Although the Anatolian shepherd is still a niche dog breed, it has seen a surge in popularity in recent years with the breed managing to climb to become the 88th most popular breed in the USA.
With the popularity of the breed increasing, this has resulted in more and more questions being asked from the Anatolian shepherd keeping community about potential issues with their dog.
One thing that we have seen people asking about more and more over the last couple of months is potential Anatolian shepherd health issues.
There are six common Anatolian shepherd health issues and one semi-common issue that are Osteochondritis Dissecans, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Cardiomyopathy, Autoimmune Thyroiditis, and Skin Issues.
With there being some explaining to do behind most of these, we wanted to publish a dedicated article on the topic to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Our hope is that we will be able to help you look out for the signs of these issues in your Anatolian shepherd as well as consider a pet insurance policy for your dog to help keep treatment costs low.
Common Anatolian Shepherd Health Issues!
The most common Anatolian shepherd health issues are as follows with a full breakdown for each below:-
- Osteochondritis Dissecans
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Autoimmune Thyroiditis
- Skin Issues
The skin issues are a semi-common health issue for the breed but for the most part, the other six issues are relatively common with Anatolian shepherds.
The sex, workload, and diet of your Anatolian shepherd can help to ease the potential issues of some of these but if you are in any doubt, seeking professional advice from a vet may be a good idea.
Osteochondritis Dissecans is a condition that can affect the shoulder, elbow, and hock joints of your Anatolian shepherd.
The main symptom of this issue is lameness in the affected limb which will worsen over time if left untreated.
The cause of this problem is believed to be a nutritional imbalance during the rapid growth phase of puppies which results in the cartilage not developing correctly.
This can then lead to the cartilage becoming damaged and eventually breaking down which will cause pain in the joint.
Unfortunately, due to Osteochondritis Dissecans developing in Anatolian shepherd during the puppy stage, most people who purchase their dog from a breeder will be too late to prevent it.
You can try to always purchase your Anatolian shepherd from a reputable breeder but even then, there is a chance your Anatolian shepherd may develop Osteochondritis Dissecans later in life still.
Hip Dysplasia is a condition that can affect the hip joints of your Anatolian shepherd and is one of the most common problems seen in large dog breeds.
The main symptom of Hip Dysplasia is lameness in the rear legs which will worsen over time if left untreated.
Hip Dysplasia is a common issue for many dog breeds, not just the Anatolian shepherd and there has been a lot of research put into the condition in recent years.
Thankfully, if your Anatolian shepherd does develop Hip Dysplasia then its quality of life can be much higher than it would have once been with the correct treatment.
These treatments can be expensive though so we would always recommend that you consider a health insurance plan when you first get your Anatolian shepherd puppy if possible to help mitigate the costs.
Elbow Dysplasia is a condition that can affect the elbow joints of your Anatolian shepherd and is another common problem seen in the breed.
The main symptom of Elbow Dysplasia is lameness in the front legs which will worsen over time if left untreated.
Elbow Dysplasia, similar to Hip Dysplasia, is a common issue for many dog breeds, not just the Anatolian shepherd.
There are three main types of Elbow Dysplasia which are all caused by different factors but all will result in the same lameness symptom in your Anatolian shepherd.
Thankfully, elbow dysplasia is not as common as hip dysplasia in Anatolian shepherds so it is less of an issue but treatments for the condition can still be expensive so a pet insurance policy for your Anatolian shepherd can still be worth it.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that can affect your Anatolian shepherd and can cause seizures.
The main symptom of epilepsy is seizures which can range from mild to severe and may only happen occasionally or multiple times per day.
Epilepsy is a relatively common condition in dogs with around 5% of the canine population estimated to be affected by it but it is slightly more common in Anatolian shepherds.
Although issues with the diet of your Anatolian shepherd can increase the frequency of the symptoms of epilepsy showing in your dog, it does not increase the chances of the dog having epilepsy as some people think.
There are a number of doggy epilepsy treatments available to help deal with the condition but in mild cases, tweaks to your Anatolian shepherd’s diet may be able to control the problem.
You should book an appointment with your vet if your Anatolian shepherd starts to have issues with seizures though as epilepsy is not the only cause so you want confirmation that your dog actually has epilepsy before you give it treatment for the condition.
Cardiomyopathy is not as common in Anatolian shepherds as some of the other large dog breeds but the breed do still have a higher than average correlation with it.
The condition is due to the walls of the heart chambers in the dog becoming stretched, thickened or stiff causing your Anatolian shepherd’s heart to struggle to pump blood around your dog’s body.
Secondary problems can be common with Cardiomyopathy so getting professional advice from your vet is essential.
Although the condition may be operable in some rare cases, management of the condition in your Anatolian shepherd is the more common path for most people.
There are various different types of Thyroiditis but Autoimmune Thyroiditis is caused by the antibodies in your Anatolian shepherd attacking its thyroid by mistake.
Other causes of inflammation to your dog’s thyroid can also cause this issue but they are far less common than Autoimmune Thyroiditis in Anatolian shepherds.
This is definitely one that will need you to get your dog to a vet for professional advice as soon as possible.
There are multiple factors at play but in most cases, your Anatolian shepherd should have a manageable condition and the quality of life of the dog shouldn’t change too much.
Do Anatolian Shepherds Have Skin Issues?
Skin issues in Anatolian shepherds are not as common as the other issues covered above for the breed.
Still, there are a number of different skin issues that may end up affecting your pet Anatolian shepherd in some situations.
A very common skin condition is mites, especially if you work your Anatolian shepherd.
You can usually get a good idea if your Anatolian shepherd has mites by looking for signs of dry, irritated or hairless lesions on the dog.
These tend to be obvious and give you a quick and easy way to confirm the problem but thankfully, unlike the majority of the other conditions on this list, mites are very easy to treat.
The majority of pet stores will sell a suitable mite treatment and in specialist situations, your vet will be able to provide you with a stronger treatment if needed.
Can The Common Anatolian Shepherd Health Issues Be Treat By A Vet?
Depending on the specific Anatolian shepherd health problem that your dog develops, a vet may be able to treat the issue fully.
This can range from a topical treatment in the case of mites or a small operation in the case of some of the other conditions.
In most cases though, managing the health issue affecting your Anatolian shepherd is probably going to be the best you can hope for.
Thankfully, this is not as bad as most people initially think and depending on the health problem and how early you notice it developing in your Anatolian shepherd, your dog may go on as it would have without the health problem.
Most ways to manage common health problems in Anatolian shepherds involve medication and it can be problematic to get dogs to take their medication.
Other options such as some epilepsy treatments may just require you to tweak the diet of your Anatolian shepherd to help reduce the symptoms of the health issue.
A rare treatment option is regular injections but this is very rare these days and only needs to be done for a small number of health problems in a very specific situation.
If you are in any doubt then we would highly recommend that you take your Anatolian shepherd to your local veterinarian’s office to have them assess the health of your dog,
They will be in a much better position to offer you advice on treating or managing your Anatolian shepherd’s health problems after a full examination of the dog.
Will My Anatolian Shepherd’s Health Issues Effect Its Quality of Life?
Although some of the common health problems that could affect an Anatolian shepherd could end up having a negative effect on the dog for the rest of its life, most of the time, the quality of life of your dog will not diminish by much.
Modern treatment options and condition management options are much better than they were even five years ago and as we mentioned earlier in the article, it is rare that your Anatolian shepherd will end up having any long term problems.
Keep in mind that the sooner you notice any of these health issues and get professional treatment options the less likely it is for there to be any issues with the quality of life of your dog declining.
Just like most things when it comes to a health problem, the longer it is left to develop without being treat, the harder it will be to manage or treat so if in doubt, take your dog to the local vet for a checkup.
Will My Anatolian Shepherd’s Health Issues Effect Its Life Expectancy?
Depending on the specific health problem that your Anatolian shepherd has as well as how long it has been left to develop then the life expectancy of your Anatolian shepherd may decline.
Still, with proper treatment or management options implemented early, there may be no change to the life expectancy of your Anatolian shepherd and it may live to the average ten to thirteen year life expectancy.
Even if there is a slight decline in the life expectancy of your pet Anatolian shepherd, it may only take between 5% to 10% of the dog’s life expectancy away.
This is much better than other conditions that can be common in some other dog breeds and your Anatolian shepherd will still be able to live the majority of its life, often without much of a chance to its quality of life too.
As you can see, there are a number of health problems that could potentially affect your Anatolian shepherd.
The good news is that most of these health problems can be effectively managed or treated with modern veterinary options and the quality of life of your dog should not be significantly affected in most cases.
If you are ever in any doubt about the health of your Anatolian shepherd then make sure to take them to see a veterinarian for a checkup as early treatment is often the key to a successful outcome.
This list of health problems is not exhaustive and there may be other potential health problems that could affect your Anatolian shepherd so it is important to keep an eye out for anything and get it checked out as soon as possible!