Health Problems and Symptoms in German Shepherds – Pet FaKt

Health Problems and Symptoms in German shepherd
Health Problems and Symptoms in German shepherd

Health Problems and Symptoms in German Shepherds – Pet FaKt


Health Problems and Symptoms in German Shepherds: GSDs are prone to many health issues or conditions including Hip & Elbow Dysplasia, Bloat & Pancreatitis.

Many people are confused are German shepherds a Healthy breed and the answer is yes GSDs are healthy dogs Here we will know about German shepherd sickness and symptoms. German shepherd health problems symptoms are not so difficult to find.
German shepherd breed is becoming more and more popular nowadays and their popularity is giving rise to indiscriminate breeding practices, breeders try to make more and more money by poor breeding this cause many hereditary diseases to get inherited into Puppies of German shepherds from their parents so it becomes difficult to choose a healthy German shepherd puppy, Dogs with such diseases should not be used in breeding so that risk should get eliminate and problem should get prevented.

There are many health concerns in GSD that may lead to Common diseases or some serious health problems. German shepherd Dogs (GSDs) are commonly get affected and are more likely than dogs of other breeds to suffer from by Certain diseases which affect Joints and bones and some of them affect the spine in the body such as Osteoarthritis and other Degenerative diseases.

Most people are often confused with German shepherd health problems back legs this can be Health problems like Elbow and hip dysplasia are the most common and are often in such breeds like GSDs, symptoms of certain diseases or problems are Reduced mobility and if affect them drastically to make them uniquely vulnerable the symptoms typically include pain and difficult movement when using the affected joint.

Like all dog breeds German shepherd dogs are also suffered from common health problems and they also suffer from various conditions that affect the body continuously but even some good breeders fails to notice them just as cancer – Primary health conditions of German shepherd will look fine but over the years or months they can guide your dog to death

. There are particular type of diseases and health issues that German shepherds are mostly affected and are German shepherd Digestive Problems like Chronic diarrhea, Blood disorders or Bleeding Disorders, Eye diseases that lead to vision problems such as keratitis which is inflammation of the cornea, Dwarfism caused by poor breeding, chronic Eczema, Epilepsy, Different type of Allergies are basically long haired german shepherd health problems like flea allergies but it can also happen in German shepherd with hair of normal length.

All these diseases are not necessarily found only in German shepherds other breeds can also exhibit these conditions but all these conditions are relatively common in the German shepherds. We will discuss Health Problems and Symptoms in German Shepherds including older German shepherd health problems.

Some Common Health problems found in German Shepherd:

  • Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Bloat (gastrointestinal syndrome)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hemophilia (Hemophilia A)
  • Epilepsy
  • Pancreatitis
  • Sub Aortic Stenosis
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Cherry Eye
  • Diabetes Mellitus

Let us know about these health problems in Detail:

Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia in German Shepherds

Dysplasia is a joint problem, the German shepherd is prone to have Dysplasia in Hip and Elbow joints.

Hip Dysplasia: Some heavy breeds are known to develop Hip dysplasia, Hip dysplasia is developed when there is displacement between hip joints and thigh bone.

Elbow Dysplasia: Elbow dysplasia is one of the most common joint problems in a German shepherd, Elbow dysplasia is developed when there is displacement between joint and bone.

To Recognize Dysplasia in your GSD you should carefully examine the activity level of your German shepherd if your dog has Dysplasia he will show less activity level, You will observe that his way walking will change and his Stance also gets change.

Observe the response of touch on the joint of your dog if your GSD is having Dysplasia he will feel high pain and in response to touch, he will start to Growl.

Symptoms of Hip dysplasia and Elbow dysplasia in German Shepherds:

  • Rigidity
  • Pain
  • Decreased activity and decreased motion
  • Looseness of joints
  • Change of stance
  • Loss of muscle mass of that area

Bloat in German shepherd

Bloat is most common Health disease that every dog owner should be aware of. Gastric Dilatation also known as Bloat is an Emergency Gastrointestinal syndrome which can kill your GSD within hours.

Bloat is a situation when dog’s Stomach gets expanded or gets bloated with gas which causes pressure on diaphragm resulting in breathing problems. During Bloat a dog usually repeatedly tries attempts to vomit and gets failed.

During bloat, an Owner should immediately understand and act quickly because it can kill your dog. Bloat is most common in heavy dogs like Rottweilers, Akita, and Greatdane.

Symptoms of Bloat in German shepherd:

  • Bloated Stomach or Distended Abdomen
  • Unsuccessful attempts to vomit
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Rapid heart and pulse rate
  • Excessive foamy saliva
  • A dog becomes Uncomfortable and Restless
  • Unable to lie down

Osteoarthritis or Degenerative joint disease (DJD) in German shepherd

Many German shepherds get suffered from Osteoarthritis and arthritis and Old aged GSDs are more prone to this health problem. Not only German shepherds many breeds are affected by this disease and millions of dogs are affected worldwide by a joint disease commonly known as Osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is forming of chronic joint inflammation which causes problems in the walking of your dog which is more likely to be observed in Old dogs, Not only dog it also affects many animals including Cats and Rabbits.

Osteoarthritis can also be caused by abnormal growth of the cartilage.

An owner can find out whether his Dog is suffering from DJD or not he should examine the behavior of his GSD and if he observes these changes in his dog he should take his dog to a good Vet.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis or Arthritis in German Shepherds:

  • Rigidity or Stiffness
  • Decrease range or area of motion and movement
  • Swelling in the joints
  • Pain in the joints
  • The dog will cause difficulty in getting up and moving

Hemophilia (Hemophilia A) in German shepherd

Hemophilia A is one of the most common blood diseases, This blood clotting disease is inherited. Many German shepherd’s puppies suffering from this inherited disease die within the week after their birth. This disease can be a threat to your dog’s life because bleeding in the abdomen and bleeding in the chest cavity can cause the death of your dog.

This can cause spontaneous bleeding and bleeding in joints and muscles can cause lameness and can also lead to lameness. Like many Inherited diseases, there is no exact cure for Hemophilia.

Some Symptoms of Hemophilia A in German shepherd:

  • Bleeding from mouth and nose
  • Swelling in joints
  • Excessive bleeding at trauma and surgery site
  • Blood in Feces

Epilepsy in German Shepherd

Epilepsy is a neurologic disorder which can cause your dog to seizure repeatedly. This chronic condition is Observed in many GSDs worldwide.

It is difficult for an owner to tell that his German shepherd has a different type of seizures or he is really Epileptic because many health problems can cause seizures in dogs. If your dog has more than one seizure in a day than you should obviously consult a Vet, it can be possible that your dog is Epileptic.

Pancreatitis in German shepherds

Pancreatitis is the disease in which pancreas becomes inflamed and digestive enzymes become active in the pancreas which causes swelling in the pancreas and it begins to digest itself only.

This disease is common in old aged dogs and mostly in females and overweighed dogs. An owner must take his dog immediately to a Vet if he observes any symptoms of Pancreatitis.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis in German shepherds:

  • Loss of appetite
  • A dog will become Restless
  • Swollen  abdomen with pain
  • Vomiting

Sub Aortic Stenosis (SAS) in German shepherd

This disease is common in large sized dogs such as Rottweilers, Great Dane, and Golden Retrievers, this disease is Genetic and it is by birth and in some cases, it is observed in the first year of life. This heart problem also occurs in Cats. In some cases, sudden death can occur.

Sub Aortic Stenosis (SAS) is stenosis or narrowing of the area just below the aortic valve that creates blockage and obstruction of the blood flow through the heart. In this condition, the heart works harder than normal and this causes the heart muscle to become thickened.

An owner must take his dog to a Vet if he observes symptoms related to this disease.

Symptoms of Sub Aortic Stenosis (SAS) in German shepherd:

  • Difficulty in Breathing.
  • Coughing
  • Weakness and laziness

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) in German Shepherd

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) is one of the most common diseases in German shepherds and it develops when the pancreas gets unable to produce enough digestive enzymes. It can also be caused by chronic inflammation of Pancreas (Pancreatitis) and Diabetes. EPI causes improper absorption of nutrients which will result in a weight loss of the dog and can cause chronic diarrhea.

It is not difficult to identify EPI in a dog, an owner can identify it by observing the symptoms of this disease in the dog.

Symptoms of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) in German shepherd:

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Chronic Diarrhea
  • loose stool
  • Fail to gain weight

Degenerative Myelopathy in German shepherd


Degenerative Myelopathy or Canine Degenerative myelopathy is an uncommon disease which usually occurs in Purebred dogs like Boxer, Poodles, Corgis, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks usually in their old age. It is a progressive disease which means it gets worsened up by time and it occurs in the spinal cord. This can initially affect one hind limb and then other.

Unfortunately there is no exact treatment or cure of this disease and this disease gets worsened up by time and usually after about six months to three years dog loses its ability to walk and move.

The symptoms of Degenerative Myelopathy in German shepherds is that the dog will get trouble in getting up, walking and climbing stairs.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) in German Shepherd

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a Degenerative Eye disorder which affects. This Genetical disorder affects the Photoreceptor cell of Retina which leads to blindness. It can be observed in the age of around 2 months or at the age of 2 to 5 years. It initially causes night blindness and after some time complete blindness.

The symptoms of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) in German shepherd is night blindness and the dog’s eyes will seem to be shinier when some bright light gets reflected towards their eyes.

Cherry Eye in German shepherd


The Cherry Eye is a Prolapse of Nictitating membrane also called third eyelid present in the eyes of the dog. This Nictating membrane (NM) can protrude and can cause a red lump in an eye’s inside corner, Surgery of cherry eye is necessary. Usually, this Eye disease didn’t cause pain but it causes irritation to the affected dog.

Symptoms of Cherry Eye in German shepherd:

  • Redness of eye
  • A dog will try to Rub his eyes
  • Dry Eyes
  • Swollen Eye area
  • Irritation

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) in German Shepherd

The Diabetes Mellitus or Diabetes is another Pancreatic disease, This Chronic disease can’t be cured but as same as in humans, it can be managed properly.

Diabetes is a chronic disease which is caused by the failure of Pancreas to regulate blood sugar level. This metabolic disorder is one of the most common diseases in dogs and the most common symptom is the increased urination of dog.

symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus (DM) in German shepherd

  • Increased Urination
  • Increase in Appetite
  • Sudden Weight loss

Know Amazing and Unknown Facts about GSDs– German shepherd facts that you may not know|GSD facts

How to keep your German shepherd healthy

By providing him a proper and balanced diet

A good diet is very important to keep your dog healthy and happy. A German shepherd should be fed a proper diet which should be rich in Protein. The diet of a GSD should be nutritious and it should contain a proper concentrate of Fats, Carbohydrates, Minerals, and Vitamins. You should also monitor the calories intake of your German shepherd, you have to notice that your dog is taking the proper amount of Calories according to his activity level and needs. Some dogs are allergic to certain food items so you have to keep in mind that you are not feeding such food to your dog to which they are allergic to.

You have to Monitor the weight of your dog and notice that you are not overfeeding them because this can make your GSD overweighed and Obese. You should give your dog plenty of fresh water and keep him hydrated. Eatables like Chocolate, Onion, and Garlic should be avoided.

Regular Exercising

Daily Exercising is very important for an Energetic and Powerful breed like a German shepherd and it also helps in maintaining their health. Exercising with your dog will be fun for you and he will also enjoy. Exercising can prevent your dog from being overweighed and it will also avoid lazy behavior in him. German shepherds didn’t get tired easily, You can take them for long walks and jogging. You can also exercise your GSD while playing and its the most fun way of exercising a dog.

Keeping your GSD clean and hygienic

Grooming is necessary for German shepherds, it not only helps in enhancing their looks but it also avoids some health problems. There may be chances that your GSD have skin inhabitants like Bacteria in his coat which can cause skin infection so Bathing is necessary for their long haired coat. German shepherds are known to shed heavily so Brushing is necessary to remove extra dead hair from their coat and it also helps in cooling their body temperature in summers. Not only their Coat and skin their teeth and gums also require some care. Their teeth should be brushed to avoid Gums issues.

Read more about Grooming of GSDs– German Shepherd Care and Grooming| How to groom your GSD

Know about Shedding in German ShepherdsShedding of German shepherds|How to control excessive shedding in GSDs

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