greater swiss mountain dog breed information

common health issues

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit well together, resulting in a hip with increased laxity. This laxity can lead to degenerative changes and depending on the severity, may require surgical correction.

von Willebrand's Disease is a blood clotting defect. There are three subcategories of the disease that vary in severity, and a blood test is available to measure the amount of von Willebrand factor (which aids with clotting) in the blood. This is recommended in all susceptible breeds prior to surgery to prevent possibly fatal consequences.

GDV describes a condition whereby a dog's stomach becomes dilated with air and then, while dilated, twists over on itself, effectively sealing the stomach. The most common sign of bloat is a firm, distended stomach, especially if it seems to occur rapidly. GDV is one of the true life-threatening emergencies in dogs and many cases require emergency surgery.

Epilepsy is a neurologic disease that manifests as seizures. Often epilepsy is idiopathic (meaning there is no known cause) and generally we see the onset between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. Treatment for this life-long condition centers on controlling seizures with oral medication.

Elbow dysplasia is actually a collective term which refers to the effects of one or more diseases of the elbow joint which result in pain and arthritis. Many of these problems can affect both elbows and result in forelimb lameness and elbow pain, often requiring surgical correction.

Distichiasis is a condition in which extra hairs grow out of the area of the eyelashes. These hairs can be thick and stiff and can irritate the eye, resulting in painful corneal ulcers. There are several options for treatment, but the most common is cryosurgery to freeze the eyelid margin where the extra hairs are. Even with treatment, this condition can recur.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (or “Swissy”) was developed in a remote area of Switzerland and was used for draft work and guarding livestock. This breed is large and confident, and robust enough to perform farm work in the very mountainous terrain. The entire breed almost died out by the late 19th century because machines and other breeds were used for farm work, but was rediscovered in the early 1900s.

The Swissy is a very social breed – they love people, but they also love having a job to do. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are happiest when backpacking, hiking or herding with their human companions.

Although this breed makes a great hiking companion, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – not to mention your budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses which Swissies are prone to include hip and joint problems such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia; blood diseases such as von Willebrand Disease; neurological problems such as epilepsy; eye conditions such as distichiasis; and internal issues such as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat).

Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Swissy has the misfortune of inheriting his father’s bad hips or his mother’s eyelash issues, you’re covered.

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

claim calculator

  • your share of the cost: $450
  • Petplan's reimbursement to you: $1,550
  • coverage remaining in policy period: Unlimited
    (full policy limits are reinstated upon renewal)