Bloat and Torsion
While the workings of torsion and bloat are still trying to be understood, the basics are that the stomach can fill with gas and a twisting occurs that seals the stomach off. Death can quickly occur. The stomach swells and the dog goes into shock. Factors that may influence this to happen include exercise after eating, not keeping available for the dog around the clock and feeding dry diets. Letting your dog rest after eating, feeding a moist diet and keeping a dog hydrated is helpful. For more information:
Cancer can be a common problem in Rottweilers. Some common types found in our breed include osteosarcoma (bone cancer), lymphosarcoma and melanoma. Rottweilers appear to be best living as indoor pets with their families (avoiding extreme heat), have mental and physical stimulation (obedience, agility, rally, tracking, etc) and feed a good healthy diet, preferably raw or home cooked. Poor Immune systems can lead to cancer, and a fresh food diet will give the best nutrition to achieve this goal.
Canine Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a genetic problem affecting the construction of the hip area that results in mobility and pain. A lesser known problem, but of equal concern is elbow dysplasia. ED is appearing more than HD in Rottweilers, more due to careful screening over the years of removing dogs affected with HD from breeding programs. While dogs with HD can have surgery to help with this issue, there is no known surgery to help with affected elbows. Elbow dysplasia ratings range from class 1 (least severe) to class 3 (most affected). Some dogs with class 1 elbows may have no symptoms, and since this problem is so prevalent in the breed, breeders may breed these to unaffected dogs. It is important that you make sure that both parents of any puppy you purchase have OFA (or country appropriate clearances) on both the hips and the elbows. Soundness in our breed is of paramount important to a healthy and happy puppy.
For more information on both this issues:
Elbow Dysplasia answers:
Cataracts are a condition when part of the eye lens develops an opaque area. Most often this is found in the posterior part of the eye. In Rottweilers, the type we are concerned with are called posterior polar subcapsular (PPS) cataracts. These are slow growing and usually occur around 18 months of age. Dogs can be tested and results sent to CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) to prove clearance of eye problems. Always ask a breeder, not only for OFA clearance on hip, elbows and heart, but also for CERF on eyes. For more details, as well as information on where to submit blood samples of affected Rottweilers:
Distal Myopathy (also known as Muscular Dystrophy)
While not widely seen, this neurological problem can be found in Rottweilers. The symptoms usually appear at about 4 to 6 weeks of age. Often the puppy appears to be ‘down in the pasterns’. Some are so severe they walk on their pasterns. As the weeks go on, the puppy often appears roached in the topline, and the rear can become cowhocked. Often these puppies will ‘bunny hop’ rather than trot. They may prefer to sit or lay down, and avoid standing for long periods. This condition is not lethal, but it does cause a degeneration and loss of the distal muscles until about 9 months of age. This causes the dog to look ‘leggy’, and not have much muscling on the legs, loin and sometimes the head and muzzle. It causes the fat in the muscle tissue to turn to fiber. I have seen this condition to be from severe to mild (in mild cases, the dog can look normal). It affects males more frequently than females (it is a sex linked genetic condition). These dogs should not be bred. Certain steps can be taken to lessen these symptoms and are outlined in the article below. Please feel free to email me if you experience a Rottweiler puppy like this for more information.
Heart Problems - Subaortic Stenosis
The main heart problem found in Rottweilers is subaortic stenosis. And unfortunately, without testing, the first symptom can be death. This is a genetic condition in the heart that causes a narrowing of the ventricle to the aorta, causing the heart to work harder. Screening can be done as a puppy which is having a veterinarian listen to the heart to make sure there are no murmurs. Testing needs to done again after a year of age, by a board certified cardiologist. Results can be sent to the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) for a health clearance certificate. For more information:
Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
Symptoms of IBD can include vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs often lose weight and the coats can become dry and thin. It is thought to be caused by an inflammation to the digestive tract, that causes an irritation resulting in vomiting and diarrhea and inability to process nutrients well. It may be autoimmune in nature. For more information, read here:
Vaccinations and the Immune System
Often I see vaccination recommendations given for Rottweiler puppies that go beyond the pale in necessity. Please remember, every time you vaccinate your dog, the immune system is suppressed for up to 3 weeks. This opens the window for other opportunistic bacteria and viruses to affect your puppy. And too frequent vaccinations create failure for the desired immunity. Mother’s maternal antibiodies from nursing, will protect a puppy for up to three weeks after nursing, and these maternal antibodies will stop a vaccine from working.
Give your puppy parvo and distemper 2 to 3 weeks after they are done nursing. These shots are modified live and do not need ‘boostering’, but you may give another a month later if you feel it is needed. I give rabies shots after teething time (a time when the puppies immune system is depressed) for best effect, and booster rabies in a year (this shot is killed vaccine, and does require a booster).
This condition is when the skin (and hair coat) loses pigment. This happens when the melanocytes cells (responsible for pigment) die or cease to function. In Rottweilers, this is generally first seen around the mucus membranes (eyes, nose, vulva, toenails and feet and gum pigment). It can range from just a few white hairs, to large white patches (see pictures in the links below). The cause is unknown, although it can often appear after a stress incident, such as traveling, anesthesia or illness. It is thought to be autoimmune in nature, and there is no cure at this time. Some help has been seen with diet changes (fresh food diet), along with vitamins C, E and B complex, melatonin and spirulina. It may be thyroid related, so please have your veterinarian do a 6 panel thyroid test. It is probably genetic, but can also be linked by a genetic component for poor immune system as well.
Pictures of Rottweiler with vitiligo http://vitiligocover.com/rare-case-of-vitiligo-in-rottweiler-rommel/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vitiligo_in_a_rottweiler.jpg
Additional health articles of Interest:
Popular Sire Syndrome
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals http://www.offa.org/
CERF Canine Eye Registration Foundation http://www.vmdb.org/cerf.html
Canine Health Information Center http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/
Rottweiler Health Foundation http://www.rottweilerhealth.org/