Hip Dysplasia in Weimaraners

The Weimaraner is a relatively new breed of dog that dates back only to the 19th century. They were bred by noblemen of the Weimar court who wanted a breed that embodied a good sense of smell, strong intelligence, fearlessness and especially speed, as they were used for hunting wolves and deer. Unfortunately, as the breed developed through the generations, hip dysplasia in Weimaraners became a common disease.

Weimaraners are noted for being devoted to their family, whether that ‘family’ is a single person or one replete with several children.

Weimaraners are not the type of dogs who obey routine commands or whose habits can be predictable. They are smart dogs, but choosy about how they use their intelligence. They sometimes may seem bored while being taught rote commands, but will demonstrate that they have learned the commands to please their owner. But as soon as they’re left alone, they begin finding ways to disobey.

They have a tendency to try to control the entire family if not trained properly. They require a strong-willed owner who has the time and the ability to train and play with them. They need lots of love and attention, and vigorous daily exercise to be happy, contented and compliant pets. If neglected or treated badly, they will often resort to destructive behavior which may include excessive barking and damage to your home and property. They need plenty of exercise, and if available, a yard to run and play in.

However, Weimaraners are very good at escaping from yards. They have been known to unlatch gates and jump over tall fences. They should not be left alone in a yard for lengthy periods of time.

Weimaraners are large dogs and generally not suited to living in apartments. Their size and high level of activity can cause them to knock things about without realizing it.

Weimaraners are the personification of grace, balance and swiftness. They have strong muzzles and long, hanging ears. Their intelligent eyes may be light gray, bluish gray or light amber. They have long necks and long, muscular legs with webbed feet. Their coats are usually glossy, smooth and short, and come in shades of gray.

A healthy Weimaraner can live as long as 17 years with the average being 12 to 14 years. Common health problems include tumors, immune system disorders, and hip dysplasia. They are also prone to bloating – so rather than one big meal a day, two smaller meals a day is better.

Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs but can also affect medium-sized breeds and occasionally small breeds. It is primarily a disease of purebreds, although it can also occur in mixed breeds.

To understand hip dysplasia and the resulting arthritis, you need a basic understanding of how the dog’s hip joint is affected. The hip joint is comprised of a ball and socket that forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. The ball portion is the head of the femur and the socket is located on the pelvis. In a normal hip joint the ball rotates freely within the socket. The bones are shaped to perfectly match each other with the socket surrounding the ball. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue, circles the two bones to provide added stability.

This is an example of a normal hip joint:

Hip dysplasia is linked to abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints. As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.

This is an example of an abnormal hip joint:

Most dogs who eventually develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.

The symptoms of hip dysplasia cause afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.

Obesity can increase the severity of the disease in dogs that are genetically susceptible and the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of a dog’s joints and hips. Dogs who are genetically prone to hip dysplasia and also are overweight, are at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and eventually osteoarthritis.

Exercise can be another risk factor. Dogs genetically susceptible to hip dysplasia may have an increased incidence of the disease if they are over-exercised at a young age. Moderate exercise like running and swimming is best for exercising young dogs.

Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition, there are no products that can prevent its development. Through proper diet, exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.

There are different assumptions on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia in Weimaraners. Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis after the hip dysplasia has developed. By watching the calories your puppy or young dog consumes and preventing obesity in your dog, allowing only non-stressful types of exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, are the best things you can do for your dog.

Prevent Hip Dysplasia & Improve Your Dogs Health Today.

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How to Stop Leash Aggression

brown dog on leash

Brown dog is ready to go

It may be the oldest story in dog training: a dog that is an otherwise perfectly-behaved, downright sweet, and beloved member of the family, will growl, bark, lunge, and may even bite another dogs he encounters on leash. Take the leash off and he is a model citizen at the dog park or day care.

What’s up with that?

Well first of all, leash aggression is a very common problem. If you have ever described it to a dog trainer you may have noticed her complete lack of surprise. Many trainers have classes dedicated to this problem. It’s common enough in my area that I already have an ongoing series of blog posts about it over here. (And my dedicated classes are coming soon.)

So relax, you’re not alone.

You can poke around my blog series after you finish this, but here’s a quick rundown on what causes it and how to diminish or maybe even eliminate the problem.

Where does leash aggression come from?

Leash aggression is often caused by fear, frustration, or both. The fear can come from a lack of socialization as a puppy, from a bad past experience, or from feeling restrained with a leash attached. Frustration can come from not being able to get to a dog because of being on leash, which generalizes to “seeing dogs while on leash is always frustrating.”

Of course these factors can combine to feed each other, and other issues may be involved. The good news is finding out the exact causes is not critical to addressing the problem.

What can we do to address leash aggression?

I already gave you the first step: relax. Your tensing up when you see another dog or worse, yelling and yanking the leash when your dog is acting out, doesn’t help. I know it’s not easy, but work on it. It’ll help a lot.

Check your hardware. Despite relatively recent efforts to "rebrand" them, slip (or choker) collars and prong collars are really intended for corrections. The slip collar is for manually delivering a leash correction by "popping" the leash. The prong can also be used for leash corrections and will administer a "pinch" when the dog pulls ahead on leash. (I don’t use either device or corrections, but that’s not the point right now.) What do you suppose happens to a dog that is lunging at the end of a leash when wearing one of these collars? If nothing else it will increase his stress level, worst case he will associate the corrections with what he is looking at: another dog.

I prefer harnesses for dogs with leash aggression. Taking the pressure off of the neck can relieve a great deal of stress, even when compared to a simple flat collar. With a large or strong dog a "front clasp" harness like an Easy Walk or SENSE-ible can also help the person holding the leash maintain control.

Work on attention. A few of the blog posts in my series talk about using attention to keep your dog focused on you and not on the other dogs. If you can get attention on cue with his name or a cue like "look!" it can also serve as way to redirect focus back to you if it slips.

You need to pay attention. Put the phone away. Finish your coffee before you walk. Try to map out your route in advance. If you live in a densely populate area like many of my clients it’s probably impossible to avoid other dogs, but you can at least be prepared!

Work on counter-conditioning and desensitization. This is worth seeing a trainer for, and honestly a session with a trainer is a good idea for this problem anyway. Fear and frustration are emotional responses, and working on changing the association is going to be a key part in any solution.

That’s the short version. There’s a lot more over here. and a few more posts on counter-conditioning and desensitization on the way. Subscribe to my newsletter for updates. The box is up on the right.

How to Stop Leash Aggression is a post written by . You can see the actual post at Dog Training in Jersey City New Jersey


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ASK-THE-VET: CAT RECENTLY DIAGNOSED WITH RENAL FAILURE

Question: I have a 12 year old male cat who was recently diagnosed with renal failure. He will not eat the canned KD or renal LP food. He nibbles occasionally at the dry KD food.

I have tried various kinds of canned cat food and the manager at Petco suggested the HALO canned food. I feed my other male cat, age 7 the HALO dry food. Can you recommend a dry and wet food that both cats can eat? It is hard keeping their food separated. Thank you!

Answer: Thanks for your question. The answer to your question depends on the severity of your cat’s kidney failure. Cats with more advanced kidney failure do require lower protein and phosphorus levels in their food for the best management.

Cats with earlier stage kidney disease often do not require the restriction of a prescription kidney diet. If you are unsure, ask your veterinarian the stage of your cat’s kidney problems and what level of protein and phosphorus they are recommending. That can help us guide you to a diet which may be right for both of your cats.

Hope this helps.
Dr. Donna Spector

Answers provided to pet owners by Dr. Donna Spector should be considered information and not specific advice. Answers are to be used for general information purposes only and not as a substitute for in-person evaluation or specific professional advice from your veterinarian. Communications on this site are very limited and should never be used in possible cases of emergency. Halo, Purely for Pets will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any information or content contained in a blog or article post. If you have consulted your veterinarian and if you are still concerned about your pet’s condition or if your pet has chronic, complicated or undiagnosed problems, Dr. Spector can offer consultations for you and your veterinarian via www.SpectorDVM.com.

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