8-week old Belgian Shepherd/Tervuren too smalll?

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8-week old Belgian Shepherd/Tervuren too smalll?

This is a discussion on 8-week old Belgian Shepherd/Tervuren too smalll? within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello, I recently brought home an 8-week old Tervuren. He had his first vet visit a day later. Although he didn't look "small" to me ...

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Old 01-09-2018, 10:26 AM
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8-week old Belgian Shepherd/Tervuren too smalll?

Hello,

I recently brought home an 8-week old Tervuren. He had his first vet visit a day later. Although he didn't look "small" to me in person, he was smaller than his brother when I went to pick him up, but not concerningly so. His weight was 6.8 lbs. Granted, his breeder didn't feed him past the morning on the day I came to pick him up, and on the long drive home I only fed him very lightly and late so as to not encourage car sickness, but this shouldn't account for too much difference I would think.

When at the vet I hadn't looked at what his weight should be and the vet didn't mention anything about it--only asked how his appetite was (seems fine after getting settled). But looking at what typical weights are for Belgian Tervuren pups (and Malinois, since there's more info available for this variety), it appears he's very small for 8 weeks.

He has had some loose stools--not diarrhea, but not solid, and quite frequently. I'm taking a sample to the vet just to be safe. And I will inquire about the weight issue there, too. But the vet wasn't experienced with this breed, so I wanted to post on here and get some insight. Is this something to be very concerned about? I freaked a bit using a adult-dog weight predictor "calculator" that asked for variables of pup's exact and and weight (and date of weigh-in) and suggested he will weight 30 lbs as an adult. That's just too small for a Belgian, if there's any validity to it. He he's not skinny. And he's energetic. The only slight concern otherwise I'm seeing is it looks like he might be having some issue following with his vision some toys that I'll toss for him to go after and (usually) bring back. I'll toss a toy and he'll follow it but seem like he sometimes doesn't see where it went, even when not too far away, but this isn't a consistent thing, so I'm not sure. But at 8 weeks, maybe that's normal. I"m just concerned if he's too small what that might entail for other developmental issues.

Any insights and, especially, experiences, are appreciated.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:40 AM
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Question Did U see his parents? // In the flesh, or in photos?

.

I realize that sires may not be on scene, but did U meet his dam & other sibs, besides the one brother?
Was his mom particularly dainty? - Did U see photos of sire & dam, so that any size discrepancy could be compared?

BSD-Tervs aren't big dogs; they're a bit like sighthounds wearing fancy-dress - wiry & athletic, not beefy.

Did the vet look at his TEETH? - dentition [erupting vs emerged baby-teeth] can help to age a young pup.
Do U have his registration? - is there a DoB, & does it seem to agree with his dental age?

I wouldn't worry about smaller-than-brother, so long as it doesn't appear that the breeder altered the DoB in order to get the litter out the door. THAT would be an immediate concern, & is reportable / actionable, if they sold the pup underage.

If he's otherwise happy in himself, bright-eyed, active, appetite good, alert & responsive, i wouldn't worry about size at 8-WO. // Pups in the same litter can be a few days apart in conception, & that can mean visible differences when they're tiny, but they catch up post-birth. By 9-MO, he might be bigger than that brother [& i don't mean heavier or fatter, i mean taller & larger].

- terry

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Old 01-09-2018, 11:08 AM
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Thanks so much, Terry!

I did not get to meet sire and dam in person as the breeder thought it better to meet at his apartment than the farm if it was going to be very cold out or late when I was arriving (it was later at night when I arrived). I did see pictures of sire and dam and did verify they were the dogs (and he was the owner) and which kennels/breeders they came from. They weren't the largest of dogs, and as you said these aren't massive dogs, but I'm generally seeing reports of Belgians being twice the weight of this guy at 8 weeks, so that's more my concern, I guess. Relative to others of the same breed, from what I'm reading.

The AKC registration form shows the DOB suggestive of the pup being 8 weeks when I picked him up. Or 8 weeks and a day. The vet didn't suggest he looked younger by dental observation and said his teeth looked good.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not sitting here thinking my dog isn't going to be a hulk. I'm just genuinly concerned there might be something wrong if my pup is as much as half the weight of a typical (?) pup of the same breed (Terv or Mal, etc). The vet did say she felt as though both testicles were there but it may be that they are small or one of them is small (I can't recall which she said). So maybe he's just behind on the growth curve? He can be smaller, that's fine...but if he's too small there's probably a reason for it I would think, and that might come with other developmental issues as well, perhaps, that might express themselves behaviorally? These are just some of the things I'm pondering and trying to figure out.

I'll ask specifically about the teeth/growth. Thanks again.
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:27 PM
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Congratulations on the new arrival. There are a few things I can think of off hand that would make a pup smaller. Things like a heart condition or a liver shunt, they usually appear after a few months. The heart is noticeable earlier (i.e. your most recent vet visit) but the liver shunt may not be until the pup is a few months old.

I had the same concerns about my pup. I also know someone who has similar concerns about her German Short Hair pup. Her pup didn't get ideal nutrition as a young one and mine was orphaned, which isn't ideal. They will recover and catch up as long as they are on balanced diets and receive routine veterinary care.

I wouldn't worry to much about him not being able to follow a ball. Pups have both short attention spans and some don't understand or can't focus on the game. If your pup has a vet visit again in a few weeks to get vaccines, pop them on the scale. As long as he is gaining a reasonable amount I wouldn't worry to much. You can't make him grow faster than he is able to and you don't want him to grow too fast.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:16 AM
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Question maybe get a vet-insurance policy, as that's a good precaution in any case.

.

He wasn't "half the size" of his brother, was he? - his bro was presumably born on the same day.

I'd worry less about breed-specific weight averages, & consider his own individual state.

I'd take a photo with someone's help of his upper & lower teeth -- from the side, with his mouth wide open.
I'd have him comfortably on a table, lay a towel on it for traction & to protect the surface, & snap a couple of pix with a mobile phone, SQUATTING to get the upper arcade on the near side, then shooting again for the upper arcade on the other.
Pups' teeth change daily, so an immediate record for comparison is a Good Thing.
I'd ask another nearby vet for their opinion of his age per his dentition - just in case.
[Be sure to reward him well for this weird restrained activity. Every photo, treat!]


A full blood-panel is not costly, & by including kidney & liver enzymes, can be very revelatory.
[A cardiac issue, ex: PDA, is found in auscultation or by ultrasound.]
If he's genuinely stunted & has a shunt, the sooner U know, the better for all - most shunts are surgically fixable.
If he might have a shunt, vet-insurance would be a good thing to have BEFORE U GET a diagnosis.
He's not at risk of dying at this moment - I'd find a policy & get thru the waiting period, then ask about a blood panel.

Tracking his weight at home is simple, too - every couple of days, pop him on a scale. Pups grow very quickly from birth to 5-WO, a little slower from 8-WO to 5-MO, & the larger they're going to be, the longer - & slower - they grow after 6-MO or in the case of giants, after 9-MO.

He's bright, happy, & active, so i wouldn't worry too much - but i would take precautions; a vet policy can't hurt.

- terry

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Old 01-13-2018, 11:11 PM
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Thanks, Bertie! I take it your pup turn out normal on the health/size spectrum?

Well, I can't say with certainty this explains his relative "smallness," at least in terms of weight, but it turns out the little fella has gardia. Got him on the antibiotic now and I'm going to add a course of Safeguard to it, since my research indicates the antibiotic isn't highly effective on its own. Here's to hoping. It's got me further concerned as well, though, as I'm not sure if the training and socialization classes I had planned for the guy beginning this upcoming week will disqualify him for it, at least until he can be retested and cleared (he'll be 12 to 13 weeks by that point, with a "prime socialization" window closing in).

I'm sitting here now watching him sleep his deep sleep for the night--he's been breathing fast, panting if you will, for the first half hour to forty-five minutes of his night-time sleep, beginning last night. His breath is calming down now, but it's strange. But he acts healthy--hungry as a hippo (but gardia might be affecting that, too!), and today he was following the ball much better outside and running it down with tenacity. So, thanks for the reassurance on the vision/ball/stick issue. You were right!
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leashedForLife View Post
.

He wasn't "half the size" of his brother, was he? - his bro was presumably born on the same day.

I'd worry less about breed-specific weight averages, & consider his own individual state.

I'd take a photo with someone's help of his upper & lower teeth -- from the side, with his mouth wide open.
I'd have him comfortably on a table, lay a towel on it for traction & to protect the surface, & snap a couple of pix with a mobile phone, SQUATTING to get the upper arcade on the near side, then shooting again for the upper arcade on the other.
Pups' teeth change daily, so an immediate record for comparison is a Good Thing.
I'd ask another nearby vet for their opinion of his age per his dentition - just in case.
[Be sure to reward him well for this weird restrained activity. Every photo, treat!]


A full blood-panel is not costly, & by including kidney & liver enzymes, can be very revelatory.
[A cardiac issue, ex: PDA, is found in auscultation or by ultrasound.]
If he's genuinely stunted & has a shunt, the sooner U know, the better for all - most shunts are surgically fixable.
If he might have a shunt, vet-insurance would be a good thing to have BEFORE U GET a diagnosis.
He's not at risk of dying at this moment - I'd find a policy & get thru the waiting period, then ask about a blood panel.

Tracking his weight at home is simple, too - every couple of days, pop him on a scale. Pups grow very quickly from birth to 5-WO, a little slower from 8-WO to 5-MO, & the larger they're going to be, the longer - & slower - they grow after 6-MO or in the case of giants, after 9-MO.

He's bright, happy, & active, so i wouldn't worry too much - but i would take precautions; a vet policy can't hurt.

- terry

.
Greatly appreciated, Terry.

No, he definitely wasn't half the size of his bro. In correspondence with the breeder, he said another pup that went out at the same time (only 3 of the 9 were sold/scheduled at that time) was 9 lbs in weight. That wasn't the same bro, though. If I had to guestimate, however, I'd say his bro probably weighed 9 or 10 lbs, comparing what I remember of him. That is to say, I look at my little guy and have difficulty believing he barely weighs 7 lbs. He's not a Hoss, by any means, but he must be hollow or something!

I took some pics of his teeth after reading your post, when he was asleep and tolerant, but I'm not sure I got all the appropriate shots/angles. I had been communicating with the breeder about these guys since late November, and their bday (or purported bday) was early-mid of the same month. Still, better safe than sorry. There's a few other vets at the clinic I can ask about age/detention, too.

I'd only read about the health insurance in passing and wasn't sure if it was a ripoff or not. I'm looking into it more after reading more about it. I did see mention of preexisting disqualifications, as I believe you were referring. Good advice there.

The bits about heart and liver shunts sound quite serious and concerning. More the justification for insurance, I suppose--that or potential instances akin to it. I'm hoping it's not that in this situation though. I'm rather "hoping," if it's anything health related, maybe this can be explained by the gardia that was just discovered (after our last communication), since it can cause weight loss in young pups and malabsorption of nutrients. He's not skinny. If anything he looks still a bit rounded, but not fat on his ribs. Sometimes I look at him and think he's twice the size of when I got him last week. Then I stepped on the scales with him in hand (my scales don't acknowledge him solo), and he's not much weightier.

I am in the process of changing his food from Taste of the Wild, which the breeder had him on, to Orijen Large Puppy. I was doing this before the fecal results came back, thinking it would help his loose stool. It certainly seems to be, but then, too, with the gardia I can't say with certain what's effecting or improving what.

Thanks, again, for you insight and knowledge-sharing!
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Old 01-14-2018, 11:17 AM
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Unhappy Eek.

.

Giardia is ferocious, & frankly U were lucky to get an actual DIAGNOSIS - the bl**dy stuff can lurk for months or even years, as the spores are only seen when they're shed. Terrible to Dx.

It's not highly contagious if U take simple precautions -
* USE DISPOSABLE GLOVES to bathe him, groom, or to handle his paws, trim claws, or go anywhere past his shoulders. // U don't want to [remote possibility] pick it up yerself.
* Wash any combs, brushes, mat tools, ________ , thoroughly. Use hot water & soap; use combs to clean the brushes & brushes to clean the combs.
* Disinfect his crate - hopefully it's an airline-approved shipping crate which contains everything, no splashes, spatters, etc.
* B4 puppy-classes, bathe him, not fussily, but spray his bum, undercarriage, & his PAWS between pads, then dry him with a towel that goes directly into hot water / heavy-duty cleaning, high-heat dry... OR, use paper-towels.

* When he poops, have him squat over a puppy-pad, spread newspaper, PAPER PLATES, or other disposable surfaces that prevent contaminated stool from hitting the ground.
U need to slide it under his butt as he squats - if he gets a bit anxious, distract his front-end with a long-handled spoon with peanut-butter + low-fat cream cheese, 1/2 & 1/2 [1 part Crm Chz, low-fat; 1 part PB or sunflower-seed butter; sunseed butter is also low-fat].
Offer the spoon as he squats, hold it as he licks, slide the {poop catcher} under his bum as he's licking.

* Avoid having him walk on places where he's VOIDED directly onto soil, grass, landscape bark, etc - he can pick up & re-ingest the spores!
U might want to use string, sticks, & flags to mark those areas as out of bounds, if it's Ur own yard / property.


Fecal matter, not the dog himself, transmits the spores - & to be infectious, he must be shedding spores.

More here -
https://www.vetinfo.com/is-giardia-i...ontagious.html


Bad news? - Giardia can be chronic & lurk for years; it can also recur, he can drink contaminated water, walk on spores & lick his paws, & so on.
Hopefully he's treated effectively & it's dead, dead, dead.

- terry

.
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Old 01-14-2018, 11:22 AM
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Question Where do U live?

.

Giardia is endemic in whitetail deer & beaver popns in the USA, & probly Canada, too; if there are any of those species local to U, don't let him drink from streams, puddles, ponds, or ANY water that didn't come from a treated tap-source.

Ask the local water authority if they test for Giardia in the municipal H2O - or if U use a well, test the well. Regularly! - be sure the well casing is not cracked or broken.

Look for "boil water" alerts, too - municipal water can be contaminated by runoff, & U may have to boil water [15 minute rolling boil, not "simmer"] B4 using it.

- terry

.
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:25 PM
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I didn't know that about the whitetail deer. I live in Virginia, and we have an abundance of them. Pup actually found deer scat in the backyard last week, though I've never once seen a deer in the yard in 5 years of living here. Neighbors have, only I haven't. But sure enough! Of course, they're all over these parts (Blue Ridge Mtns./valley region).
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