FOR A GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG
Every Breed has specific genetic predispositions to certain diseases and conditions. This is due to many factors and the way all breeds of dogs were created - by breeding closely related dogs, similar dogs and dogs sharing similar genetic pool. To breed responsibly, means to have risks of producing unhealthy puppies be minimal. Responsible breeders always screen breeding stock for heritable diseases and remove affected animals from breeding program. Affected animals are altered; may be placed as pets as long as health issues are disclosed to buyers/adopters. Reputable breeders have working knowledge of genetics and generally avoids inbreeding. Of course, there is never 100% guarantee that two fully health tested dogs will not produce a puppy with a fault - no matter what a breeder tells you. But a puppy produced by health-tested parents with a strong health-tested pedigree is a lot less likely to result with a genetic fault. We agree to breed-related risks the day we agree to purchase this specific breed and the benefits of owning the dog of your dreams way outweighs the risks related to the genetics of this breed.
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals lists the recommended health screening tests that breeders should perform on their breeding stock animals before consider their breeding. Breed-specific health screening provides basic information for breeders to make more informed breeding decisions in order to reduce the incidence of inherited disease. The results of genetic health screening also provide valuable information for potential puppy buyers looking for responsible breeders that health test their breeding stock.
GOOD TO KNOW: dogs that were tested under OFA have their results available to public. Anyone can visit OFA website and utilize the "Look up OFA health-tested dogs" tool on the top of the screen. Please note, that dogs that passes health screening will be listed with their OFA numbers and results of the health screen and dogs that did not qualify to receive OFA number (due to hip or elbow dysplasia) will have the diagnosis posted instead of the qualifying number OR will not have results posted at all - owners/breeders can choose if they wish to have the abnormal results be posted to public. Beware of breeders that have HD/ED OFA certification printed on paper or posted on their websites, but there is no record of this certification on OFA website. With advanced photoshop skills any certification is easy to create at home.
NOTE: that German Shepherd Dogs that were tested under SV (Germany) will not have their Hip and Elbow results posted on OFA. Instead, a user need to visit the German website called SV-Database online to look up the results. Unfortunately, a membership is required to use this feature, as it it typically a professional tool to be used for breeders in Germany. We do hold a membership with SV, and most of our dogs (even those born in USA) were tested under SV rules and have their results available on this website along with A-stamp printed on the pedigree.
RECOMMENDED TESTS FOR A GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG
Hip Dysplasia typically develops because of an abnormally developed hip joint, but can also be caused by cartilage damage from a traumatic fracture. With cartilage damage or a hip joint that isn’t formed properly, over time the existing cartilage will lose its thickness and elasticity. This breakdown of the cartilage will eventually result in pain with any joint movement.
No one can predict when or even if a dysplastic dog will start showing clinical signs of lameness due to pain. Severity of the disease can be affected by environmental factors, such as caloric intake or level of exercise. There are a number of dysplastic dogs with severe arthritis that run, jump, and play as if nothing is wrong and some dogs with barely any arthritic x-ray evidence that are severely lame.
Screenings for Hip Dysplasia are performed by a veterinarian with x-rays
Elbow dysplasia is a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease in the elbow. Three specific etiologies make up this disease and they can occur independently or in conjunction with one another. These etiologies include:
Pathology involving the medial coronoid of the ulna (FCP)
Osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle in the elbow joint (OCD)
Ununited anconeal process (UAP)
Studies have shown the inherited polygenic traits causing these etiologies are independent of one another. Clinical signs involve lameness which may remain subtle for long periods of time. No one can predict at what age lameness will occur in a dog due to a large number of genetic and environmental factors such as degree of severity of changes, rate of weight gain, amount of exercise, etc.. Subtle changes in gait may be characterized by excessive inward deviation of the paw which raises the outside of the paw so that it receives less weight and distributes more mechanical weight on the outside (lateral) aspect of the elbow joint away from the lesions located on the inside of the joint. Range of motion in the elbow is also decreased.
Degenerative Myelopathy is a debilitating disease that causes gradual paralysis in many dog breeds. It is caused by a degeneration of the spinal cord that onsets typically between 8 and 14 years of age. It presents first with the loss of coordination of the hind legs. It will typically worsen over six months to a year, resulting in paralysis of the hind legs. If signs progress for a longer period of time, loss of urinary and fecal continence may occur and eventually, weakness will develop in the front limbs. An important feature of Degenerative Myelopathy is that it is not a painful disease.
Results of Temperament test performed at a club
Cardiac Evaluation - Congenital Cardiac Exam, Advanced Cardiac Exam
Autoimmune thyroiditis - evaluation from an approved laboratory - recommend yearly testing
Eye Examination by a boarded ACVO Ophthalmologist- recommend annually until age 6, every 2 years thereafter
With the advanced technologies, scientists are able to provide breeders with unique results of DNA-based traits of their dogs. We find these a great plus in aiding us to make better breeding choices. However, it is very important to understand how genetics work and not just complete the tests. Breed-Relevant Genetic Conditions for German Shepherd Dog include the following popular testings:
~ Multiple Drug Sensitivity (MDR1)
~ Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
*provided that DM testing is very common, we have already included it above as one of the genetic health screens for the breed
~ Hemophilia A
~ Pituitary Dwarfism
~ Von Willebrand disease
Less common DNA-based testing for the breed include:
~ Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency Type III, CLADIII (FERMT3)
~ Platelet factor X receptor deficiency, Scott Syndrome (TMEM16F)
~ Day Blindness (CNGA3 Exon 7 German Shepherd Variant)
~ Urate Kidney & Bladder Stones (SLC2A9)
~ Anhidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia (EDA Intron 8)