Health Info

GSDs, like many dogs, encounter a number of health issues. We are listing some here for your information. This information is not intended to take the place of regular check-ups with your veterinarian nor should it be used to diagnose your dog.

Animal CPR Information

Blind Dog Resources

Deaf Dog Resources

Deafness in Dogs
Information on Deafness Prevalence, Causes & Management For owners, breeders, and researchers. Includes a comprehensive list of where to get the brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAER) test done. The BAER test is the most accurate measurement of hearing in animals and is the same test given to infant humans.

Deaf Dog Education Action Fund (DDEAF)
The mission of DDEAF is to provide education and funding for the purpose of improving and/or saving the lives of deaf dogs. They are working to find homes for adoptable deaf dogs and to increase awareness of the noble and loving nature of deaf dogs. For more information on living with or training a deaf dog, visit

Degenerative Myelopathy

There is a yahoo group for those with DM that’s very helpful. They’ve been around since 2003 and have a lot of resources and experience.

They’ve listed the following websites where medical and additional information can be found:


Tyler died of Bloat

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)

Click to read more about Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). This is a genetically linked condition where the pancreas becomes severely atrophied. It is most commonly seen in German Shepherd Dogs but increasingly occurs in other breeds as well. GSRNE dogs  Wayde, Sasha and Daisy all had EPI and proper daily food preparation with specific enzymes made all the difference for them.


Strongheart, the “wonder dog”, was a German Shepherd whose story was published in 1926. Like his predecessor, Rin Tin Tin, he was a movie star in the 1920s and ’30s. In their films, these brave dogs caught clever criminals, delivered messages across war-ravaged battlefields, and fought wild animals without faltering. Nothing stressed them. These dogs did not tremble in animal shelters, nor whimper and pace when introduced into unfamiliar homes. They did not run and hide when thunderstorms rolled over the rooftops, or fire crackers popped like artillery on the Fourth of July.  They were known as “police dogs” and their offspring populated books and TV programs for many years. Thus, it is not surprising that many people formed the impression that German Shepherds do not suffer from stress.

Recognizing stress in a dog is not  difficult, for the symptoms  are remarkably similar  to those in  humans: whining, hiding, drooling, lip licking, dilated pupils, repetitive behaviors, lack of  bowel or  bladder control, and  aggression, such as  biting or growling. Understanding the causes is also not difficult: traumas through accident or mistreatment, physical restraint, confinement, improper diet, change of routine, noise, rough handling, unwanted interactions, such as  with aggressive people or other dogs, and separation, to name the most obvious. Boredom is also a stressor, often overlooked because it is so common.

What to do with a stressed dog is the challenge. There are dogs pre-disposed to anxiety because of genetics, dogs who have been traumatized over time, and dogs distressed by a  specific situation that, once relieved, quickly regain their  equanimity, such as Schatzi. In most cases, time and love can work wonders. With storm phobia or separation anxiety, medication may prove helpful, but, overall, kindness and patience are the preferred medicines.

The recommendations for stress reduction are (surprise!) beneficial for every dog. Be the leader of the pack, even if it’s a pack of two. Set boundaries. Socialize your dog to new experiences, take long walks together, play ball, provide a variety of toys to engage the dog’s attention, and take dog obedience classes. These activities will promote confidence in your dog so that one day your anxious dog may feel like Strongheart, ready for whatever lies ahead.


Lip Licking is a Sure Sign of Stress


Flea and Tick Information

Lyme Disease This is very common in New England. Dogs get Lyme disease from a tick that passes bacteria into the animal’s bloodstream when it bites.  The tick must remain attached to the animal’s skin for at least one day before the bacteria can be transmitted.

Dogs and Ticks Thousands of dogs contract Lyme disease, canine Ehrlichiosis, canine Anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever every year, and despite simple testing, prevention and treatment options, many dog owners never realize their pets are suffering from these debilitating diseases.

Map of Lyme Disease This interactive map shows Lyme and Heartworm throughout the US. Take a look at how MA stacks up to the rest of the country when it comes to Lyme!

Babesiosis We learned about a relatively “new” (for up here) tick disease that you all should learn the signs for: it’s called Babeosis, or infection from the Babesia canis tick. The dog we found this in was lethargic, wouldn’t eat much, and had a bad fever.

A tick-free dog is a happy dog!

A tick-free dog is a happy dog!


Senior Shepherd Health Issues

Senior Shepherd Holling


The German Shepherd pictured to the right is a GSRNE fellow. His name is Holling and at age 12-13 years he is experiencing some challenges that are all too common to senior dogs. In the interest of making Holling and other senior German Shepherd Dogs more comfortable in their advanced age, a new forum
was born.

All caretakers/parents and friends of senior German Shepherd Dogs are welcome to participate. Let’s exchange information and learn about experiences with our older dogs.

You don’t need to be a GSRNE member to join.





Vestibular Disease

FAQ and a personal story from one of our members:  Our old dog suddenly became dazed and confused, staggering around the house, losing his balance, and wandering in circles. Our veterinarian diagnosed his problem as vestibular disease. What causes this disease and how serious is it?


Older Dog
Older Dog


Weight Management


Rommell’s “Before” Photo

Click to see our article, Killing Them with Kindness, to see how you can help your dog maintain a healthy weight. Studies show that as Americans continue to gain weight, so do their pets. Their obesity is just as dangerous to them as it is to humans. Like humans, dogs develop certain diseases when they are overweight.









Mental Health

There is a daily report on Alzheimer’s news and research throughout the world. It really offers a lot of hope and information to those of us who have relatives or friends with Alzheimer’s. An interesting article showed up in today’s news tips on Alzheimer’s, though, related to dogs.

Health Information Resources

German Shepherd Dog Health Issues

Canine Epilepsy Web Site

Pet First Aid class in Waltham, MA (free)
Learn how to take your dogs pulse & heart rate. Learn to bandage a wound in a hurry and what should be in your first aid kit. Be prepared. It could save your dog’s life.

Poison Control numbers


Handicapped Pets Products, services, and support for elderly, disabled, and handicapped pets. We help you care for them.


How to Pick the Best Dog Food
Here’s a list of links for learning about how to tell good dog foods from bad. Some of these pages contain lists of high-quality foods and notes about why they’re good. tells you how to read those ingredients labels and has an extensive list of dog foods and their ingredients.

Scientists Reverse Paralysis in Dogs

The Pet Fund
Provides financial assistance to owners of domestic animals who need urgent veterinary care

The Pet Arthritis Center

Poisonous Plants and Other Take This Short Quiz to Find Out What is Poisonous to Your Dog

Less Toxic Management: Keeping Fleas Off Your Pets & Out of Your Yard

Handicapped Pets
Products, services, and support for elderly, disabled, and handicapped pets. We help you care for them.

Veterinary Articles

  • Dog Connections: Veterinary Medicine 
  • The 5-Minute Veterinary Consult, Canine & Feline Edition
    A practitioner’s textbook that is heavily used by many small animal veterinarians on a daily basis. The book itself runs about $80-$90, but it’s available on line and at no charge.
  • What to Do if You Feel Your Vet is Negligent
    Fortunately, most emergency vet care we receive is excellent and most of us can tell repeated stories of pet whose lives were saved by caring, competent emergency veterinary care. 
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