Although quite healthy, the Rottweiler is susceptible to certain diseases and illnesses of which a prospective owner should be aware. If you are buying a Rottweiler puppy, work with a trustworthy and reputable breeder who will have health clearances for the puppy’s parents on hand for inspection. This paperwork proves that your puppy’s parents have been tested for and cleared from association with a particular medical condition. Here are the medical conditions that most affect the Rottweiler breed:
Allergiesare a common problem in some Rottweilers. Most allergies are caused by an inflammatory reaction to heritable predispositions to an allergen, environmental or contact conditions, or food intolerances. Observe your Rottie, and if you witness excessive scratching, biting, or itching at his ears, face, neck, paws, legs, sides, stomach, or hind end, he is probably suffering from some allergy. Ask your veterinarian for help diagnosing the allergy and then determining its source. The veterinarian will offer multiple options, from over-the-counter topical applications to prescribed medications to manage allergic reactions. For food-based allergies, a complete change in diet will be necessary, and your veterinarian or a certified canine allergist can develop a new food plan for your Rottweiler.
Bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus), also called torsion, is a serious and life-threatening medical crisis that can occur in dogs with large, deep chests, such as the Rottweiler. Dogs who are fed one large meal daily, who eat that meal quickly, and either exercise or drink large quantities of water after eating are prone to developing bloat. It is also a condition common in older dogs. Bloat happens when the Rottweiler’s stomach is distended with air or gas and twists. Because the dog cannot belch or vomit to dispel the excess air, the return of blood to the heart is prevented. This situation causes the dog’s blood pressure to drop, resulting in shock. Immediate medical attention is required, or the dog may die. Symptoms of bloat are retching without vomiting, distended stomach, excessive salivation, lethargy, depression, weakness, and a rapid heart rate.
Hip Dysplasia is a genetic condition wherein the thigh bone does not fit properly into the hip joint. This condition typically begins during puppyhood. Over time, this condition can lead to severe lameness, limping, hind end weakness, and difficulty getting up and down stairs. As your Rottie ages, he is likely to develop osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease; both diseases will have a significant impact on your Rottweiler’s quality of life. Genetics and diet are the primary causes of hip dysplasia. This disease can be managed with moderate non-impact exercise like swimming, dietary supplements, weight management, and corticosteroids.
Aortic Stenosis or Subaortic Stenosis (AS/SAS) is an inherited heart defect that occurs in some Rottweilers. With aortic or subaortic stenosis, the aorta below the aortic valve narrows, forcing the heart to work much harder to pump blood throughout the body. This type of heart defect is generally diagnosed after the veterinarian has detected a heart murmur. Aortic or subaortic stenosis can result in your dog fainting or, in worst case scenarios, sudden death.
Osteosarcomais a particularly aggressive bone cancer that is hard to diagnose initially. The first sign is lameness, but x-rays are needed to determine if osteosarcoma is in evidence. Because this is such a fast moving cancer, it must be treated with equal aggressiveness. The best ways to manage the cancer and give your Rottweiler more time is chemotherapy treatments combined with amputation of the affected limb. These two aggressive treatments can extend a Rottie’s life another nine months to two years.
Hypothyroidismis a disease that occurs when the thyroids are unable to produce enough thyroid hormone to regulate the body’s systems. Rottweilers with hypothyroidism may show signs of unexplained weight gain, hair thinning or loss, mental dullness, and lethargy. Hypothyroidism can be controlled and managed with prescribed medication that your Rottie will have to take every day for the remainder of his life.