German Shepherd Health Issues
There are several common German Shepherd Health Issues that affect the German Shepherd Dog. Unethical breeding of German Shepherds that are not sound, have contributed to many of these health issues. Zwinger vom Heidelberger Schloss uses only top quality Dogs from Imported German Lines to minimize health concerns and to make sure that each puppy born will most likely be free from any of these defects. The most common health issues that arise are Hip Dysplsia, Bloat, Gastric Disorders, Panosteitis, Spinal Paralysis, and Eye Diseases. Hip Dysplasia is a condition which is cause by a problem in the structure of the hip joint. The head of the thigh bone no longer fits firmly in the “cup” provided by the hip socket. It is mainly seen in larger dogs and is the main cause of rear lameness in dogs.
Bloat is a very serious health condition that many owners know very little about. It can occur in a variety of breeds, such as German Shepherds, Great Danes and Dobermans. It is often times related to swallowed air, but food and fluid can also be present. It usually occurs when an abnormal accumulation of air and fluid is in the stomach. While the actual cause is not entirely known, it is thought that stress is a significant contributing factor. Bloat can occur with or without twisting of the stomach. As the stomach swells, it can rotate, causing air, food and water to become trapped in the stomach. The bloated stomach obstructs veins in the abdomen, which leads to low blood pressure, shock and damage to internal organs. The combines effects can quickly kill a dog. If you suspect bloat, take your dog to the Vet immediately, as death can occur in as little as an hour.
Gastric Disorders are also related to bloat and have similar symptoms. The disorder can occur quickly, even in apparently healthy dogs. If you see any of the following symptoms, call your Vet immediately.
- Your dog seems restless or unable to get comfortable.
- Your dog makes repeated unsuccessful attempts to gag, belch, or vomit.
- Your dog’s abdomen suddenly becomes enlarged or unusually firm.
Panosteitis is a bone disease characterized by spontaneous lameness that typically occurs in larger breeds. German Shepherds are on of the breeds that are prone to this problem. Typically signs occur between 5 to 14 months of age and show up more often in males than females. In most cases an apparent lameness seems to shift from leg to leg. Periods of improvement followed by worsening symptoms make it difficult to diagnose and can last from periods of 1 month to 1 year. Pain medication can be acquired from your Vet to relieve severe symptoms. The condition is self correcting and will eventually disappear with or without treatment. X-Rays from your Vet will be able to determine if the lameness is occurring due to “Pano” or if it is the result of a fracture or dysplasia.
Spinal Paralysis occurs in many different breeds of dogs. Fibrocartilaginous embolism is a type of paralsys that occurs when a piece of disc material breaks off and becomes lodged in a spinal artery. Nerves served by the artery become deprived of blood and die off. This deterioration of nerves in the spinal cord id referred to as degenerative myelpathy. Eventually the hind legs become useless and the dog exhibits fecal and urinary incontinence.
Eye Disease – Pannus is a chronic inflammation of the corneal surface. This article by Dr. W. Newmann gives an in depth explanation of the disease as well as symptoms, causes and treatment.
These health concerns are listed for your information. If you are concerned about the health of your dog, you should call your Vet immediately to seek treatment.