German Shepherd Health and Care: A Comprehensive Guide To The Breed’s Common Diseases and Conditions

German Shepherd Health and Care

German Shepherds are a popular breed of dog, but they have some common health conditions that owners should be aware of. This article provides a comprehensive guide to the most common diseases and conditions German Shepherds can get.

The article begins with a brief introduction about the German Shepherd breed and why it is so popular. It then goes on to discuss some of the most common diseases and conditions German Shepherds can get including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, bloat, canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus, and degenerative myelopathy.

Introduction to German Shepherds

German Shepherd dogs are one of the most popular breeds in the United States. It is a large breed that originated in Germany. These dogs were bred to work and protect livestock from predators such as wolves and bears.

Today, German Shepherds are often used by police forces because they are loyal, intelligent, and dependable. They are also good at tracking down criminals because of their keen sense of smell.

German Shepherds also make great family pets. They are very intelligent, loyal, and playful. They also make excellent guard dogs.

German Shepherds Health

German Shepherds are prone to some diseases and conditions that you must be aware of.

German Shepherds have a high incidence of hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. This is due to their large size and weight which puts a lot of strain on their joints. They also have a higher risk for developing cancer because they age more quickly than other breeds due to their larger size.

German Shepherds can be prone to epilepsy, eye problems like glaucoma, skin conditions like demodectic mange or seborrhea dermatitis, or diabetes mellitus type 2 if they are overweight.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of German Shepherds?

German Shepherds have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. With proper care and treatment, they can live a long and healthy life.

5 Most Common Health Issues In German Shepherds

1. Hip and Elbow Dysplasia:

Hip Dysplasia is a condition that affects the hip joint. This is when the ball and socket of a dog’s hip joint do not grow normally. This leads to joint laxity or instability, which can further lead to joint degeneration over time.

Elbow dysplasia is a condition in which a puppy’s elbow joint develops abnormally. As a result, the joint deteriorates over time, resulting in symptoms such as lameness, discomfort, and restricted joint mobility.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia can afflict any breed, although it is more frequent in big breeds such as the German Shepherd. Hip dysplasia is caused by various actors, the most significant of which is heredity. Poor diet, excessive activity, and obesity, on the other hand, are all significant causes.

Both these conditions are not curable, but they can be managed with medical treatment. Medical treatment includes pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and surgery for severe cases of hip and elbow dysplasia.

2. Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV):

When the dog’s stomach fills with air and twists on itself, this condition is known as gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV). Also known as bloat, the condition can be fatal if the dog does not receive immediate care.

Deep-chested and big breed of dogs, such as the German Shepherd, are the breeds most susceptible to bloat. Swollen abdomen, retching, salivation, and stomach discomfort are all symptoms.

This is a life-threatening illness, so take your German Shepherd to the doctor ASAP if you suspect they are suffering from bloat.

3. Degenerative myelopathy:

The ailment known as degenerative myelopathy is next on the list of prevalent health issues in German Shepherds. The spinal cord is affected by this severe and debilitating disease, which generally strikes dogs between the ages of 8 and 14.

The dog’s hind legs show signs of weakness and loss of coordination at first. The condition might advance to the point that the rear legs become paralyzed.

4. Osteosarcoma:

Osteosarcoma is a kind of tumor within the bone.

Although the cause of osteosarcoma is uncertain, there is a definite pattern of osteosarcoma occurring more frequently in big dog breeds. Lameness, swelling, tiredness, lack of appetite, and a sudden unwillingness to run or play owing to tumor discomfort are all possible side effects.

Sadly, osteosarcoma is a cancer that is quite aggressive in dogs. By the time osteosarcoma is detected, cancer cells are frequently found in other places of the body.

5. Diabetes:

Because of their huge stature, German Shepherds are more prone to overeating anytime they get their paws on some food. This is why Diabetes is widespread in this breed. Dry mouth, weariness, excessive eating and peeing, and swollen feet are all symptoms of diabetes.

How to Prevent Health Problems In German Shepherds

The following are some preventative measures to take to keep your German shepherd healthy:

1. Feed a high-quality diet that is appropriate for the age of your German shepherd.

2. Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation for your German shepherd by taking them on walks or playing games with them.

3. Get your German shepherd spayed or neutered to reduce the risk of reproductive cancers and uterine infections in females and prostate cancer in males.

4. Have a veterinarian do yearly checkups on your dog, including teeth cleaning and vaccinations as needed.

5. Take care of any wounds or scratches your German shepherd may get to avoid bacterial infections.

6. Find out whether there is a nearby animal shelter or rescue group you can contact for additional support.

7. Be careful not to overfeed your German shepherd as obesity in this breed can lead to other health problems.


Health issues in German Shepherds can include cancer, hip dysplasia, and Degenerative Myelopathy. Some of these dogs are also prone to bloat, an emergency condition where the stomach fills up with gas-producing food in response to eating too quickly or too much. Make sure you take your dog to the vet for regular health screenings. Early diagnosis and prevention are better than late diagnosis and treatment.

Thank you for reading the article.

Here are other articles on German Shepherds if you’re interested to know more about the breed.

What health problems have your German Shepherd suffered from? Let us know in the comments!

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