GSMD Health


Gastric Dilatation/Volvulus (GDV)

GDV is typically known as bloat.  Dogs of all breeds can bloat but it commonly affects large breed dogs.  The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is no exception.  GDV causes the stomach to fill with gas that cannot be expelled naturally.  As a result the stomach can become so dilated that it will rotate and cut off the blood supply. 

Clinical signs of GDV are distention of the abdomen, pale gums, drooling, retching, lack of appetite and lethargy.  This condition requires IMMEDIATE VETERINARY INTERVENTION.

There is a preventative measure that can be taken.  Laparoscopic Gastropexy is a procedure where the right side of the stomach is tacked to the right side of the body wall preventing the stomach from rotating.    It is a minimally invasive surgery with smaller incisions, less pain and a quick recovery.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is an abnormal formation or degeneration of the hip socket.  It is thought to be influenced by both genetics and environment factors.  When the ball  (caput) of the hip joint does not fit snuggly into the socket (acetabulum) it will cause subluxation and most likely result in osteoarthritis.

Breeders can have hip radiographs  evaluated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Inc. (OFA) to ensure there is no evidence of dysplasia. 

Left, you will see an example of OFA certified Excellent hips.

Barton Manor II’s Rosalie

Elbow Dysplasia

“The elbow joint is composed of three bones (radius, ulna, and humerus) which must all grow together and fit perfectly. The radius is the main weightbearing bone.  The ulna serves more as a lever arm for the extensor muscles of the elbow joint.”  “Elbow dysplasia is characterized by varying degrees of elbow incongruity, bony fragments (bone chips), and ultimately, severe arthritic change.  The term was introduced to describe generalized osteoarthritis (arthritis) of the elbow joint in which the anconeal process may be ununited, the medial coronoid of the ulna may be fragmented, and osteochondrosis of the humeral condyle may be present.   (

To the right are OFA certified normal elbows.

Clarissa From Balihara Ranch

Splenic Torsion

Splenic torsion is a condition where the spleen twists.  The arteries continue to pump blood into the spleen resulting in an enlarged and painful organ. It can occur by itself or in conjunction with gastric dilatation/volvulus.  Symptoms are very similar to GDV and also requires IMMEDIATE VETERINARY INTERVENTION.

Osteochondrosis (OCD)

“While the exact mode of inheritance is unknown, osteochondrosis is considered to be an inherited disease.  In affected individuals there is a disruption in ossification of the cartilage mold beneath the articular cartilage of the joint.  This results in aseptic necrosis and when the weakened area collapses, the articular cartilage fractures resulting in lameness.”

“OCD has been reported to occur in the shoulder, elbow, stifle, hock and spine, and can be unilateral or bilateral.  Most affected dogs that develop clinical signs are less than one year of age.”

“OCD is seen in many breeds but appears to be more common in the larger body type breeds.  It is also seen more frequently in males than females.” (


“Idiopathic epilepsy is a specific term referring to a seizure disorder that has no identifiable cause.  It is also referred to as genetic or congenital epilepsy.  The terms epilepsy, seizure, fit or convulsion all mean the same thing.  The physical manifestation of a sudden, excessive electrical discharge of neurons in the brain that results in a series of involuntary contractions of the voluntary muscles, abnormal sensations, abnormal behaviors , or some combination of events.” (

Urinary Incontinence in Females

Normally incontinence in females is due to a deficiency of estrogen.  This hormone is important in maintaining muscle tone of the urethral sphincter.  In a relaxed state the female may leak urine.  In an effort to prevent this condition we recommend that you allow your female to have no less than two heat cycles before spaying.


Entropion is the turning inward of the eyelids.  It occurs when the skin of  the eyelid comes into contact with the corneal surface of the eye thus causing corneal irritation . Although this condition can affect upper and lower eyelids, it is seen more often on the lower lids.  It can have varying degrees of severity and can be corrected surgically.  It is a condition that can affect many purebred dogs.


Distichiasis is a condition in which extra eyelashes are found on the inside of the lower and/or upper eyelids.  The lashes can cause irritation and tearing as it rubs the eye surface, or they can remain asymptomatic.  Problematic lashes can be removed by cauterization or cryotherapy.