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HEALTH ISSUES
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HEALTH ISSUES

WEIMARANER HEALTH

 

The Weimaraner is generally a very healthy breed in Australia.  This is due to the care that most breeders take with the selection of their breedings. 

 

As with all breeds there are some health issues to be aware of as a Weimaraner is a living creature which may (even with the best of care during breeding) exhibit Congenital or Hereditary problems.

 

Some issues to be aware of are:-

  • Bloat or Gastric Torsion
  • Hip Displasia
  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy or HOD

 

BLOAT is a disease common to deep-chested dogs which can involve twisting or torsion of the stomach.  Bloat happens quickly and is often fatal. 

 

** see further below for futher information relating to bloat

 

HIP DISPLASIA or bad hips comes about from a progressive deformity of hip joints.  It can be mild or crippling in severe cases. 

 

Further information is available at the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals site   http://www.offa.org/

 

HYPERTROPHIC OSTEODYSTROPY is displayed with painful, swollen joints and bones, fever and auto immune reaction to vaccines.  The inheritance of this disease is unknown but wonderful research is ongoing.

 

Please refer to sites such as http://www.weimclubamerica.org/health/index.html and http://www.jagmar.com

 

The Weimaraner Club of America site has an extensive list of health issues which can be viewed at http://www.weimclubamerica.org/health/index.html but please do not be scared off by this list.  While it is extensive many of these conditions are not commonly seen in Australia.

 

PLANTS POISONOUS TO DOGS - a great site for information

http://www.uexplore.com/health/poisonplants.htm

 

HUMAN FOODS THAT POISON DOGS - certainly a much needed read!

http://www.petalia.com.au/Templates/StoryTemplate_Process.cfm?specie=Dogs&story_no=257#ct-4

 

Results Of 5 Year Bloat Study
by Lawrence Glickman, VMD
Non-Dietary Risk Factors

From the WCA March 2002 magazine – reprinted with permission**

The 5 year bloat study, funded by the AKC Canine Health Foundation and several Parent Clubs, including the WCA, has been completed. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the study here is a brief summary of the purpose and aims of the study and the findings.

Objectives: To identify non-dietary risk factors for gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) in large breed and giant breed dogs.

Animals: 1991 dogs over six months of age of the following breeds were enrolled in the study: Akita, Bloodhound, Collie, Great Dane, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, Standard Poodle and Weimaraner.

Procedure: Dogs of varying ages that did not have previous history of GDV were recruited at dog shows. The dog’s length and height and the depth and width of its thorax and abdomen were measured. Extensive information concerning the dog’s medical history, genetic background, personality and diet was obtained from the owners. Owners were contacted by mail and telephone at approximately one year intervals to determine the status of the dog.

The following is a synopsis of the findings. Many of these findings are contrary to methods of prevention which have been favoured in the past.

Factors which were found to increase the risk of bloat:

  • Increased Age
  • Having a first degree relative who has bloated (offspring 4x the risk, siblings 3x the risk & parents 1.5x the risk)
  • Deep, narrow thorax/abdomen
  • Underweight
  • Feeding only once daily
  • Fearful, easily upset dogs
  • Raising food bowl
  • Rapid eaters



Factors which did NOT appear to influence risk of bloat:

  • Moistening food
  • Exercise before or after mealtime
  • Change of weather
  • Stress
  • Unrestricted access to water before or after mealtime



The one factor that was consistently associated with a lower risk of bloat was having a personality that the owner described as “Happy”.


Increased Age:
There is a 20% increase in risk for each year increase in age.

Having a First Degree Relative with Bloat:
This turned out to be one of the strongest predictors. Dogs with such a relative had a 3 and 4 fold increased risk of developing bloat. A first degree relative was defined as either a parent, sibling or offspring.

Deep Narrow Thorax/Abdomen:
Dogs which were broader in body type had a lower incidence of bloat. Dr. Glickman postulates that the deeper and narrower the abdomen, the great the room for the stomach ligaments to stretch down or lengthen as part of the aging process.

Underweight Dogs:
Dr. Glickman felt that these underweight dogs may have problems with their gastrointestinal tract which prevents them from gaining weight and that would predispose them to bloat.

Feeding Only Once Daily:
Several studies, including this one, showed that as the number of meals increased per day, the risk of bloat decreased.

Fearful, Easily Upset Dogs:
Personality turned out to be a MAJOR predictor. According to Dr. Glickman, it is not the amount of stress in a dog’s life that is significant, but the way in which the dog handles the stress. “When animals are placed under stress, there are certain stress hormonal and neural responses. Some of these responses affect gastric motility. A fearful dog may have a very different response physiologically to stress than a happy, easy-going dog. We think those physiological responses may contribute to the rotation of the stomach because of the motility. This is the second or third time we have demonstrated temperament, particularly easy-goingness or fearfulness is related to the risk of bloat.”

Raising Food Bowl:
The study revealed that the higher the bowl, the higher the risk. Dr. Glickman feels the elevation may be causing an increased incidence of swallowing air which could account for the higher risk.

Rapid Eaters:
Since bloat does not usually occur immediately after eating, Dr. Glickman has no explanation for this. He did find that the faster the dog ate, the greater the risk for bloat.

Dr. Glickmans
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LOWERING THE RISK OF BLOAT

  • Don’t breed a dog if a first degree relative has suffered an episode of bloat.
  • Consider a prophylactic gastroplexy for dogs that fit the high risk profile.
  • Owners of anxious or fearful dogs should consider behaviour modification and consult a behaviourist. In some instances drug therapy is warranted.
  • Feed smaller, multiple meals instead of one large meal per day.
  • Do NOT elevate food bowl.
  • Owners who have dogs that eat rapidly should do anything to slow the speed of eating. The most common and effective way wast to place a large object in the food bowl that the dog day to eat around. A suggestion was a heavy link chain which forces the dog to eat under and around it.



Dietary Risk Factors

Dietary risk factors for bloat (GDV) in dogs were identified using the 1991 dogs from the study. 106 dogs that developed bloat were selected as cases while 212 other dogs from the study were randomly selected as controls. A complete profile of intakes was constructed for each dog based on owner-reported information, published references and nutritional databases.

The study confirmed previous reports of an increased risk of GDV associated with increasing age, having a first-degree relative with GDV and having a raised food bowl. New significant findings included a 2.6 fold (160%) increased risk of GDV in dogs that consumed dry foods containing fat* among the first four ingredients.

The GDV increased 3 fold (200%) in dogs that consumed dry foods containing citric acid* as a preservative. Dry foods containing rendered meat meal with bone product among the first four ingredients significantly decreased GDV risk by 53%. Moistening of dry food alone was not associated with GDV but consumption of owner-moistened dry foods that also contained citric acid significantly increased GDV 4 fold (300%).

Approximately 30 and 33% of all cases of GDV in this food related study could be attributed to consumption of dry food containing fat among the first four ingredients or citric acid, respectively.

These finding can be used by owners to select dry foods that may reduce the risk of GDV.

* The information on fat and preservatives can be found under “Ingredients” not “Guaranteed Analysis”.

** Thankyou to the WCA for allowing the reprinting of this article. Judy Colan said "please feel free to use the article" so let's pass this information around and breeders, be sure to place a copy in your puppy folders.

This information is provided for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.