Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus, also known as GDV or Bloat, usually occurs in dogs with deep, narrow chests. When a dog bloats, the stomach twists on itself and fills with gas. The twisting cuts off blood supply to the stomach, and sometimes the spleen. Left untreated, the disease is quickly fatal, sometimes in as little as 30 minutes. Your dog may retch or heave (but little or nothing comes out), act restless, have an enlarged abdomen, or lie in a prayer position (front feet down, rear end up). Preventive surgery in which the stomach is tacked down or sutured in place so that it is unlikely to twist is an option. If you see symptoms, take your pet to an emergency hospital immediately!
There are several types of inherited bleeding disorders which occur in dogs. They range in severity from very mild to very severe. Many times a pet seems normal until a serious injury occurs or surgery is performed, and then severe bleeding can result. Von Willebrand’s disease is a blood clotting disorder frequently found in Weimaraners.
Bone and Joint Problems
Both hips and elbows are at risk for dysplasia , an inherited disease that causes the joints to develop improperly and results in arthritis. Stiffness in your Weimaraner’s elbows or hips may become a problem, especially as they matures. You may notice that she/he begins to show lameness in their legs or has difficulty getting up from lying down.
Sometimes your pet’s kneecap (patella) may slip out of place (called patellar luxation). You might notice that they run along and suddenly pick up a back leg and skip or hop for a few strides. Then they kick their leg out sideways to pop the kneecap back in place, and they they are fine again.
Growing Weimies can suffer from a painful inflammation of the long bones in the legs, a condition called eosinophilic panosteitis, pano or eo-pan. It usually starts at around six to ten months of age and shifts from leg to leg. Panosteitis usually causes no permanent damage, but requires pain medication.
Mast Cell Tumor
Mast cell tumors are a particularly nasty type of skin cancer found more often in Weimaraners, and the sooner they are surgically removed the better. Trouble is, they often look just like other kinds of skin lumps and lesions, some of which are harmful, and others not. All suspicious lumps should be tested and any questionable lump should be surgically removed as soon as possible. Many cancers are cured by surgically removing them, so early detection and removal is critical.
A genetically linked neurological condition that could occur in your Weimaraner causes a wobbly, drunken gait. This condition, known as wobbler disease or wobbler syndrome, happens because there is a narrowing of the vertebrae in the neck, which pinches the spinal cord and associated nerves. If the nerves do not send signals to the brain the way they are supposed to, your dog cannot feel his feet. The first signs you will often notice are unstable hind legs, stumbling, and sometimes falling. Medications, neck braces, rehabilitation exercise programs, and surgery are treatment options.
Degenerative Myelopathy is a neurologic condition, similar to ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease in people, that causes weakness and poor nerve function in the hind legs. If your dog has this disease, they will become increasingly weak and disabled in the hind legs and will eventually suffer from paralysis in their hindquarters, along with incontinence. Rehabilitation, exercise, acupuncture, and dietary supplements can be helpful, but there is no cure. A genetic test is available to determine whether your dog is at risk for this heritable disease.
Cataracts are a common cause of blindness in older Weimies.
Dogs have a third eyelid that contains a gland that produces about one-third of the fluid that bathes the eye. If the gland is sore or swollen, it looks like a red blob in the corner of the eye. This condition is called cherry eye, and it can occur very suddenly in one or both eyes. It’s more common in puppies or young Weimies.
Distichiasis is a condition caused by extra hairs that grow inside of the eyelid and rub on the surface of the eye. If untreated, these abnormal hairs can cause corneal ulcers and chronic eye pain.
Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea (surface of the eyeball). This is an extremely irritating and painful condition that can ultimately lead to blindness. It can happen in any dog breed; however, your Weimie is especially at risk for this heritable disorder.
Bladder or Kidney Stones
There are a few different types of stones that can form in the kidney or in the bladder, and Weimaraners are more likely to develop them than other breeds.
Some breeds like your Weimie can be born with a variety of heart defects. Most of these affect the structure of the heart’s dividing wall or the vessels. They can also cause problems with the electrical signals that control the heartbeat or with heart valve function.
Your Grey Ghost is susceptible to different kinds of skin infections and diseases. One of them is caused by yeast (Malassezia dermatitis). When it infects the ears, it causes itching, redness, and brown waxy discharge. On the skin, it leads to greasy, hairless areas, especially on the neck and throat, with a characteristic odor. Underlying causes such as allergies together with this infection increase his itchiness and discomfort.
Another painful condition to which your Weimie is susceptible is pododermatitis, or skin infection of the feet. It causes blisters and ulcers between their toes. If your dog licks his feet or is limping, check for redness, moisture, or skin abrasions.
Demodex is a microscopic mite that lives in the hair follicles of dogs. All dogs have them. Normally a dog’s immune system keeps the mites in check, but some breeds, like your Weimie, develop an overabundance of these mites. In mild cases, pet owners may notice a few dry, irritated, hairless lesions. These often occur on the face or feet and may or may not be itchy. Secondary skin infections may occur.
If you have any concerns regarding your Weimaraner’s health or to have them checked out for any breed specific genetic conditions please contact Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital at 201-646-2008 or visit us at www.meadowlandsvethospital.com