German Shepherds are a popular breed of dog known for their intelligence, loyalty, and athleticism. They are often used as police dogs, military dogs, and guide dogs, and are also popular as family pets.
If you're considering adding a German Shepherd puppy to your family, you should be aware that prices can vary greatly, with some dog breeders pricing puppies between $450-$1,900. While it's natural to want to find the best deal possible, it's important to keep in mind that cheaper puppies may not always be the best option, as they may come with hidden health issues or breeding problems.
Photo Credit: Eric1964/Pixabay
German Shepherds are generally healthy and hardy dogs but they are prone to certain health issues that owners should be aware of. Here are the main health concerns to watch for in German Shepherds:
Hip and elbow dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia are genetic conditions that affect the development of the joints in the hips and elbows, respectively. In a healthy dog, the joint surfaces fit together smoothly and allow for easy movement. In a dog with dysplasia, the joint surfaces do not fit together correctly, leading to pain, arthritis, and mobility problems.
Hip dysplasia is a common issue in large-breed dogs, and German Shepherds are no exception. It occurs when the hip joint does not develop properly, leading to a loose or shallow socket that does not provide enough support for the leg. This can cause pain and difficulty moving, and can eventually lead to arthritis.
Elbow dysplasia is similar but affects the elbow joint. It can be caused by a number of different conditions, including an abnormal growth plate, a malformed joint surface, or an excess of bone. Like hip dysplasia, it can cause pain, mobility problems, and eventually lead to arthritis.
Both hip and elbow dysplasia can be managed with medication and surgery, but they can also cause significant discomfort and mobility problems for affected dogs. It's important to work with a veterinarian to monitor these conditions and take steps to prevent or manage them if necessary.
Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a dog's stomach expands with gas and then twists, cutting off the blood supply to the stomach and other organs. German Shepherds are particularly susceptible to bloat, and it can be difficult to detect in the early stages. Symptoms include a swollen abdomen, restlessness, and difficulty breathing. Bloat requires immediate medical attention and can be fatal if not treated promptly.
Photo Credit: David Mark/Pixabay
Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord in dogs. It typically occurs in older dogs and causes weakness and paralysis in the hind legs. It is caused by a degeneration of the myelin sheath, a protective layer around nerve fibers in the spinal cord.
Symptoms of degenerative myelopathy usually start with a loss of coordination in the hind legs and can progress to complete paralysis. The condition tends to get worse over time, and there is no cure. However, medications and physical therapy can help manage the symptoms and improve the dog's quality of life.
It's important to work with a veterinarian to monitor for degenerative myelopathy and take steps to manage the symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and improve the dog's quality of life. It's also important to keep the affected dog's environment safe and easy to navigate, as they may be prone to falls and accidents.
German Shepherds, like any breed, can develop allergies to things like food, pollen, and household chemicals. Allergies can cause skin irritation, chronic ear infections, and digestive problems. They can be managed with medications and dietary changes, but it's important to identify the cause of the allergy and avoid exposure to it.
German Shepherds are a breed that is prone to epilepsy, a neurological disorder that causes seizures. Epilepsy can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, brain injuries, or infections, and can be difficult to control. Some dogs may experience frequent or severe seizures despite treatment, while others may only have occasional seizures.
Symptoms of a seizure may include loss of consciousness, muscle spasms, and uncontrollable movements. It's important to seek medical attention if your German Shepherd has a seizure, as it can be stressful for both the dog and the owner, and can also lead to other health problems if not controlled.
Treatment for epilepsy may include medications to control seizures, changes to the dog's diet, and supportive care during a seizure. It's important to follow the veterinarian's recommendations and keep the dog's environment safe to prevent accidents during a seizure. With proper management, most dogs with epilepsy can live happy and healthy lives. It's important to work with a veterinarian to monitor for epilepsy and take steps to manage the condition.
Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that can affect dogs, including German Shepherds. It is most commonly found in the leg bones, but can also occur in other bones in the body. Osteosarcoma is aggressive cancer that tends to spread quickly, and it is often fatal if not treated promptly.
Symptoms of osteosarcoma may include lameness, swelling, and pain in the affected area. Cancer may also cause a loss of appetite and weight loss. Osteosarcoma is usually diagnosed with a combination of X-rays, biopsies, and other diagnostic tests.
Treatment for osteosarcoma typically involves surgery to remove the affected bone, followed by chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells. The success of treatment depends on several factors, including the size and location of the tumor, the stage of cancer, and the overall health of the dog.
von Willebrand's disease
von Willebrand's disease is a genetic disorder that affects the blood's ability to clot. It is caused by a deficiency or dysfunction of the von Willebrand factor, a protein that helps platelets (a type of blood cell) stick together and form clots. Without enough von Willebrand factor, the blood is unable to clot properly, leading to bleeding and bruising.
von Willebrand's disease is relatively common in dogs, and German Shepherds are one of the breeds that is most prone to it. Symptoms of von Willebrand's disease may include prolonged bleeding after surgery or injury, nosebleeds, blood in the stool or urine, and easy bruising. The condition can also cause spontaneous bleeding, such as bleeding into the joints or muscles.
von Willebrand's disease can be managed with medications, but it can also be fatal if not treated promptly. It's important to work with a veterinarian to monitor for von Willebrand's disease and take steps to prevent and manage bleeding episodes. With proper treatment, most dogs with von Willebrand's disease can live happy and healthy lives.
Cervical disc disease
Cervical disc disease is a condition that occurs when the discs between the vertebrae in the neck become damaged or degenerate. The discs are cushions that help absorb shock and allow the spine to move smoothly. When they become damaged or degenerate, they can cause pain, weakness, and difficulty walking.
Symptoms of cervical disc disease may include neck pain, weakness in the legs, and difficulty walking or standing. The condition may also cause a loss of reflexes and a loss of control over bowel and bladder function. Cervical disc disease is usually diagnosed with a combination of physical examination, X-rays, and other diagnostic tests.
Treatment for cervical disc disease may involve medications to reduce pain and inflammation, physical therapy, and surgery to remove the damaged disc or stabilize the spine. The success of treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the overall health of the dog.
German Shepherds are prone to several eye issues, including cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy. Cataracts cause a cloudy appearance in the eye and can be surgically removed. Corneal dystrophy is a genetic condition that causes a cloudy or white film to form on the eye and can be managed with medications and eye drops. Progressive retinal atrophy is a degenerative disorder that affects the retina and can eventually lead to blindness.
Photo Credit: cottonbro studio/Pexels
It's important to work with a veterinarian to monitor these conditions and take steps to prevent or manage them if necessary. By taking care of your German Shepherd's health, you can help ensure that they live happy and healthy life.
Read more about German Shepherds on our website!
Leave a Reply