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5 Common Health Issues in Large Dog Breeds


1. Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is an orthopedic condition in which the hip joints don’t fit correctly into or are located outside of the hip joint, depending on the severity of the condition. Although it’s unknown what exactly causes hip dysplasia, large breed dogs are at a higher risk for the disorder. While some dogs live normal, healthy lives with bad hips, others need surgery to even allow them to walk around. Fortunately, there is testing for canine hip dysplasia and breeders are working hard to eliminate the disease.


2. Elbow Dysplasia

Just like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia happens more often in large breed dogs than it does in smaller ones. Dogs can live normal lives with elbow dysplasia or may need surgery to allow them to live without pain. Although elbow dysplasia is the result of various abnormalities in the development in the elbow joint, it’s still unknown what exactly causes the disorder. There are tests to rule out unhealthy breeding stock, however, and breeders are consciously working towards eliminating the disease.


3. Bloat & Torsion

Bloat happens when the stomach fills with air, while torsion is when the stomach flips over on itself. This condition, known as Gastic Dilatation-Volvolvus, is an emergency as it is very shortly life-threatening. While the causes of GDV are still unknown, the condition does arise in large, deep-chested breeds far more than smaller dogs. If you own a large breed, it is very important to recognize the signs of GDV so you can get you dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.


4. Arthritis

While all dogs can and do develop arthritis as they age, certain diseases and injuries can increase the chances. Large breed dogs are more susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia and cruciate ligament tears. This makes them more likely to develop painful arthritis at a younger age. Larger dogs also age faster, causing arthritis to come on sooner.


5. Obesity

Obesity increases the dog’s risk of certain types of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.The best way to avoid and treat canine obesity is to provide your dog a healthy diet and give them regular exercise. Avoid the urge to overfeed them just because they seem hungry or because they look cute and deserving of treats because dogs require far fewer calories than we do. It’s best to consult your veterinarian before changing your dog’s food or exercise routine.

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