Very frankly, Dobermans, in general, are not too strong in the health department. This is mainly because of large scale breeding by breeders who are only after making money and not concerned about improving the breed, in general.
However, if you get your Doberman from ethical breeders or proper rescue shelters, you can be sure that the dog does not have a hereditary problem.
Loving owners take every possible step to keep their Dobermans in the best of health. They are concerned about dog diet, exercise and all other aspects of a healthy living for their Dobermans. Some Dobermans, may suffer from illnesses specific to the breed - and that cannot be prevented by owners.
Hip / Elbow dysplasia, Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) -- Bloat, Hypothyroidism, von Willebrand's Disease (vWD), Dilated CardioMyopathy, Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI or Wobbler's Syndrome) are some of the health concerns that Dobermans tend to face.
Dysplasia is a crippling ailment that causes your Doberman's hip or elbow bones to weaken. When this happens, the hip or elbow bone and the corresponding socket do not fit well with each other. With time, it deteriorates and causes pain and discomfort to Dobermans.
The positive aspect of this illness is that hip or elbow dysplasia can be detected quite early. You can have your Doberman puppy tested even at the age of four months. A X-ray can detect this. Some Dobermans, thankfully, grow out of the disease too.
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) -- Bloat
GDV or Bloat happens mostly in large sized, deep-chested dogs. It happens when the stomach swells from gas, fluid, or both and then stomach tends to twist on its axis. Whenever Bloat happens, it is an emergencyyou're your Doberman should be given immediate medical help. If not, the dog may even die.
The exact cause of Bloat is not yet known. However, it is seen to happen to dogs that eat large quantities of dry food, exercise briskly just after eating, and/or drink large amounts of water after their meals. You can reduce the risk of bloat in Dobermans by soaking the dry food in warm water and let it expand and soften before feeding; crate the dog for one hour before and after each meal; don't let him have too much water after the meal, reducing the quantity of food given at a single time. It may be a good idea to feed your dog two smaller meals per day, instead of one large meal.
Hypothyroidism is a skin ailment caused by reduced levels of thyroid hormones. A side effect of this disease is hair loss. Hypothyroidism is treatable with hormone replacement therapy.
Canine Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)
Though this disease is not very common, it is still known to affect Dobermans. The effects of this ailment is similar to what happens when people suffer from hemophilia which impairs the body's ability to control clots and bleeding. Though there are no known treatments for this disease, various preventive measures can be taken.
Dilated CardioMyopathy (DCM)
DCM is generally seen in large breed dogs, usually known to affect young adult males (between the ages of four and six years). It is believed to be a genetic predisposition in Dobermans and it grows fatal rapidly.
It is an acquired disease where the left ventricle and left atrium are affected by markedly enlarged and weakened heart muscles.
The most common symptom is respiratory distress - manifested as coughing, wheezing or laboured breathing. This may result in sudden heart failure and even sudden death. One third of all Dobermans who acquire DCM will experience sudden death.
Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI or Wobbler's Syndrome)
Wobbler's Syndrome is supposed to be hereditary disease in Dobermans. Usually middle aged dogs tend to suffer from this ailment. The spinal cord gets compressed by cervical vertebral or because of a malformed spinal canal. In extreme cases, the dogs get paralyzed even in all four limbs. Dogs may suffer from neck pain too. Some owners go for surgery. However, surgery is not only expensive, the success rate is not guaranteed either.
When it comes to your Doberman's health, prevention is always better than treatment. If that is not possible, early detection helps you treat the problem and cure it, if possible. Do what you can to help Dobermans live a long and healthy life.
About Author / Additional Info:
Camille Goldin tells about health issues in Dobermans. TrainPetDog.com provides information on Dog Diet and more.