Diseases Common to Doberman Dogs

by Lisa LaVergne
    Doberman Pinscher

    Doberman Pinscher

    Doberman image by Stana from Fotolia.com

    The Doberman Pinscher is a medium-size breed of dog native to Germany. Dobermans are considered working dogs, commonly used as guard dogs for protection. Doberman Pinschers have relatively short lifespans compared to other dog breeds, with most living slightly longer than nine years. There are some diseases that are common to Doberman dogs that owners of the breed should be aware of to help keep their dog healthy and happy.

    Canine Hypothyroidism

    Canine hypothyroidism is caused by an impaired production and secretion of naturally occurring thyroid hormones. This condition is commonly seen in the Doberman Pinscher breed, with the onset of symptoms usually occurring between the ages of four and 10. Clinical signs of canine hypothyroidism can include weight gain, intolerance to cold, dry hair coat, dandruff, lethargy and gastrointestinal problems.

    Dilated Cardiomyopathy

    Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a cardiac disease that causes the muscles of the heart to weaken. As the heart muscles weaken, the heart's ability to properly pump blood through the body lessens. Heart valves may begin to leak and the chances of congestive heart failure increase. There are rarely clinical signs of the disease during its early stages, but as the condition worsens symptoms can include fluid accumulation or edema of the skin, lung congestion, weakness and possible fainting episodes.

    Cervical Vertebral Instability

    Cervical vertebral instability (CVI) is sometimes referred to as canine wobblers disease. The condition targets the caudal cervical vertebrae and the intervertebral discs, which eventually leads to a condition called myelopathy, or secondary spinal cord compression. Cervical vertebral Instability causes an ataxic, or wobbly, gait in dogs. It is most often seen in large-breed dogs, specifically Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes, with the onset of the disease appearing during the first two years of life.

    Von Willebrand's Disease

    Von Willebrand's disease (vWD) is a genetic condition that causes a bleeding disorder in both canines and humans. Blood contains a protein called the von Willebrand factor that works like glue to hold blood platelets together to form a blood clot when injured. In von Willebrand's disease, von Willebrand factor proteins are low, resulting in poor blood clotting. Von Willebrand's disease is not as severe as hemophilia, another free-bleeding disorder, though it is more common. The gene for Type I vWD is widespread throughout the Doberman Pinscher breed. Doberman dogs with vWD are more likely to experience excessive bleeding after trauma or injury, nose bleeds or bleeding gums.

    Canine Active Hepatitis

    Canine active hepatitis (CAH) or chronic active hepatitis, is a diagnosis that is used for a number of different diseases that afflict the liver. Some of the possible conditions that can lead to a diagnosis of CAH include bacterial infections, viruses and the use of some medications. Doberman dogs, especially females, seem to have a genetic predisposition for developing some form of liver disease. Symptoms of liver disease that can lead to a diagnosis of CAH include lethargy, excessive thirst and urination, weight loss, vomiting and loss of appetite.

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    About the Author

    Based in Kansas, Lisa LaVergne has been writing for the Internet since 2004, specializing in articles about alternative medicine, gardening and domestic and exotic animal care. Her work has been published in "Lifestyle" and "Lagniappe" magazines. She is pursuing a master's degree in complementary and alternative medicine from The American College of Healthcare Sciences.

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