While the German Shepherd is a beautiful, intelligent breed, over the years it has been discovered that many dogs of this breed have a predominance for several known health conditions. While some of these conditions are conditions that can be lived with and managed with medications and proper treatment for your dog, others can be life threatening, and need to be looked out for. Preventative care is your best choice for your German Shepherd, so many sure to keep all of your dog’s wellness visits at the veterinarian, keep him or her up to date on all vaccinations, and be sure to watch out for warning signs of any of these illnesses.
Hip Dysplasia – Perhaps one of the most common health problems to strike German Shepherds is Hip Dysplasia. This is caused by the malformation of one or both of the dog’s hip joints. Many larger breeds, such as the German Shepherd, are afflicted by this disorder, and it can be triggered by or exacerbated by exercising too frequently or for too long of a time, overeating and obesity, not getting proper nutrition, and older age. This particular disorder can also begin taking to develop while your dog is a puppy – he or she might play too roughly or get injured, causing problems with the hip joints.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency – This can end up being a life-threatening disorder for your German Shepherd, and while it is seen in several breeds, German Shepherds seem to have the largest numbers. This disorder occurs when there is a lack of Exocrine Pancreatic enzymes in your dog’s digestive system, causing him or her to not be able to digest food properly, causing malnutrition and other illness. Luckily enough, this disorder can be treated with medication.
Elbow Dysplasia – Elbow Dysplasia, which is similar to Hip Dysplasia, is a malformation of the elbow joints in your German Shepherd. It is generally thought of as being a genetic disorder, and can be quite painful for your dog, even if it is cared for and treated.
Skin Problems – German Shepherds can be hosts to all sorts of skin problems and disorders, including flaking, itchiness, dry skin, and eczema. When a human being has allergies, they tend to be seen as nasal and respiratory irritations, but dog allergies tend to manifest as skin issues. Taking care to discover the cause of the allergens, selecting a non-irritating shampoo, and consulting with your veterinarian are helpful courses of action.
Sub-Aortic Stenosis – Sub-Aortic Stenosis is a congenital heart condition that is found in German Shepherds more than any other dog. It can be as simple as heart murmurs or fatal, especially if it goes unnoticed. Weakness, difficulty breathing, and fainting are symptoms of this disorder. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to get in contact with your dog’s veterinarian to ensure that it isn’t a serious problem.
While German Shepherds do have a predisposition to acquire a lot of health problems over the years, most of them can be treated and managed by medications, a change in your dog’s diet, exercise routine, and even a better dog bed (especially for Hip and Elbow Dysplasia). Preventative care with your veterinarian is the best way to stay on top of your dog’s health, so many sure to get your companion to those important appointments!