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What's wrong with Otis?
Topic Started: 27 May 2017, 04:05 PM (1,155 Views)
Cappo
Dalmatians
Hi everyone.

Otis, our GSD, is coming up to 3 years old now. Had him from a pup and he came from a reputable local breeder who bred many generations of dogs over the years. He's generally fit and healthy and happy.

About 2 weeks ago, we noticed that he was a little slower getting up when he had been lying down. What happens is, he will push himself up onto his front legs and then struggle to get his backside off the ground. Once he's up and moving, you wouldn't know there is anything wrong. He's a little quieter than usual, but still wants to play (we're not letting him play ball or run).

When we first noticed it, we monitored for a few days in case it was just a strain or something but it didn't get any better; in fact it got a bit worse. Off to the vet who almost immediately went down the road of "he's a GSD, it must be his hips" and decided to x-ray him.

He was x-rayed last Monday, and I'm happy to say that the x-rays came back with no problems detected. His hips look fine (in fact the look very good), there were no abnormalities on his entire spine, and no problems with his back legs at all. The vet has put him on Metacam and told us to go back next week.

Otis has been on Metacam since Tuesday now, and there is absolutely no change. He is still exactly as described above. On the plus side, he's not yelping or crying when he gets up (and he's usually a complete wuss - aren't they all!) so there are no outward signs of pain.

Quite worried though as this has been nearly 2 weeks since we first noticed it and nothing has changed for the better. Just wanted to post the details up here to see whether anyone has any thoughts or suggestions on what it could be. The vet said next steps will be CT/MRI scans to check the discs in his spine, but from a human point of view, I know that disc problems are usually very painful, and as above, Otis doesn't appear to be in pain.

Independent of the vet, two suggestions which have been made to me are either wobbler syndrome (Cervical spondylomyelopathy/CSM), or panosteitis, but I believe that's painful? I'll mention both when we take him back to the vet.

Thanks for reading, I hope someone has some ideas.
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Pamela
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My first point of call would be to contact the breeder one to let them know and two to ask if she's every had problems with previous litters!

Never heard of this in such a young dog .

Think its a matter of elimination starting with the obvious which you have done and blood tests.

I would personally be asking for a scan of his head .

Keep us posted and all the best

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icci
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GSD Lover
Agreed. A scan to check for nerve compression also sounds like a good idea.
Is he doing anything else untoward, like excessive licking of any spot? I know that Gracie tends to lick her left paw when the nerve pain plays up, although the nerve damage is spinal. I had reduced the inflammation after a putting her on Gabapentin but on noticing her starting again, spoke to the vet, meds increased and licking stopped. So the smallest difference could help with a diagnosis.
I hope you get an answer soon.
Edited by icci, 27 May 2017, 05:21 PM.
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Cappo
Dalmatians
Thanks both. No, there's no other unusual behaviour at all, other than that he is a little less lively than normal. I took a video when we were out walking earlier, if I can work out how to put it up here I'll show you, he walks just as usual. He's not overweight, he's eating fine and pooing fine (well, the Metacam is starting to catch up with him but in my experience it almost always causes looseness). We did ask the vet to do bloods, and I guess scans are next.

Our vet suggested he might refer us to Noel Fitzpatrick - anyone got any direct experience of his practice, other than what's on the TV?
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icci
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GSD Lover
The girl who works at Gracie's physio has had two of her dogs there. Both had knee problems, one came home in a week,the other one had been there for over a month, last time I spoke to her. She seemed more than happy with them.
I'm not due to take Gracie back to physio for a fortnight, so if you haven't been referred by then I can ask her more.
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Lexy
GSD Lover
I've known of a couple of people who have taken their dogs to Neil Fitzpatrick with really great results.

I don't know where you live, but we took Lexy our white german shepherd to Mark Elliot who is a vet and a homeopathic vet based near Chichester, when she had suspected cruciate problems. She also had ongoing digestive problems that the normal vet couldn't treat effectively.

When we took her there she wasn't eating and was also limping. He got her to eat out of his hand within a minute of meeting her (which actually was amazing as she was nervous of most humans) .... he then also treated her suspected cruciate with homeopathic remedies and turmeric... an operation with her tummy would have been very bad for her (but he did say that laser treatment might have been an option) ... and a couple of weeks later she was not limping.

He's an amazing man with so much knowledge... and will never give up.

I feel for you... and good luck...

Miranda
p.s just to reiterate Mark Elliot treats with "normal" vet tradition if best, but has brilliant knowledge of "alternative" ways if better and less intrusive x
Edited by Lexy, 27 May 2017, 09:55 PM.
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Cappo
Dalmatians
We're in Kent, so Chichester is a bit of a trek - but if that's what it takes….

Here's the video of him yesterday afternoon, with little Lola too. To me he doesn't look any different in the video from how he's ever looked. He trots, he stops, he turns, he lifts his leg and stands on the right leg which is the one which seems to give him trouble when he's getting up.

Today, we went out and he did run, although I called him back immediately as I don't want him to run until we know what it is. He's eating well too, but he does seem subdued in himself; lying down a lot although he does get up and move around quite a bit. He's also being a bit more vocal than normal, just "talking".

I think we'll call our vet on Tuesday and suggest he sees him then, instead of waiting until Friday as the vet suggested. Have to say we're quite worried about him. I did message his breeder, she emigrated to Australia a couple of months ago, but I haven't heard back from her yet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM5JIY4qZ5E (Quality doesn't seem good but hopefully you can see OK).
Edited by Cappo, 28 May 2017, 09:00 PM.
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catsx11
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"...it's a dog's life!"
Hello
Does he struggle to get up every time or is it just after a walk, or in the mornings or in the evenings?
Does he 'squat' to pooh ok? How about his ability to get up from the sitting position?
Did the vet 'extend' his rear legs forward and rearwards to see his range of movement?
Shot in the dark but, if the hips look good and he is only struggling to get his rear end up it might be his lower spine maybe?
Do you have a 'normal' car or has it a high entry for Otis to jump up in to it? Might be a good idea to get him a ramp if you haven't one already?.
Has he 'tumbled' back on his rear end at all recently?

Hope you get him better soon.
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Cappo
Dalmatians
catsx11
30 May 2017, 09:04 AM
Hello
Does he struggle to get up every time or is it just after a walk, or in the mornings or in the evenings? Every time, although he's worse in the mornings. In fact someone just knocked at the for and he usually guards the door with his life, but he just stayed lying down and barked from there!
Does he 'squat' to pooh ok? How about his ability to get up from the sitting position? Seems to poo OK. Struggles less to get up from a sit but it's still noticeable.
Did the vet 'extend' his rear legs forward and rearwards to see his range of movement? Yes, before and during x-ray. Nothing abnormal detected
Shot in the dark but, if the hips look good and he is only struggling to get his rear end up it might be his lower spine maybe? That's where the vet is headed, he's suspecting a slipped disc, or as a very long shot, some sort of growth
Do you have a 'normal' car or has it a high entry for Otis to jump up in to it? Might be a good idea to get him a ramp if you haven't one already?. It's a Range Rover. I can lower the suspension but still fairly high. I am lifting him in and out at the moment. We do have a ramp but I've yet to find a dog who will use it!
Has he 'tumbled' back on his rear end at all recently? Not that I'm aware of, at least not seriously.

Hope you get him better soon.
Hi, thanks for the reply. Answers to questions in blue.

Back to the vet this morning. He has detected a high temperature, and we pointed out that Otis seems to be arching his back, suggesting he's holding himself oddly, probably against pain. Bloods checked while we were there but no abnormalities. Vet has put him on high dose antibiotics with daily monitoring (by him) and says if no change in a few days then we go to scans.

The vet estimates the scan cost at £3000 :o and our insurance limit on scans is £750 :o :o Ah well, he's worth it!

(But secretly hoping the antibios do the trick! For him and for the bank account!!)
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Nightrunner
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Biggsd Funds Co-ordinator

Oh dear, poor Otis.

Hope the antibiotics help and there is nothing too sinister going on.....


:fingers crossed: :fingers crossed: :fingers crossed: :fingers crossed:
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Heambro
GSD Annointed Member
...I'm holding my breath and hope the antibiotics work. I had no advice to give you but hope you find answers
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Patlucky
Would like to stay in bed like the other Pat does

Sorry to hear about Otis
I think Noel is brilliant I would trust him with my dog anytime
Good luck
:gsd paw:
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Cappo
Dalmatians
Thanks for the good wishes everyone. It's really odd - went out for a lovely walk earlier, took it easy but he was more than happy to trot along and explore as usual, but back in the house, he lies down and is clearly not comfortable at all.

Back for a temperature check in the morning, we'll see whether that has helped at all but it does look like we'll be needing scans unless something dramatic changes.
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Alsace
GSD Addict
So sorry to hear of your worries with Otis - they do put us through the mill don't they?

When reading your first post my immediate thought was to get his neck checked. Hope antibiotics do the trick :fingers crossed:

Noel Fitzpatrick operated on my GSD bitch, Zenzi, twice before she was eighteen months old. As others have said if you have to go and see him, he is brilliant.

Liz
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gtrmacs
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C'n'me, always together

Heavens :unsure: :(

Nothing to add - but hugs to you'n'yours from T'n'me :group hug: Wish Otis better _soon_ :in_love:
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Cappo
Dalmatians
Quick update time. His temperature has come down to normal now after 3 days antibios, and he's fractionally better at getting up but still not good. However, yesterday evening he pestered to play ball in the garden again, which we did, gently, and he was very happy with that. Daily vet checks continue. The vet is currently thinking an inflamed disc which has/had become infected. Never heard of that myself but hey, I'm not the vet! His recommendation is continuing antibios and Metacam to see, and consider scans after that if Otis is still not right. One good thing, the vet said that since Otis seems to be responding to this treatment, albeit slowly, it suggests that there isn't a tumour involved.

More when I know more!!
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Honeysdad
GSD Annointed Member
I had a similar experience with my first Shep.
Suddenly went lame and lethargic, struggled to get up. Off to the vet's. The one I saw examined her and said it was a tumor. Suggested it was best to put to sleep. I was shocked, said this had come on over a day or so. Got some pain killer's told to come back in a couple of days. Back 2 days later, saw a different vet. He examined her, his diagnosis inflamed disc. Anti inflammatory injection plus more painkillers and she was soon back to normal.
I hope Otis has something as easy to sort out.
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Cappo
Dalmatians
Thanks for that Mick. Sounds very similar. The vet did query tumour to start with. We'll only know that if they do scans.

He's on Metacam at the moment, he's been on it for over a week and there's not much change - but also no worse, thankfully. I wonder whether he needs something stronger. We'll check tomorrow.
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Patlucky
Would like to stay in bed like the other Pat does

Cappo
30 May 2017, 10:32 AM
catsx11
30 May 2017, 09:04 AM
Hello
Does he struggle to get up every time or is it just after a walk, or in the mornings or in the evenings? Every time, although he's worse in the mornings. In fact someone just knocked at the for and he usually guards the door with his life, but he just stayed lying down and barked from there!
Does he 'squat' to pooh ok? How about his ability to get up from the sitting position? Seems to poo OK. Struggles less to get up from a sit but it's still noticeable.
Did the vet 'extend' his rear legs forward and rearwards to see his range of movement? Yes, before and during x-ray. Nothing abnormal detected
Shot in the dark but, if the hips look good and he is only struggling to get his rear end up it might be his lower spine maybe? That's where the vet is headed, he's suspecting a slipped disc, or as a very long shot, some sort of growth
Do you have a 'normal' car or has it a high entry for Otis to jump up in to it? Might be a good idea to get him a ramp if you haven't one already?. It's a Range Rover. I can lower the suspension but still fairly high. I am lifting him in and out at the moment. We do have a ramp but I've yet to find a dog who will use it!
Has he 'tumbled' back on his rear end at all recently? Not that I'm aware of, at least not seriously.

Hope you get him better soon.
Hi, thanks for the reply. Answers to questions in blue.

Back to the vet this morning. He has detected a high temperature, and we pointed out that Otis seems to be arching his back, suggesting he's holding himself oddly, probably against pain. Bloods checked while we were there but no abnormalities. Vet has put him on high dose antibiotics with daily monitoring (by him) and says if no change in a few days then we go to scans.

The vet estimates the scan cost at £3000 :o and our insurance limit on scans is £750 :o :o Ah well, he's worth it!

(But secretly hoping the antibios do the trick! For him and for the bank account!!)
Arching of the back normally is the tummy problems
Might be an infection in his bowel
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Cappo
Dalmatians
You could be very close to the answer Pat!

Well, off we went to Fitzpatrick's on Thursday. We had a one hour consultation booked, and wondered what could take an hour, but the vet we saw (Anna) was fantastic. She really did spend an entire hour examining anything and everything which she could on Otis, and asking questions and taking notes. All that she could deduce "externally" was:

- raised temperature, which we knew about
- enlarged prostate, which we didn't
- infected anal glands, which we also weren't aware of.

However, she decided that a CT scan was in order, so Otis was booked in the the night, and we left, with Lola (other dog) who was MOST upset at leaving her brother behind!

We got a call later that evening (Thursday) to day that he'd been anaesthetised and had the CT scan, plus several other samples and a lumbar puncture (he has a large bald patch now at the base of his spine). He'd come through that fine and was having something to eat, and we could collect him the next day.

The CT scan was completely clear, from snout to tail, which is good news. The only visible thing was the enlarged prostate (benign, BPH). So where we are today is that he's home, with different drugs pending the outcome of the various tests and cultures they are working on from the samples taken. She has also recommended that we try chemical castration, which should reduce the prostate size, so he'll get an implant for that next week*. He's OK-ish, still a bit subdued, still having trouble getting up, and not running much, but he's home and safe so that's good.


* re the castration. We haven't had him done yet, not because we have any intention of breeding from him, but because for every two times we ask the "should we/shouldn't we" question, we get two opposite answers. Some of you might remember, when he was younger he had very significant fear issues, culminating in him bolting from me three times and running up to 2 miles. A behaviourist we spoke to said don't castrate him, he needs all the courage he can handle. But since we got Lola (a confident little madam!) he is so much better with confidence. He can be a bit narky now with other dogs unless introduced slowly and carefully, so the chemical option will really be the best bet for us, we can "test" how much it changes him without it being permanent - yet!
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Patlucky
Would like to stay in bed like the other Pat does

Cappo
10 Jun 2017, 01:19 PM
You could be very close to the answer Pat!

Well, off we went to Fitzpatrick's on Thursday. We had a one hour consultation booked, and wondered what could take an hour, but the vet we saw (Anna) was fantastic. She really did spend an entire hour examining anything and everything which she could on Otis, and asking questions and taking notes. All that she could deduce "externally" was:

- raised temperature, which we knew about
- enlarged prostate, which we didn't
- infected anal glands, which we also weren't aware of.

However, she decided that a CT scan was in order, so Otis was booked in the the night, and we left, with Lola (other dog) who was MOST upset at leaving her brother behind!

We got a call later that evening (Thursday) to day that he'd been anaesthetised and had the CT scan, plus several other samples and a lumbar puncture (he has a large bald patch now at the base of his spine). He'd come through that fine and was having something to eat, and we could collect him the next day.

The CT scan was completely clear, from snout to tail, which is good news. The only visible thing was the enlarged prostate (benign, BPH). So where we are today is that he's home, with different drugs pending the outcome of the various tests and cultures they are working on from the samples taken. She has also recommended that we try chemical castration, which should reduce the prostate size, so he'll get an implant for that next week*. He's OK-ish, still a bit subdued, still having trouble getting up, and not running much, but he's home and safe so that's good.


* re the castration. We haven't had him done yet, not because we have any intention of breeding from him, but because for every two times we ask the "should we/shouldn't we" question, we get two opposite answers. Some of you might remember, when he was younger he had very significant fear issues, culminating in him bolting from me three times and running up to 2 miles. A behaviourist we spoke to said don't castrate him, he needs all the courage he can handle. But since we got Lola (a confident little madam!) he is so much better with confidence. He can be a bit narky now with other dogs unless introduced slowly and carefully, so the chemical option will really be the best bet for us, we can "test" how much it changes him without it being permanent - yet!
Glad he is back home
However I have seen what can happen to both female and male dogs that are not done just my view.
As he stayed at the vets there is no reason he could not be done as some point.
The reason he is narky with other dogs he is showing male dominance. with a female around :thumbs up:
Being done would certainly help that problem I think but vet will advise you
Guess it is one thing at a time.
Is he still arching his back?
He looks a lovely dog :gsd paw: :gsd paw:
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catsx11
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"...it's a dog's life!"
Cappo
10 Jun 2017, 01:19 PM
...for every two times we ask the "should we/shouldn't we" question, we get two opposite answers…
I know you're not asking for an opinion but, to balance the discussion, here's my opposing opinion…
castration for behavioural reasons is barbaric,
castration for medical reasons is different

Glad to hear you are getting closer to knowing what is wrong with Otis
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Cappo
Dalmatians
Thanks Pat. Yes, we understand all the issues around castration/not. Because he was so scared of everything and everyone when he was very young, we were advised to let him develop (with testosterone!) to see if that helped. I still think part of his issue with others is fear, but he now spends a couple of days a week with Juliet (my O/H) working at a doggy day care place where he is regularly with anything up to 25 other dogs. Once he has worked out that they're friendly, he's fine and he plays nicely with them, big or small, but he takes longer than perhaps some others to work out that they ARE ok!

The vet at Fitz suggested trying the chem castration now, as that will also reduce his prostate, and see how his behaviour goes, and then if we're happy, to be thinking about surgical means in a couple of years, but at that time it would be more for health reasons than behaviour.
Edited by Cappo, 10 Jun 2017, 04:57 PM.
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Patlucky
Would like to stay in bed like the other Pat does

How are things going with Otis please ?
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Cappo
Dalmatians
Not great Pat to be honest. There's no real change. He's possibly a few percent brighter here and there, and he has asked to play ball (very tentatively) a couple of times, but otherwise he still seems to have very little energy. And the weight is falling off him. We've always been pleased and proud that he's not heavily-built (thinking ahead to his latter years and potential for any joint issues) but now he's just skin & bones.

He did come and greet me at the door tonight when I got home which he hasn't done for a while and that was lovely.

We're kinda clinging on to the fact that the CT didn't show any nasties, hopefully meaning that this is something which can be treated. But it's so strange that neither vet has been able to examine him and say "ah, I think he's got XYZ". Went back into our own vet last night but he's no further forward than we are. Fitzpatrick's said that the results of all the various samples would take about a week, which is Thurs/Fri depending on when they started testing them, so we have no alternative but to wait. In the meantime we'll keep trying to feed him up - eggs, chicken soup, etc as well as his normal food.

A funny little side story - Lola, our other dog, a small GSD cross who we adopted from Spain about 18 months ago, has always been very secondary to Otis in guarding the house, but she has obviously worked out that he's not quite up to the job at the moment and has taken over barking and checking duties! Bless her!

It's a very difficult time. Appreciate you checking in and asking, thank you. Will update as soon as we know anything else.
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