Health & Welfare

There are several illnesses which are prevalent within the Dobermann breed which may affect a dog during it’s lifetime (average 10 years).

All Dobermanns Rescued are Vet CheckedAs with people, there are no guarantees of whether your dog will or won’t contract one of these or infact, a different ailment.

Responsible breeders take into account these factors when selecting a breeding pair of dogs and will also conduct healthchecks to confirm.  Naturally, the dogs which come into the care of The Dobermann Trust are not all from reputable breeders who do these health checks and some will come to us as strays with little or no background at all.

All of the dogs from The Dobermann Trust are vet checked, vaccinated, wormed, flea treated and microchipped prior to rehoming.  Where a dog requires additional veterinary treatment this is also administered.

Von Willebrands Disease – Blood clotting disorder like Haemophilia

There are three types of status assigned to dogs regarding VWd. – Clear, Carrier or Affected.  The status of each dog is predetermined by its genetics and breeding.  The genes are for this are passed from the parents.  A dog which is known to be ‘Affected’ with VWd is often (but not always) unable to produce enough ‘clotting factor’  or sticky blood platelets to allow a cut to stop bleeding and heal.  Neither Clear nor Carrier animals have this issue and present ‘normally’.  For Affected dogs, there is a more significant degree of risk to any surgery this animal has  and any vet treating an affected dog should be told of the illness.  DNA testing (Finnzymes test) is available to help identify those animals who are VWd affected.

Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (PHPV)

This is a hereditary eye condition which can cause loss of vision.  The  ‘skin’ which covers the immature eye does not clear correctly as the dog matures and can leave strands of fibre across the eye impairing vision.  Your vet can test and confirm a diagnoses if appropriate.

Have A Heart - Protect ProjectDCM – Dilated Cardiomyopathy – Heart Disease

DCM is a heart disease which involves the wasting of the heart muscle until it can no longer pump blood around the body.  This disease can affect a Dobermann at any age although it is most common between the ages of 4 and 7.

There is currently no way of knowing whether a Dobermann is affected by this disease without undertaking blood testing, Echocardiogram and Holter monitoring at regular intervals throughout a dog’s life.  More information is available from your local Dobermann Breed Club.

Often when symptoms begin to show the dog is already in decline.  Medication can be given to prolong life but there is no cure for this disease currently.

There are several fundraising schemes to push forward DCM research in the UK.  Please donate if you have the opportunity.


This condition occurs when the thyroid gland does not producing enough thyroid hormone.  This can affect many aspects of a dog’s wellbeing and can manifest in any combination of the following symptoms: lethargy, weight gain or loss, hair loss, hair becoming coarser, anaemia or recurring skin infections.  Your vet can take a simple blood test to verify if this condition exists in your dog, and will prescribe a course of hormone replacement medication which will need to be taken for the rest of its life.  Your dog can then continue living life to the full.

Hip Dysplasia

This condition occurs when the ball joint of the thigh bone does not fit into the socket of the hip joint with a good tight fit.  This creates a rubbing of the bones which can distort the shape and weaken the joint further and also allows Osteoarthritis to develop.  This condition can be tested by x-raying the hip joints as they are manipulated, whilst the dog is sedated.

Cervical Spondylopathy/Cervical Vertebral Instability or Wobblers Syndrome

This disease is known as Wobblers due to the unstable ‘wobbly’ movement which becomes apparent in the dog.  It is a condition of the vertebrae originating in the neck area.  It can manifest as unstable movement in the front or rear quarters, in the lifting or lowering of the neck and often in something known as ‘knuckling under’ of the feet.  This is where the toes tuck under and are trodden on when they are placed on the floor in normal movement.  Some dogs are in great pain with these issues and others appear not to feel any pain until the condition becomes quite advanced.

Bloat – The Killer!

Our beautiful girl Millie would have died in May 2012 if we hadn’t recognised the signs of bloat and rushed her to the vet immediately for surgery.  Big thanks to West Mount Vet in Halifax who saved Millie’s life.

Lookout for the signs

  • Your dog retches from the throat but nothing is produced other than small amounts of frothy mucus
  • Your dog tries to poo but can’t go
  • Your dog lies down in the Sphinx position
  • Your dog’s tummy swells up like a balloon and/or goes hard and the skin is tight like a drum skin
  • Trying to btie or worry at the abdomen or their side
  • Unsettled, pacing, whining

CONTACT YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY.  Bloat is a true emergency and can KILL IN UNDER ONE HOUR – be prepared to drive to the surgery straight away.  The chance of survival decreases significantly if you delay.

You can download a poster to raise awareness from the SafeDog website