German Shepherd Health Issues: 4 Common Problems To Be Aware Of

Last Updated: 6 months ago

The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world.

This can be attributed to the dog’s bravery, cleverness, loyalty, and intelligence, a combination of attributes that are not very common with other dog breeds.

That notwithstanding, the German Shepherd is prone to certain health issues, just like other dog breeds. If you have a German Shepherd or want to get one, then you need to know some of the common problems to be aware of, and if your dog keeps randomly yelping in pain, keep reading and learn how we can prevent this for our dog’s sake.

You also need to understand the steps you need to take and things you should do to keep your dog(s) healthy.

Some of the most common problems to be aware of include:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common German Shepherd hip problem, especially for those whose hip joints have poorly developed sockets and balls. This leads to looseness, or laxity, and instability in the joint.

Over time, this causes a deterioration of the joint, causing a condition known as hip dysplasia.

Even though hip dysplasia is a painful condition affecting different breeds of dogs, it is more prevalent in giant or large breeds of dogs, such as the German Shepherd. Genetics is the main factor that contributes to this condition. Other factors causing this condition include poor nutrition and obesity.

If you notice symptoms such as lameness, reduced levels of activity, loss of mass in the thigh muscles, reluctance when rising or jumping, and pain, then you can consult one or multiple online vets to find out if your dog has hip dysplasia before visiting them.

They will advise whether your dog needs surgery, a lifestyle change, joint supplements, anti-inflammatory medications, or physical therapy to help with the health condition.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy is another common health problem in German Shepherds. It is a debilitating and devastating disease that affects the dog’s spinal cord. It is common in dogs that are between the ages of eight and fourteen.

The initial symptoms of this disease include a physical lack of coordination between the hind legs of the dog as well as general dog weakness. The hind legs can get paralysed in extreme conditions of this disease.

Degenerative myelopathy does not have a known cure. Treating this disease involves making sure that its symptoms are managed. This makes it very difficult for pet owners, especially when they have to deal with a dog suffering from a disease with no cure.

Genetic mutations are responsible for degenerative myelopathy in German Shepherds. It is important to check whether the DNA of the breeding stock of any German Shepherd puppies you want has been tested for degenerative myelopathy.

Elbow Dysplasia

This is a condition that happens when the elbow joint of a German Shepherd dog experiences an abnormal development. Over a while, the joint deteriorates, causing other symptoms such as pain, lameness, and poor joint motion.

This health problem is common with large dog species, such as German Shepherds. Its development is caused by genetic factors, but things such as obesity make it worse.

If you have a German Shepherd dog showing signs of elbow dysplasia, you need to first find out whether it is indeed elbow dysplasia. Only a veterinarian can give you the right insight.

You can also have the vets screen the health of the elbow of your dog. When buying or getting a puppy from a breeder, ensure that you are getting it from the best German Shepherd breeders and ask them whether the breeding stock has been screened for elbow dysplasia or not.


Even though the name of this health condition does not sound alarming, it is a very serious health problem among German Shepherd dogs, and it requires quick veterinary attention.

Bloat is also known as volvulus (GDV) or gastric dilatation and is common in dogs whose stomach gets full of air, leading to twisting on itself. Without urgent treatment, bloat can lead to the death of the affected dog.

Giant and large-breed dogs, such as the German Shepherd, are at a higher risk of suffering from this health problem. The most common symptoms include retching, a swollen belly, abdominal pain, and salivation.


It is very painful for dog owners to see their dogs suffering from any of these health problems.

They (dog owners) need to understand the different symptoms of the health issues and make sure that their dogs are taken care of before the problems get serious.

With the right care, German Shepherd owners can make sure that their dogs remain healthy and live long lives.

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