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So, I've been browsing the web lately and I search up 'Dogs with the most health issues' And German Shepherd Came up as #2, They Said they have 'hip dysplasia' I was wondering if it is false or real, And if it is real how do i get around it or deal with it?
- Tishnik
 

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I could write a whole essay about this...but to be brief, yes, it is a problem with the breed. Reputable breeders x-ray their dogs, and have them hip-scored before breeding them. Dogs that have dysplasia are not bred. Both Germany and North America are making a really determined effort to improve the hips of these dogs. In N. America, x-rays are done at 2, and are evaluated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. In Germany, the x-rays are rated by the German registration body, the S.V. The S.V. also has the Zuchwert rating, which scores a dog according to how many of its close relatives have good hips.

The causes of hip dysplasia are both environmental and genetic, and scientists have not been able to pinpoint the genes involved in causing it. Giving puppies good nutrition and appropriate exercise can help prevent hip dysplasia, and strengthen weak joints.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I could write a whole essay about this...but to be brief, yes, it is a problem with the breed. Reputable breeders x-ray their dogs, and have them hip-scored before breeding them. Dogs that have dysplasia are not bred. Both Germany and North America are making a really determined effort to improve the hips of these dogs. In N. America, x-rays are done at 2, and are evaluated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. In Germany, the x-rays are rated by the German registration body, the S.V. The S.V. also has the Zuchwert rating, which scores a dog according to how many of its close relatives have good hips.

The causes of hip dysplasia are both environmental and genetic, and scientists have not been able to pinpoint the genes involved in causing it. Giving puppies good nutrition and appropriate exercise can help prevent hip dysplasia, and strengthen weak joints.
Thank you so much for the reply!
 

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IME, I have not found the breed to be particularly unhealthy.

I think your internet results can be contingent on many things such as the German Shepherd jockeying between second and third position in popularity with the AKC for the past two decades in the US. The internet also touts the German Shepherd as being the world's most popular breed.

Based on that information, and with a huge push for spaying and neutering in the US, the breed showing as having a high incidence of joint problems should be expected.


The OFA ranks the German Shepherd much lower, position 38, for hip dysplasia.

 
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I think any breed can be unhealthy or healthy depending on genetics, and thoughtful or careless breeders. My two are full sisters, 3 years apart. Other than shots, spaying neither have spent a day at the vets. They are 6 and 9, both are active and healthy.
 
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Degenerative Myelopothy (DM) was a surprise to me in my first GSD. It took her life at 16, totally healthy until symptoms started around 14 or so. My son's dog also died from DM at 11-12. It's a cruel, debillitating disease.
There is a test for it and carriers should be identified before breeding. I don't know how many do.
my rescue GSD was shown as clear of being a DM carrier from the EmbarkDNA and Health Test. I was relieved to know we won't be facing that horrible disease in her older years.
If I were to buy a GSD puppy, I'd want to make sure the breeder has tested their dogs for DM. Why buy problems?
 

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So, I've been browsing the web lately and I search up 'Dogs with the most health issues' And German Shepherd Came up as #2, They Said they have 'hip dysplasia' I was wondering if it is false or real, And if it is real how do i get around it or deal with it?
- Tishnik
All breeds have health issues. HD is not strictly in the GSD breed. All large breed dogs are susceptible to it. They don't know what exactly causes it but they don't believe it's one single factor. So you have to look at genetics and environment.

1. Look for a puppy who parents have good OFA or SV ratings.
2. Look back in that line for previous siblings from other litters, siblings of the parents, parents of the parents for good OFA / SV ratings.
3. Feed a good food designed for large breed puppies with proper calcium/phos. ratio
4. Limit hard impact on growing bones.
5. Keep your puppy lean. Fat puppies have more wear on joints.

There are so many other health issues (in all breeds) that you also need to pay attention too. SV is now looking at the spine of the dog for structure and health (OFA is not grading this issue yet). You should ask about allergies in the lines. That's horrible to deal with. Bloat may be genetic. And cancers are sometimes.

DM is another concern and there is a test for it but I wouldn't place bets on the accuracy. Part of the issue with DM is it is ONLY able to be diagnosed thru necropsy and there are other diseases that happen with age that have the same symptoms. So we don't really know the percentage of affected dogs because most people don't have a necropsy done, they just go by the clinical diagnosis of the vet. And this is a disease that is primarily in elderly dogs. Yes, it's terrible to watch for owners. But it's painless. Many of us have lost our dogs suddenly to hemangiosarcoma at a much younger age. So, for me (and only for me) DM is not on the top of my list of concerns. I'm far more concerned with the health issues that can impact the dog at a younger age.
 

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Most people flip out when they hear what we pay for our dogs, 2k, 3k, more??? You could pay this much for a poorly bred dog with problems, but if you have an ounce of commonsense and are spending this kind of money, I would hope you aren't buying from a BYB. That said, most people don't want to spend more than 500-600 on a dog and they end up with a medical/behavioral mess. A guy I know said "oh yeah, we paid alot of $ for our dog...it was like $600". Thought to myself what if he knew what I spent on my boy. Short of it is if you buy from a reputable person who is doing the medical surveillance on their dogs, only breeding healthy dogs, then you are stacking the odds in your favor. About 15 yrs ago I was looking at Am. staffs. There is a breeder in CA that has some of the nicest looking dogs I have seen and her kennel shows up in many of the dogs on the show circuit. All are very handsome dogs. I was serious so I talked to her and asked about health testing and OFA. Her response was that she doesn't have bad hips in her lines and she doesn't feel like she has to test for it. In fact, she didn't do any health screening. That was the last time I talked to her. You don't get my $$ if you don't do anything more than put two dogs together and go on the show circuit.
 

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So, I've been browsing the web lately and I search up 'Dogs with the most health issues' And German Shepherd Came up as #2, They Said they have 'hip dysplasia' I was wondering if it is false or real, And if it is real how do i get around it or deal with it?
- Tishnik
Almost any large breed dog is prone to HD. Not just GSDs.
If you plan on getting a puppy, get one whose parents have "good" or "excellent" hips and elbows (all the way up the pedigree if you want to be really safe) then you'll be fine. Normally you don't want to go below "fine" on the OFA scale, or there will be more and more possibility of trouble.

"Hip dysplasia is hereditary and is especially common in large and giant breed dogs, like the Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Labrador Retriever, and German Shepherd Dog. Factors such as excessive growth rate, types of exercise, and improper weight and nutrition can magnify this genetic predisposition." -AKC
 

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"Fair" not 'fine". There is nothing wrong with breeding a dog that is "Fair". My boy's granddam was fair and the progeny has produced Good and Excellent. The next category is "mild" which is in the dysplastic category. Nobody should be breeding that.
 

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"Fair" not 'fine". There is nothing wrong with breeding a dog that is "Fair". My boy's granddam was fair and the progeny has produced Good and Excellent. The next category is "mild" which is in the dysplastic category. Nobody should be breeding that.
Oops sorry Jax08. For some reason I was thinking 'fine'. I'm saying that the lower you go the more the risk of HD. I not saying you can't breed a dog with Fair hips or elbows. That's why I said "below" fine. (I meant fair)
 

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I'm saying if you go lower you are already IN the HD category. Nobody should be breeding that.
So fair is borderline hips or/and elbows? After that the dog has HD. Ok. Got it.
May I pm you about something?
 

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Look up the OFA categories. You can also look up SV which has a slightly different way of grading and the comparison between OFA and SV.
 

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Look up the OFA categories. You can also look up SV which has a slightly different way of grading and the comparison between OFA and SV.
I'm going to. is there an official website or anything?
 

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I've had 4 GSDs and the last two have had problems with digestion and allergies. Both dogs live on anti-histamines, and my older female also has medications for spay incontinence and acid reflux (she has SIBO). I wonder if any breeders ever follow up on their pups to find out if there is a pattern of inherited allergies, etc. I suspect not since there is such a large investment in getting a dog to the age where they can be bred and the personality traits take precedence over these health issues. Most breeders are careful about the quality of hips and elbows, but even that would be better assessed if the breeder followed up on the progeny because patterns among siblings can often tell more that just the condition of the dam and sire. I have no idea if GSDs are more prone to these issues than others, but I do know that it is frustrating to be tied to medications for dogs at a young age.
 
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