Three Health Problems That German Shepherds Often Experience
German Shepherds are big, majestic dogs known for their athleticism and intelligence. They can make wonderful running companions and protective family pets. However, the downfall of the German Shepherd breed is their susceptibility to certain diseases and health problems. Here are three medical conditions that German Shepherds often experience. Watch out for their symptoms as your dog ages.
Many German Shepherds are born with a condition called hip dysplasia in which the femur bone does not fit properly into the hip socket. This condition may not cause any issues when they are young, but once they enter middle age, the abnormal shape of the hip joint can cause arthritis to set in. Your dog might appear stiff when they walk. They may no longer want to jump or run, and they might even seem to drag their back end. Eventually, they may completely lose the ability to use their back legs.
If your dog is beginning to show signs of hip dysplasia, your vet can prescribe pain relievers to keep them comfortable. Massages and laser therapy may also help.
German Shepherds are more prone to allergies and contact dermatitis than many other breeds. Essentially, this means that they become itchy and their skin breaks out in rashes when they come into contact with certain allergens such as shampoos, laundry soap, or pollen. If your dog's skin seems itchy and irritated, you'll have to slowly eliminate potential allergens from their routine to determine more specifically what they're allergic to. Try using all-natural dog shampoos, laundry soaps, and even dog foods. Your vet may also prescribe a soothing shampoo or skin cream to keep your dog more comfortable.
Pancreatitis is an irritation and inflammation of the pancreas. In dogs that are prone to pancreatitis, the symptoms often come and go in bouts. They may include:
- Refusal to eat
- Sudden weight loss
If your dog is showing signs of pancreatitis, your vet may administer IV fluids and other supportive therapies to help your dog get through the flare-up. Then, feeding your dog a low-fat diet and keeping their stress levels low will help prevent additional flare-ups.
As always, taking your dog to the vet for annual checkups will help ensure any health problems are detected early. Don't hesitate to talk to a vet who specializes in dog care about any strange or unexplained symptoms your German Shepherd is experiencing, as they may be indicative of a more serious underlying condition.