Von Willebrand's Disease:

Found in both dogs and humans, this is a blood disorder that affects the clotting process. An affected dog will have symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding from a surgery, prolonged bleeding during heat cycles or after whelping, and occasionally blood in the stool. This disorder is usually diagnosed between three and five years of age, and it can't be cured. However, it can be managed with treatments that include cauterizing or suturing injuries, transfusions before surgery, and avoidance of specific medications.

Degenerative Myelopathy:

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord of dogs. Dogs that have inherited two defective copies will experience a breakdown of the cells responsible for sending and receiving signals from the brain, resulting in neurological symptoms.
The disease often begins with an unsteady gait, and the dog may wobble when they attempt to walk. As the disease progresses, the dog's hind legs will weaken and eventually the dog will be unable to walk at all. Degenerative Myelopathy moves up the body, so if the disease is allowed to progress, the dog will eventually be unable to hold his bladder and will lose normal function in its front legs. Fortunately, there is no direct pain associated with Degenerative Myelopathy.
The onset of Degenerative Myelopathy generally occurs later in life starting at an average age of about 8 years. However, some dogs may begin experiencing symptoms much earlier. Al percentage of dogs that have inherited two copies of the mutation will not experience symptoms at all. Thus, this disease is not completely penetrant, meaning that while a dog with the mutation is highly likely to develop Degenerative Myelopathy, the disease does not affect every dog that has the genotype.

The D Locus (Dilute) coat colour

The two primary colour varieties of the German Pinscher breed are red and the black & tan. Respectively, these are produced by the dominant yellow allele A y and the black and tan allele a t of the agouti locus. The dilute gene d is present in the breed at a low frequency and produces the rarer isabella and blue and tan colours, with the genotypes A y -dd and at dd, respectively.

D/D -   Non dilute - The dog will pass on D to 100% of its offspring.
D/d - Non dilute ( Carrier) - The dog will pass on D to 50% of its offspring and d to 50% of its offspring.
d/d – Dilute- The dog will pass on d to 100% of its offspring.

Pinschers and other dogs with coat colour dilution show a characteristic pigmentation phenotype. The fur colours are a lighter shade, e.g. Silvery grey (blue) instead of Black & Tan colour.
Isabella or fawn instead of Red or Brown.
In some dogs, the coat colour dilution is sometimes accompanied by hair loss and recurrent skin inflammation, the so-called colour dilution alopecia (CDA) or black hair follicular dysplasia (BHFD).
The exposed skin of CDA affected dogs is often dry and scaly as well as sensitive to sunburn or extreme cold.

Hip dysplasia

is a developmental orthopaedic disease.  When a dog has dysplasia, it has abnormal development of the ball-in-socket joint that makes up the hip.  In a dysplastic hip, the ball (the head of the femur, or thighbone) and the socket (the acetabulum, a portion of the pelvis), do not fit together snugly.  The result is painful and damaging friction.  When a dog bears its weight on the joint, the friction strains the joint capsule, which is a fibrous tissue that surrounds the joint and produces joint fluid. The straining then damages the cartilage and leads to the release of inflammatory proteins within the joint.  Thus begins the cycle of cartilage destruction, inflammation, and pain the symptoms we associate with arthritis.
The incidence of Hip Dysplasia in German Pinschers is low but is not unknown. There is no average breed score for Hip Dysplasia from the BVA (British VeterinaryAssociation)/KC schemes.



cause opacity on the lens of the eye, resulting in poor vision. The dog's eye(s) will have a cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur in old age and sometimes can be surgically removed to improve vision.

Most cataracts fall into one of these three groups:
    • Developmental (early onset): This type is usually inherited, and as the name implies, develops early in life–often in the first year.
    • Congenital (juvenile): The dog is born with cataracts. Typically cataracts will develop in both eyes but may grow at different rates. Congenital cataracts can be inherited, but it can also be caused by an infection or exposure to a toxin in utero.
    • Senile (late-onset): Yes, cataracts do develop in dogs over six years of age, but it’s not as common as in older humans. Usually, senile cataracts don’t develop at a uniform rate and one eye may be more affected than the other. They almost always start at the centre of the eye and develop outward, eventually creating an opacity that covers the entire eye.
Cataracts can also develop after an injury or puncture by something like a claw or thorn. These sorts of cataracts can cause the same vision impairment and are treated in the same way: surgery.

Adverse Vaccination Reaction:

Post-vaccinal reactions in German Pinschers –preliminary report
Minna Leppänen
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Specialist Diploma in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery

Since early 1980s breeders and puppy owners have noticed an unexpectedly high number of postvaccinal complications within the breed. The only published information of the syndrome is the work of Hillgen and Koivisto (1996) that was based on the information collected by the breed club in Finland. The rest of the knowledge is based on the authors unpublished data of own cases and information I have collected from other veterinarians, breeders and dog-owners. In Hillgen and Koivistos (1996) survey, 33.2 % of owners reported that puppies had symptoms after distemper-vaccination in Finland. Some annual variation has been noticed. In Great Britain some breeders estimate that about 50% of all puppies show similar symptoms (Morrison D., personal communication); cases have been reported also in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (Kuisma I and. Nilsson, S., personal communication). Recently I found descriptions of some American dogs having similar symptoms in German Pinscher fanciers internet mailing list. Typical symptoms start usually 9-12 days after vaccinations and may include tiredness, fever, occasionally vomiting and eye discharge. These primary symptoms usually start 1-2 days before neurological signs. The severity of neurological signs has been variable. Some dogs have had only mild tremors, but in severe cases dogs various degrees of ataxia (=disturbances in equilibrium) and seizures have been noticed. In all known cases the symptoms developed after distemper-vaccination and usually after the first vaccination (the vaccination given when the puppy is 12 weeks old as is the routine in Finland). No correlation between the vaccine types and brands with the incidence or severity of the symptoms could be shown (Hillgen and Koivisto, 1996).

Of all known cases one dog was euthanized with a suspected diagnosis of epilepsy without any treatment. No postmortem is available. Another dog died three days after the seizures begun. The most prominent postmortem finding was acute, allergic encephalomyelitis (=brain inflammation) No distemper inclusions or distemper virus could be shown. Laboratory findings from other cases have been unremarkable: the only finding has been mild leucocytosis (=elevated white blood cells) in some dogs. (Hillgen and Koivisto, 1996; Leppänen, unpublished data

The therapy has been based on the presumption of allergic background. Most cases have been treated with various doses, types and routes of administration of corticosteroids. Breeders even advise puppy-owners to give a dog small doses of oral hydrocortisone (available prescription-free) as soon as they notice any symptoms. In addition to corticosteroids, some dogs have got seizure medication (mostly diazepam or phenobarbital) and in some also sedatives have been administered to dogs with serious seizures. Also, vitamin B-supplementation or antibiotics have been used as well as antiemetics for vomiting dogs. Some cases got no medication. Excluded the two above mentioned cases all dogs have recovered totally in 1-5 days and none is known to have similar symptoms after next vaccinations (Hillgen and Koivisto, 1996; Leppänen unpublished data).

Until now no exact pathogenesis and aetiology of post-vaccinal complications in German Pinschers have been found; also reports of cases and effects of treatment trials base mostly on personal experience with own patients or information reached from breeders or other veterinarians who have treated the cases. It is assumed that due to a very small population and a high degree of inbreeding the German Pinscher breed has some type of immunological defect, which makes the dogs unusually sensitive to distemper vaccines. The presumption of the familiar disorder is supported by the finding that dogs that have had symptoms themselves more commonly produce puppies with symptoms than unsymptomatic animals. It is however possible that unsymptomatic dogs have puppies who react after vaccination. The exact mode of heritability is however unclear. Controversially the breed is otherwise very healthy and no reports or experience of other common immunological problems could be found. Also, it is unclear, why these dogs recover so well unlike in other reported breed-specific or suspected immune-mediated encephalitis (Oliver et al., 1997, Vandevelde, 1998).

Because we do not know the exact pathogenesis the treatment was based partly on clinical findings and previous experience with these cases. In order to prevent complications caused by lengthened seizure activity the treatment and doses normally recommended for status epilepticus were used. The use of corticosteroids in these cases is based on assumption that we deal with allergic reactions. No recommendations of exact doses have been made. The cases the author has knowledge about have been treated with various types and doses; I personally prefer short-acting corticosteroids and low doses in order to prevent possible side effects from corticosteroids. It might be also possible that mild cases can recover without treatment: this is supported with the information from owners who tell that their dogs have had symptoms, but got no treatment. Also, some owners probably do not recognize mild symptoms at all. On the other hand the possibility of preventing seizures or minimizing morbidity with early corticosteroid-administration has been discussed. Unfortunately, we lack any controlled studies from the effectiveness and usefulness of different treatment regimens.

Hillgen J., Koivisto M.: Vaccinations and postvaccinal complications in dogs.
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki 1996,
Oliver JE, Lorenz MD, Kornegay JN: Handbook of Veterinary Neurology. W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 1997, 453 pp
Vandevelde M.:Neurologic diseases of suspected infectious origin.
In Infectious diseases of the dog and cat. Ed. Greene CE W.B.
Saunders Company, Philadelphia 1998.

Cracked ear

On young dogs, the arteries/veins on the ear tips are very fine. They get stronger as the dog grows and gets stronger structure in general. If the ear tip is dry it can crack open when they shake head strongly and the tip is crashing against the top of their skull.  This is usually a problem in their first Autumn. So is very important to keep the tips of the ears moisturised, thus soft and clean. I apply a little bit of coconut oil or vaseline.

Danixaris - German Pinschers UK