Does your dog have worms?

There are two types of worms that you are likely to have to contend with in keeping your dog healthy, and they are the round worms and the tapeworms.

Round worms are the ones most prevalent in puppies and they generally look like small white pieces of string of about three inches in length. They can grow up to twice this size in a full-grown dog.

Round worms live in the small intestine of the dog and can become so concentrated that they will block the passage. They can be passed by the bowel and this can obviously affect other dogs that are in contact with dogs that have round worms. It only takes a matter of days for the worms to become fully developed and it is easy for them to spread quickly from one dog to another.

The speed by which they can breed and multiply has been one of the reasons why many people originally assumed that puppies were always born with round worms although it has since been proven that this is not the case. More often than not the puppies have got the worms from their mother in the confines of their kennel.

There are so many different symptoms that can appear when a dog has worms that anything you notice outside of the ordinary behavior of your pet should be addressed by a visit to your vet as a worm infested dog can become a very unhealthy, unhappy dog very fast. Left untreated worms can kill a dog so it is better to be safe than sorry if you suspect your pet might have worms or have been in contact with other dogs that might have worms.   

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Dog Ailments

Dogs can suffer from similar ailments that we get as we age, including arthritis and pain in the joints.

Some breeds of dogs are more prone than others to getting certain ailments and you need to be aware of the possible problems that your particular breed of dog might get as it grows older.

By giving your dog a warm place to lie when it sleeps you might be able to ward off arthritic pain. By keeping the body weight down to acceptable levels for dogs that are prone to overeating and weight gain might stop your dog from developing other symptoms that can affect the quality of life.

It is far better to control things that can affect the dogs health during the course of their life than to make them, and you, pay for ill health as they age. According to many dog experts our pets should be living for a lot longer than the current life expectancies that we have come to accept.

With good medication we can expect to enjoy more years with our dogs but it is just as easy to add many quality years to their life by ensuring that they get the optimum nutrition and suitable living standards during the course of their life. Most dogs are very hardy but even they will benefit from additional comforts and care.  

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Does Your Dog Have Allergies

Just like their owners, dogs can suffer from allergies too. Some of these allergies can be related to the foods that they eat where some of the cheaper brands of dog food have coloring and preservatives that can cause allergic reactions.

If this is the case then it is a process of eliminating those foods that have the ingredients that cause the reactions. This is not always as easy as it might seem as it can take quite some time to find which particular ingredient is the culprit.

By buying the better premium quality dog foods you are less likely to have these problems or alternatively if you only feed your dog fresh meat and some vegetables rather than processed foods that should help.

Most of the cheap dog foods use grain products as a filler and these are often the cause of the dog’s problems. These food allergies can result in your dog scratching their skin, which can also cause more problems with infections. Just as we would be very uncomfortable with an allergy that makes us constantly want to itch our skin, allergies can make a dogs life miserable. Aside from the allergies affecting skin sensitivities your dog could also develop coughing, discharge from the nose and eyes, hair loss and breathing problems.

There are many more symptoms that can arise and these are just a few. If you notice any changes in your dog when they have a change in diet then it will pay to take a note of the ingredients of that product to see what is in it that could be making your dog feel unwell. Dogs can also get allergies from dust mites just as humans would and it is always necessary to ensure that your dog lives in a clean environment even if they are an outdoor pet by regularly cleaning their cage or kennel.

Fleas are another concern for dogs and they can lead to excessive licking, particularly around the tail, which can ultimately lead to hair loss and sores. It is very easy for your vet to see if your dog has fleas if you are unable to do so yourself and there are simple solutions to eliminate fleas. Dogs can also get varying skin diseases and some breeds are more susceptible than others.

There are many good lotions and antibiotic pills that can be administered by your vet to control this and the sooner you get these problems seen to the better as they can lead to more intensive skin problems if left unattended.

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Should I Get Dog Insurance?

Dog insurance is something more and more people are considering to cover them in the event that their dog might get involved in an attack that could lead to legal action.

This might seem strange that people should need dog insurance, particularly as we all think our own dogs are little angels but anything can happen even with the best of us. It is our duty to keep our dogs well fenced and away from possible danger where they might attack or bite a child or the postie but these things happen.

Maybe a child has just been annoying your dog and it decided to give the child a small nip, completely out of character of course but these things do happen. Or your dog might get a little over excited when you take it for a walk in a rowded park. Many of the more intelligent breeds of dogs that I mentioned in previous newsletter are very protective of their property and owners and it is not uncommon for these dogs to take a nip at someone.

It is up to you to decide whether your dog is a potential risk but if it is, dog insurance might just be what you need to save a whole lot of money in legal expenses.

There are several options that you can take and it is always best to get quotes before deciding which insurance company to use, but you can expect to pay a higher premium for certain dog breeds that are more potential for risk of a dog attack. If you have a dog that falls into these categories then it might be wise to consider dog insurance before it’s too late.  

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Junk Foods for Dogs

There has been a marked deterioration in the general health of dogs since the introduction of processed dog foods.

Many of these foods offer very little nutritional value but it is their convenience and the fact that they have added flavors that ensure our pets get delight in eating them that have increased the sales and popularity of this food.

Just as we might like to eat foods that contain sugar, which is detrimental to our health, our dogs also like to eat these low value foods because they taste so good. Most of the popular dog foods use by-products and are actually worse to feed our dogs than the scraps from our meal tables.

But therein lies another problem with many of the foods that we eat, unsuitable for dog consumption. Some foods, as discussed in previous newsletters can actually be toxic to dogs so we are faced with the dilemma of knowing what is the best food to feed our pets.

The best solution that many people are finding is to prepare their own dog food using only those ingredients that will enhance the health of the dog.

There are several excellent books that teach you how to prepare your own dog food that will be nutritious and also cost effective. Dogs find these foods tasty and they don’t need the added sodium, preservatives and coloring to enhance the look and taste of the food. It is well worth looking at this method to ensure your dog gets the optimum health from their food.   

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

More Information on Dog Food

More Information on Dog Food – You need to consider various different factors when feeding your dog.

You certainly wouldn’t want to be feeding a sedentary dog as much food as one that is exercising regularly or a working dog. The dog’s activity levels are very important when deciding how much to feed it.

Over-feeding will obviously lead to an overweight dog with corresponding health problems and a potential shortening of its life. Another factor that will determine what food to give your dog will be the breed of the dog. Obviously, you won’t be feeding the same quantity of food that a Doberman might eat to a miniature poodle. It is not just the size of the dog that needs to be taken into account, but also specific requirements for certain dog breeds.

If you have a pedigree dog it is wise to check with that dogs society to get more information on the types of foods that you should be feeding it. Incorrect food choice can be very detrimental to the health of your dog. If in doubt, and you are unable to find any suitable information, it is always better to stick with natural foods, meats, and a little vegetables, and always monitor the weight of your dog to see that it is not getting overweight or alternatively losing weight.

One thing that is essential with all dogs, all breeds of dogs, and all sizes of dogs, is the need for fresh water at all time. Just like humans, dogs need to remain hydrated at all times or they will become lethargic and sick. You’ll also need to give your dog, food that they can chew to assist in the cleaning of their teeth. And of course, any dog will always be happy with a nice big bone to chew on.   

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

The Best Dog Food

Choosing The Best Dog Food: It is important that you select the correct food for your dog. With all the fancy packaging and advertising that is available these days it can be difficult determining what food is best for your dog.

The manufacturers prepare food based on the age of your dog, and the food you buy for an elderly dog might not be suitable for a puppy. Proper nutrition is vital to the health of your dog and its happiness, and it is essential that your pet get all the vitamins and minerals that it needs for a healthy diet.

Here is a list of some of the vitamins and minerals that your dog should have in its diet…

Vitamins A, D, E, B-complex, Biotin, Calcium, Choline, Copper, Folic Acid, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Manganese, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium Chloride and Zinc.

Of course, that is not all but they are certainly ingredients that you should be looking to find in your dogs diet. Giving your dog fresh meat with some vegetables and grain included is a healthy natural diet that many people believe is better than anything you can buy from the store.

There are also some excellent books on creating your own dog food where you can be assured that your dog will get all the best ingredients needed for all-around nutrition. This can be quite a cost effective method of feeding your dog without being concerned that the dog might not be receiving all the ingredients it should for a healthy happy life.

If your dog has any specific health problems, this needs to be addressed when determining what food you should be feeding it. A consultation with your vet would be wise to see if there are any special requirements or problems that certain foods might create for your pet. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.  

The Lifespan of Your Dog

Many people believe that the lifespan of the dog should be considerably more than what we expect. And this is due to the foods that we feed our pets.

The pet foods that we buy from the supermarkets have a high percentage of moisture, which leaves very little room for nutrition in the remaining contents. Some of the ingredients such as sodium are added to the dog food to make it more palatable while adding no nutritional value. In fact excessive sodium can be detrimental to the well being of your dog.

The most popular dog foods often use byproducts with added chemical reservatives and artificial colors. All of which can be potentially harmful to your dog. These byproducts have very little nutritional value and are certainly not helping in the overall health of our animals. Carbohydrate levels are often far too high in most of the brand dog foods and this is why there is an excessive number of overweight dogs and dogs that suffer from diabetes.

Obesity and the associated problems that are present from being overweight is one of the main reasons for the shortened life span. Most dog food manufacturers will also use a high percentage of grains to add bulk to the food while doing nothing for the dog’s health. If you live in a warm climate, don’t leave the dog food out all day in the heat.

While dogs have a short intestinal tract, and are unlikely to have problems with food poisoning they can still suffer from contaminated food. Even dog biscuits should be stored in a cool place and not subject to heat.

 If we ensure that our dogs get the optimum nutrition, we can expect their lifespan to be considerably more than current levels. It is not unusual for well cared for and well fed dogs that have had optimum nutrition to live past 20 years.  

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Top Quality Food for Your Dog

Just as we perform better when we eat the best foods, your dog will also be healthier if you feed it premium high quality pet food. The top brands of dog food, while often a little more expensive also have higher quality ingredients that will give your dog better all round nutrition.

The best foods have a complex range of vitamins and minerals that have been designed to give your dog all the elements that they need in their diet. This applies to their canned foods and also the dry food such as biscuits and nibbles.

These foods also contain a lot less additives and we have shown in a previous newsletter how these additives in the form of preservative, coloring and fillers are detrimental to your dog’s health and fitness. The nutrients that are found in the good dog foods can be absorbed well and your dog will be able to eat less food to get the same benefits.

Their energy levels will be higher and the incidence of obesity will be reduced. Their immune systems will be better and they will be less likely to develop allergies that some dogs are prone to get with skin rashes and other problems with their skin.

Some of the cheaper dog foods contain dyes and these are often the main cause of skin allergies in dogs. You can often tell when a dog has been on a good diet by the condition of their fur, which will have a lot more luster than a dog that has been fed poor quality food. They are also likely to shed less fur as it will be in better condition and that is a huge bonus for anyone who has their dog inside the house.

The premium dog foods are generally better for cleaning your dog’s teeth and this can save money in the long run by having reduced veterinary fees. Having good teeth is one of the essential elements of longevity for a dog so this is a very important factor. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Rottweiler Health Problems

Rottweiler health problems… if you’re a Rottweiler owner, sooner or later unfortunately, your dog is most likely going to have one.

It’s hard to believe when you’ve got 100 lbs of dog sitting in your lap, but Rottweilers are actually incredibly delicate. When you’re talking about their health, that is. Unfortunately, there are quite a few Rottweiler health problems.

Since Rotties have a reputation for being indomitable, their owners are often taken by surprise when they find out their fierce, indestructible dogs aren’t as indestructible as they thought!

If you’re the proud new owner of a Rottweiler, congratulations.

You’ve got a unique opportunity to build a relationship with one of the most protective, loyal and yes, friendly dogs in the world. As you’re building that relationship, however, keep in mind that aggressive behavior isn’t the only warning sign you need to watch out for. You also have to look for signs of these serious, chronic and yes, sometimes deadly conditions.


Bloat and Gastric Torsion

Gastric torsion is often seen in deep chested dogs like the Rottweiler and almost always rides in on the heels of a severe case of bloat. Dogs with bloat are almost always between four and seven years of age, eat large quantities of kibble, drink water in large amounts after meals and exercise vigorously after eating. Eventually, excess gas and fluid are going to cause the stomach to expand-and possibly rotate. A partial rotation is known as gastric torsion, full rotation is known as gastric volvolus. Both conditions are extremely life threatening.


Rottweilers suffering from gastric torsion and volvolus present with excessive salivation and drooling, extreme restlessness, attempts to vomit and defecate and abdominal pain and distension (bloat). You may also see rapid breathing, pale gums and shock-like symptoms as the twisted stomach strangulates the blood supply to the stomach and spleen.


Gastric torsion requires immediate life saving surgery. Your vet will recommend some basic lifestyle changes for your dog to prevent bloat, even if torsion didn’t occur (this time); however, there’s a 15% chance that even with surgery, if it’s happened once it’s going to happen again.



Yes, dogs get cataracts the same way people do. Cataracts are the most common, treatable form of blindness in dogs and the most commonly reported eye disease in Rottweilers. Cataracts usually develop when the dog is about eighteen months old; however, it’s not unusual for cataracts to wait until the dog reaches its fourth, fifth or even sixth birthday to make an appearance.

Cataracts can develop quickly or over a period of several years, as the dog progressively loses its vision until it is completely blind, and may be hereditary or occur as a secondary condition. The good news is, even though they look like they should be painful they’re really not. Rottweilers, unlike people, don’t particularly notice that their field of vision is decreasing. They simply learn to compensate using their other senses.The bad news is, cataracts are bad news. They can be seen along with progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, inflammatory uveitis (inflammation in the front of the eye, sometimes seen with systemic autoimmune disorders), diabetes and trauma. If left untreated, cataracts can also cause a serious reactive inflammation inside the eye known as lens induced uveitis (LIU). LIU can lead to glaucoma or a detached retina and can seriously harm your dog’s chances of ever getting their vision back.


It’s hard to miss the development of cataracts. As they develop, your Rottweiler’s eye(s) will go from their usual sparkling brown-to-black to a filmy, cloudy gray, the result of the lens losing its clarity. You may also notice that their vision isn’t as keen as it used to be, they seem to have a hard time finding their food dish and, especially in cases where the cataracts develop quickly, a loss of depth perception.


To date, surgery is the only treatment option for dogs with cataracts. Surgeons will remove the lens with the cataract and perform a lens implantation. This procedure is becoming increasingly common in dogs, and most dogs are able to enjoy normal or close to normal vision by the time they’re done.



If you thought diabetes was reserved for people, think again. All of our bodies produce insulin in the pancreas. This insulin stops glucose production by the liver and stores the excess glucose from food. Like their masters, Rottweilers can develop diabetes as the result of either a deficiency of insulin or an insensitivity to it. The amount of glucose in the blood climbs until the kidneys can’t dispose of it properly, and you’ve got a problem.


Diabetic Rottweilers have many of the same symptoms people do. They may urinate excessively, consume huge quantities of water, and lose weight despite a normal diet. They may develop cataracts, experience an increase in appetite, suffer from frequent and recurrent infections and develop an intolerance to exercise, something that is extremely noticeable in this otherwise active breed.

If left untreated, diabetes can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) as a result of ketones produced by the liver. Ketones are a by-product formed when the dog’s body can’t break down glucose for energy and starts burning fat instead. Diabetic ketoacidosis presents with the same symptoms of diabetes, as well as sudden blindness, lethargy, vomiting, weakness, dehydration and the smell of acetone on their breath. In time, DKA causes metabolic acidosis (excessive acidity of the blood) and electrolyte abnormalities, leading to poor function of cells, tissues, muscles and organs and death.


Since oral glucose isn’t a viable option with Rottweilers, dogs diagnosed with diabetes will need regular and frequent insulin injections.



Oh, sure, keep laughing-until the first time your Rottweiler enjoys a healthy dose of stomach upset and you get to see for yourself how severe gassiness can be! As we said, Rottweilers are very delicate, and in more ways than one. Poor nutrition affects them almost immediately, and flatulence is one of the first road markers it’s going to leave behind.


Foul smelling odors generated from the intestines. May be accompanied by stomach cramping and irritability (and an overwhelming need for a gas mask-on your party, anyway!).


You don’t need a vet for this one. Rottweilers should be fed twice a day, and they need a diet that includes plenty of fish, meat, milk, vegetables and cereals. Consult your breeder to find out what diet works best for your dog.


Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia affects the ball and socket joint of the hind legs and is associated with abnormal joint structure and laxity (looseness) of the muscles, connective tissue and ligaments that normally support the joint. Eventually, the surfaces of the bones lose contact with each other. This is usually a hereditary condition, closely associated with elbow dysplasia, which causes a similar condition in the elbow.

Dysplasia can show up in puppies as young as five months and eventually leads to the development of osteoarthritis. If left untreated your dog may eventually become immobile. That’s not a good thing when you’re talking about a 100lb Rottweiler!


Hip dysplasia presents as a limp during exercise, difficulty climbing stairs, stiffness and pain in the legs in the morning or after strenuous activity and resistance to any movement that requires full extension of the rear legs. Over time, dogs will lose muscle tone as the condition progresses.


If the dysplasia is mild your vet may be able to manage your dog’s condition through weight management, proper exercise, massage, physical therapy and the use of anti-inflammitories and joint strengthening supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin. Severe conditions may require surgery to realign the bone or a full/partial hip replacement.



Hypothyroidism is often seen in middle aged Rottweilers (between four and ten years old) and is caused by the inability of the thyroid gland to produce various thyroid hormones to regulate the dog’s metabolism. As with most chronic conditions, hypothyroidism in dogs is usually a genetic condition. It’s usually because of autoimmunity; however, it can also be the result of atrophy of the thyroid tissue, infiltration by fat or cancer, the use of certain medications or as secondary to certain diseases.


A Rottweiler with hypothyroidism is going to have a hard time controlling its weight, regardless of how strictly you regulate his diet. This goes hand in hand with a lack of energy, mental slowness (the appearance of being “dim witted”), a thin, dull coat that falls out easily and hyperpigmentation of the skin. Dogs also present with anemia, slow heart rate and a cold intolerance that can lead to refusal to go outside when the temperature’s a balmy 27 degrees.


Hypothyroidism can usually be treated using medication to replace the missing thyroid hormones. It is a chronic condition, however, and will require treatment and monitoring for the rest of their life.



Osteochondrosis is a well known family of orthopedic diseases of the joint that occur in rapidly growing animals like large breed dogs. Most types of osteochondrosis are the result of a lack of blood supply to the growth cartilage. As a result, there’s an abnormality in the cartilage-to-bone transformation process, and cartilage and bone fragments may break off into the joint space. This is extremely painful for your dog.

Types of osteochondrosis include:

– Osteochondritis dessicans of the elbow or shoulder- Fragmented coronoid process- Ununited anconeal process

Your vet will be able to tell you which your Rottweiler is suffering from and how it differs from other, similar conditions.


Dogs with osteochondrosis are in extreme pain, leading them to become moody and irritable and present with lameness and muscle wasting on the affected side. You may also notice swelling around the joint.


Available treatments are designed to inhibit further breakdown of the joint and manage your dog’s pain. Overfeeding contributes heavily to the joint pain and damage of osteochondrosis, so your Rottweiler will probably have to go on a diet.

The vet will also put them on a strict exercise regimen and prescribe anti-inflammatories to decrease the stiffness and swelling. Severe cases may require visco-supplementation to the joint and/or surgical intervention.



Rottweilers grow quickly, and as you’ve already seen, this can be bad news for your dog. Osteosarcoma is a bone tumor that develops during this period of rapid growth, usually at or near the growth plates and normally in the limbs. These tumors weaken the bones, making your Rottweiler extremely vulnerable to pathologic fractures that don’t heal. They’re also extremely aggressive; the cancer metastasizes very quickly and spreads to the lungs, at which point it may become untreatable.


Osteosarcoma often isn’t found until the dog actually fractures a bone, at which point it pops up on an x-ray. Other warning signs include pain, limited motion of the limb and tenderness, swelling and redness at the tumor site.


Many dogs with osteosarcoma have to be euthanized because of the pain, and those that survive usually become amputees. If the tumor is diagnosed early the vet may be able to save the limb via surgical removal of the tumorous bone, replacing it with a bone graft from a bone bank or “regrowing” it using a process known as bone transport osteogenesis. Regardless of which option you choose, your Rottweiler will likely go through an aggressive round of chemotherapy to stop the spread of the cancer. (Radiation isn’t usually recommended in dogs because of the increased risk of pathologic fracture.)


Retinal Detachment

The retina is the part of a dog’s eye that gives the brain the information it needs to be able to “translate” what it’s seeing into a complete picture. In retinal detachment the retina separates from the underlying epithelium, usually because of an accumulation of fluid as a result of one disease process or another. It’s important to understand that retinal detachment is a symptom, not a condition.

It’s uncommon for Rottweiler puppies to be born with a detached retina. It can, however, develop in the early months as the result of inherited birth defects like retinal dysplasia. Other causes include high blood pressure, hyperviscosity syndrome, “thick” blood as the result of leukemia, polycythemia and excessive transfusion, and poor clotting, as well as inflammation resulting from infection, autoimmune processes (more commonly seen in Oriental and sled dogs than Rottweilers), retinal degeneration, as a long term complication of surgery, and following the ingestion of antifreeze. Drug reactions, tumors on the retina or choroid, tumors of the optic nerve and trauma can all cause retinal detachment as well.


Symptoms of retinal detachment include reduced vision and/or complete blindness, visible hemorrhage or discoloration in the front of the eye.


It’s important to treat retinal detachment as quickly as possible so the retina doesn’t deteriorate, making the blindness permanent. Your dog’s vet will concentrate primarily on treating the underlying cause (remember, retinal detachment is usually a symptom of something more serious), with additional focus on reabsorbing the fluid that caused the detachment in the first place and surgically reattaching the retina.


Retinal Dysplasia

As mentioned earlier, some Rottweiler puppies are born with retinal dysplasia. Dogs with this condition have retinas that are malformed as the result of an inherited condition, a trauma or lingering damage from a viral infection. The malformation results in folds or rosettes along the outer retinal layers, which may not even be noticeable to the dog unless it affects their visual. It’s important to note, however, that retinal dysplasia puts the dog at a high risk for retinal detachment and congenital cataracts.


Many dogs are asymptomatic; owners don’t even know their puppy has retinal dysplasia until they’re examined by an ophthalmologist. Rottweilers who are symptomatic usually present with the same symptoms of blurred or impaired vision seen with cataracts (minus the filmy appearance of the eye).


There is currently no effective treatment for retinal dysplasia. Since it is known to be an inherited condition, experts recommend against breeding carriers.


Ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament

The cranial cruciate ligament is located in the dog’s knee and acts to stabilize the femur on the tibia. This ligament can rupture as the result of trauma or, more commonly, because of a progressive condition that causes the ligament to break down, making the joint unstable.


A rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament can be excruciatingly painful (no pun intended) for your dog. Rottweilers who have suffered a complete or partial tear are usually hesitant to exercise or bear wait and will act as though they’re in pain when you touch the joint. So if your normally friendly Rottweiler takes a snap at you when you touch his legs, make sure you start looking for damages first! You may also see some swelling and an increased thickness of the joint. The condition usually progresses into arthritis of the joint.


Treatment focuses on the lameness caused by the rupture and seeks to provide alternative stabilization of the joint. Most vets have their own preferences when deciding how to proceed with large dogs like the Rottweiler.


Subaortic Stenosis

A subaortic stenosis (SAS) is the single most common congenital heart disease found in large breed dogs. Puppies are born with SAS, a narrowing in the ventricular outflow tract below the aortic valve in the heart. As a result, the left ventricle has to work harder to push the blood through. This causes a murmur, which should be easily detectable by the time your Rottweiler is six months old.

If left untreated, a subaortic stenosis will cause the muscle of the left ventricle to thicken. This interferes with the pumping chamber’s ability to fill, and eventually the heart’s normal electrical rhythm is disrupted. As a result, the dogs succumb to fainting spells and/or sudden death during exercise. Rottweilers affected by this condition suffer from a predisposition to electrical arrhythmia, heart failure and infection of the abnormal aortic valve. Without treatment, most dogs with this condition die within the first three years.


The symptoms of a subaortic stenosis can be extremely subtle, and it’s impossible to diagnose without the proper veterinary expertise. If your Rottweiler’s sire or dam suffered from SAS, there’s an excellent chance yours does too. Have your vet evaluate his heart function as early as possible.


There is no “cure” for SAS; however, many vets will prescribe beta blockers to keep the heart from racing and symptoms from manifesting themselves. Surgery to remove the thickening in the ventricle and a balloon valvuloplasty to expand the stenosis have been done in the past; however, these surgical options have approximately the same success rate as the use of beta blockers and usually aren’t recommended.