Weimaraner Health Guide
Many Weimaraner owners enjoy a long relationship with their dog without major health issues. This is something that is accomplished by starting with a puppy from a reputable breeder.
That first step may eliminate many of the health problems that can afflict purebred dogs as they grow and as they get older. For general care, a Weimaraner should be fed twice a day in smaller amounts each time.
Additionally, regular exercise is very important to this breed.
Health Problems in the Weimaraner
One problem that owners should be aware of with any large dog such as the Weimaraner is bloat, the common name for gastric torsion. This condition often results when large dogs gulp large amounts of food or swallow lots of water at one time.
Weimaraners should be fed twice daily to avoid the hunger pangs that lead to eating too fast. The subsequent twisting or blockage of the stomach exit to the intestine is common to deep-chested dogs. Sadly, bloat happens quickly and is often fatal without immediate veterinary attention.
Symptoms include retching with no vomiting, extreme salivation, obvious discomfort, and distention of the abdomen. Some breeders believe that foods containing soybeans should not be fed to breeds that are susceptible to bloat because the beans can produce gas.
Feeding moistened dog food and postponing exercise for a couple of hours after the meal may help prevent bloat.
Over the years, the popularity of the Weimaraner may lead to some careless breeding that encourages hereditary diseases such as joint dysplasia, blood disorders, and other medical conditions. This alone is reason enough to work with a top-quality, reputable breeder to make sure that the young dog you bring home is healthy and as free from physical problems as any dog can be.
Hip dysplasia may also be a problem for the Weimaraner. In fact, this condition is one that all dog owners should be aware of, being so common. Hip dysplasia is a degenerative joint disease that does not have to be a problem for you if your breeder has certified his puppies as free from this condition.
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) has a radiograph procedure that will detect early signs of this condition and your breeder should provide you with documentation that the dog meets this OFA standard. For this reason, be sure to ask about this when you are visiting several breeders before accepting any puppy.
Among the common health problems found in the Weimaraner, as well as other purebred dogs, is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a degenerative eye disease that may first cause night blindness or trouble seeing in dim light. This condition may worsen until blindness occurs in one or both eyes. In addition, this is a disease of the retina, because the photoreceptor cells at the back of the eye deteriorate.
As the disease progresses, the pupils of the eye dilate in an attempt to let in additional light, which may produce a characteristic shine to the eye. Then, the lens of the eye may become cloudy or opaque.
A veterinarian who specializes in canine ophthalmology can detect the condition. Careful breeding may help prevent this condition.
Weimaraner owners may want to read the basics about Von Willebrand’s disease, a hereditary bleeding disorder. Another problem that may appear with this breed is known as Entropion, a condition of the eye in which the eyelid folds inward causing irritation and perhaps, additional sight problems.
Many of these diseases can be avoided by working with a top breeder who uses only breeding parents who have no history of the conditions in their bloodlines.
Read More About Weimaraner
- Weimaraner Breed Information
- Weimaraner : 10 Most Common Questions
- Weimaraner Training Guide
- Owning A Weimaraner : Breeder Recommendations