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10 Rottweiler health problems

10 Rottweiler health issues

10 Rottweiler health issues

Are you worried about Rottweiler health issues? You have come to the right place. In this blog post, I will be discussing the most common health issues faced by Rottweilers.

Rottweilers are one of the most recognizable dog breeds with their solidly muscled body, large head, and handsome tan and black markings on the fur. Rottweilers are mostly known for their strength, intelligence as well as fierce loyalty. However, Rottweiler fans fall primarily into two different categories. The first category involves those who consider these large breed dogs to be absolute love bugs. On the other hand, we have those guardians who want their dogs to be anything but.

There have been stories about Rottweilers killing which have turned a lot of people against these beautiful and fiercely loyal dogs. However, the good and reputable breeders are now picking up the pieces and restoring their reputation as an amazing dog breed. Do not underestimate the power and protectiveness of Rottweilers. However, when given proper training, love, and trust they can prove to be amazing loyal, fierce as well as gentle guardians.

If you do a Google search on Rottweilers, the second or third search would be about Rottweiler health issues. Rottweilers are not that expensive to buy. However, the amount spent by the guardians on their health issues makes them one of the most expensive dog breeds in the world. There are many Rottweiler health issues that I will be discussing in this blog post. So don’t miss any of the points and read on till the end.

Rottweiler health issues

The most common Rottweiler health issues

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is considered the most commonly inherited orthopedic issue in the case of dogs who belong to large or giant dog breeds. However, this problem has been observed in the case of medium-breed dogs as well. The hip structure in dogs consists of a ball and socket joint. The ball which is the top of the femur or the thigh bone fits into an acetabulum which is the socket formed by the pelvic structure. Consider this as a lock and key model where the key (ball) fits into the lock (socket). If there is any looseness between these two structures, or if the ligament holding the two structures becomes loose, the ball obviously sides out of the socket. This is referred to as hip dysplasia.

The mode of inheritance of his hip dysplasia is mostly polygenic which means that it is caused due to the presence of many different genes in the dog. Scientists are yet to uncover which of the genes are involved in causing hip dysplasia as well as how many genes cause this problem.

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Factors that make this disease even worse are

  • The excess weight of the dog
  • A fast growth rate
  • High-calorie diet

Chances of hip dysplasia occurring in the dog

The prediction of whether the Rottweiler will suffer from hip dysplasia later in life or not is done by x-ray conducted after the animal is one year old. There is a hip scoring system that is used to check the x-ray. This score is based on the imperfections present in the ball and socket joint of the hip of the dog.

If this hip score is within the average score which is at the moment is 0-13, the chances are less that the animal would develop hip dysplasia in the future. Responsible breeders mostly try to breed Rottweiler males and females who have scored below 13 so that the puppy can have a chance at a life free of hip dysplasia. The perfect score is zero. In other words the lower the score the lesser the chances of the Rottweiler developing Hispanic dysplasia in the future.

Elbow dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is another significant problem that has been identified to be occurring in many breeds. Unfortunately, this condition seems to be increasing worldwide and is found in a lot of dogs nowadays. This problem starts to rear its head during the puppy stages of the dog’s life and affects the dog for the rest of his or her life.

The term elbow dysplasia covers the spectrum of conditions that affect the elbow joints of the dog.

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The conditions can be:

  • Osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle
  • Fragmented medial chondroid process
  • Ununited aconeal process as well as the presence of an incongruent elbow

The puppy can either have one of these conditions or more than one. This disease has been observed to affect both the front legs of the dogs. This disease is again of the polygenic nature that it is caused due to the presence of multiple genes and currently the number of genes causing this disease is not known.

The environmental factors which contribute to such conditions are:

  • Overfeeding
  • Quick weight gain
  • Quick growth
  • Genetic predisposition

The diagnosis of elbow dysplasia is also done on the basis of the scoring system which depends on the x-rays of the elbows of the dog. However, in this case, the grades of each elbow are not added to receive the final score. If the grade is zero, the elbows are normal and do not have dysplasia. If the grade is three then the elbows have severe dysplasia.

Symptoms of elbow dysplasia in Rottweilers

It has been observed that dogs who have clinical elbow dysplasia become lame between the ages of 6 to 12 months. The lameness may either be confined to one of the elbows or it may affect both the elbows. If you observe a persistent forelimb lameness, you should get it inspected by a veterinarian surgeon.

The treatment method for elbow dysplasia will depend on the nature and severity of the issue. Most of the treatment involves keeping control of the weight and giving a proper level of exercise to the dog. Painkillers may be given to help relieve the pain and promote healing of the joint.

In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the fragments of bone and cartilage from the joint to help with the pain. However, this is not always appropriate or needed. In almost all the cases there are secondary changes observed in the joint which causes problems to the dog throughout his or her life. These also restrict the dog’s ability to exercise in a normal manner. If proper care and vigilance are kept on the dog, then the dogs will be comfortable with a fair share of exercise.

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This is one of the Rottweiler health issues which involves the invert rolling of the eyelids. This causes the eyelashes to rub on the ice surface. This is very painful and distressing to the dog and leads to damage of the cornea causing ulcers. There are different degrees of entropy on which ranges from a slight in rolling to a more serious case. In some cases, the situation may require surgery to correct the problem.


Extropion is the outward rolling of the islands. This condition has been observed to resolve itself as a dog grows and matures. This may predispose the dog to conjunctivitis. Why this problem is mostly cosmetic and does not require corrective surgery. Just as in the case of entropion, extropion is also inherited

Cruciate ligament rupture

This is one of the Rottweiler health issues which involves the ligaments which cross over behind the dog’s kneecap. These ligaments are responsible for holding the bottom and the top part of the hind legs together. In the case of Rottweilers, it has been observed that sometimes these ligaments can either get stretched or ruptured. They may also completely snap which may render the dog completely lame. This problem can be fixed by surgery. This is also partially hereditary.

However, the other contributing factors towards this problem are:

  • Size of the dog
  • Obesity of the dog
  • Ligament and muscular laxity
  • Uncontrolled level of exercise
  • Sharp turns by the dog
  • Jumping fences or getting the legs stuck in rabbit holes

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OCD (Osteochondritis desiccans)

This is a general term that is given to problems affecting the joint areas of the dogs like hawks, Aldo elbows, and shoulders. And the problem of OCD is usually observed and young dogs at around the age of 4 to 6 months. Due to this problem, the growth of the bone is faulty because the bones get misshaped or do not get covered by synovial fluid or they do not grow at the same time.

Sometimes it has been observed that the bones may split while they grow and the small pieces of the bone which split from the main bone can get lodged into the joint of the dog causing pain and ulceration. This problem has been observed to be uncomfortable and intermittent. What the dog feels is equivalent to having a small stone constantly present in your shoe. It has also been observed that in some cases the joints may not fit properly. The problem is mostly detected by conducting x-rays of the joints and can be corrected by surgery. However, surgery is not always successfulRelated post: Home remedies for pain management in dogs part II


This is the ugliest of all dog diseases. It has unfortunately been reported in many dog species and is very common amongst Rottweilers. Cancer can affect any part of the dog but the most common types of cancers which affect dogs have been observed to be lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes), spleen, liver, bone, etc. So far it is not known if there is a hereditary link between cancer and dogs or if lifestyle, vaccination, or feeding habits play a contributive role in causing cancer.

Bone cancer in Rottweilers

Osteosarcoma or bone cancer is one of the most common Rottweiler health issues. Osteosarcoma is basically a malignant bone tumor which is sadly a progressive and fatal condition in most of the dogs it affects. This starts with the dogs becoming lame. The dogs also exhibit signs like painful swelling of the affected bone. The signs may be very subtle during the initial stages but can worsen as the bone becomes prone to getting fractured. Even though bone cancer in the case of Rottweilers is mostly observed on the limbs, the tumors can also occur in other regions of the dog’s body like the nasal cavity, jawbone, hip bones, or skull.

Most dogs especially Rottweilers are very tolerant of pain. This is the reason why the tumor becomes obvious to the guardians at later stages. The diagnosis at a late stage limits the ability of the surgeons to remove the tumor and improve the quality of the dog’s life. This is one of the major factors which drive the need to develop methods of diagnosing the problem at the earliest. So the disease can be successfully treated.

There are several other breeds that have a higher chance of being affected by sarcoma. Most of these breeds belong to giant dog breeds like Great Danes, Rottweilers, Irish wolfhound, and Saint Bernards.

Factors that influence sarcoma development in Rottweilers

  • Bodyweight of the dog
  • Height of the dog
  • Early neutering

The genes and molecules which increase the risk of developing cancer in Rottweilers have been identified. A few of the genes have been observed to increase the pup’s risk of getting affected by this disease. These genes also influence the aggressiveness of cancer and its resistance towards treatment. A lot of research is going on to identify if there is a clear genetic disposition in Rottweilers towards cancer. If genetic susceptibility is identified, it will help to diagnose and treat the disease at the earliest stage possible. There is a lot of work that is going on to understand osteosarcoma as one of the Rottweiler health issues in USA as well as UK.

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Juvenile laryngeal paralysis and polyneuropathy

Juvenile laryngeal paralysis and polyneuropathy (JLPP) is a genetically inherited disease that primarily affects the nerves of dogs. JLPP has been observed to affect the longest nerve that supplies the blood to the voice box (larynx). This causes weakness of the laryngeal muscles and laryngeal paralysis has been observed to be the primary symptom of this disease.

The primary symptom of JLPP is that the vocal folds of the dogs vibrate noisily. This can also cause obstruction of airflow into the lungs when the dog exercises or when the weather is too hot. The dog may also choke on water or food and regurgitate causing pneumonia.

The disease is then observed to progress to the other long nerve which supplies blood to the back leg muscles of the dog causing difficulty in getting up and a wobbly gait. After the back legs, the next in line are the front legs of the dog. The other symptoms of this disease include abnormality in the development of the eyes of the dog. The symptoms of this disease is typically observed after the weaning stages

JLPP is an autosomal recessive trait. This means that this trait will only exhibit when the dog has two copies of the recessive gene in his or her genetic make up. This allows the breeders to do a genetic testing beforehand of the parents to identify those parents for the mating who have the dominant gene for this disease and not the recessive ones.

The Gene type of the parents can be divided into three categories

This genotype is homozygous normal. That means that the dog is not a carrier of the mutant gene. The dog has two copies of the dominant gene and therefore the dog can be bred with any other dog.

This genotype is heterozygous. In this case the dog has one copy of the normal gene and one copy of the mutant gene. This dog will never develop JLPP. However, when this dog is mated with another dog that does not have the JLPP gene at all, there is a 25% chance that the JLPP gene may get passed down to the puppies.
However, if this dog is mated with another gene that has one copy of the mutant gene, there is a 50% chance that the puppies will have JLPP. Therefore, such dogs should not be used for mating.

This genotype is a homozygous mutant. The dog has two copies of the GLPPG and will develop JLBB and. This dog will also pass on the gene to all of his or her offspring. Therefore, this dog should not be used for mating purposes.

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Wet eczema

This Rottweiler health issue is not only common in Rottweilers but also in other dogs who have thick undercoats. Wet eczema generally starts with a nip from another dog or a flea bite. This then progresses to become a purulent weeping mass if it is not dealt with soon. It also spreads at a very quick rate. The best remedy to deal with wet eczema is to remove the hair which is close to the skin and wash the Rottweiler’s skin regularly with scrub. This task should be performed at least 3 to 4 times every day until you notice that the crust is formed on the wound and the wound starts to dry.

Cold-water tail

Cold-water tail is another of Rottweiler’s health issues which are not only observed in Rottweilers but also in other working dogs. Not a lot of details are available about this condition. It has been observed that the tail of the Rottweiler becomes “dead” for a short amount of time either by coming in contact with cold water or due to the pup sitting on the snow. The identification criteria of this disease are that the dog holds out the base of the tail up to 4 to 5 inches. The rest of the tail just hangs in a limp manner. This condition has been observed to be short-lived and ranges from 2 to 5 days. You can apply a warm compress to the base of the tail to get it functioning quicker.

What can you do as a dog guardian to deal with the Rottweiler health issues?

If you are planning to get a Rottweiler, find a breeder who is a member and is in good standing of the American Rottweiler Club. Make sure that your breed abides by all the mandatory practices which include a screening of all the dogs who are mated for genetic diseases and selling the pup with a written contract guaranteeing a home for the dog in case the owners are unable to keep the dog.

You should go for a breeder who is not only willing but actually insists on helping you train and care for your pup. You can also check out the ARC guidelines on how to interview and select a good breeder for yourself. Ask for the results of the genetic testing before you purchase a puppy.

Alternatively, you can also adopt a dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Rottweilers can live for a period of 10 years or longer, therefore if you get an adult dog, he or she will be a part of your family for a long time.

The moment you get your dog, puppy or adult, take him or her to the veterinarian immediately after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot any visible problems that may have escaped your eye and can work to set up a regime that would help you avoid Rottweiler health issues. You can also set up a regime specifically to keep a check on the joint problems which are most commonly seen in Rottweilers.


Are you a Rottweiler guardian? How old is your puppy? Have you noticed any of these health issues in your pup? If yes, how did you deal with it? The best strategy that you can use as a dog guardian is to get good pet insurance for your part as well as take him or her for annual health check-ups to the veterinarian so that any problem can be diagnosed at the earliest stages and the treatment can begin as soon as possible.

Make sure that your pet insurance covers all of the Rottweiler health issues. The best time to get insurance for your pup is when he or she is completely healthy. Unfortunately, you cannot know from before what might happen in the future, and pet insurance is something which you won’t get later on if you are in urgent need.

The best strategy that you can use as a dog guardian is to get good pet insurance for your pup as well as take him or her for annual health check-ups to the veterinarian so that any problem can be diagnosed at the earliest stages and the treatment can begin as soon as possible.

If you have any queries pertaining to this blog post or any other blog post, feel free to mention your queries in the comment section below. You can also reach me on any of my social media channels. I will be happy to help.

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