Common Diseases in Rottweiler

Most dog breeds are susceptible to certain diseases, and rottweilers are no exception. While these dogs are generally healthy, they can be prone to certain bone and joint diseases, such as hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis dissecans. Rottweilers also are prone to a genetic brain disorder called subaortic stenosis and bleeding diseases.

Osteochondrosis Dissecans

  • Osteochondrosis dissecans, commonly called OCD, is a bone disease that can cause lameness and arthritis in rottweilers. OCD happens when thick cartilage, rather than bone, forms in the joints. When stressed, the cartilage can tear apart in flaps or even break completely free of the bone. This can cause a dog considerable pain. It can be treated by surgery.

Hip Dysplasia

  • Hip dysplasia is a painful condition found in many large dog breeds, including the rottweiler. Hip dysplasia occurs when the bones that connect to form the hip joint do not fit together properly. This can cause pain and lameness. Surgery can usually correct hip dysplasia, but it can be expensive for the owner and painful for the dog.

Von Willebrand's Disease

  • Von Willebrand's disease is a hereditary bleeding disease that is similar to hemophilia. Dogs with this condition may bleed profusely if a toenail is cut too short or may hemorrhage during minor surgery. A veterinarian can screen for this disease with a blood test.

Subaortic Stenosis

  • Subaortic stenosis is a hereditary heart disease that can result in sudden death in a rottweiler. There is often no warning that a dog has this disease. Canine cardiologists are working to understand this disease better.


  • Hypothyroidism is often a problem for older rottweilers. This disease occurs when the level of thyroid hormone in the blood becomes low. Hypothyroidism can cause the dog to be mentally slow, and have a thin, dull coat. Hypothyroidism can be treated with thyroid hormones.