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Genetic Health

Problems with

German Shepherd Dogs


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German Shepherds: Genetic Health Problems,
Diseases and Disorders

By: Tippy & Turbo

German Shepherds are a great breed, intelligent, gentle,
loving and easy to train. But it is not wisdom to choose any
purebred dog without adequate research into the breed
standards and characteristics, and the health issues to
which the breed is most vulnerable.

Then, expect to spend some time and effort researching
breeders with good reputations before you fall in love with
a puppy. Puppy mills and backyard breeders abound, and it is
seldom wise to get a dog from one of them. It is especially
dangerous to buy just any German Shepherd because the
popularity of the breed has led to some overly bad breeding
choices and an increase in both physical and temperamental
problems in the breed, especially here in North America.

So, before you go looking for a good breeder from whom to
buy your German Shepherd puppy, be sure to do your research
on the breed and its more common genetic health issues, so
you will know the right questions to ask of the breeder.

Below are some of the most common genetic problems to which
certain lines of German Shepherd Dogs are vulnerable.

Canine Hip Dysplasia This is a disorder of the bones caused
by loose joints. Over time, the cup of the hip joint is worn
down by excess movement as the dog walks or runs, and causes
pain and possibly lameness in one or both rear legs. This
problem is more common in the larger dog breeds.

Elbow Dysplasia This happens in young dogs when the leg
bones grow at different rates and damage the joint.

Gastric Torsion This is also known as bloat, and is more
common in dogs with deep chests, especially large dogs.
After a large meal the full stomach can twist and cut of the
digestive circulation. This results in rapid swelling, great
pain, and can kill the dog if surgery isn't done to fix the
problem immediately. Frequent small meals rather than large
meals are the best preventative.

Cardiomyopathy Many dog breeds are vulnerable to this
disorder. It is a heart disorder in which either the heart
muscle thins or is enlarged, causing the heart to function

In addition to genetic health disorders, indiscriminate
breeding of any breed leads to nervous, hyperactive, over-
anxious or even dangerous dogs. Getting a dog is a large
commitment. Give the dog, yourself and your bank account the
best chance for a long happy friendship by carefully
choosing a healthy puppy.

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