German Shepherd

6 Common German Shepherd Health Problems

German Shepherds are beautiful, loyal, and intelligent dogs. However, just like other dogs, they can suffer from a variety of health issues. When getting a dog, it is important to know about these issues beforehand, so you know what to look out for and how to best take care of your pet. The following are common German Shepherd health problems:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Bloat (GDV)
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Pancreatitis

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    Hip Dysplasia

    One of the most common genetic health issues in German Shepherds is hip dysplasia where the leg bones do not fit properly into the hip sockets. This can cause German Shepherds to suffer from arthritis, joint pain, and can even damage their cartilage. Although some dogs need surgery for this, most cases can be handled with physical therapy and medication. Make sure not to overexert your dog or give them too much food, since overweight dogs can develop the problem earlier.

    Elbow Dysplasia

    Similar to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia is an issue with a joint – in this case, the bones do not fit properly in the elbow joint and cause pain. Physical therapy and medication are some treatments that may provide relief.


    Also known as GDV (Gastric Dilation-Volvulus), this condition makes a dog’s stomach fill with gas and enlarges it. Since the dog cannot release the gas, the stomach does not receive enough blood, and the dog has difficulty breathing. If this is not treated quickly, it can lead to death. As such, it is important to keep an eye out for tell-tale signs in your dog such as:

    • An enlarged stomach
    • Retching or trying to vomit
    • Lying in the prayer position


    Among common German Shepherd health problems, diabetes mellitus is seen often. Like in humans, this leads to dehydration and excessive urination. Also similar to the case in humans, it can be treated with medication or insulin shots.


    Being a seizure disorder, this is a serious condition. However, as is the case in humans, this can be treated with medication. If your dog suffers from epilepsy, it is important not to expose them to stress. During a seizure, it is important not to go near the dog’s mouth since this can result in being accidentally bitten.


    Pancreatitis refers to the inflammation of the pancreas and can either occur once or be a chronic condition. Major factors contributing to this are high-fat diets, obesity, and trauma. Common signs to look out for are:

    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Fever
    • Abdominal pain
    • Lower appetite

    Treatments include a low-fat diet and plenty of rest. In more serious cases, a vet may need to provide fluids through an IV. However, this is usually resolved with quick treatment.


    This rounds up 6 common German Shepherd health problems that you should be on the lookout for. To provide your dog with the best possible care, it pays to be alert and to visit the vet if any warning signs are seen.