German Shepherds are an amazing dog breed. They are excellent law enforcement dogs, personal guard dogs, and faithful to their owners. But the unfortunate part of the story is that they can be prone to certain health problems. And in this article, we will take a close look at those problems.
Perhaps one of the most common and devastating health issues with German Shepherds is hip dysplasia. This is actually an abnormal joint structure in a dog hip.
Most Shepherd Dogs are born with this disease, resulting in a misaligned hip joint. They are also more vulnerable to a condition known as Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) as they grow up; they frequently develop major pain in their hips.
On top of that, German Shepherds usually develop arthritis, which can lead to major hip pain and swelling. Before buying a puppy, ensure your breeder provides information about all these conditions.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hip Dysplasia
Some of the symptoms may include a dog that runs and walks with an abnormal stride. You will often see them running on what you call a “bunny hopping ” kind of step. The affected dog will occasionally show pain and stiffness in the back legs after exercise. Most dogs will have difficulty climbing stairs or even limping.
Another symptom is a dog that sits very slowly. One question you may consider is what the causes of this disease are. There are many different factors that can lead to hip dysplasia and even make it worse. These factors include nutrition, genetics, and exercise.
Prevention Of Hip Dysplasia
Another important question is how to prevent this infection.
Veterinary researchers have agreed that to prevent hip dysplasia selective breeding is a necessity. Your puppy’s parents must be certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) after 24 months.
But there are some things you can do right now:
- Maintain a healthy weight with your German shepherd, as excess weight can cause or worsen hip problems.
- Your dog should exercise regularly, to keep his muscles strong. If your puppy is going through some hip problems, consider a weight free exercise like swimming instead of walking or running.
- Acupuncture or constant massage sessions can help your pooch’s joints stay healthy.
- Also, you can consider an orthopedic dog bed to ease the stress on your pup’s joints.
- Some natural supplements can help keep your dog hips healthy.
Chondroitin and Glucosamine, a common supplement found in various pet stores, can help your dog’s body repair cartilage in the joints and also reduce inflammation. Other familiar supplements are omega-3 fatty acids and MSM, both can help reduce inflammation.
Treatment Options For Hip Dysplasia
Your veterinarian is the right person to talk about the best type of treatment for your dog; however, these are some of the options you might have.
There are several actions for hip dysplasia, depending on the severity of the condition and the age of the dog. In serious cases, a complete hip replacement is usually recommended. While surgery is the most costly treatment option, it may be the best.
About 90 percent of dogs with a successful total hip replacement live a pain-free life after recovery.