German Shorthaired Health Issues

German Shorthaired Pointers can be prone to certain health issues like any other breed. Common conditions that affect the dog breed include hip dysplasia, ear infections, bloat, and eye problems.

Luckily, regular vet check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can help minimize the risk of these diseases in your GSP. Below, we will discuss common health issues in German Shorthaired Pointers in detail, so let’s dive right in.

Are German Shorthaired Pointers High Maintenace?

German Shorthaired Pointers require regular exercise, training, and mental stimulation. They’re active dogs, so they’re high maintenance in some sense.

They also have a strong hunting instinct, so you should train and socialize your determined hunting dog properly to prevent destructive or aggressive behavior. Moreover, regular grooming is also necessary to maintain their coat, but they don’t have excessive grooming requirements.

In short, these dogs may need extra care and attention than other breeds.

Do They Have a Lot of Health Problems?

According to the American Kennel Club, these dogs can be susceptible to specific health issues, such as hip dysplasia, eye conditions, and ear infections. However, early detection and proper care can help manage these health issues.

Regular vet visits and responsible breeding practices can also help decrease the risk of health problems in the breed. Let’s discuss these common health issues in detail.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition in which the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, causing arthritis and pain. Luckily, this genetic condition can be managed with weight management, exercise, and in severe cases, surgery.

Eye Problems

These dogs can develop eye issues, such as progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, and entropion (inward rolling of the eyelid).

Fortunately, some eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts, can be managed with early detection and treatment. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

Ear Infections

This dog breed has floppy ears, so it’s prone to ear infections, which can be painful and lead to hearing loss if left untreated. However, regular cleaning of the ears and prompt treatment of diseases can help prevent this issue.


Also known as twisted stomach or torsion, bloat is a life-threatening condition in which the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself, cutting off blood flow.

In severe cases, you can treat bloat with immediate veterinary care or surgery.

Liver Shunt

A liver shunt is a congenital condition in which the canine’s liver can’t filter toxins from the blood. Luckily, you can manage this issue with a special diet and medication, but surgery may be necessary in severe cases.

Thyroid Issues

Your adult dog can develop hypothyroidism, a common condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones.

If you suspect your hunting dog has hypothyroidism, don’t fret. You can easily manage this condition with hormone replacement therapy.

Blood Clotting Diseases

German Shorthaired Pointers can develop a genetic bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand’s disease. This disease affects the blood’s ability to clot, and there’s no cure for it.

However, you can control this inherited bleeding disorder in your German Shorthaired Pointer with medication and careful monitoring.

Skin Allergies

These dogs can develop different skin allergies, which can cause itching, redness, and hair loss. Luckily, allergies can be easily managed with medication, diet changes, and avoiding triggers.


Epilepsy affects German Shorthaired Pointers, among many other dogs. So, your GSP can develop epilepsy, a neurological disorder that causes seizures. This disorder sounds scary, but the episodes can be managed with medication.


A type of bone cancer that is more common in large-breed dogs. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.


Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. Treatment may include chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Cardiac Issues

These canines can develop cardiac issues, including dilated cardiomyopathy and patent ductus arteriosus. Management may include medication, diet changes, and monitoring.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for this progressive neurological disorder. However, you can manage it with medication and physical therapy.

Signs That Your Dog Needs Help

Common signs that your dog needs medical evaluation and possible treatment include:

  • Changes in appetite or thirst
  • Increased urination or accidents in the house
  • Changes in energy levels or activity
  • Coughing or labored breathing
  • Lumps or bumps that suddenly appear
  • Changes in skin or coat condition, such as itching, redness, or hair loss
  • Swelling or limping
  • Eye or ear discharge
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Changes in behavior, such as aggression or lethargy
  • Seizures or unusual trembling
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing

If you notice these signs, contact your local veterinarian for help. Early detection and treatment of health problems can help improve your dog’s prognosis and quality of life.

Sings That Your GSP Needs Medical Care Immediately

If your dog shows any of the following signs, you must seek veterinary care immediately as they may indicate a life-threatening emergency:

  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
  • Pale or blue gums
  • Seizures that last longer than five minutes
  • Collapse or loss of consciousness
  • Inability to stand or walk
  • Severe pain or distress, such as whimpering or whining
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Swelling in the face, neck, or muzzle
  • Severe bleeding or wounds
  • Straining to urinate or defecate, or blood in urine or stool
  • Ingestion of a foreign object or poisonous substance
  • Heatstroke, indicated by excessive panting, vomiting, and rapid heartbeat

It’s always better to err on the side of caution.

So, if you’re unsure if your German Shorthaired Pointer requires immediate veterinary care, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for advice.

How To Prevent Health Issues in a GSP?

The following steps can help prevent health issues in your GSP:

  1. Feed a high-quality diet appropriate for their age, weight, and activity level.
  2. Provide regular exercise and keep your dog at a healthy weight to reduce stress on their joints and reduce the risk of obesity-related health issues.
  3. Keep your dog up to date on vaccinations and parasite control to prevent infections.
  4. Regular visits to the veterinarian for check-ups and screenings can help detect health problems early and improve your dog’s prognosis.
  5. Practice good hygiene and cleanliness to reduce the risk of skin infections and other health problems.
  6. Avoid exposing your dog to toxins and poisonous substances like chemicals and household cleaners.
  7. Consider genetic testing for your pet if you plan to breed them to identify any potential health issues and make informed breeding decisions.
  8. Avoid excessive stress and provide them with a safe, secure, and comfortable environment.

Remember that genetics play a role in a dog’s health, so some health problems may still arise even with the best care. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian and a proactive approach to their health can help ensure they stay happy and healthy throughout their life.


This dog breed is a relatively healthy breed. Still, like other dogs, these canines can develop different health issues.

Common health issues in German Shorthaired Pointers include hip dysplasia, eye problems, ear infections, bloat, liver shunt, thyroid issues, and bleeding disorders. Other health issues that can affect your German bird dog include skin allergies, epilepsy, and certain types of cancer,

Moreover, signs indicating your German Shorthaired Pointer needs medical care include changes in appetite, energy levels, behavior, or physical appearance.

Symptoms like difficulty breathing, seizures, or severe pain may require immediate veterinary attention. So, it’s important to work closely with a veterinarian to monitor your dog’s health and have a management plan for any health issues in the future.

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