You will find information here on problems afflicting our beloved breed. Some problems are more common that others, but they are all problems that we should be aware of and educate ourselves about.
Bloat - The Word All Dane Owners Fear Most
Great Dane owners everywhere surely cringe when they hear this word. A new or prospective dane owner may not know the signifigance of this word. LEARN IT!! Unfortunately, it is a word you may become all too familiar with. Bloat is what happens when a dane's stomach swells. This is not fatal, but what happens along with it can be, and often is. Torsion is what happens when the dane bloats and none of the gasses can escape the stomach cavity. Organs get damaged, tissue dies, and your dane can die as well. Rather than try to explain bloat in my terms, I have listed a few links here that can help you understand bloat and torsion more. I CAN NOT EMPHASIZE ENOUGH THE IMPORTANCE OF LEARNING THE SYMPTOMS OF BLOAT!! You absolutely cannot put off veterinary care. It WILL NOT go away. If you even THINK your dane is bloating, get to the vet IMMEDIATELY. Read up on the subject, chances are - one day you may need to know this stuff. A recent study showed that 1 in every 4 great danes will bloat.
What causes Bloat? No one knows the EXACT cause, but read up about it more here: Bloat In Dogs
Gastropexy is a preventive surgery to help prevent your dog from going into the torsion phase. It's recommended for great danes. Read more here: Gastropexy-What It Is, How It's Done
My last two cents on the subject - Don't ASSUME your vet knows what to do if your dane bloats. You don't want to find this out the hard way. Some vets don't know how to treat bloat, some vets WON'T treat bloat, and some vets PRETEND to know what they're doing. Find out BEFORE HAND if your vet is willing and able to treat your dane should he or she bloat.
Here are more links on the subject of bloating, tubing, and gastropexy:
Vaccinations are being researched more thoroughly by veterinarians and scientists each day. Over-vaccination has been linked to many of the health problems that are afflicting our Great Danes today. Please research and make your decisions wisely. It has been proven that it is not necessary to vaccinate your pets every year, despite what some veterinarians tell their clients. Don't line your vet's pockets at the expense of your Great Dane's health. Do your research!!
Wobblers is a subject I know very little about, as luckily I have never had to deal with it. I know it can be a devasting disability that could possibly cost your dane his or her life. Luckily, modern technology and education have meant an increased survival rate in dogs afflicted with wobblers.
Unfortunately, I know this disease all to well. It claimed the life of my first great dane, Hootch at the age of three. He was the entire reason I ever got so head over hills into danes and later, dane rescue. One day he was a happy healthy boy, going on 2 to 3 mile walks, bounding off after deer, and playing soccer for hours. The next day he was gasping for breath after having only walked a portion of our walk. After taking him to the vet and being told he was just adjusting to the warming weather, I put my concerns at ease. BIG mistake. He died shortly after. A necropsy found DCM to be the cause of death.
To learn about this sudden and sometimes silent killer, visit these sites: Hank's Story
Orthopedic, Skeletal and Muscular Problems
HOD (Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy) is a painful and dehabilitating disease that affects the limbs of growing dogs. It is excruciating for the dog and can sometimes be fatal.
To learn more about HOD click on the links below: HOD
Panosteitis (Pano for short) is characterized by sudden lameness in a growing puppy with no obvious trauma as the cause. This generally affects males more than females and can occur any time during the rapid growth period.
To find more on causes (speculated causes) and treatments, click on the links below. PANO
Osteochondrosis Desseicans (OCD) is a disorder characterized by abnormal calcification of the joint cartilage. It can affect primary and secondary centers of bone growth, joint cartilage, and growth plate cartilage.
As your dane gets older, he will begin to slow down and show some wear and tear. He may not be able to do the things he once did, and may even have elimination problems as well as trouble getting up and down. As danes are extremely dignified, please never scold him for his failings. He loves you as much now as he ever did, and in fact, needs you more than ever. To scold him for his new problems would break his heart. Try to make sure he is comfortable and make time for an extra potty break or two.