German Shepherd Health and Wellness
The Truth About Spaying and Neutering
Diarrhea in Dogs: Causes and Treatment (click on link)
Leptospirosis Vaccination A False Sense of Security
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Panosteitis also known as 'pano' is a disease of the bone in dogs. This is characterized by bone proliferation and remodeling. It is often painful and can last as long as 18 months, though more commonly it lasts from 2 to 5 months. Panosteitis can cause lamness that often comes and goes and can change from leg to leg. This very common in German Shepherds as well as other large breeds. The cause of pano is not known.Treatment is symptomatic but the outcome most of the time is very good.
Degenerative myelopathy (DM)
Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a gradual disease of the spinal cord in dogs. DM starts with a loss of coordination in the hind limbs. The affected dog will sway when walking, knuckle over or drag it's feet. This can occur in one hind limb and then affect the other. As the disease progresses, the dogs limbs will become weak and begin to buckle and has difficulty standing. The dogs weakness becomes progressively worse to the point the dog is unable to walk. DM is not a painful disease. You can find further information regarding testing for Degenerative Myelopathy through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
Pythiosis (Swamp Cancer)
Bloat in Dogs
Bloat is also known as Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) which is referred to "stomach torsion," or "twisted stomach." Bloat is a serious condition in many dogs, and is considered a life-threatening emergency when it occurs. It is critcal to get your dog to your veterinarian immediately as the dog can die of bloat within several hours. Even with treatment, as many as 25-33% of dogs with GDV die.
German Shepherds have a high rate in Hemangiosarcoma which is a is a malignant cancer that arises from the blood vessels. It is a very aggresive cancer. Hemanglosarcome can arise from any tissue where there are blood vessels and appear in the skin.
Von Willebrand's Disease
Von Willebrand's Disease is a common bleeding disorder in dogs. This disorder is hereditary. This disease is caused by a deficiency of von Willebrand Factor (vWF), an adhesive glycoprotein in the blood required for normal platelet binding (i.e., clotting) at the sites of small blood vessel injuries.
Pythiosis is not uncommon and is often a fatal fungal infection that occurs in dogs. Pythiosis is generally contracted when animals that have open sores drink, stand or swim in stagnant water. It is caused by the aquatic mold Pythium insidiosum.
Important Health Terms
OFA - Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
OFA - Excellent - No dysplasia, superior hip socket conformation
OFA - Good - No dysplasia, a well formed, congruent hip joint
OFA - Fair - No dysplasia, a will formed, congruent hip joint
OFA - Borderline - No consensus between radiologists to place hip into either a normal or dysplastic category
OFA - Mild (Grade 1) Mild hip dysplasia present
OFA - Moderate (Grade 2) Moderate hip dysplasia present
OFA - Severe (Grade 3) Severe hip dysplasia present
SV "a-stamp" (indicates a passing hip score)
"a-normal" SV Certified normal hips
"Fast Normal" SV Certified near normal hips
"Noch zugelassen - SV Certified hips still permissible for breeding.
Bordetella - Important Read
"I have never given the Bordetella vaccine to any of my dogs. My vet always told me it didn't work. Please take the time to read this article from Dogs Naturally Magazine...."
Cataracts in Dogs
One of the most common conditions in dogs are cataracts. Cataracts affect all breeds and ages of dogs. There is still a lot that we do not know about canine cataracts. The only current treatment option is surgery. There are different forms of cataracts, Congenital Cataracts, Developmental (Early Onset) Cataracts, Senile (Late Onset) Cataracts and Inherited cataracts.
German Shepherds' Ears
The German Shepherd Dog breed standard calls for ears standing at attention. Most German Shepherds’ ears eventually will stand on their own. Occasionally, however, a rogue ear succumbs to gravity. This might be temporary and related to teething. See more...
You can start supplements at 6 months, only add one at a time as too many new items in the gut can cause loose stool. Wait a full week between adding additional supplements. Give at meal time (once food is on stomach). Dip pills in peanut butter (smooth) and pup will happily take.
Prozyme helps maintain a good gut
Coconut oil start with pea size and work up to ¼ tsp over time
Glucosamine/MSN Studies show starting young can help prevent future joint issues
Probiotics Probiotic Miracle is a good brand and great for gut issues/maintenance
Vitamin C – start with 250mg and break in half (125mg) work up to 250mg over a couple of weeks and gradually move to 500mg.
Ester C switch from vit c to Ester C at 18 months (don’t give as a puppy as it has calcium in it)
Article: HD & Vitamin C
Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
Hip Dysplasia is a condition that is hereditary in dogs, resulting from a hip joint that was formed improperly. The hip joint is loose therefore, it causes too much movement in the bone, causing painful wear and tear. See more...
Below are images of the hips showing zero signs of dysplasia and some with dysplasia.
(courtesy Orthopedic Foundation for Animals)
Elbow Dysplasia is commonly seen in fast-growing large breed puppies. Some signs of elbow dysplasia are usually limping, carrying the leg altogether or favoring the affected leg. Sometimes both elbows will display signs of dysplasia and the dog will have difficulty with tasks like standing up or walking. A few types of elbow dysplasia are: Osteochondrosis (OCD), Fragmentation of the coronoid process (FCP), Ununited anconeal process (UAP) and elbow incongruity.
When the dog reaches 12-18 months of age, the lamness will have become less severe and some dogs will not have any problems and witll funcation well. The long-term prognosis is not known as every dog with elbow dysplasia is different. Usually, arthritis will occur as the animal ages. See more...