Doberman Pinscher Health Problems and Raising a Doberman Pinscher Puppy to be Healthy
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2016
The most common health problems in Doberman Pinschers:
The most serious disease facing Doberman Pinschers today is heart disease, specifically cardiomyopathy, which can cause a young- to middle-aged Doberman to suddenly drop dead in his tracks. ALL Doberman Pinschers need to have their hearts tested annually for the ominous first inklings of cardiomyopathy.
Other heart diseases occurring in Dobermans include septal defects, valve disease, pulmonic stenosis, patent ductus arteriosus, and others. The heart is defnitely a problematic organ in this breed.
The most serious orthopedic disease in Doberman Pinschers is Wobbler's syndrome, which occurs in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers more than any other breed. This disease of the neck vertebrae is similar to intervertebral disk disease, which also occurs in Dobermans.
Hip dysplasia occurs in Doberman Pinschers but not as commonly as it occurs in other large breeds. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 12,300 Dobermans and 6% were dysplastic, which is not too bad for a large breed.
Other orthopedic diseases in Doberman Pinschers include osteochondritis (especially of the shoulder and stifle), hypertrophic osteodystrophy, panosteitis, luxating patella, and occasionally craniomandibular osteopathy.
Carpal flexion syndrome is common in Doberman Pinscher puppies. Affected puppies have a "flexed" wrist, with the paws turned inward when standing. Fortunately, it usually goes away on its own.
von Willebrand's blood-clotting disease occurs in Doberman Pinschers more than any other breed. About 30% of the breed are affected, while another 50% are carriers. That means three out of every four Dobermans are either affected or carriers of von Willebrand's. Fortunately a simple DNA test is available for vWD so you can find out at any time whether your Doberman has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.
Hormonal/endocrine system diseases include diabetes and hypothyroidism. According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 14% of Doberman Pinschers have low thyroid levels.
Skin diseases abound in Doberman Pinschers – allergies, bacterial skin infections (pyoderma), lick granuloma, color dilution alopecia (very common in blue Doberman Pinschers), demodectic mange in Doberman puppies, follicular dysplasia, sebaceous adenitis, seborrhea, pemphigus, vitiligo, calcinosis, and zinc-responsive dermatosis.
As with all deep-chested breeds, Doberman Pinschers are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.
The most common cancers in Doberman Pinschers are histiocytic sarcoma, melanoma, and osteosarcoma.
Some odd neuromuscular diseases occur in Dobes, including head tremors, narcolepsy, and polyneuropathy, an inherited disease of the central nervous system. It's often referred to as Dancing Doberman Disease, because the misfiring nervous system creates "spasticity" in the rear legs, alternately flexing and straightening the legs so the poor dog looks as though he's shifting his weight back and forth. Gradually the muscles waste away, but the disease progresses slowly over several years, so affected dogs can often function pretty well.
Eye diseases are not very common in the breed, but include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), retinal dysplasia, cataracts, entropion, and cherry eye.
Other health issues in Dobermans include autoimmune hemolytic anemia, immunoglobulin deficiencies, kidney disease, pancreatic insufficiency, liver shunt, and a severe liver disease called chronic active hepatitis.
Beware of albino Doberman Pinschers, which are susceptible to all of the preceding health problems – and more. Albino Dobermans are not white, like white Boxers or white German Shepherds. White dogs have dark eyes, a dark nose, and dark skin under their white hair.
Whereas albino Dobermans have blue or yellowish eyes, a pink nose, and pink skin. Albino is the result of a defective pigment gene that also includes abnormal development of the eyes. Albino Doberman Pinschers squint and have vision problems in bright light. They are prone to sunburn and skin cancer. Frequently they have skittish, nervous temperaments.
If you're researching albino Dobermans because you're thinking of getting one, please don't. You will only be rewarding breeders who are either ignorant or irresponsible. Buy one of their puppies, and they'll breed more of them, and it is selfish and cruel to deliberately breed dogs whose defective genes will make their lives uncomfortable.
Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Doberman Pinscher?
Yes, often you can.
- Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Doberman Pinschers today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Doberman Pinscher puppy who is genetically healthy.
- Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Doberman Pinscher puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.
Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Doberman Pinscher puppy or adult dog:
Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Doberman Pinscher lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.
The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Doberman Pinscher
The best diet for feeding your Doberman Pinscher is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.
The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Doberman Pinscher
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.
Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Doberman Pinscher puppy really need? Does your adult Doberman need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what many vets aren't telling you.
The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.
Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Doberman Pinscher.
Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.
Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain With Electromagnetic Field Therapy
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, pancreatitis, colitis, injuries such as fractures and skin wounds, or a neurological condition? An honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Copyright © 2000-2016 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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