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.

Blind Dog Resources

Building a Harness & Hoop for a Blind Dog 

Hints for Living With a Blind Dog

Littlest Angel Vest © ~the white cane for blind dogs PDF list of Resources for Blind Dogs

Story of a blind dog given new life by using large zip ties on his collars for “whiskers”




Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), or bloat, is a serious, life-threatening condition of large breed dogs. Deep chested dogs such as German Shepherd Dogs are particularly at risk.

Bloating of the stomach is often related to swallowed air (although food and fluid can also be present). It usually happens when there’s an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid, and/or foam in the stomach (“gastric dilatation”). [see more]

Bloated dog getting ready for surgery. The stomach doesn't always fill up like this. Know your dog! Be safe; don't wait!

Bloated dog getting ready for surgery. The stomach doesn’t always fill up like this. Know your dog! Be safe; don’t wait!

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 

Websites where medical and additional information can be found:

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 Sign of Stress


Fleas and Ticks

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.

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!



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? Click here to learn more.


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.










Heath Information Resources

German Shepherd Dog Health Issues

Canine Epilepsy Web Site

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

Scientists Reverse Paralysis in Dogs

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

 Pet Arthritis Center

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

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


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