German Shepherd Health

German shepherd health includes many things such as eating the right foods, giving your shepherd sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, and providing him with excellent veterinary care. Preventive veterinary care is perhaps the most effective way to improve and extend your German shepherd's life.

Holistic Medicine Versus Conventional Veterinary Medicine

Conventional veterinary medicine is most likely the type of care you are used to providing for your pets. The conventional veterinary practitioner prescribes medications, uses the latest diagnostic tools, and follows peer-reviewed studies that could impact or change the way she treats certain injuries or illnesses.

Veterinarians may specialize in a certain aspect of medicine, in much the same way a physician may choose to specialize in neurology or orthopedics. Veterinarians who complete at least three years of postgraduate studies in a special area of interest must undergo a peer review before they can receive the title of diplomate from various prestigious professional veterinary medicine organizations.

Holistic veterinary medicine includes such unconventional modalities as acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, flower essences, raw diets, nutraceuticals, Chinese medicine, and herbs. The holistic veterinarian is trained and has received her veterinarian medicine degree from a veterinary college that teaches conventional veterinary medicine.

Some holistic veterinarians combine conventional and holistic modalities. For example, a holistic veterinarian may utilize the latest diagnostic tools, from MRIs to specific blood and urine tests, as well as practice acupuncture. Whether you choose to go to a veterinarian with a conventional, holistic, or combined practice, you will want to find a professional who is not only skilled but who is also accessible. A veterinarian could be the most experienced, awarded, and titled individual in the country, but if you do not feel comfortable asking questions, all of this veterinarian's expertise is wasted. You and your German shepherd can not benefit from veterinary care unless you can freely communicate with your veterinarian.

Finding A Veterinarian

If you have had a dogs in the past and have worked with a veterinarian in your area, you are lucky. You do not have to search for veterinary care. If you are a first time dog owner or you are new to the area, you need to find someone to work with, preferably before your German shepherd comes home.

If you have adopted your shepherd from a local rescue, you will be given a list of preferred veterinarians. These are trusted veterinarians with whom individuals from the rescue have had good experiences. If you purchased a puppy from a local breeder, she most likely has some veterinarians to recommend as well.

Also check with the local animal shelters and humane societies. Certain veterinarians in the community donate or discount their services to shelters so that these shelters will have more money to care for and place animals. These veterinarians are often highly skilled, in addition to having their hearts in the right place.

When searching for a veterinarian, take into consideration where the veterinarian is located. In an emergency, you will appreciate someone who is right around the corner. You should also find out how much she charges for routine exams, how she handles after-hours emergencies, and what areas her interest and expertise lies. If she primarily treats exotic pets, you might feel more comfortable with someone who specializes in dogs. Even better is the veterinarian who specializes in dogs and genuinely likes German shepherds.

If costs are a concern to you, you might want to investigate the private practitioner's clinic. This professional often does not have the overhead of larger animal hospitals, which means she will likely have lower rates. Depending on the needs you anticipate for your dog, this option may be just fine.

Unfortunately, no one can anticipate an emergency. It is usually not a matter of if you and your German shepherd will have a veterinary crisis, but when. And animal hospital may be able to provide around-the-clock care, whereas a clinic may have to refer you to the emergency facility. Both services may be excellent; it could be a matter of what you are comfortable with, given the emergency clinic will not have your dog's records on hand; potential expenses, as independent emergency veterinary hospitals tend to charge high rates; and location. If an emergency clinic is halfway across town, it may not be a practical alternative.

Preventive Medicine

Puppies require multiple veterinary exams, vaccinations, and preventive medications in their first year. An adult dog may not require as much preventive veterinary medical care as a puppy; however, there are several preventive measures that need to be taken to ensure the best quality of life possible for your German shepherd.

Too often, owners fall into a false sense of security when their dogs are young because there are not many problems. But without early and continued care to prevent disease, your shepherd runs a high risk of becoming ill. Many of the diseases and parasites that can be crippling or even fatal are aviodable with today's veterinary medical care and general knowledge of how these diseases are transmitted.

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