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Top 3 Health Concerns For Your Rottweiler

| Published on May 4, 2017

Whether you own a Rottweiler or are thinking of adding one to your home, it’s good to know about the common medical problems that occur in the breed. Being aware of how much you may have to spend at the veterinarian can help you decide if this really is the breed for you. And if it is, knowing what to look for can help with early detection of any problems in your beloved friend. The following are the top three health concerns for your Rottweiler.

#1 – Hip Dysplasia

Rottweilers are one of the breeds most at risk for hip dysplasia – a deformity where the femur head does not fit properly into the hip socket. It is a genetic trait, so definitely ask breeders if dogs in their lines often develop it. In Rotties especially, it often requires surgery to correct and even then the dog will develop arthritis as he ages.

#2 – Eye Issues

They also have their fair share of eye issues, including cataracts, eyelid deformities and progressive retinal atrophy, to name a few. PRA is inherited and purebred dogs that have it are registered with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation. It’s a good idea to ask any Rottweiler breeder you are speaking with about what eye diseases are present in their lines.

#3 – Sub-Aortic Stenosis

A genetic deformity where the stenosis is narrowed underneath the aortic valve, causing a blockage of blood flow. Usually detected as a heart murmur, it can be mild, moderate, or severe, and cause sudden death. Again, since it’s genetic, it is good to ask a breeder if any Rottweilers in their lines have ever had it prior to buying a puppy from them. If you are rescuing a Rottie, be sure your vet listens to their heart at the check-up. X-rays can also show signs, including fluid accumulation in the lung tissue (in severe cases).


Frequently Ask Questions:

Rottweilers make excellent pets, but as with all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. As a good pet parent, you want what’s best for your dog, including knowing which dangers may appear in the future. By knowing about health problems that only affect Rottweilers, you can make a plan to look out for and hopefully stop some predictable risks. Here are the answers to your questions about your dog’s health. 

Do Rottweilers Breathe Heavy?

Rottweilers can breathe heavily for various reasons, from vigorous exercise to cool down. Dogs cool off after exercise by panting heavily. It helps recover oxygen and normalize the heart rate. Heavy breathing is normal if your dog just ran or played hard. 

While Rottweilers endure heat better than other dogs, they prefer cold as their dark, multilayered coats trap heat and exhaust them. When Rottweilers feel hot and try to cool themselves, they breathe heavily. The body needs to cool down; therefore, deep breathing helps. If your Rottweiler is breathing heavily without a clear explanation, like exercise or heat, check their environment for anything that could create anxiety, stress, or fear. 

Additionally, as dog’s age, walking and exercise become tougher. If your dog is breathing heavily after a game of fetch, they may get older and work harder. Moreover, injured Rottweilers will breathe more heavily due to pain. If your Rottweiler is in discomfort, look for decreased hunger, whining, or avoiding a body part. Heavy breathing can indicate a problem that needs fixing, such as hypertension, diabetes, Cushing’s Syndrome, or a toxin. 

Do Rottweilers Get Hip Dysplasia?

Unfortunately, Rottweilers are prone to this health condition, especially if they are overweight or sedentary. It is caused by a hip joint-thighbone displacement. When they do not sit flush, hip strength and mobility decline, causing discomfort. They may also experience pain when walking, an irregular stride, excessive soreness and fragility, leg lameness, and immobility are symptoms. 

Canine hip dysplasia can be checked for and treated early in a dog’s life. Hip dysplasia treatments range from medicine to surgery (depending on the severity of the disorder). Rottweilers with hip dysplasia may adopt a gait that supports their weak hip and live a healthy life. However, nearly 20% of Rottweilers have hip dysplasia; therefore, it is crucial to consider pet expenditures and breeds to anticipate medical issues. 

Do Rottweilers Have Hip Problems?

If both of your puppy’s parents had good or excellent hip ratings, there is not much chance they will have a hip problem because of his genes. But it is possible that hip problems (and other joint problems) can also be caused by things like diet, injuries, and other things. Also, Rotties grow slowly, especially the big males, and when they are in that awkward teenage stage, they can be very clumsy and awkward. 

The most common signs of a hip problem are trouble getting up from sitting or lying down, along with general slowness or stiffness and sometimes signs of pain or discomfort. A skipping gait is also common, and the dog’s hip joint can sometimes make a clicking sound when he walks or runs.

How To Prevent Hip Dysplasia In Rottweilers?

Hip dysplasia has no cure, which is a shame. Still, there are two things you can do to make your dog’s life much easier. First, consider treatment with medicine and dietary changes or surgery. Make sure you keep your Rottweiler on a controlled exercise schedule to improve its range of motion, strengthen its joints, and keep the tone of its muscles.

Try to avoid things like jumping and running, which are very hard on dogs. But you have to find out which exercises work and which do not for your Rottweiler. Next, your dog’s joints can be hurt by extra weight, so you should cut back on the calories it eats. Talk to your vet about healthy, low-calorie diets for your dog, or check out sites like Pup Junkies for unbiased reviews of dog food for Rottweilers. 

You can buy a comfortable Rottweiler dog bed or an orthopedic foam bed. A supportive bed will make it easy for your dog to get in and out of bed without hurting their hips too much. Make sure to put the bed in a warm, wind-free area of your home. Aside from these treatments that do not involve surgery, you can also choose to have surgery.

How Prone Are Rottweilers To Health Problems?

Rottweilers are one of the breeds most likely to get hip dysplasia, as you know, but they are also susceptible to other issues. For example, they are prone to osteoarthritis, eye, and heart problems.

Some Rotties are prone to narrowing of the aorta, a genetic defect in which the stenosis under the aortic valve is narrowed, blocking the flow of blood. Their hips are the most susceptible, though, to dysplasia and also osteoarthritis, which is an inflammatory disease that worsens over time. This can be a big problem for large-breed dogs.

Osteochondrosis is a disease that causes cartilage to grow in a way that is not normal. This disease affects large and giant breed dogs and causes pain and swelling in the joints. It can also lead to osteoarthritis in the joint. There are no screening tests for some diseases that affect the Rottweiler. Some of these are epilepsy, allergies, chronic diarrhea, and a fairly high rate of cancer.

Do Rottweilers Have A Lot Of Health Problems?

While Rottweilers are vulnerable to some major issues, this does not mean your dog will get one or multiple of these issues. The best thing you can do is take your pet to their veterinarian annually for a check to catch problems before they become an issue. Additionally, when picking a Rottweiler, pick from a reputable breeder known for healthy dogs. Finally, pet stores may get their puppies from a puppy mill, which could lead to serious health effects. 

Do Rottweilers Have Eye Problems?

Rottweilers are inclined to some eye conditions. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (or PRA) is a prevalent Rottweiler condition that may be passed down, giving your dog vision loss. Next, another eye-related disease is cataracts or opacity in the eye’s lens. Finally, Entropion is a problem with the eyelids that happens when either the upper or lower eyelid rolls inward. This makes the eyelashes rub against the surface of the eye.

Do Rottweilers Have Knee Problems?

Osteochondritis Dessicans affects all of a dog’s joints, including their knees, and it is most common in dogs with bigger bones. It usually happens between 4 and 6 months, when their bones are lengthening, and cartilage is turning into a joint. Sometimes bones just grow too fast or do not form in the right way. As stated above, Rottweilers are also liable to arthritis which can affect the knees. 

Do Rottweilers Have Skin Issues?

Because of their breed, Rottweilers are more likely to get skin conditions like eczema, folliculitis, atopic dermatitis, seborrhea, and skin allergies. Rottweilers do not tend to be allergic to many things, but their coats can be sensitive to certain shampoos and outside factors (pollen, dust, etc.). If you notice that your Rottie’s skin is always itching or if there are rashes (usually small red bumps in the undercoat), he may have allergies or eczema. 

Rottweilers have a thick, dense undercoat that can hold bacteria and fleas. However, the rashes can also be caused by something in their surroundings. If you notice this is an issue, then start purchasing sensitive skin shampoos and lotion. Take them to the vet to ensure the skin issue is not a more serious problem.

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