Many Weimaraner owners enjoy a
long relationship with their dog without major
health issues. This is something that is
accomplished by starting with a puppy from a
reputable breeder. That first step may eliminate
many of the health problems that can afflict
purebred dogs as they grow and as they get older.
For general care, a Weimaraner should be fed twice a
day in smaller amounts each time. Additionally,
regular exercise is very important to this breed.
One problem that owners should
be aware of with any large dog such as the
Weimaraner is bloat, the common name for gastric
torsion. This condition often results when large
dogs gulp large amounts of food or swallow lots of
water at one time. Weimaraners should be fed twice
daily to avoid the hunger pangs that lead to eating
too fast. The subsequent twisting or blockage of the
stomach exit to the intestine is common to deep-chested
dogs. Sadly, bloat happens quickly and is often
fatal without immediate veterinary attention.
Symptoms include retching with no vomiting, extreme
salivation, obvious discomfort, and distention of
the abdomen. Some breeders believe that foods
containing soybeans should not be fed to breeds that
are susceptible to bloat because the beans can
produce gas. Feeding moistened dog food and
postponing exercise for a couple of hours after the
meal may help prevent bloat.
Over the years, the popularity of the Weimaraner may
lead to some careless breeding that encourages
hereditary diseases such as joint dysplasia, blood
disorders, and other medical conditions. This alone
is reason enough to work with a top-quality,
reputable breeder to make sure that the young dog
you bring home is healthy and as free from physical
problems as any dog can be.
Hip dysplasia may also be a problem for the
Weimaraner. In fact, this condition is one that all
dog owners should be aware of, being so common. Hip
dysplasia is a degenerative joint disease that does
not have to be a problem for you if your breeder has
certified his puppies as free from this condition.
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) has a
radiograph procedure that will detect early signs of
this condition and your breeder should provide you
with documentation that the dog meets this OFA
standard. For this reason, be sure to ask about this
when you are visiting several breeders before
accepting any puppy.
Among the common health problems found in the
Weimaraner, as well as other purebred dogs, is
progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a degenerative
eye disease that may first cause night blindness or
trouble seeing in dim light. This condition may
worsen until blindness occurs in one or both eyes.
In addition, this is a disease of the retina,
because the photoreceptor cells at the back of the
eye deteriorate. As the disease progresses, the
pupils of the eye dilate in an attempt to let in
additional light, which may produce a characteristic
shine to the eye. Then, the lens of the eye may
become cloudy or opaque. A veterinarian who
specializes in canine ophthalmology can detect the
condition. Careful breeding may help prevent this
Weimaraner owners may want to read the basics about
Von Willebrand’s disease, a hereditary bleeding
disorder. Another problem that may appear with this
breed is known as Entropion, a condition of the eye
in which the eyelid folds inward causing irritation
and perhaps, additional sight problems. Many of
these diseases can be avoided by working with a top
breeder who uses only breeding parents who have no
history of the conditions in their bloodlines.