Last Updated on August 9, 2022 by Alis Lee
Common Health Problems Of German Shepherds
Smart, brave, clever, and loyal-a list of characteristics that a German Shepherd should have as long as it is impressive. This may be why the German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States and around the world.
But like any other breed, the German Shepherd is prone to some health problems. If you are considering welcoming one of these great dogs into your life. It is important to understand some of the most common health problems with German Shepherds. What you can do to prevent them from becoming a problem for your pet.
Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket in the dog’s hip joint develop abnormally. This can cause the joints to become loose or unstable, and over time, this can cause the joints to degenerate. Hip dysplasia is a painful disease that can affect any breed, but it is especially common in large or giant breeds such as German Shepherds. There are many factors that cause hip dysplasia, and genes are the culprit. However, poor diet, excessive exercise and obesity are also contributing factors.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia in German Shepherds
- include decreased activity levels,
- unwillingness to jump or rise,
- decreased quadriceps muscle mass,
- and pain.
In severe cases, surgery is usually the best treatment option, but sometimes lifestyle changes, anti-inflammatory drugs, joint supplements, and physical therapy can be used to control the condition. But prevention is always the best option. You can take some simple measures to protect your pet from hip dysplasia: Buy your puppy from an ethical breeder. Responsible German Shepherd breeders screen their dogs for hip dysplasia. Ask the breeder to prove that the puppy’s parents have evaluated their hips. Feed a proper diet.
Although still a puppy, the German Shepherd needs to be fed a diet designed for large dogs. This will help promote healthy joint and muscle development. Maintain a healthy weight range. Carrying extra weight will put extra pressure on the joints of the German Shepherd. Keeping them within a healthy weight range will reduce the risk of hip dysplasia. Be careful when training your dog. Finally, be careful not to over-exercise while your German Shepherd is still a puppy-ask your veterinarian for advice on safe exercises for your pet.
Dysplasia of the elbow
Elbow dysplasia refers to abnormal development of the elbow joint as the puppy grows. This can cause the joints to deteriorate over time, leading to symptoms such as a joint limp, pain, and decreased mobility. Elbow dysplasia is another health problem that most commonly affects German Shepherds and many other large and giant dogs. Genetic factors play a role in the development of elbow dysplasia because German Shepherds are susceptible to this condition, but obesity can also exacerbate this condition. The German Shepherd Club of the United States requires breeders to check the health of the elbows of their breeding animals-before buying a puppy, please ask the breeder for a certificate. It is also important to keep your pet within a healthy weight range for life.
Next on the list of common health problems for German Shepherds is a condition called degenerative myelopathy. This devastating and debilitating disease affects the spinal cord, usually affecting dogs between 8 and 14 years of age. Initially, symptoms include weakness and loss of coordination in the dog’s hind legs. As the disease progresses, the hind legs may become paralyzed. There is no cure, so treatment is to control symptoms. As you can imagine, watching a dog with degenerative myelopathy is very painful for pet parents. This disease is caused by genetic mutations and can be tested for mutations through the Animal Orthopedic Foundation. When looking for a German Shepherd, please check whether the breeder has tested for degenerative myelopathy in its breed reserve DNA.
Although the name of this condition does not sound particularly shocking, bloating is a very serious problem that requires urgent veterinarian attention. Also called gastric dilatation and torsion (GDV), this condition occurs when the stomach fills with air and opens on its own. If your dog is not treated promptly, the bloating can be life-threatening. The dogs most likely to suffer from bloating are deep-chested breeds and large or giant breeds, including German Shepherds of course. Symptoms include abdominal swelling, retching, drooling, and abdominal pain.
The exact cause of bloating is not fully understood, but eating too fast, eating one large meal a day instead of two, stress can play a role in it. As a pet parent, you are the most important
The exact cause of bloating is not fully understood, but eating too fast, eating one large meal a day instead of two, stress will affect its appearance. As a pet’s parent, the most important thing you can do is to recognize the symptoms of bloating and seek emergency veterinary care for your dog. This situation is an emergency and cannot be treated with any home remedies, so take your German Shepherd to the vet immediately.
In the spine
Last but not least, of the 5 common health problems we have listed for German Shepherds, there is one condition that affects breeds of all body types and sizes: osteoporosis. However, while any dog can suffer from arthritis pain. It is a particular problem for larger breeds such as German Shepherds. There are many other factors that can also cause osteoarthritides, such as obesity, aging, poor diet, injury, and genetics. The result is that the cartilage in the joint ruptures, causing pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion.
However, as a proud parent of a German Shepherd, you can take many simple measures to reduce your pet’s risk of osteoporosis. Or help them live a fulfilling life when they develop this disease. This includes: Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress on the dog’s joints. Monitor your dog for any signs of joint pain.
Bring your dog for an annual veterinary inspection, or more often if your German Shepherd is a senior. Work with your veterinarian to learn how to help your dog stay active when joint pain occurs. Feeding a diet dedicated to promoting joint health and/or adding joint supplements to the pet’s diet. Provide anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications as recommended by your veterinarian.
Although German Shepherds may be prone to some health problems. Don’t let this prevent you from welcoming one of these cute dogs into your heart. From their wisdom to loyalty, from their sports to their protective instincts, German Shepherds are impressive in many ways. When paired with the right people, they will become good partners.