Cancer in German Shepherd Dogs

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While cancer can strike any breed of dog, certain dog breeds may be more likely to develop certain types of cancer. Unfortunately, German shepherds are one of those breeds known to often have a hereditary component that may make them prone to some forms of cancer.

Hemangiosarcoma

This malignant form of cancer affects German shepherds more than any other breed, according to VetInfo.com. Hemangiosarcoma originates in the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels and spleen.

Osteosarcoma

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Osteosarcoma is a malignant form of cancer affecting the bone. This form of bone cancer commonly affects large and giant dog breeds, and German shepherds qualify as one of those breeds.

Lymphoma

Lymphoma, also known as lymphosarcoma, is a malignant cancer of the lymphatic system. German shepherds between the ages of 6 and 9 years old are the most commonly affected, according to Canine Cancer Awareness.

Melanoma

German shepherds may be more predisposed to malignant melanomas of the oral cavity. This cancer is commonly found in male German shepherd dogs with heavily pigmented mucosa, according to the Animal Cancer and Imaging Center of Canton, Michigan.

Considerations

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For those considering the purchase of a German shepherd, it is imperative to buy only from reputable breeders. While a breeder cannot guarantee a puppy will be healthy for its entire life, reputable breeders rigorously screen their breeding stock, putting forth tremendous effort to avoid any hereditary diseases.

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Author

Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.