If you are thinking of getting a Rottweiler, you need to know about the common health problems that may affect this dog breed. Of course, not all Rottweilers will be affected by the common health problems as described below, but keep in mind that they are more predisposed to these illnesses.

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Rottweiler is prone to a host of health problems. Here’s a brief rundown on a few conditions you should know about.

Rottweilers are one of the breeds most affected by hip dysplasia, a deformity in which the head of the femur doesn’t fit properly into the hip socket. This condition can range from mild to severe. Severe cases are extremely painful and often require surgery to correct. Even with the surgery, the dog is likely to develop arthritis as he ages. Elbow dysplasia and osteochondrosis of the knee and shoulder also occur in this breed.

Rotties can develop hot spots on their skin. Bored Rotties can lick themselves to the point of sores called lick granulomas on their front legs.

Blown cruciate ligaments are not uncommon. Cruciate ligaments are a group of ligaments inside each of your dog’s knees. When functioning properly, they stop the knees from twisting or overextending. But when the ligaments become injured, it can be very painful for your dog – many dogs even refuse to walk on the injured leg.

Rottweilers are more likely than many breeds to bloat, a condition in which the stomach distends with gas and can twist on itself (called gastric torsion), cutting off blood flow. Bloat and torsion strikes very suddenly, and a dog who was fine one minute can be dead a few hours later. Watch for symptoms like restlessness and pacing, drooling, pale gums, lip licking, trying unsuccessfully to vomit, and signs of pain. Bloat requires immediate veterinary intervention, and surgery is necessary in many cases. Unfortunately, dogs that have bloated can bloat again, so most veterinarians offer a procedure known as gastropexy or “stomach tacking” which anchors the stomach to the body wall to help keep it from twisting in the future. This procedure can also be done as a preventive measure.

Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the more common health problems: obesity. The ideal Rottweiler weighs 40 to 60 kgs, but some people breed them to weigh much more, up to 75 kg. But bigger is not always better. Excess weight puts more pressure on joints and can contribute to the development of hip dysplasia and arthritis. Keeping a Rottweiler at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of diet and exercise to help ensure a healthier dog.

Rottweilers are sensitive to high temperatures. Never leave one outdoors on a hot day without access to shade and an unlimited supply of fresh water.

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