GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG HEALTH

From our experience working with dogs, we believe all health concerns can be divided into two categories: Emergency and Non-Emergency. First category requires immediate medical attention and immediate medical intervention (in most cases - within 24 hours) and second - can wait, there is time to do research and get second opinion. It is important to understand the difference and recognize emergencies.  We have seen a situation when a dog owner did not realize that the situation was in fact an emergency and took time to do their own research, this resulted in loosing a puppy.  The rule of thumb - if you are questioning  it - go to the vet.

While we will be discussing health conditions that are more common to German Shepherd Dogs, many are applicable to other breeds as well. We will try our best to add to this page as much as we know and continue updating as we learn more ourselves. We believe that when an owner understands the condition better or knows signs of a health condition, they can react faster. Some situations require immediate medical attention - so do not waste your time researching the condition online when your pet is in discomfort. Rather use this page in your free time to learn about possible situations when things are good. If your beloved pet shows signs of discomfort, pain, severe diarrhea or vomiting - call your vet and seek medical care immediately.  In situations like bloat, every second counts.  Please only use these resources to educate yourself not to diagnose a condition in your pet. 

Common Health Concerns (listed alphabetically)


Auto Immune Hemolytic Anemia - Benign Skin Tumors - Blastomycosis - Bloat -  Coprophagia - Degenerative Myelopathy - Demodectic Mange - Ear Infections - Ehrlichiosis  - Elbow Dysplasia -Enteritis/Diarrhea - Epilepsy(seizures)  - Eye Inflammation - First Aid - Gastritis/Vomiting - Giardia - Heart Murmurs - Hip dysplasia - Hypothyroidism - Intussusception - Loose Ligamentation/Cow Hocks - Mega Esophagus - Osteoarthritis - Osteosarcoma - Overbite/Underbite - Pancreatic Insufficiency - Panosteitis - Parasites & Wormings - Parvovirus infection - Pyoderma / Hot Spots - Retained Testicle - Ruptured Anterior Cruciate - Skin Allergies - Skin Problems - Soft Ears - Spondylitis - Swimmer/Splay leg Syndrome - Toxic Gut Syndrome - Triple Pelvic Osteotomy - Umbilical Hernia - Urinary Tract Infections - Vaccine protocol - von Willebrand Disease 

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AUTO IMMUNE HEMOLYTIC ANEMIA

AIHA is an immune system disease in which the body attacks and destroys its own red blood cells." This disease may also be called immune-mediated hemolytic anemiaor IMHA.

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BLASTOMYCOSIS

Blastomycosis

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DEMODECTIC MANGE

Demodectic mange is a red, itchy skin infection that is caused by mites. The demodex mite lives on a particular host, so one form of demodex mite (demodex canis) lives on dogs and another (demodex cati) on cats. Humans have their own form of demodex mite.

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ELBOW DYSPLASIA

Dogs affected by elbow dysplasia often show signs from an early age, typically from 5 months on, but some may first be diagnosed after 4–6 years.  Usually the dog has pain on fully bending or extending the elbow and often your veterinarian will want to watch your dog walk or trot to detect any lameness.

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EYE INFLAMATION

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GIARDIA

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HYPOTHYROIDISM

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MEGA ESOPHAGUS

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OVERBITE/

UNDERBITE

As the puppies grow, we see different body parts growing at different rates. Sometime, a German Shepherds puppy has a slights overbite at 8 weeks, when the teeth are not in a tight scissors bite, as they should per breed standard.  As the puppy continued developing, this slight overbite usually resolves itself, as puppy gets through teething stage and has their adult teeth. Because overbite is a fault, breeders should never use dogs with any less-than-perfect teeth in breeding. (Luckily for us, humans, an orthodontic treatment exists and even those of us with the most un-perfect smiles, still able to reproduce. Dogs in a show world aren't that lucky ). We have never seen an under-bite in this breed.  While to many pet owners slight overbite might not seem like a serious condition, but a cosmetic defect, it is very important that your puppy's teeth are aligned as close as possible.  Severely misaligned teeth can lead to difficulty eating, gum injuries and bruising, bad breath and different types of dental problems, including tooth decay and gingivitis. Fortunately, there are ways to help fix the problem before it becomes irreversible

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PANOSTEITIS

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PYODERMA / HOT SPOTS

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SKIN ALLERGIES

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SPONDYLITIS

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TRIPLE PELVIC OSTEOTOMY

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VACCINATIONS

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BENIGN SKIN TUMORS

Basal cell tumors develop within the top layer of dog's skin (the epidermis). 

 Melanoma is diagnosed much more frequently as being benign, and is a dark pigmented skin growth on dog's head or forelimbs.

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COPROPHAGIA

Coprophagia is the scientific term for eating feces. Although coprophagiais upsetting and revolting to us; it is a common problem in dogs and puppies.

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EAR INFECTIONS

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ENTERITIS/ DIARRHEA

Enteritis is an inflammation of the small intestine and is caused by a wide range of potential problems. Parasites, bacteria, viruses, or allergies can all inflame the small intestines of your dog, causing diarrhea. ... Along with diarrhea, your pet may also experience: Abdominal pain and other stomach problems.

FIRST AID

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HEART MURMUR

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INTUSSUSCEPTION

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OSTEOARTHRITIS

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PANCREATIC INSUFFICIENCY

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PARASITES & WORMING

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RETAINED TESTICLE

Sometimes when puppies are taken for an exam at eight weeks, some males will be diagnosed with a "retained testicle". While this is only worrisome for breeding prospects and show prospects, as a dog with a retained testicle should not be used for breeding, and show dogs are always checked for both testicle presence, pet owners should not be alarmed. First, 8-weeks is very early to have both testicles drop in a scrotum. Second, males can "hold them up" when stressed - and sometimes, a first vet visit is stressful event for a puppy.  We don't rely on the 8-weeks exam as a final diagnose, as most of the times both testicles will drop by the time a puppy is 10-12 weeks, but if a puppy is being sold with full breeding rights at eight weeks, then both testicles should be present, not to take chances "what if they will not drop?" If indeed, one or both testicles never drops as the puppy matures, the condition is then called a cryptorchidism.  

We are going to use research & statements by Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM; Robin Downing, DVM, CVPP, CCRP, DAAPM, Ernest Ward, DVM to explain the condition in professional terminology. They say that "Cryptorchidism  is the medical term that refers to the.... (read more)  

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SKIN PROBLEMS

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SWIMMER/ SPLAY LEG SYNDROME

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UMBILICAL HERNIA

Some of the earlier conditions that puppy can exhibit is the "umbilical hernia". While this is common, umbilical hernias we have seen are never large in size, cause no discomfort to a dog and are easy manageable and completely treated without a surgery.  After much research, we have discovered that what we have seen in our puppies is not a true hernia, but a delayed closure.  A delayed closure is not a hereditary defect, and we trust a more experienced breeder Alexandra Animalso (26 years of experience) to explain the difference.

 

"Conventional wisdom says that umbilical hernias are inheritable, and a dog with a hernia should not be bred. Conventional wisdom, however, does not differentiate between “true hernias” where there is a defect in the body wall, and “delayed closures”, where a small bit of omentum slips out of the area before the umbilicus closes. In 26 years of dealing with breeders and reproduction, I do not have any evidence that “delayed closures” are inheritable. “True hernias” are indeed highly inheritable. They generally have a thick cartilage edge with an irregular, more or less circular shape.

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von WILLEBRAND DISEASE

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BLOAT

Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), or bloat, is a serious, life-threatening condition of large breed dogs. Deep chested dogs such as German Shepherd Dogs are particularly at risk. Bloating of the stomach is often related to swallowed air (although food and fluid can also be present).

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DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY

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EHRICHIOSIS

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EPILEPSY (SEIZURES)

There are many causes of seizures. Idiopathicepilepsy, the most common cause of seizures in thedog, is an inherited disorder, but its exact cause is unknown. Other causes include liver disease, kidney failure, brain tumors, brain trauma, or toxins. ... Affected dogs can appear completely normal between seizures.

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GASTRITIS/ VOMITING

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HIP DYSPLASIA

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LOOSE LAMENTATION/ COW HOOKS

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OSTEOSARCOMA

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PANNUS

Pannus or chronic superficial keratitis is an immune-mediated condition affecting the cornea or clear part of the eye. It occurs primarily in middle-aged German shepherd dogs, but other breeds may also be affected.

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PARVOVIRUS INFECTION

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RUPTURED ANTERIOR CRUCIATE

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SOFT EARS

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TOXIC GUT SYNDROME

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URINARY TRACT INFECTION

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VACCINOSIS

Vaccinosis is the term applied to the state of energetic imbalance and mild to life-threatening illness occurring after an animal receives an administration of an immune system stimulating substance (i.e., a vaccination).

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