Haemorrhagic or bleeding diathesis DNA health testing for the German shepherd
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Haemorrhagic or bleeding diathesis DNA health testing for the German shepherd

Dogs
Health & Safety

German shepherds are large, imposing-looking and very handsome dogs that really need no introduction, so well known and popular are they in the UK. In fact, the German shepherd is one of the UK’s most popular dog breeds overall, being ranked 9th out of a total of over 240 different dog breeds and types.

Today’s German shepherds can be found in the greatest numbers kept as pets, but the breed also has a strong working history that means that they are still in demand for a wide and varied range of working roles all across the world.

Originally kept as livestock guarding and herding dogs, the breed’s intelligence and versatility soon meant that German shepherds branched out into a number of other working roles too, most notably as guard dogs, watch dogs, and detection dogs, as well as being used by the police and military for a variety of different purposes.

German shepherds are quite unique in terms of their temperament and core traits; they are often wary of strangers and take a while to warm up to newcomers, but once you have earned their trust, they will become your friend for life. They have high intelligence as well as high energy levels and bags of endurance, and they thrive on being challenged by mental and physical stimulation, which makes them very amenable to training.

However, the modern breed as we know it today also has a reasonably long list of hereditary health problems that have developed as a result of selective breeding, and which pose a risk to the health and improvement of the breed as a whole, and individual dogs within it.

Some of these conditions are more common than others, and one of the less common German shepherd health conditions but also, one of the more serious ones is a bleeding disorder called haemorrhagic diathesis or bleeding diathesis. This condition can develop in dogs that inherit a certain gene mutation from their parents, but there is a DNA test in place to identify the markers of haemorrhagic diathesis in German shepherds.

This enables German shepherd breeders to plan healthy mating matches to produce litters that will not themselves be affected by the condition.

In this article we will outline how to get a German shepherd tested for haemorrhagic diathesis, as well as explaining how the condition affects dogs. Read on to learn more about haemorrhagic diathesis DNA testing for the German shepherd.

What is haemorrhagic diathesis?

Haemorrhagic diathesis is also sometimes known as “bleeding diathesis” instead, and you might hear both terms used interchangeably by veterinary professionals. This is just one of several different types of bleeding disorders that can be found within some German shepherd bloodlines, but one that occurs due to a specific gene mutation that researchers have now identified and pinpointed.

Haemorrhagic diathesis in German shepherds is one of the less common bleeding disorders in dogs, but one that can be quite serious and unpredictable in nature.

German shepherds with haemorrhagic diathesis will be unusually susceptible to bleeding, due to abnormalities in the body’s ability to slow the blood flow and clot the blood. This occurs due to problems with the blood’s ability to produce coagulants, which are required to knit and heal wounds.

A German shepherd with haemorrhagic diathesis will be more prone to bleeding and bruising from injuries, have long healing times, and may not be able to clot and heal wounds at all. This is of course very serious, and can be fatal.

Haemorrhagic diathesis in the German shepherd cannot be cured or prevented, but if you know the status of the two parent dogs in a prospective mating match, you can make informed breeding decisions to prevent the condition being passed on to subsequent generations of dogs.

How can you get a German shepherd tested for haemorrhagic diathesis?

Haemorrhagic diathesis in the German shepherd is passed from dog to dog as an inherited disorder, and it can’t be caught or transmitted between dogs by other means. A history of haemorrhagic diathesis or other bleeding and clotting disorders in the bloodline of any given German shepherd increases the risks of the dog in question inheriting such a condition in their turn.

However, the only way to find out for sure if a dog has haemorrhagic diathesis and so, whether or not they can pass the condition on to their own offspring, is to have them DNA tested for the markers of the condition.

A DNA test can determine the status of the tested dog themselves, and this information (combined with information on the other dog in any prospective mating match) enables you to work out if they might pass haemorrhagic diathesis on to their own young.

If you need to get a German shepherd tested for haemorrhagic diathesis, you just need to book them in with your vet to allow them to take a blood sample or buccal swab for DNA testing.

The sample is then sent off to an authorised laboratory that can test for haemorrhagic diathesis in German shepherds, who will then return the test results and supporting information to the dog’s owner.

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