German Shepherds are the most popular breed for use as police dogs, guard dogs and military dogs. Despite their frequent use in these capacities, German Shepherds also make wonderful family pets. These dogs are energetic and loving, especially toward children in the family. The German Shepherd is a relatively new breed, its origins dating back only so far as 1899. During its short existence, however, this breed has gained a reputation for its intelligence and eager response to training. Because these dogs are so active and energetic, they require daily exercise and their thick coats need regular grooming.
Because a great deal of inbreeding was necessary during the early life of this breed, German Shepherds often suffer from congenital disorders like hip dysplasia, spinal stenosis and bloat. Pet insurance may help you cover treatment and medications for these conditions.
Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the femoral head does not fit snugly into the hip joint. Over time, this condition may lead to degeneration of the joint and arthritis which can cause pain and lameness. There are several surgical treatment options including total hip replacement, which usually costs between $1,500 and $3,000 per hip, and triple pelvic osteotomy (or TPO) which involves cutting and rotating the pelvis to prevent joint slippage. This procedure generally costs around $2,500.
Spinal stenosis is a serious condition in which the vertebrae become fused and arthritic, often leading to a narrowing of the spinal canal and nerve injury. Common symptoms of this condition include pain, difficulty rising and muscle loss in the rear legs. The symptoms of this disease are often similar to those of hip dysplasia so tests and X-rays may be required to differentiate between the two. This condition can be treated medically with strict rest and the administration of prednisone for six to eight weeks to relieve symptoms, but surgery is a more permanent solution. Surgical repairs for this treatment either involve fusing the affected vertebrae to prevent further damage or removing them entirely. These procedures can cost as little as $2000 to upwards of $5000 depending on the procedure.
Also called gastric torsion, bloat is a condition in which the stomach swells or rotates, restricting blood flow to other vital organs. In severe cases, the stomach can be decompressed surgically by inserting a tube into it, following which the stomach may be repositioned and sutured in place to prevent recurrences. These procedures range in cost from $1,200 in minor cases to over $5,000 for cases in which complications arise. This condition can often be prevented by feeding the dog only once daily and by raising the food bowl off the ground.
Disclaimer: Symptoms, conditions, and costs may vary. Consult a licensed veterinarian to inquire about treatment options and cost of care for your particular situation. Check actual coverage and benefits for your dog to determine whether you will be covered by pet insurance.