White German Shepherd Health Problems and Raising a White German Shepherd Puppy to be Healthy
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
The most common health problems in White German Shepherds:
Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are the main orthopedic problems in White Shepherds. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 86,000 German Shepherds (of all colors) and found 19% dysplastic. That's terrible. As for elbows, over 23,000 elbow X-rays were evaluated – again, this was for German Shepherds of all colors – and nearly 20% were dysplastic (the 8th worst rate of 82 breeds).
Panosteitis is a common orthopedic disease in young German Shepherds. Also cruciate ligament rupture and osteochondritis can occur. Less common are Wobbler's syndrome and hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD).
All kinds of heart disease occur in German Shepherds: sub-aortic stenosis, pulmonic stenosis, cardiomyopathy, patent ductus arteriosus, and mitral valve disease.
Epilepsy has become a concern in German Shepherds.
Cancer is a leading cause of death in White German Shepherds. Hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, and lymphosarcoma are the three most common cancers.
German Shepherds are very prone to autoimmune diseases, where a dog's defective immune system attacks its own body.
- If the skin is the target of the defective immune system, you will see perianal fistula, sebaceous adenitis, lupus, pemphigus, nail bed disease, or vitiligo.
- If other organs are targeted instead, the resulting diseases include degenerative spinal myelopathy (leading to lameness then paralysis), megaesophagus, and myasthenia gravis.
Skin problems are rampant in German Shepherds, especially allergies (causing itchy skin) and pyoderma (folliculitis and furunculosis). Other skin problems include demodectic mange, seborrhea, and lick granuloma.
German Shepherds are notorious for digestive problems, especially chronic diarrhea resulting from food intolerances, hemorrhagic (bloody) gastroenteritis, colitis (from inflammatory bowel disease), or (rarely) pancreatic insufficiency.
As with all deep-chested breeds, White Shepherds are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome bloat.
Serious eye diseases in German Shepherds are cataracts (which can lead to blindness in White German Shepherd puppies) and pannus (another autoimmune disease). Other eye diseases include cherry eye, lens luxation, corneal dystrophy, retinal dysplasia, and occasionally progressive retinal atrophy.
According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 12% of German Shepherds have low thyroid levels. Other diseases of the hormonal/endocrine system that are sometimes seen in German Shepherds are Cushing's disease and diabetes.
Blood-clotting diseases in White German Shepherds include von Willebrand's and hemophilia A, and the more severe hemophilia B.
Some White German Shepherd puppies are born deaf in one or both ears.
Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR White German Shepherd?
Yes, often you can.
- Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in White German Shepherds today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a White German Shepherd 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 White German Shepherd puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.
Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy White German Shepherd puppy or adult dog:
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If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.
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Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female White German Shepherd.
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Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2015 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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