll throw in once in awhile to mix things up. When I make omelets for breakfast (2-3 times a week) I usually use one egg and one egg white, and I take the yolk I didn't use and mix it with his kibble. I don't make omelets every day though. I use cheese when training sometimes (though I mix that up with hot dogs, food rolls, etc) and when we have chicken I always give him some (again, not every day, not even every week actually). The enzyme was to help with his digestive system, and the salmon oil is salmon oil.
I should also add that as for HQ kibbles and raw feeding, not every dog does well on raw food. I know a dog that was fed raw his entire life (from a puppy onward) and got hip dysplasia (non-genetic, it developed over time). Raw feeding isn't a be all, end all answer.
I can assure you this isn't related to his food, because I wasn't supplementing him at all until I noticed a problem.
His California Natural formula is the chicken puppy, with 26.8% protein, 1.3% calcium, and .9 phos. I have thought about switching him to the Herring formula which has much lower protein and only 1% calcium but I'd rather weigh the options before jumping to switch foods again.
I've been doing beach walking with him for the past couple of weeks. And for the people who continuously say he doesn't run around enough, he spends 2-3 hours a day MINIMUM running around on grass as he pleases. Some days this is as much as 6-7. Some mornings I bring him to the barn with me and he runs around there for awhile. This isn't an issue of him "not getting out enough". What I've been starting to do is sand walking and I'm getting him to begin swimming as well.
Anyway, for those concerned about it him being "unhealthy" or "having dull eyes", he just got back from the vet. Bright eyes, fantastic teeth, ears are in good condition, all vitals are great, and the only sign that he's actually underweight is that he's skinny. The only thing they noted was that he was a little wobbly an that he could use some strength building. We're awaiting the x-ray results.
by joanro on 16 May 2012 - 21:12
|How about an uphill tread mill, say around 45 degrees, and put resistance weights on him... That should fix the problem ;( by the way, I just happen to have a jogadog for sale.|
by SitasMom on 16 May 2012 - 21:27
|This pup is too young for a treadmill and weights.....A water treatmill maybe, but not a regular one, especially at 45 degrees and especially not with weights.|
Walking in sand and swimming will work over time. He's just growing fast and having trouble keeping up. His isn't going to change over night, but will improve with time.
I'd suggest going to an adult kibble instead of a puppy food. I usually change mine over at about 4 or 5 months. A grain free feed with a lower protien percentage. This will slow his growth and give him a chance to catch up.
I've seen much worse that have grown into beautiful sound adults.
by Hundmutter on 16 May 2012 - 21:41
|Well he certainly looks brighter eyed in the latest photo. He still seems pretty underdeveloped generally to what I am used to seeing at six months - and in comparison to the black bitch posted on here. (I don't know that her being probably WL makes a lot of difference). I confess the idea that you might be over-supplementing with calcium occurred to me as a possibility too. Yes you do sound a caring owner (and I am the last person to insist one cannot cope without a garden / yard, believe me !) - but you also sounded like you were a bit of a muddled one ? The fact that you say you only recently realised that growing puppies need proportionately more food than adult dogs, for instance ? That's pretty basic. And you said the early pictures were better than some others you've got - that just made me wonder how bad he looked in the others.|
by Rik on 16 May 2012 - 21:43
|if x rays are ok, he will tighten up with maturity.|
sand is great for conditioning and if he enjoys swimming, start doing that also. It's very low stress and a lot of output in a short period of time.
I do not feed puppy food. There is no benefit to the higher levels of protien and I don't want to increase growth rate either.
good luck and keep posted on x-rays.
by CMGSD on 16 May 2012 - 21:51
|It's not exactly basic if nobody tells you. I was getting mixed messages from the breeder on how much to feed and whenever I asked other people they said to just go with what I had been doing or not to fuss over food so much. Nobody ever told me he might need more. I think his food was a balanced amount a couple of months ago but it should have been upped with his age. Part of the problem stemmed from the difference with cats--with cats if you fed the amount the packaging tells you to you'd have pretty fat cats. I assumed dog food was the same (because the same brands make food for both) but it doesn't appear to be the case anymore. Some things you just don't know until somebody tells you. I read a ton of books on raising dogs and not one of them mentioned upping food as they aged, just training stuff. |
We have a small garden out front where he goes potty, but that's all we've got land wise. We're lucky we have trails across the street from us and that we love hiking.
Some of the pictures are where he's doing weird stuff so it makes the problem look worse. Other pictures he looks better. That picture with the eyes being brighter was taken the same week as the picture with the "dull" ones. It was just the lighting/angle of the photo that created whe poor eye brightness, not the eyes themselves.
Definitely something to note then. I think I might start mixing adult food in with his food and see how he reacts to it and then switch. Grain free alternatives are eh. ToTW has a higher calcium content than CalNat does, and Orijen is about the same. CalNat has a grain free food with very low calcium (.7%) but it's almost twice as much $$ per bag so I'd rather go with the 1% adult formula that costs the same. He's been on nature's variety and taste of the wild (initially we were feeding him a mix as per the breeder's instructions) and his poops were constantly soft (despite fecal tests and deworming). Now they're firm.
Thanks SitasMom :) Very encouraging. I'll keep up his exercise. Just waiting for those xray results.
by Markobytes on 16 May 2012 - 22:15
|You do not have to own a yard to be a good owner, just having them in the back yard does not exercise them. I will agree that the weights are way to much for a pup like yours. Hip Dysplasia is environmental as well as genetic. Good exercise is needed to give muscle and ligament tone as the joints grow to form a well rounded socket. Heavy angulated dogs need more exercise but can really fly if fit. Exercise can also flatten down a roach back. Don't give up on this pup or let others tell you what he can't do, just because they can't train a show line doesn't mean you can't. A new crate is absolutely necessary.|
by Jenni78 on 16 May 2012 - 22:42
|I would NOT add anything higher in calcium. Just talked to another ortho vet who just saw a Mastiff whose well-meaning owner fed it TOTW and the dog is a mess. That is moderate puppy food you're feeding, so I wouldn't be too concerned. Just keep in mind that when an adult food gives a percentage of calcium, that your pup is going to be eating more than that due to the increased nutrition needs a puppy has. Pay close attention to the supplements. This pup must have some kind of genetic predisposition to this, but a normal pup can get all messed up (like my technical term?) from too much calcium, so be especially careful w/this one. |
He will likely mature ok, if he gets enough exercise. I think many/most dogs don't get what they need as far as free running/self-exercise. I think a lot of our orthopedic problems are the result of many generations raised in unnatural environments.
by joanro on 16 May 2012 - 22:57
|Of course a pup shouldn't be on a tread mill. But the op saying she thought having a six month old drag weights was a good idea, thought she might like the idea of tm.|
by guddu on 16 May 2012 - 23:20
|I would like to ask what is the evidence that a diet high in Ca causes problems ?...since it has been suggested as such. IMHO, excess Ca just gets excreted in urine. For those not in the know, there is a free calcium and a bound calcium. The free ca always remains more or less the same. Its the free calcium which is used to regulate body processes. Infact, I would venture to say that any ca from the usual diet (as in this case), is not an issue.|
by Jenni78 on 17 May 2012 - 01:02
|I posted a bunch of links in another thread...can't remember which one. Basically, it's the entire reason behind the advent of "large breed puppy food." |
Here is one really basic, plain-English, short article. The vet journals have a ton on it, but you have to pay to subscribe to those. http://www.joint-health-for-dogs.com/nutrition-dogs.html