5 Common Large Dog Breed Diseases

by Guest Blogger Shawn

If you are fans of German Shepherds, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, and Pyrenees breeds, then you belong in the exclusive community who love large bred dogs.

Large dog breeds are often misunderstood and seen as aggressive types.  Large dog breed dogs are as soft as they come. Their big hearts hold a lot of love for us. In return, we should be vigilant that they are well taken care of.

Here are 5 illnesses commonly seen in large breed dogs. Not only senior dogs, even puppies, and adult dogs are at risk.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is one of the most common diseases seen in large breed dogs. It’s a hereditary disorder which causes a large breed dog’s hip and sockets joint to misalign.  According to research conducted by Cornell University College, over 50% of big and large breed dogs are prone to this illness.

One of the primary signs for hip dysplasia is when your dog chooses inactivity. Advanced stages of this disorder can lead to a crippling lameness of the joints and eventually, arthritis.

Standard Poodles, Bernese Mountain Dogs, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers are common large breeds diagnosed with this ailment.

If the disease is diagnosed before your pup is 10 months old, a triple pelvic osteotomy can be used to reverse the partial dislocations.

Senior dogs will need hip replacement procedures to get relief from the pain and adequately walk again.

The best way to prevent hip dysplasia is to keep your furry friend in an ideal weight and doing regular exercise.

Aortic Stenosis

In layman terms, an Aortic Stenosis is when the heart’s valve and adjacent arteries constrict and obstructing blood flow, causing the dog’s heart to pump harder than usual.  It’s also a congenital disease and commonly seen in large breed dogs. It’s a dangerous illness as most of the time there are no stable symptoms. This makes it very difficult to take note of and diagnose.

However, if you see increased intolerance, difficulty breathing and coughing you should contact an animal hospital or your vet as soon as possible.

Make sure you follow up with the veterinarian regarding the condition of your dog’s heart. Dogs with mild conditions of this disorder should be kept from doing extensive exercise and stay at a balanced weight limit.

In severe cases, your pup may need powerful beta-blocker drugs or even invasive surgery.

Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Newfoundland, and Boxer breed dogs are commonly susceptible to this disease.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis falls under what we know as a degenerative joint disease; it’s mostly seen in senior and elderly dogs. Over time, the cartilage in the dog’s joints shrinks causing intense pain.

This is another type of arthritis in dogs, different than that caused by infections or cancer. It places a high amount of stress on the joints.

Dogs suffering from this painful disorder will have to limp while doing any movement.  The disorder targets joints, which leads to swelling and in advanced stages you can hear the sound of bones grating when your pooch tries to walk.

Standard treatment of arthritis starts with NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) or Steroids. These medications can have a few side effects on your dog’s stomach, and long-term use is not advised.

There are effective surgical solutions available that repairs the damage or replaces the joint. However, vets sometimes amputate in severe cases.

To fight Osteoarthritis, your dog will need your help to go through some lifestyle changes. Losing weight to relieve pressure on the joints and taking Glucosamine supplements are the most commonly recommended changes.

Entropion

Entropion in dogs occurs when the eyelids in dogs roll inwards or outwards.  This causes the eyelashes to rub against the cornea irritating constantly.

Although it’s not a disease exclusive to large breed dogs, it’s an important one to nonetheless.

When the eyelid rolls back inwards, it can cause a tear in the eyelid, and the cornea may be inflamed. The worst damage from entropion comes from the dogs themselves when they try to scratch or paw on the eyes.

According to a report from Michigan Ave Animal Hospital, the Entropion surgery holds a 90-95% success rate that includes repairing the lacerations in the cornea. Some dogs require multiple surgeries, but all of them makes a good recovery.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, Gastric Torsion or in simple terms Bloating might be the most dangerous illness for any dog. Large breed dogs are prone to this fatal disorder due to their shape of chests.

In gastric torsion, the gas builds up in the stomach and expands rapidly in the chest cavity. There are two common reasons for this build-up.  The first can be pointed to your dog – who is a binge eater and gulps down large amounts of air alongside the meal. The other reason is overeating causing stomach gas.

Usually gas is never an issue, but when the stomach or intestines twist cutting off blood flow, your dog goes into dangerous territory.

Common symptoms of GDV include abnormal breathing and heart rates, excessive salivation, retching, and bloated abdomen. If the vena cava artery is compressed for too long, the shock will settle in.

You should call emergency animal services or your vet the moment you notice the symptoms as GDV can kill a dog within minutes.  After that try to stabilize your dog and if possible decompress the stomach. This will reverse any twisting that occurred inside.

Speed is the key to successful recovery, and many large breed dogs have been saved due to quick actions by owners.

Always monitor your dog during meal times or use a slow feeding bowl to be on the safe side.

Final Thoughts

Dogs are more than just pets; they are our best friends. It falls onto us to properly care to their needs including providing nutritious food, better training, and knowledge about these disorders.

At least now you are better prepared. With all the love and loyalty they give us, this is the least we can do.

Author Bio:

Shawn is a content writer at FeedFond. He’s a doting father not only to his two children but also to his two Golden Retrievers. Check out more of his articles at FeedFond.com.

 

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