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  #1  
Old January 11th, 2011, 06:38 AM
LuvMyChessie LuvMyChessie is offline
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Dog Is Having Several Health/Behavioural Problems

Hello, I'm new to the board and am wondering if anyone has run across something like this before.
I have a 1.5 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever. When we got him at 8 weeks old he was a happy go lucky into everything typical Chessie. He did have a bad case of the runs but we chalked it up to his flight (he flew half way across Canada) and the stress of a new environment. As he grew and he did that quickly, he lost his puppy fuzz along with his energy and began becoming extremely food aggressive.
He also began rapidly losing weight at about 11months old and dropped from 90lbs to 70, had the runs consistently, developed a rash on his belly that took 3 rounds of 3 different creams to get rid of.
He is now 95lbs (tall and lean not overweight) with a dry brittle coat that's thinning along his chest and neck and he has no hair at all on his belly. His tail is also thin and hes constantly chewing it. He's on a fish based food supplemented with fish oils and a general health supplement with digestive enzymes. He is also on thyroid medication as his thyroid level is "low normal". All other blood tests came back normal. He's been on this regimen for 2 months now with no change in his coat, weight, resource guarding, or his energy level. He has to be the laziest Chessie I've ever met!
Anyone seen anything like this? Could it be the thyroid alone that's doing this? My lab had low thyroid but he was hairy hairy hairy and FAT, not losing his hair and weight.
I'm at a loss, next step is a specialist I suppose...
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  #2  
Old January 11th, 2011, 06:55 AM
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Melinda Melinda is offline
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could you let us know what type of food you're feeding him?
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  #3  
Old January 11th, 2011, 07:06 AM
LuvMyChessie LuvMyChessie is offline
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He's on GO Natural, the Salmon formula.
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Old January 11th, 2011, 09:33 AM
globalpetwhitby globalpetwhitby is offline
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Re:above

Hi there in my experience often (although not always) thiroid meds can cause lethargy and hair loss. I Have been a groomer for 12 years and many of my clients have battled with similar problems when on meds for thiroid. I also own a Global pet foods, and in my opinion is an excellent food choice one suggestion I may make that has helped a number of my clients (although not all) would be to try the welly tail supplement called groomers choice as it helps promote re-growth of hair and helps keep the skin healthy. If you don"t notice a difference within about a month( I think you posted that you were on Go salmon) you may want to switch to the grain free version which is Now Adult. If none of this helps one other common problem I have seen in my clients with lethargy and hair loss is cushings...but you would have to take a urine sample to your vet to confirm this. Hope this helps because belive me you are not alone good luck
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Old January 11th, 2011, 11:59 AM
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dbg10 dbg10 is offline
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Welcome to the board LuvMyChessie We have a lot of very knowledgeable members here as well as a few vets who offer information on some topics. I hope you find what you're looking for

It sounds like you've been battling this problem with your lovely Chessie for the better part of his life. I have a few questions that might lead to some answers for you. We love pictures here too, can you post some of your boy.

My questions are:
  • Have you seen only one vet or more than one. You might want to take him for a second opinion from another regular vet before taking him to a specialist. If you've seen more than one, what were their opinions?
  • What has your vet said is the probable diagnosis for your boy especially when he had the rash? What does the vet say is wrong with him?
  • I assume he has been tested for parasites or worms? But has this been done recently?
  • Have you tried other foods besides Go Natural? which ones and when? Is there a possibility he is having an allergic reaction to something in his food?
  • What specific supplements is he on?
  • Have you spoken with the breeder about his problems to find out if other pups in the litter have similar problems or problems with other litters from the same parents?
  • You mention behaviour problems but only say he's lethargic and food aggressive, Are there other behaviour problems too?

You mention that he is on Thyroid medication because his blood levels were low normal. The symptoms you describe are those of an over-active thyroid, not under-active.

We have some very knowledgeable people here especially where food is concerned. Giving us a little more information may help you get to the bottom of his problems.

Again Welcome !
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  #6  
Old January 11th, 2011, 03:11 PM
LuvMyChessie LuvMyChessie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbg10 View Post
  • Have you seen only one vet or more than one. You might want to take him for a second opinion from another regular vet before taking him to a specialist. If you've seen more than one, what were their opinions?
  • What has your vet said is the probable diagnosis for your boy especially when he had the rash? What does the vet say is wrong with him?
  • I assume he has been tested for parasites or worms? But has this been done recently?
  • Have you tried other foods besides Go Natural? which ones and when? Is there a possibility he is having an allergic reaction to something in his food?
  • What specific supplements is he on?
  • Have you spoken with the breeder about his problems to find out if other pups in the litter have similar problems or problems with other litters from the same parents?
  • You mention behaviour problems but only say he's lethargic and food aggressive, Are there other behaviour problems too?
Hi, thanks for the warm welcome! I'll try to answer all your questions...

1. He has seen two vets, both of which chalk the hair loss up to lack of nutrition and the low normal thyroid. The lethargy was also chalked up to thyroid. They both suggested diet change for the diarrhea.

2. We were told the rash was a fungal infection, which we managed to cure, there were two types of rashes, that appeared almost simultaniously. We cured one just as the other was beginning to appear, it was a different type of rash and after two different types of cream we managed to cure it as well. The second one took over his entire belly before we found a cream that worked.

3. He was tested for worms and parasites when the first rash appeared and the weight loss began, it came back negative. He was tested again last month and it too came back negative.

4. He was on Pro Plan, and we switched him from that to Orijen, the vet then had us put him on Prescription Diet when the weight loss and diarhea began, he was then switched back to Orijen (which brought the runs back), and then to Go which is keeping him in good weight and his stool is now hard. He does however strain after pooping and his next bowl movement will be soft.

5. He's on Fish oils and Nupro Joint Support which includes digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fatty acids and omegas and a few other things, I dont have the container on me at the moment.

6. We have spoken to the breeder regularly. So far he is the only one with these problems that she knows of. He is from the first litter of this breeding pair, he is one of 3 pups out of 10 that survived an emergency c-section, we've also looked into the meds used during the c-section to see if this may be playing a role. His parents have since had another litter and they are 12 weeks old and so far no problems. His father has multiple litters on the ground, all healthy that we know of.

7. He is just a very stand offish kind of dog. He also seems to get "cranky" when he's tired, which is often lately. He has never offered to bite but he does growl and protect his food, and now his toys as well. He tends to be the dominant dog when he's around others (which is typical of the breed). He's also less tolerant of children than he was when this all started. We suspected his change in behaviour to be pain related as he would let out a sharp yelp about once a week never doing the same thing twice so we never pinpointed what movement was causing it. We have had him at a chiropractor who told us his back is stiff and we have him adjusted regularly and that is loosening up quite nice and he has stopped yelping. We also had his back and hips x-rayed and all looks fine.

Well I think that covers it, its pretty much my boys life story!! lol Other than that most of the time he's a happy go lucky dog, mostly when he's working, but he's not allowed to do much of that now as we are very concerned about his health. He was brought along slowly to be our hunting companion and we also were in the process of introducing him to dock diving when all of this started. We were very careful not to push him, as he's still young, he worked along side an older more seasoned dog in the field, he was just happy to be out there, getting used to the sites and sounds.

I'd post some pictures but I dont know how...I'll have to look into that!
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Old January 11th, 2011, 05:44 PM
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dbg10 dbg10 is offline
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It sounds to me like you've had a busy time with your boy. You seem to have solved the weight and hair loss problems with the diet change to Go Natural. I think what you are concerned about is the possibility he may be in pain and the behaviour problems with food and toys.

Thanks for answering my questions with so much detail, I wish I had a solution but I don't. One thing I forgot to ask you was if you have other animals in the house, from what you say in your post, it sounds like you may have other dogs. It must be discouraging when you chose him for a specific purpose that he hasn't been able to follow through on.

I agree it sounds like he may be in pain from something no one has found yet. Have they xrayed or done an ultrasound of his belly to see if everything is normal in his digestive system. It also sounds like he is sensitive or allergic to certain things in the food you've given him.

I hope someone else has some suggestions for you because I can't think of anything right now that you haven't done to find out what's wrong with him, other than take him to a specialist. It seems to me that may be your next step if no one else can come up with anything.

Good luck with your boy...BTW what's his name?
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Old January 11th, 2011, 06:00 PM
Chris21711 Chris21711 is offline
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Regarding the food....Have you tried a "single protein" kibble?...A friend of mine, one of her dogs was having itchy skin/coat issues and after trying different foods settled with Acana - Lamb and Apple he has stopped chewing his feet and constantly licking.
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  #9  
Old January 11th, 2011, 08:15 PM
Sandra RVT Sandra RVT is offline
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Thyroid conditions

The thyroid could definitely be responsible for most if not all of what you are seeing. My dog was displaying some of the same symptoms as yours several years ago and he too was found to have a low-normal thyroid on blood tests. At the recommendation of a homeopathic vet we have been supplementing him with kelp ever since as kelp is a natural thyroid supplement. His energy levels and coat are now excellent and his thyroid level is now in the middle of the normal range. He still has some aggression issues however, but it isn't uncommon for low thyroid to cause irritability so in your dog's case the aggression may be related.
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Old January 11th, 2011, 08:59 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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In a young dog with low normal thyroid, I would run a full panel, and be sure to include the TgAA (thyroglobulin antibodies). In early thyroid disease, it can take years before the standard T4 test will show an out of range result. That standard test that vets use is typically useful for senior dogs, but not young dogs.

There is a thing call "thyroid aggression", which often shows in younger dogs with autoimmune thyroiditis. This is one reason why you want the full thyroid panel. There is more thyroid info here: http://germanshepherdhome.net/forum/...html#Post21986

Sandra, in autoimmune thyroiditis (the most common thyroid problems in dogs), the goal of thyroid hormone replacement is to shut down the thyroid, since boosting the thyroid will increase the antibody attack on the thyroid, which is why you might still be seeing some aggression issues?
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Old January 12th, 2011, 08:31 PM
Sandra RVT Sandra RVT is offline
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Thanks

Thanks for the advice. In Trent's case unfortunately I am pretty sure we have some dominance/insecurity issues. We have always run full thyroid profiles which came back normal except for that low normal T4 prior to the kelp. Thankfully he with some behaviour modification he has turned out to be a wonderful dog with my two small children, just has issues with other dogs and particularly my cat. Could be worse I guess. He attacked my cat twice while I was pregnant with my first child and I was terrified that we would be forced to rehome him because he would be aggressive with the baby. Now he just lies there patiently while my 2 and 1/2 year old runs around like crazy and the baby tries to love him a little too much!
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Old January 13th, 2011, 04:22 PM
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dbg10 dbg10 is offline
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LuvMyChessie have you found any other answers? I realize it must be hard but my bet would be that there is something wrong with the formation of his digestive tract or some kind of malabsorption syndrome going on where the food he eats is not absorbed properly. The fact that you were able to have him gain weight on the prescription diet and Go Natural it might be worth trying another food as Chris21711 suggested to find out what it is he is allergic to.

I suggest finding out what nutrients were in the prescription food or or more to the point weren't in the prescription food that were in the other foods you tried that weren't successful. I'm not sure where you are or what prescription food your vet gave him, but often the information can be found online at the manufacturer's websites. Eg.:

Purina Pro Plan Ingredients

Hill's Prescription Diets

Dog Food Analysis of many dog foods

This last site includes all dog foods as well as the Veterinary Diets that I have the link set to. I was unable to find the Vet diets that Hill's makes at the dog food analysis site.

Hope this helps but you may have already done all this Good Luck!
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Old March 18th, 2011, 08:18 AM
LuvMyChessie LuvMyChessie is offline
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Hi Guys!
Just thought I'd give you an update on Decoy! He's doing fantastic! Turns out the thyroid was the root of the problems. His weight is holding steady at 98 lbs, his hair is growing in thick and healthy, his energy level is back up into overdrive and he is so much happier! While he still tends to get the runs off and on and has moments where his aggressive side come out it's all slowly fading away as his thyroid levels come up. We are very happy with his progress and are looking forward to many years of having him under our feet at home and beside us in our hunting blinds.

Thanks for all the advice and links to websites with some great information.

LMC and Decoy!
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Old March 18th, 2011, 08:30 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Thanks for the update, I am so glad he is doing very well now
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Old March 18th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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Glad to hear that Decoy is doing so well now that his hypothyroidism is under control.

We would love to see some pics of your boy so hope you will share some with us.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 01:52 PM
SamIam SamIam is offline
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That is great news LMC!

I am curious what your vet said about the c-section being responsible for Decoy's condition. A survival rate of 3 out of 10 is extremely low, and I suspect your puppy was under extreme stress both before and during the surgery. C-section is almost always done as an emergency procedure, and survival rates should be near the same as for natural birth. Whether it was the condition which required mom to have surgery, a delay in having it done, or the meds used during the procedure itself, your puppy did survive what killed up to 7 ohters, and that can have serious longterm affects.
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