I was using the analogy of the necessary and, at least, annual visit to the GP to introduce the importance of exercise for Doberman dogs in an earlier post. I was wondering just how much I would need to emphasise this in this current post which is going to be highlighting some critical criterion to help you ensure that the Doberman, as pet or professionally employed watchdog, remains in optimal health. I can’t remember what we were chatting about, but in another post I mentioned that the Doberman’s genetically-influenced life is a shorter one than most other dog species on average.
An unhealthy Doberman may not live for more than seven years, but on average, Dobermans live for at least ten to twelve years. While they are generally healthy dogs, particularly as a result of being well looked after, they can become vulnerable to a number of canine diseases, so please take these to heart and make sure that your Doberman sees the vet on a regular basis and as recommended by that vet. Each dog’s health is different, so considering the species is not the most important issue here. It’s your own dog’s personal health that is at stake. Let the vet diagnose your dog accordingly, and then follow his or her recommendations or prognoses, whenever necessary.
I just thought of this; remember they say that prevention is better than cure. All good and well, I guess, but we still need to roll up our sleeves and get to work in this area of seeing to the good health of your Doberman dog. I honestly believe that if you take good care of your dog’s emotional welfare alongside the conventional and obvious physical health imperatives, you could well eliminate a number of the diseases typical of dogs. But that’s also easier said than done. The dog’s genetic disposition could well be an unknown factor.
This can be avoided while screening your new puppy. You can link up with a good Doberman breeder that has all the credentials certifying him to be so and who has all the necessary health clearance certificates intact. For instance, a reputable dog breeder could have the puppy cleared for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia with the help of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (if you’re based in the States). Clearances are also obtainable for other typical diseases such as hypothyroidism and von Willebrand’s disease. Of course, dogs will also age and no one can really know for sure what diseases the dog may pick up during its mature years.
One reasonable good barometer, in this sense, will be the Doberman puppy’s mother (and father, if possible). So, to expound on my own personal belief in prevention being the mother of all cures, let’s move on to something anecdotal in the line of taking good care of your Doberman puppy. When it is much older, make sure that it always gets to go for a walk at least twice a day and always walk the dog with its leash, one that is recommended by vets and expert dog handlers. The Doberman puppy and later adult must have more than enough acreage in which to romp.
Young Dobies as they are called by some online writers need plenty of exercise and need to be integrated as soon as possible into comfortable social settings. Try and participate in training on a professional level. At home, never leave the young dog on its own for long periods of time. And if I ever catch anyone chaining a Doberman in their backyard, there will be hell to pay and I’ll have the authorities on their doorstep in next to no time. Always make the Doberman feel that it is an important and necessary member of one big happy and healthy family. Not just longing for companionship, nothing makes a young Doberman feel more proud than sensing that it is needed.
Let me round off this post by expounding on just a few of the common diseases that could afflict an ageing Doberman. Like ageing humans, canine species, including the Doberman, can contract arthritis. In the case of the Doberman, I would imagine that this disease is particularly acute given the Doberman’s propensity to be always active. The common form of arthritis in dogs is known as hip dysplasia. I think it’s rather cruel for experts to be telling us that dogs that show signs of hip dysplasia should not be bred, but that’s the harsh mistress.
In the end, why let a poor innocent creature suffer. This disease, like most others, is also genetic. Manifestations of it can be seen in the way dogs show pain and become lame in one or both rear legs. One disease that dogs do seem to adapt well to if their surroundings remain familiar, warm and friendly, is that of progressive retinal atrophy. It’s an eye disease that entails the gradual deterioration of the retina. Dogs can also contract hypothyroidism. It’s the thyroid gland that’s affected and can cause hair loss, obesity, tiredness and skin conditions. This is a disease that can be treated with the correct medication and diet.
Wobbler’s Syndrome is suspected to be a disease acutely common to Dobermans. In this case, the spinal cord becomes compressed due to cervical vertebral instability or due to a malformed spinal canal. Extreme symptoms will manifest in the poor dog through neck pain and paralysis of the legs. Surgical treatment for this disease is possible but experts are despondent in their affirmation that this disease can reoccur in the treated dog. Bloat can happen to all dogs that are not properly cared for and not properly fed. It is a disease of the stomach and can be tragically fatal.
The be all and end all of ensuring that your Doberman’s chances of contracting any of these diseases, and a number of others not mentioned in this post, are drastically reduced, is that you do take proper care of your dog and take it for regular checkups to the vet.