WRS is committed to educating the general public about responsible dog ownership and fundamental health care for their dogs. While Weimaraners are generally healthy dogs, it is the owner's responsibility to make sure they do as much as possible to ensure optimal health for their dogs. As Weimaraner owners living in the southeastern United States, the two biggest threats to your dog's health are heartworm disease and bloat.
Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, which are prevalent throughout our region all year long. Once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, it will become host to these deadly parasites that will eat away at your dog's heart and other vital organs, causing a slow, painful death. Treatment is available to dogs who are infected with heartworms, but it is very expensive (upwards of $500), lengthy (a minimum of 8 weeks of care), and physically grueling on the dog (it must remain on crate rest and minimal activity). Every year, about 40% of the dogs WRS rescues are heartworm positive and must undergo treatment before they can be made available for adoption. However, it is crucial to know that heartworms is a COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE disease. There are many wonderful heartworm preventation medications that can be prescribed by your veterinarian that will protect your dog from contracting this otherwise fatal disease. These medications can be given orally or topically every month, or there is a 6 month shot. We encourage all dog owners to speak to their vet to determine what product is best for their dog. Diligence in administering the drugs is key to success and it is recommended that all dogs get annual blood tests to make sure they remain heartworm negative. For more information regarding heartworm disease, please visit the American Heartworm Society's website.
Bloat (Gastric Torsion)
All Weimaraner owners need to be educated about bloat (Gastric Torsion), what to do to minimize your dog's risks, how to recognize the signs that your dog is bloating, and what to do if your dog does bloat. In simple terms, bloat occurs when a dog's stomach fills with air and then twists. This is an emergency situation which requires immediate surgery to have any chance of survival. Bloat can be caused by over eating, exercise after eating, drinking excessive amounts of water, stress, etc. To minimize the risk of bloat, experts recommend that Weimaraners (and any deep chested dog breed) be fed at least 2 small meals each day rather than 1 large meal. Do not allow your dog to drink large amounts of water at one "sitting". Restrict exercise 45 minutes before AND after each meal. Signs that your dog is bloating can include pacing, drooling, unproductive attempts to throw up, unproductive attempts to defecate, restlessness, and looking toward the belly. The belly is usually distended (bloated). It will be hard & tight... almost looks like they've swallowed a basketball. If you suspect that your dog is bloating, please do not delay in getting your dog to your veterinarian. Time is crucial. If it is the weekend or after hours, please go to your closest emergency vet clinic. Please click HERE for more information on bloat, how to recognize it, and what to do if your dog does bloat.
Poisons and Other Emergencies
Weimaraners are notorious for being counter surfers and indiscriminate eaters. At some point, they will eat something that they shouldn't and that may be potentially toxic. There are Animal Poison Control Centers which can help save your pet's life in an emergency. If you suspect your dog has eaten something toxic, one source you can call is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 888.426.4435 (You will need to have a credit card available for the ASPCA site. They charge $65 fee per emergency to help pay on call vet staff 24 hours per day)
EMERGENCY window decals can save your pets' lives during a natural disaster or fire. They say "In case of emergency, Please save my pets. I have __ dogs inside the house". The ASPCA offers a free emergency kit which includes a window decal. Order yours today!
Every owner should make sure their dog wears an Identification Tag (with current contact information) on their collar and is microchipped. Should your dog ever get lost, the fastest and easiest way to ensure their safe return is to have your contact information readily available to whomever finds your dog. A microchip should serve as a back up plan, not as the first line of defense, should your dog get lost. Please remember that almost everyone now carries a mobile phone, but no one carries around a microchip scanner!