serving the white shepherd community since 1999
PUPPY PACKET FOR NEW OWNERS
SAMPLE INSERT FOR PUPPY PACKET
Health concerns in your White Shepherd puppy
Jacki Wheeler, owner of dam (Gracie) & Sher Belonus, owner of stud (Blitz)
To help you identify any possible illnesses in your puppy, the following
information will summarize the genetic, congenital or commonly acquired
issues seen in some relatives of your White Shepherd puppy. Please, keep
this document on hand as a reference tool. In the event that your puppy is
affected with an illness, you can point your vet in the right direction and
eliminate the need for many costly tests as your vet tries to figure out what
is going on. It will also enable faster, appropriate treatment for your puppy.
Many illnesses need prompt attention so that they will not worsen and take
a serious toll on your puppy. The quicker your vet can pinpoint the problem, the quicker your puppy will be on the road to
recovery and feeling better.
There is no such thing as a “clean” dog or a “clean” line. Every dog from every line carries genetic traits, both good and bad.
Every breeding of two dogs will pass those traits from both parent animals to the resulting puppies. Some illnesses in the
White Shepherd have been identified as “genetic”. Many breeders will not speak (or admit) to puppy buyers about these
genetic issues that exist. We feel that it is in the best interest of our puppy buyers and our puppies to disclose what we know
about these genetic traits.
There is a predisposition within the breed for certain illnesses. That is to say, all White Shepherds run the risk breed-wide of
being affected by or being a carrier of certain illnesses that are seen recurrently within the breed. Following is a list of illnesses
that you should be aware of. If your puppy is having difficulties, please go through the following list and compare your pup’s
symptoms with the list of illnesses. The list is marked as “G” for genetic or “A” for acquired. Genetic will mean that your
puppy has a chance of being affected through inherited traits, and acquired will mean that the illness is bacterial, parasite,
virus or toxin mediated. After each entry will be an Internet link for further information.
Eosinophilic Panosteitis (Pano): a painful inflammatory bone disease of young, rapidly growing dogs, often characterized
by increased eosinophils in the blood. Pano is a temporary condition and can be likened to “growing pains” in human children.
Large breed dogs are most commonly affected. Symptoms can include limping, hopping, fever, and loss of appetite and
decreased energy. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory treatments are commonly administered in severe cases to ease discomfort
in the pup. “G” or “A”
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI): a condition where the pancreas does not produce the proper enzymes for
digesting food. Maldigestion of nutrients can seriously affect the health of your dog. EPI is a condition requiring life-long
supplementation of the pancreatic enzymes so that the dog can digest and absorb nutrients. Without supplementation of the
digestive enzymes, the dog’s very life is at risk. Symptoms of EPI are increased appetite, increased thirst, frequent loose bowel
movements (soft formed to diarrhea), flatulence (gas), rapid weight loss, energy loss, and stomach rumbling excessively after a
meal. Treatment for EPI is almost always effective in resolving the symptoms. With enzyme replacement and a highly
digestible low fat and low fiber diet, the EPI affected dog can go on to live a full healthy life. Treatments for EPI include
Viokase, Pancrezyme, or chopped, raw pancreas (porcine or bovine) added to the dog’s food at each feeding. If you suspect EPI
in your dog, request that your vet run a TLI (trypsin-like immunoreactivity) test. The TLI test is currently your best option for
determining EPI and is not costly to have run. “G”
Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (Bloat) or (GDV): a condition where a dog's stomach produces excessive gas and
enlarges severely enough to cause death without immediate treatment. Usually associated with gastric torsion. Gastric torsion
is a condition where the stomach twists (rotates), thereby impeding input and output, and cutting off the blood-flow to the
stomach. Once this rotation (volvulus) occurs and the blood supply is cut off, the stomach begins to die and the entire blood
supply is disrupted and the animal’s condition begins to deteriorate very rapidly. GDV is a very serious and life threatening
condition. The symptoms include restlessness, pacing, rapid onset of abdominal distention, rapid shallow breathing, and
nonproductive vomiting and retching. Profuse salivation may indicate severe pain. If the dog’s condition continues to
deteriorate, especially if volvulus has occurred, the dog may go into shock and become pale, have a weak pulse, and a rapid
heart rate. A dog with gastric dilatation without volvulus can show all of these symptoms, but the more severe symptoms are
likely to occur in dogs with both dilatation and volvulus.
There are things you can do to help prevent bloat from occurring in your dog. 1. Fed two or three times daily, rather than once
a day. 2. Exercise, excitement, and stress should be avoided one hour before and two hours after meals. 3. Diet changes should
be made gradually over a period of three to five days. Mix the old food with the new food and gradually increase the amount
of new food mixed in until the new food is fed alone. “G”
Hip Dysplasia (HD): Hip Dysplasia results from the abnormal development of the hip joint in the young dog. It may or
may not be bilateral, affecting both right and left sides. It is typically brought about by the laxity of the muscles, connective
tissue, and ligaments that should support the joint. Symptoms include pain and discomfort during and after exercise, a
hopping or stiff gait, and loss of muscle tone and decreased activity level. Obesity is a large factor with developing HD.
Carrying around extra weight will exacerbate degeneration of the joint in a dog with a loose hip. Keeping your puppy in good
physical condition and leveling out the pup’s growth can help reduce the incidence of HD. It is recommended to feed a high
quality large breed puppy food and limit joint stress (repetitive jumping, Frisbee, excessive ball chasing, and long walks) while
puppy is young and still developing. “G”
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition in which inflammatory cells chronically
infiltrate the stomach and/or intestine. The most common signs of inflammatory bowel disease are diarrhea and vomiting.
Many times the diarrhea and vomiting may be intermittent (comes and goes). If severe, some dogs become depressed, will not
eat, have a fever, and lose weight. Treatment for IBD is dietary management using hypoallergenic diets. “G”
Ununited Anconeal Process or Elbow Dysplasia (UAP) or (ED): an abnormal development of the elbow joint.
This condition can affect one or both elbows. The elbow may appear swollen and painful, especially when the leg is extended
in severe cases. Symptoms are the same as Hip Dysplasia (HD) *see above with the difference being that the front rather than
the rear of the dog is affected. “G”
Perianal Fistula (PF) or (PAF): A deep infection around the anus that often results in ulcers and deep draining tracts.
Symptoms can include odor, possible weight loss and diarrhea, excessive licking, scooting butt across the floor or lawn.
Treatment in mild cases can be clip and cleanse the hair, hydrotherapy, antibiotics, steroids and Cyclosporine. In more severe
cases, surgery is typically called for. “G” or “A”
Giardia: Protozoa. Ingesting the cyst form of the parasite infects the dog. In the small intestine, the cyst opens and releases
an active form called trophozoite. Younger animals are usually affected, and the usual sign is diarrhea. The diarrhea may be
acute, intermittent, or chronic. Usually the infected animals will not lose their appetite, but they may lose weight. The feces are
often abnormal, being pale, having a bad odor, and appearing greasy. Treatments include Metronidazole, Albendazole, and
Coccidia: Protozoa that multiply (and are organic) in the intestinal tracts of dogs, most commonly in puppies less than six
months of age, in adult animals whose immune system is suppressed, or in animals who are stressed in other ways (disease or
emotional stress.) The primary sign of an animal suffering with coccidiosis is diarrhea. The diarrhea may be mild to severe
depending on the level of infection. Blood and mucous may be present, especially in advanced cases. Severely affected animals
may also vomit, lose their appetite, and become dehydrated. Most infected puppies are in the four to twelve week age group.
The possibility of coccidiosis should always be considered when a loose stool or diarrhea is encountered in this age group.
A microscopic fecal exam by a veterinarian will detect the cysts confirming a diagnosis. Treatment is typically sulfadimethoxine
(Albon) and trimethoprim-sulfadiazine (Tribrissen). Stress plays an important role in the development of coccidiosis. It is not
uncommon for a seemingly healthy puppy to arrive at his new home and develop diarrhea several days later leading to a
diagnosis of Coccidia. “A”
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White Shepherd Genetics Project
Susan Ewart, Treasurer
75 Old Albany Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Content copyright 2016. White Shepherd Genetics Project. All rights reserved.