Common Diseases of German Shepherds

Common Diseases of German Shepherds

The German Shepherd is an extraordinary dog. They are considered one of the most intelligent breeds in the canine world, and they're famous for being great service and rescue dogs. However, such magnificence has a price.

And this price is high: German Shepherds have too often been bred by inexperienced breeders who only want profit, not the purity and successive improvement of the breed. As a result of poor breeding lines for the sake of easy money, some serious genetic diseases are all too common among German Shepherds.

This AnimalWised article will point out the most common diseases of German Shepherds. Keep these in mind and make regular visits to the vet to prevent them from occurring.

What types of diseases and illnesses are there?

There are several types of diseases and illnesses that can affect all dogs, including the German Shepherd. These disorders can originate from the following sources:

  • Genetic origin. Diseases caused by genetic alterations.
  • Viral origin. Diseases which are caused by viruses.
  • Bacterial origin. Diseases whose origin is bacteria.
  • Parasitic origin. Illnesses caused by parasites.

Genetic diseases of German Shepherds

The most common diseases with genetic origin affecting German Shepherds:

  • Hip dysplasia. This is a common disease among German Shepherds and other large breeds. It is characterized by inflammation and pain in the joint between the dog's hip and femur, and it causes lameness and decalcification. Hip dysplasia is a congenital hereditary disease. However, it can be fought by controlling the dog's diet and restricting exercise.
  • Glaucoma. This hereditary disease is detected when the German Shepherd is 2 or 3 years old. The eye is affected, and the dog will rib it with a paw or against any surface. When a dog has glaucoma, intraocular pressure increases and causes pain. An opaque and dilated pupil is a clear symptom showing that something it wrong. The disease is treated through surgery.

Viral diseases of German Shepherds

The most commong viral diseases affecting the German Shepherd include:

  • Canine parvovirus. This infection causes vomiting, diarrhea and even bleeding. Dogs must be vaccinated against the disease in order to prevent it, as canine parvovirus can be fatal.
  • Distemper. This contagious disease causes coughing, shortness of breath, runny nose, conjunctivitis, fever and general malaise. There are vaccines against the disease.

Bacterial diseases of German Shepherds

The most common diseases of bacterial origin affecting the German Shepherd are:

  • Leptospirosis. This is a disease caused by drinking water contaminated by rat urine, as can happen in puddles or stagnant water. Symptoms include coughing, vomiting, fever, muscle pain and respiratory problems. There are preventive vaccines.
  • Brucellosis. This disease is caused by ingesting infectious waste. It is also a venereal disease. In male dogs it causes testicular inflammation and sterility. In pregnant females, it causes abortions. It is treated with antibiotics.
  • Mastitis. This infectious disease affects females and consists of an inflammation of the mammary glands.
  • Pyometra. In this is very serious illness, pus accumulates in the uterine cavity. Antibiotic treatment is required before surgery.

Parasitic diseases of German Shepherds

German Shepherds, like other breeds, are susceptible to being attacked by parasites. Most commonly, these are:

  • Pododermatitis. This is a parasitic disease that causes sores, pus and pain when walking. Excess moisture promotes this disease, which must be treated early by a veterinarian.
  • Scabies. This condition is caused by a mite called Demodex canis. It causes hair loss, itching, swelling and redness in the epidermis. It also requires veterinary treatment. It is not contagious to humans.
  • Mange. This is caused by the parasite Sarcoptes scabiei. Symptoms include hair loss, skin inflammation and redness. It can transmit to people, and it requires veterinary treatment. Places where the dog usually goes also have to be disinfected.

How to prevent common diseases

The administration of vaccines is essential to protect your German Shepherd from a possible bacterial or viral infection; here you can learn all about the vaccination schedule for puppies and dogs. You should not forget to deworm your dog regularly: This routine should be carried out externally once a month and internally every three months.

Visiting the veterinary twice a year is the best way of detecting a disease when it appears; don't forget that most diseases we have mentioned have a good prognosis if they are caught in time.

If you notice any symptoms of joint pain, internal or otherwise, you should see a specialist as soon as possible to get a diagnosis in order to start treatment early. If you follow these tips, take good care of your dog and not force excessive exercise, your German Shepherd will enjoy good health for years and not suffer form any of the most common diseases of German Shepherds.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

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