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Old 09-12-2014, 11:14 AM
339 posts, read 678,889 times
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We just adopted a 12 month old male shepherd from a rescue. His known history is that he was a stray and on death row at animal control . A local German Shepherd group were able to rescue him and boarded him at a rescue horse farm with 4 other shepherds.

Overall he looked healthy except he is on the thin side, he is alert, coat looks good and he is energetic.

We were not given any food to start him on to maintain some form of consistency so he has been eating with great gusto a grain free food from Victor that we feed our lab.

His bowels seem to still be in some sort of stress...I have tried pumpkin and brown rice to no avail. He has probably 3-4 loose movements per day which I know is not good.

The rescue stated he cleared a vet check with flying colors and is current on all vaccines.

He has an appointment with our vet today and I am having him checked for parasites. He has been itching, shaking his head and biting different parts of his body. The rescue folks stated he was wormed and bathed in environmentally correct flea and tick shampoo. He was waring a tick collar when we took him home and they put on Front Line Plus before pick-up. We live in Arizona and do have those little monsters. Maybe to much chemicals?

So back to my question...what type of diet should he be on? I would like the forums suggestions as I know vets sometimes push their line of stuff..He will be pretty big full grown, now he is all legs.

This is not our first shepherd and I know they have tender stomachs. I am concerned that he receive the correct amount of bone developing minerals etc..

Oh one other question...has anyone ever heard of a dog having a reaction to the micro chipping process?

Any info appreciated..
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:34 PM
Location: Floyd Co, VA
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Thank you for rescuing and congratulations too.

Two possibilities come to mind:

1. Camphylobacteriois - which will give them very loose bowels that tend to smell extremely awful. It might not show up in a routine fecal check and the vet has to look for it specifically. I just had my 2 in to the vet yesterday since they had symptoms but it was not that. Here's some info about it:

Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) in Dogs | petMD

2. If weight continues to be an issue even if fecals are clear and he's eating like a horse then the dog might be one who has EPI, a condition that I only recently learned about and it was first recognized in shepherds some time ago. A member of my humane society has a shepherd with it and had been to 3 vets with no dignoses when I happened to bring some brochures about it to a meeting and she said her dog could be a poster child for it. She then went back to one of the vets with the info, the vet ran the specific tests for it and sure enough that was it. Here's a link to info about it:

Overview - EPI * Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

I sure hope that what ever the issue is it will be quickly and inexpensively resolved.
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Old 09-12-2014, 04:12 PM
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The itching and biting parts of his body sound like allergies to me. The shaking his head probably means his ears are bothering him which could be allergies too. Did the vet look at his ears?

Not sure about the loose bowels but he might have more than one thing going on (e.g., allergies and something else). Have you tried a really bland diet for a few days like chicken and rice or science diet ID (available from the vet only). It could be the food. I tried Blue grain free for my dogs and it gave them loose stools. What was he eating at the shelter? It could be that the all the changes in food plus the stress of moving is affecting this. Did the vet give you anything for this? Usually for mine (who don't have EPI) a few days of flagyl (metronitazole, not sure about either spelling) will work.

It also sounds like he's had a lot of chemicals in a few days. If it were me I'd take the tick collar off while all this is going on.

I've had shepherds for 20+ years. They are wonderful dogs.

Thank you for rescuing him and I hope you find out what's wrong with him.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:45 PM
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I will try to give my best opinion Shepherds are nervous dogs to begin with they get nervous or excited and their stool can get runny. I would try giving him a food with no corn. I have found all my shepherds have a bad reaction to anything, but Purnia and now I add Blue Diamond it's on the rich side, this is why I add Purina.
Diamond Naturals Grain Free Dog Food | Review and Rating

Also, you can try for a week or so chicken and rice you can even add some dry dog food to this. The Blue Diamond does wonders for their coats. I rescued a shepherd 3 yrs ago who had diet problems from not being feed properly while being a breeding machine. She was gray and dingy, now she's black, deep black and reddish tan.

Best of luck
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Old 09-13-2014, 01:19 AM
Location: Los Angeles
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Having owned three shepherds(one currently), I will start with the thin condition you say your Shepherd has.
My present Shepherd was ten months old when I got him , and he was very thin.
You could see his ribs.
It took about a year for him to loose the skin and bones look.

Now, about the itching.
When dogs start to itch constantly, the first thing we think of is fleas, if the itching is coupled with licking, especially the paws, we think food allergy.
I must admit with my present Shepherd, This was exactly what I though.
When fleas were ruled out, all that was left was a food allergy.

For about a year, I switched to different foods because he didn't like any of them.
I started him on Pedigree when I first got him.
He loved that food, but once what I thought was a food allergy, I took him off it in favor of the designer (very expensive) grain free foods,
Still the allergy(or what I assumed was an allergy) stayed with him.

The itching, and licking of the paws drove me to my vet, and after some test, it came back as a bacterial skin disease.
It most definitely was not a food, or enviromental issue.
It is something that can be controlled, but he will always have it for the rest of his life.
Antibiotics clear up the rashes so that he doesn't itch them, making them worse.

The licking of the paws was because they too had traces of tiny rashes causes by the infection.
I asked how he "picked" this up, thinking it was from perhaps grass, carpet, or bedding.
The vet said some dogs develop it for no apparent reason.
It is possible it could be hereditary.

Now, back to the food issue.
Just as with humans, all dogs are not alike.
There are some health issues that are common to certain breeds, and causes and treatment may differ between breeds.

As I said earlier, I ran the gammit on dog food, read the dog food advisor as though it were a bible for my dog's nutrition, and those fancy smanchy designer foods he turned his nose up at.
On Blue buffalo, he would vomit shortly after eating it, so that only lasted two days.
You name it, I tried them all.
Purina pro plan lasted for two months, and when it got to the point he would just walk away from the food bowl, I decided I would go back to the food that he showed me he really liked, and that is Pedigree.
He sits there and drools, waiting for me to open the can, and he eats every bit of it without stopping.

So the fancy designer foods may be ok for some dogs, but I really think it is the people who are drawn to the designer brands, not the dog.
I would say, feed your Shepherd what ever he likes, and he will let you know .

For sure, my Shepherd couldn't give two sh!ts about what the dog food advisor has to say.
He knows what food he likes, and I see that the minute I mention "Din Din".
With all the other brands, did din was just another word.
Now he associates din din with something good that he really likes.
Pedigree has been in business for many years, and like all dog food companies, they meet federal standards for their products.
That is good enough for me and my Shepherd.

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Old 09-13-2014, 09:45 AM
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SOLID advise on this thread. Lots of crossover issues. AND BEING OVERMEDICATED FOR FLEAS.


They know that people are going to go on the internet and ask a bunch of strangers, anyway, while bashing THEM. Sort of like YOU did.

They offer foods they can RELY on because they know the public is generally UNINFORMED, easily confused and unreliable. Alternatively, you can pay them to hire 2-3 extra people to manage being in the dog food BUSINESS.

They offer primarily PRESCRIPTION foods, too, that are formulated for specific diseases

You can also pay for them to move to a GIANT facility to manage all the foods. Also you can pay MORE so that they can meet the minimum requiremens to carry the food and delivery.

There is NO MARGIN in dog food. Occasionally they'll go with one company or the other so they don't LOSE money but Hills is the standard offer. The first company going back 50-60 years. Is kibble perfect? NO. But it's saved millions of lives, too. While people are busy euth'g millions of lives per year for being homeless.

Did you ever CONSIDER the TINY space allotted for pet food in the office? You have to have 12 linear feet with about 4 verticle shelves just to carry the full Science Diet line. When I was in the pet store business I didn't carry Hills because I didn't have the space. PLUS Hills dogs did used to have a larger stool and at the time I though I could talk everybody into "designer" foods. Instead, they went next door to the grocery store hahahaha.

I'm friends with the famous homeopath Deva Khalsa VMD and even SHE OFFERED foods everybody distains. Like Royal Canin.

Adding some pumpkin or BROWN RICE is not going to cure his issues. You added another allergen RICE. And BROWN RICE is not easily digestible. AND it blows up in the colin. Oat bran is better for OCCASIONAL indiscretions but he has more going on than eating a few contraband items.

Same applies to humans having a gi episode:


Hills ID can be a miracle food. It's formulated in a SPECIFIC way for GI disorders. Like additional B vits and fractionalized grains and LOW more digestible proteins and fats to help the GI REPAIR faster and better absorption. Low residue. Yes, your dog is not absorbing his food properly and also potentially going to get dehydrated. I prefer the canned. See above link for HUMANS says the SAME THING. So does Dr Washabau a famous DVM internist.

It's kept hundreds of dogs alive on my megaesophagus yahoo board including dogs with feeding tubes. Including my own. Including my dog walking client who is going on 19 years old. Also cured my mother's Lab who had IBS. I've also seen it in Petsmart but IDK if you need a script. I would probably put him on it for now then slowly switch to a LOWER PROTEIN LOWER FAT food if your vet recommends doing so. BOTH steps. I can't speak to the specifics of a puppy large breed right now, I'm not up on the current thinking which is ever changing.

I will say that my clients with larger breeds did not do well on Cal Natural they were too thin. They mostly went to Eukanuba (it's a weight building food) or Solid Gold. But even that has lots of ingredients. Hund-n-Flocken. My bulldog gained nearly TEN POUNDS on it!! Had to stop. Didn't fix his allergies either. Has Flax. That's before I knew about his flax sensitivity. She has alot of different formulations.


You NEVER do all that at once THEN add a flea collar.

Let's hope he only has ear infections and allergy not some neurological damage on top of it.

Trust your vet. That's why your'e paying him. He'll prescribe flagyl and whatever else he needs for the ears or what he finds on the exam. And YES he will recommend Hills ID because it's LOW RESIDUE or whatever other brand of prescription food he carries. Euk makes one too.

Last edited by runswithscissors; 09-13-2014 at 10:39 AM..
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Old 09-13-2014, 09:55 AM
10,604 posts, read 14,135,279 times
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PS. Also it can be ONE ingredient they are allergic to. My Bulldog couldn't tolerate lot of things but one surprise was FLAX. He was on Cal Natural and the CANNED version added Flax for some stupid reason and his eyes blew up in hours.

He also couldn't tolerate any of the designer "treats" or supplements like LECITHIN.

He also couldn't tolerate Hills ZD low allergen food because he didn't have any PROTEIN allergies and they hydrolyze their proteins but in corn starch. He had a corn starch allergy so his eyes blew up AGAIN with 1/4 cup in hours when we tried it out.

You didn't say which Victor you're using but they are ALL high protein and fat. That's what often causes the diarrhea too rich.

If it's the All Stages that is TOO HIGH in protein 33% and fat 16% for a GSD with GI sensitivity IMO.

A GI food is more like 22-25% protein and 7% FAT.

Just to give you a comparison.

When people switch foods, besides the ingredients the KEY factor is the % fat and protein. If you switch to a higher one you can get loose stool either temp or permanently.

Coming from a rescue it's likely he was on whatever they could obtain or afford. IF they didn't TELL YOU or GIVE you a sample then it's UNLIKELY it was a designer or specific food and also a mistake they made.

Unless they KNEW he had this GI problem anyway so avoided the topic.

PLUS Victor HAS A TON OF INGREDIENTS. You will NEVER rule out food allergy with all that stuff. If the Flagyl doesn't cure it, he's going to need an ELIMINATION diet.


ALSO make sure you're not using fragrance, carpet powder, and stuff around him. Like scented detergent on his bedding. Part of an elimination diet is also making his environment low allergen although it's hard to do with environmental allergies like outside stuff.

Besides eliminating specific allergens you want to LIGHTEN THE ALLERGIC LOAD overall.

Hopefully its just the food's too rich but that doesn't explain the possible ear infection which is always a sign of skin/food. If not mites etc.

Last edited by runswithscissors; 09-13-2014 at 10:13 AM..
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Old 09-13-2014, 11:07 AM
339 posts, read 678,889 times
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Default Shepherd update..

Well Teddy tested positive for round worms. I guess the treatment he received from the rescue was not enough or maybe a first dosage Etc..

Even after all the chemicals for fleas and ticks the vet found 1 tick and some flea dirt. So his recommendation was this for what he observed:

*Ravenous appetite, low weight, loose bowels and itching could be all related to the worms. So more chemicals to correct that, Panacur. Stated further that his Heart Guard will in the future keep worms away.

*Medicated Flea and Tick shampoo for a once a week treatment until no evidence of ticks and fleas. *I asked how that is possible after all the dips, shampoo's and Front Line..no real response just stated he is still being bothered by the pests and since the rescue only had him for two weeks probably not enough time to take full effect.

*FortiFlora for tummy issues to assist in loose bowels.

*Asked about food issues...did not recommend or seem to be concerned. Stated because of the shepherds history of bone and hip issues to have a food with Glucosamine. So I guess I am on my own for that.

A sad observation which I noticed and was confirmed is his teeth have taken a beating. Vet stated he was either chewing on rocks or something hard. My image is that he most likely was chained up in a back yard and started chewing his restraint to get free or out of boredom. Or worse that someone has filed down his canine teeth..the sharp points are not longer...sorta looks like my labs teeth
Still has a good set worthy of making some holes is need be..

Do not know what his situation was in the shelter regarding food etc..the rescue feed him Costco brand food at least not the ROY stuff from WalMart.

Thank you all for your input..I am going to check out all your information. The Victor food is the Hero Canine formula with Glucosamine that he is on, yes alot of ingredients and higher protein..

So process of elimination will begin after the worming Meds are completed. I looked at Dick Van Pattens 5 ingredient foods however they are low in protein it seems. ??

Time will tell..
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