Is a Giant Dog Breed Right for Me?
Chris Longenecker, a Certified Veterinary Technician in Reading, PA, contributed to this article.
Some dog breeds are cute. Some dog breeds are elegant. Giant dogs are downright impressive.
Before you fall in love with a cute, giant puppy (or even if you have one already) there are a few things you need to know about.
Bloat is the ultimate killer. This complicated condition leads to extreme bloating of the stomach, which can sometimes twist around itself. As the stomach gets bigger, it pushes on every organ in the belly. The end result is pain, shock and retching, which means the dog tries to vomit but cannot.
This condition is only fixable with surgery. It is a true veterinary emergency as death of the organs (and the dog) can occur quickly. This condition occurs mostly in large breed and deep chested dogs.
To stop it from twisting, the stomach can be “tacked,” ideally, when a puppy is already under anesthesia to be spayed or neutered. Of course it can be done at any other time for at risk breeds. The stomach is sutured to the inside of the belly. It is important to understand that the stomach can still get distended with air, but it should not twist. Learn more about bloat here.
Hip and elbow dysplasia often occur in these giants because of their rapid growth from puppies to adults and poor breeding. A tear of the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is one of the most common problems we see.
Another condition that is mostly seen in large and giant dogs is bone cancer. It mostly affects older dogs and occasionally very young dogs. This aggressive disease requires aggressive treatment, which usually involves amputation and chemotherapy.
It is a sad fact that giant breeds tend to have a shorter lifespan than small breeds. The exact reasons are controversial but this is something to be aware of. Then again, with better
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