The German Shepherd Dog (Alsatian)
The following diseases are reported to occur more frequently in the German Shepherd Dog than in the general dog population. In some cases the disease either has, or is believed to have, a genetic, hereditary cause but many of the diseases listed here do not have a proven genetic basis. 

German Shepherd Dogs are very popular and so the identification of a large number of diseases within the breed may simply be a reflection of the large numbers of the breed in modern society. In the UK alone there were 24,508 Kennel Club Registrations for German Shepherds (Alsatians) during 1997.

If you do not find the disease that you are looking for in this list the disorder has probably not been reported to occur more frequently in this breed than in the dog population as a whole. Try to find it through the search button or email 

HOT NEWS - Report in German Shepherd Dogs questions the value of hip dysplasia screening programmes CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

NEW TOPIC : Gracilis Muscle Contraction (see below)

Alimentary tract diseases
This section includes diseases that involve the mouth, oesophagus (gullet), stomach, small intestine (duodenum and ileum), large intestine (colon and rectum), liver and pancreas.

Diseases involving the mouth

Diseases affecting the gullet (oesophagus)
  • Gastro-oesophageal intussusception
  • Megaoesophagus (congenital and secondary)
  • Vascular compression of the oesophagus (eg PRAA)
Diseases involving the pancreas Diseases affecting the stomach
  • Eosinophilic gastroenteritis
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus
  • Gastro-oesophageal intussusception

Diseases affecting the small intestine

Diseases affecting the colon

  • Chronic Colitis (idiopathic lymphocytic - plasmacytic)

Diseases affecting the anus

Blood diseases

  • Blood group often DEA 1.1 and 1.2 negative
  • Eosinophilia - may be normal for breed
  • Haemophilia A
  • Haemophilia B
  • Immune-mediated thrombocytopaenia
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Von Willebrand's disease

Cardiovascular diseases

Heart valve disorders Abnormal development of major blood vessels to the heart
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  • Persistent right aortic arch (PRRA)
  • Persistent left cranial vena cava (PLCVC)
Heart muscle disease



Eye diseases

Diseases of the eyeball Diseases of the eyelids

Diseases of the third eyelid (nictitating membrane)

Diseases of the cornea
Diseases of the lens
  • Congenital cataract (Autosomal dominant ?)
  • Lens luxation
  • Primary Cataract (Autosomal recessive)

Diseases of the retina and optic disk

  • Retinal dysplasia (multifocal)
  • Micropapilla
  • Optic nerve hypoplasia
  • Optic nerve coloboma
  • Pseudopapilloedema

Hormonal diseases

Immune system diseases

Kidney and Urinary tract diseases

Liver diseases

  • Hepatic fibrosis (idiopathic)
  • Hepatic haemangiosarcoma
  • Portosystemic shunt (congenital)

Nervous system diseases

Orthopaedic diseases

Reproductive disorders

  • Gestation period (mean) 60.4 days
  • Oestrous cycle variations - every 4-5 mths
  • Testicular neoplasia
  • Vaginal hyperplasia

Respiratory diseases

  • Nasal dermoid sinus cysts
  • Thymic haemorrhage (spontaneous)

Skin diseases



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