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Health Concerns

Some Hereditary Health Concerns Facing the German Shepherd

The first thing that comes to mind regarding health concerns facing the German Shepherd is that irresponsible breeding has caused many problems that adversely affect the breed. With indiscriminate cross-breeding, the temperament of the breed has become a major cause for concern and many tales of such concerns have been voiced. This leads one to conclude that temperament testing of the German Shepherd breeding stock is necessary.

Causes of Concern

Hip dysplasia as well as other problems with the bones and joints of the German Shepherd is another common health concerns that face the German Shepherd. In order to prevent this health problem from occurring, one may need to certify by the Orthopedic Foundation of America that the parents of the puppy as good or excellent.


German Shepherds also have different eye condition problems that include cataracts as well as retinal dysplasia while other health concerns are bloat, epilepsy as well as heart related problems. In addition, von Willebrand’s disease as well as hemophilia A are also cause for worry regarding the health of the German Shepherd. The breed also has problems with its health such as skin allergies, dreaded gastric torsion, Panosteitis and also pancreatic enzyme insufficiencies, to name a few common health concerns.


The most common health concern, canine hip dysplasia is a skeletal problem in which there is unusual development of the hip joint and the head of the femur cannot fit well into the pelvic socket. Elbow dysplasia is a result of improper development of the three bones that constitute the elbow and the joint is lax or loose. Another skeletal problem is panosteitis in which there is spontaneous lamness and pain and the pain may last for up to two months.


Von Willebrand’s disease is a disorder of the blood and a deficiency in clotting factor VIII antigen whereby the German Shepherd will be unable to utilize its platelets for clotting blood and may thus be prone to have bleeding episodes that are associated with surgery or trauma. Skin allergies in the German Shepherd is one of the most common skin conditions that are chronic as well as difficult to control and the three types of allergies they may suffer from includes food allergy, flea allergy dermatitis and atopy or allergic inhaled dermatitis.


Cataracts in the German Shepherd may be identified as opaque spots on the lens of the eye and they cause complete or partial loss of vision and this may be a hereditary concern in some of the dogs and surgery can help them recover its vision. Another condition that affects the German Shepherd is bloating which causes the dog’s stomach to produce too much of gas and thus become severely enlarged which may cause it to die, if it is not treated for it immediately.


Another major German Shepherd health problem concern is sub-aortic stenosis which is a congenital heart disease and in spite of efforts to eliminate this condition it continues to prevail on the breed and can range from minor heart murmurs to fatal conditions. Once an owner gets acquainted with the facts relating to the various health concerns facing the German Shepherd, it follows that he or she should know how to choose a vet for your German Shepherd.

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