Q&A with Fred

Q&A with Fred – GSD Toplines

Hi Fred,

I have been going back and forth on a topic close to my heart and part of what my decisions will be in regards to breeding… and that is toplines. I CANNOT stand the “arched” (or roached) toplines I see in the German showlines. I tried to get used to it, tried to train my eye to it, and I just can’t do it. It seems all of the showline males available have arched toplines from very slight in the “older style” dogs like Little Man (Leri Unesco) who I used for my first breeding to almost hinge-backed dogs. I see in just about every German showline litter that most of the puppies are hump-backed. I just can’t justify breeding that. And how do I justify that to buyers? Even the pet people know a deformity when they see it! Regardless of whether or not they are what wins in the German ring, and how the German judges try to explain it, it is NOT correct to the standard, and just based on anatomy and basic physics, it is NOT more efficient. In fact, in the case of hinged-backs, it is a perfect site for osteoarthritis to set in, complete with bone spurs, and that is not a good thing to happen around a spinal cord. Continue reading

Q&A with Fred: GSD with back problems

Is anyone familiar with Laser [“therapy”] for dogs. A 10 yr old German Shepherd that has some lower back problems. … it is supposed to be totally safe, but after the second treatment, she has been showing signs of problems with anal glands — information on ‘side effects’ ?’ —

Thanks! Ziggy

With limited info on the specific nature of “back problems”, we can only guess; but fortunately, my experience in the breed makes them rather educated guesses. A GSD this old is likely to have one OR MORE of a few relatively common disorders: Could have hip dysplasia that is just now getting to the point that the wear-and-tear is hurting or restricting range of motion. Could have Cauda Equina or similar stenosis, although this
usually manifests much earlier in life. Could have spondylosis (see my Internet article on TVS, CAUDA EQUINA SYNDROME, AND SPONDYLOSIS, found onSiriusDog.

If it isn’t primarily spondylosis, it might be what is called chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM) in the UK or degenerative myelopathy in the USA. See if you can find my articles on this subject on that SiriusDog site… look for “The New Knowledge of DM (GSD Myelopathy)” or similar title. I’ll attach these for you, though VetMed cannot get attachments. Or, even better, get my book on orthopedic disorders, which treats of this even though it’s not a bone/joint problem.


Q&A with Fred – Thyroid concerns in Labs


I have a very serious problem occurring with one of my Labs. I came across your article “Thyroid Problems and Suggestions on Dealing with Them” this evening. It had some refreshingly different points of view and pieces of information. So, I am turning to you in the hope of receiving some useful help and advice. Continue reading