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American & European


Note: This is only a partial listing of some of the health concerns that can be seen in the Doberman(n) breed and should not be considered as a complete listing. This section is provided as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care.  Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters.



Doberman(n)s are in the top 5 breeds most prone to cancer. Our canine companions suffer from some of the same diseases that we suffer from, and sadly cancer is one of them. Neoplasia is one of the leading causes of death in dogs. The increasing rate of cancer diagnoses is no doubt due in part to the fact that our dogs are living longer with improvements in nutrition and health care. Nonetheless, any mass that is prominent or persistent should be evaluated for neoplasia.

Many different types of cancer occur in dogs. These include lymphosarcoma, osteosarcoma, soft tissue sarcoma, mast cell tumors, hemangiosarcoma, oral melanoma and mammary neoplasia, among others.

vWd (VON WILLEBRAND'S DISEASE) - is an autosomally (not sex linked) inherited bleeding disorder with a prolonged bleeding time and a mild to severe factor IX deficiency.  Von Willebrand's factor antigens of 70% 180% are considered to be within the normal range for Doberman(n)s. When dogs are tested through the Elisa assay blood test for vWD, they are tested for carrier status only NOT the disease.  It is believed that carrier status tests (Elisa assay) are inaccurate if a dog is ill, received any medication or vaccination within 14 days of testing, pregnancy, bitches in heat or lactation. Stress conditions (infections, parasites, hormonal changes, trauma, surgery, emotional upset, etc.) may have an effect on the outcome of the vWD blood test and might be a contributing factor for bleeding tendencies. vWD carrier status is quite common in Doberman(n)s.  A DNA test for vWD is now available - genetically: clear, carrier (inherited one disease gene), affected (inherited two disease genes) - results are not effected by stress conditions.

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) - Bloat

GDV is a condition caused by a twisting of the stomach and thus trapping the stomach contents and gases resulting in a rapid swelling of the abdomen accompanied by pain and eventual death if untreated. It is an emergency, requiring immediate veterinary action. This condition is most often found in large, deep chested dog breeds. Anyone owning a deep chested breed, susceptible to Bloat should be prepared to handle the emergency procedures necessary, including having readily available the name and phone number of emergency clinics and/or after-hours Veterinarians.

Symptoms can be subtle. You should learn to recognize them:

  • Continuous pacing and/or lying down in odd places

  • Salivating, panting, whining

  • Unable to get comfortable

  • Acting agitated

  • Unproductive vomiting or retching (may produce frothy foamy vomit in small quantities)

  • Excessive drooling, usually accompanied by retching noises

  • Swelling in abdominal area (may or may not be noticeable)

If ANY combination of these symptoms are noticed, CALL YOUR VET and get the dog there as fast as possible. Bloat is LIFE-THREATENING.


HYPOTHYROIDISM - is probably inherited and means that the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormone to adequately maintain the dog's metabolism. It is easily treated with thyroid replacement pills on a daily basis. Thyroid testing (T3, T4, TSH and autoantibodies) should be performed on an annual schedule. Finding auto-antibodies to thyroglobulin (T4 auto-antibodies) is an indication that the dog has "Hashimoto's Disease".  Low thyroid dogs, manifested by a high TSH and a low T4, should be treated and monitored on a regular basis.


HIP DYSPLASIA - is inherited.  It may vary from slightly poor conformation to malformation of the hip joint allowing complete luxation of the femoral head.  Both parents' hips should be Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) certified - excellent, good or fair rating.

Chronic Hepatitis

Chronic hepatitis is a diagnosis for several diseases associated with liver disease.  Causes may include viruses, bacterial infection, and some medications.  A predisposition to the development of chronic hepatitis exists in the Doberman Pinscher breed, predominantly in the female.


WOBBLER'S SYNDROME - is suspected to be an inherited condition in Doberman(n)s.  Dogs suffer from spinal cord compression caused by cervical vertebral instability or from a malformed spinal canal. Extreme symptoms are paralysis of the limbs (front, hind or all 4). Neck pain with extension and flexion may or may not be present. Surgical therapy is hotly debated and in some surgically treated cases, clinical recurrence has been identified.

Hepatitis & Wobblers
Hip Dysplasia
GDV & Hypothyroidism
Cancer & VWD
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