About a month ago, I noticed Abbey taking awhile to poop. Normally, she poops and goes on, but she started taking up to two minutes to poop. We kept an eye on her, thinking she probably got a little constipated from maybe foods being dropped to the floor and she snatched it up before we got to clean up after meals. Poop texture was normal, sometimes runny. So, pooping was the first sign, and what prompted me to take her to the vet was her legs shaking as she did her business, though it was clear she was not constipated. I was concerned that there might be something going on that could not be attributed to her age....
Well, the vet listened, took her for a walk, and checked her out all over. Not constipation, not sick, but he said she could be having hip pain. The way she was walking, and the sway of her hips and her struggling to poop are early signs of hip displasia.
We talked about options and for now, start her on pain medication to block the pain signals so she might do better, and up her supplements with additional glucosamine.
We have already started her on supplements last year and are incorporating two daily walks instead of one, or substitute with good play in the house if the weather is unsuitable, or if we can't take our young kids with us. I am so sad this is happening! We are going to try to make her comfortable. I have a natural obstacle course outside that I used to have her run through, but I am eliminating that as it takes stairs and jumping, which are not good for dogs with hip displasia.
We were looking for another GSD, a very young dog, to get him/her started on her training and have Abbey to look up to. Considering things did not go well with the last prospective young dog and her current condition, we are going hold off on the search and focus on Abbey. Though we are now in the early stages, I worry about her being comfortable and the stress this may cause us.