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Feet, Toes, Anal Maladies (Perianal Fistulas) | German Shepherd

Next, check out your German Shepherd's feet, making sure the toes are not swollen or misaligned, and that there are no split nails or abrasions; active dogs can sometimes also get pebbles, twigs or other small items stuck in their paws, and this can be painful and cause limping; luckily, in most cases, you'll be able to remove the item from where it's stuck. Also be sure to look around your German Shepherd's anal region to make sure there is no redness or swelling; be mindful of “scooting” along the floor (this can be a sign of perianal fistulas, a serious condition), or your dog's frequent licking of the area. German Shepherds are unfortunately quite prone to perianal fistulas, due in large part to the high number of glands in the perianal area when compared to other breeds. This can quickly become an uncomfortable situation for your German Shepherd, but there are procedures (ranging from simply clipping the hair around the anal region, to thoroughly bathing the anal area, along with even surgery) available.

Additionally, examine your German Shepherd's stool to make sure it isn't black or bloody; these can be serious warning signs. Also make sure that there are no changes in your dog's genitals or mammary regions; discharge or changes in urine can be strong health indicators. Finally, take a closer look at your dog's skin to make sure there are no sores or red spots, lumps, or hair loss; be wary also of parasites.

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