Doberman Pinschers are a beloved breed known for their loyalty and protective nature. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions that potential owners should be aware of. In this article, we will discuss the most common health concerns for Dobermans and what you can do to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.
Heart problems are one of the most significant health concerns for Doberman Pinschers, with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) being the most common. Unfortunately, 60% of Doberman dogs are genetically predisposed to this fatal condition that causes a dog’s heart to enlarge and become too thin and weak to pump blood effectively. Symptoms can go unnoticed until the Doberman with DCM experiences heart failure, becomes weak, and collapses. Therefore, every Doberman should have an annual heart exam to detect early signs of heart disease.
Wobbler Syndrome is a spinal condition that causes dogs to walk with uneven, wobbly steps. Dobermans are among the most common dog breeds to get Wobbler’s Syndrome, with 50% of all cases occurring in Doberman Pinschers. Symptoms of Wobblers in Dobermans start in middle age, around age six. Leg weakness, difficulty standing, and neck pain are usually the early signs of Wobblers. A Doberman Wheelchair provides stability and support to keep a disabled Doberman upright. A Doberman Pinscher with Wobbler’s will likely need a full support or quad wheelchair to provide optimal stabilization, even with the wobbliest steps.
Doberman Pinschers are predisposed to many eye conditions, which can lead to vision loss. For example, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a genetic condition that affects the rods in a dog’s retina. As a result, the rods slowly die, which leads to worsening vision until the Doberman becomes completely blind. Although there is no cure for PRA, it has been suggested that antioxidant supplements may slow the disease progression and help pets maintain some daytime vision.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
IVDD is a spinal disc rupture that compresses the spinal cord and can result in mobility loss. Although more common in the dachshund or corgi, IVDD can also occur in Dobermans. The location of the disc rupture and how badly the spinal cord is affected will determine whether a dog experiences hind leg weakness or paralysis. IVDD surgery can be performed to remove the disc material, but it may take several months of rest and rehab for a dog to regain mobility. Some dogs with IVDD may never regain hind leg function.
Arthritis and hip dysplasia are joint conditions that can affect Doberman Pinschers. Arthritis is manageable, especially if detected early on, while hip dysplasia is less common in Dobermans but can cause lameness and crippling joint pain. Monitoring your Doberman’s joint health with regular veterinary visits and providing them with daily joint supplements can help keep their joints healthy. For mild to moderate hip dysplasia, wearing a hip brace can help the dog move around.
Von Willebrand Disease
Von Willebrand Disease is a significant health concern among Doberman Pinschers, with half of the breed being genetic carriers and 30% affected by the condition. vWD is a blood disorder where a dog’s blood doesn’t clot properly. As a result, when injured, a dog with vWD may bleed uncontrollably, quickly becoming a life-or-death emergency. Before any surgery, a Doberman Pinscher should be tested for the genetic markers of Von Willebrand to understand the risks of the procedure.
Doberman Pinschers are prone to several health conditions, but with proper care and vigilance, many of these can be prevented or managed. Regular veterinary visits, a balanced diet, daily exercise, and joint supplements can help keep your Doberman healthy and happy. By being proactive and attentive to your dog’s health, you can ensure that they live a long, fulfilling life by your side.