Commitment to Care: Rocco’s Journey to a Happier, Healthier Life

Meet Rocco, an 8-year-old, neutered German Shepherd Dog who has been struggling with chronic diarrhea and anxiety.   Rocco was on a low fat/high fiber diet most of his life for his intestinal issues.  Rocco came in for annual exam, vaccines, and lab work regularly and his weight has always stayed steady at 88 lbs.  When Rocco was about 4 years old his family knew that it was past time to have Rocco neutered because they did not want the other health risks that went along with a dog not being neutered.   

After Rocco was neutered, his weight began to climb.  He would come into the clinic and our doctors and team members would talk to his owner about the weight gain.  In the spring of 2020 Rocco’s weight was 113 lbs.  Dr. Craven spoke to Rocco’s owner and let him know that this weight was a real health risk.  Rocco was showing signs of slowing down and not wanting his legs or paws touched so Dr. Craven put Rocco on Dasuquin chews for large dogs and Omega 3 soft gel to be proactive about joint disease due to his breed.  Three weeks later Rocco came back into the clinic and his weight was then 115 lbs. This continued for a while and then we got a message saying that Rocco’s owner had passed away and Rocco would be going to the shelter if he did not find a home soon.   

Dr. Craven was looking for a great dog at the same time this news came to us.  She made a few trips to meet Rocco out of our clinic setting and see him in his own environment.  Rocco loved everyone but was not able to get around too well due to his weight.  Dr. Craven thought Rocco would be a good fit for her, and she adopted him. Being with his new family Rocco was a bit more active and he was having a tough time getting around.  He tired out easily, did not want to play with his ball and had a tough time getting into the car.  It was time for Rocco to shed a few pounds.  

Virbac’s HPM diet was introduced to us at this time and Dr Craven wanted to try it because it is formulated to be able to feed more with a lower calorie count.  This diet was a total game changer. Rocco could eat more at each meal and have less calories than before.    

With his weight going down Dr Craven noticed Rocco’s back legs were beginning to lose muscle mass and occasionally his back legs would cross or have some weakness.  She added YuMove and EllaVet to his daily supplements to help support his joints more.  Due to Rocco being on daily joint supplements his joints had no overt pain or crepitus.  A couple of months later Rocco was still having some nerve issues in his back end and his joints were still doing well.   His weight is now down to 101 lbs.  

Rocco continues to be on a weight loss journey. Even though he cannot run any longer like a young dog does due to his nerve issues, Rocco does walk with the help of his booties. They prevent his back paws from flipping over and give him a firm grip on the ground.  He even recently enjoyed a slow stroll on the campus of Auburn University with his mom.  

Rocco’s journey emphasizes the importance of a tailored diet, care, and love in improving a dog’s quality of life.  His story serves as an inspiration for pet owners facing similar challenges and how important keeping their pet at an optimal weight is.  

For more information about Virbac HPM diets and how they can benefit your pet, contact our knowledgeable team at (727)546-0005, and we will be delighted to assist you.