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5 Health Problems in German Shorthaired Pointers: Vet Approved Facts

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Nicole Cosgrove

5 Health Problems in German Shorthaired Pointers: Vet Approved Facts


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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As an energetic and lively breed, German Shorthaired Pointers are prone to a few health problems. Pet owners should be aware of potential health problems that might affect their pets so they can recognize signs early.

In this article, we’ll explore the most common health problems in German Shorthaired Pointers, as well as what you can do to keep your pooch healthy and happy.

divider-pawThe 5 Health Problems in German Shorthaired Pointers

1. Hip Dysplasia

Type Genetic
Treatment Diet, medication, therapy
Prevention Exercise and diet

Hip dysplasia is a very common health problem in German Shorthaired Pointers. This is a condition where the dog’s hip joint doesn’t fit into the socket like it’s supposed to, causing pain and lameness. GSPs are particularly susceptible to this condition due to their athletic build and heavy muscling.

To treat hip dysplasia, your veterinarian may recommend weight management, exercise modification, and pain relief medication. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to hip dysplasia. Be sure to purchase your German Shorthaired Pointer from a reputable breeder who health tests their dogs for this condition. Moreover, you should feed your GSP a nutritious diet and keep them at a healthy weight to minimize the risk of developing hip dysplasia.

2. Pannus

Type Hereditary
Treatment Medication
Prevention Adopt a healthy dog

Pannus is an eye condition that causes the tissue around the eyeball to become inflamed. German Shorthaired Pointers are particularly susceptible to this condition, which can eventually lead to blindness if it isn’t treated.

If your GSP has red, inflamed eyes, it’s important to take them to the vet for an exam. The good news is that pannus is treatable with the right medication. Your vet will likely prescribe an eye drop or ointment to help clear up the inflammation. Additional treatments can include sunglasses to help protect your dog’s eyes from UV light, which can worsen the condition.

3. OCD (Osteochondrosis Dissecans)

Type Genetic
Treatment Medication, surgery
Prevention N/A

This is a condition that affects the cartilage in the joints. It can cause pain and lameness in affected dogs. German Shorthaired Pointers are particularly susceptible to this condition. OCD typically develops in German Shorthaired Pointers when they are between 6 and 9 months old. The condition is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and diet and hormonal factors.

Affected dogs can be treated with rest, medication, passive exercises, or surgery. If you notice your GSP chewing or licking at a joint, or if they seem to be in pain, contact your vet right away for diagnostics and a treatment plan.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent OCD in German Shorthaired Pointers. The best thing you can do is to have your dog checked by a vet regularly and to make sure their diet does not have excessive calcium.

German shorthaired dog on the grass
Image By: EvaHeaven2018, Shutterstock

4. Gastric Torsion

Type Genetic
Treatment Surgery
Prevention Adjust diet

This is a serious condition that can affect deep-chested breeds, and unfortunately, the German Shorthaired Pointer is no exception. Gastric torsion occurs when the stomach twists on itself, cutting off the blood supply.

This can happen after a big meal or exercise, and it’s a medical emergency. If you think your dog may be suffering from gastric torsion, get to the vet immediately.

Treatment for gastric torsion involves surgery to untwist the stomach, and it’s often successful if caught early. However, dogs that suffer from gastric torsion are at risk for developing it again, so it’s important to watch for signs and get to the vet right away if you think your dog is affected.

You can help prevent gastric torsion by feeding your GSP smaller meals more often and avoiding exercise immediately after eating.

5. Entropion

Type Hereditary
Treatment Surgery
Prevention N/A

This is a condition where the eyelids fold inwards, causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye and causing irritation. It is a hereditary condition and can be corrected surgically. Ectropion is the opposite of entropion, where the eyelids fold outwards. This can also be caused by genetics or an injury. Surgery can also correct this problem.

Most German Shorthaired Pointers develop entropion when they’re puppies, so it’s not something you should have to worry about if your dog is older. However, if your dog does develop this condition, it’s important to take them to the vet so they can get the corrective surgery they need.

divider-dog pawGerman Shorthaired Pointer Care Tips

If you are thinking of getting a German Shorthaired Pointer, congrats! You are about to get one of the best dogs out there. But with great power comes great responsibility, and as such, you need to be prepared to take care of your new furry friend. Here are some tips on how to take care of a GSP.

  • Give Them Exercise Regularly: Your German Shorthaired Pointer needs at least an hour of exercise every day. A good way to get them the exercise they need is to take them for a long walk or run. You can also take them to the park to play fetch or Frisbee.
  • Feed Them a Healthy Diet: A healthy diet is important for all dogs, but it’s especially important for German Shorthaired Pointers because they are prone to weight gain. Make sure to feed them high-quality dog food appropriate for their age and activity level.
  • Grooming: German Shorthaired Pointers need to be groomed on a regular basis. This includes brushing their teeth, trimming their nails, and brushing their coat.
  • Training: GSPs are intelligent dogs that need to be trained. They need to know basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and down. Training will help them be well-behaved dogs. These are just a few tips on how to take care of a German Shorthaired Pointer. With lots of love and care, you will be well on your way to having a happy and healthy dog.
Brown German Shorthaired Pointer hunting
Image By: Vitalii Mamchuk, Shutterstock


While the German Shorthaired Pointer is generally a healthy breed, there are a few health conditions to be aware of. If you are thinking of adding a GSP to your family, be sure to do your research and work with a reputable breeder to ensure you’re getting a healthy pup. With proper care and nutrition, your GSP can enjoy a long and happy life.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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