Jasmin was just 1 month shy of becoming 10 y/o when she crossed the Rainbow Bridge on December 21, 2010. She was a very stoic Great Dane.
I want to share our experience with Jasmin in hopes you never have to experience any of these problems with your Great Danes.
At the begining of this year Jasmin had a sudden episode of lameness in her back hind leg while we were in the back yard and would not bear weight on it. She was not running and I could not a reason why she suddenly just lifted her rear left leg and wouldn't walk. I helped her into the house, checked over her leg, paw and toes and found nothing. She showed no signs of pain. We took her to the vet and it was diagnosed as a torn ACL & she was to see and orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon was not available for a few weeks and in that time frame we were called by our original vet and advised that they suspected Jasmin had an osteosarcoma just above her knee. An Osteosarcoma is one of the worst diagnosis anyone wants to hear, especially with an older Dane. An appointment was made @ our request with a vet that specializes in large animals. During the next week before the appointment Jasmin began bearing weight on her left leg and now was having difficulty with her right.....wtf? Obviously a torn ACL was ruled out as well as an Osteosarcoma-yay! Jasmin was given acupuncture and some chiropractic care and the very next day she was walking on both hind legs, not walking her normal gait but walking without assistance. Jasmin's lameness would continue to wax & wane over the months, one day she would do fairly well then the next day out of the blue she sould not walk without her hind legs crisscrossing and tripping her up.
Over the next 7 months Jasmin was placed on Prednisone which allowed her to be mobile on her own but recently she developed a UTI with heavy E.Coli. After 3 months of multiple medications Jasmin's UTI would seem to go away only to return on the very last day of her meds. Not being able to come off medications for atleast a week we were unable to have another urine culture done. In this time frame her hind legs became weaker and weaker to the point of her not being able to walk on her own for more than 1 - 2 steps then she would sit down. We would have to basically carry her hind end to get her to walk outside just to do her business.
Jasmin remained a very happy dog but would spend the entire day sitting on her doggie bed until someone would lift her and help her to go outside, then she would only do her business and want to lay down. Jasmin was 165 lbs.
It appeared as if she had nerve damage somewhere in her lower spine but all the vets disagreed. We were given the option of a Myelogram but opted not to put Jasmin thru that as she is allergic to many many medications and we felt she would not survive the sedation never mind if a disc problem was found, she would not survive surgery. We just couldn't put Jasmin thru anymore, after almost a full year of acupuncture, medications, multiple vet visits & chiropractic care Jasmin was assisted across the Rainbow's Bridge.
This was one of the most difficult decisions my husband and I have ever had to make. We love our dogs like they are our children. Now we have Moose still at home, he will also be turning 10 next month. Moose is showing signs of slowing down a bit but will still take off out the back door to chase anything then the next morning he has a little limp in his stride-Mobic is now in his daily routine.
Moose is getting lumpy and bumpy & has had atleast one mass removed that was the size of a grapefruit. He is doing well but misses his sister Jasmin. We will be taking special care of Moose to keep him from feeling lonely.
Here are a few pictures of our Jasmin. Even up to the time of Jasmin crossing the Rainbow Bridge, none of our vets were able to make a diagnosis on her lameness and most agreed it was not nerve damage - we believe this was the case.
During this experience I learned that Jasmin was allergic to Keflex, sulfa drugs, most pain meds and anti inflammatory medications. After Jasmin received a dose of Keflex years ago she exhibited the very exact symptoms of lameness in her hind end, never did anyone tell me that Great Danes are sensitive to Keflex....I found information to prove that much later after searching and searching on the internet. Most of our vets ( not all) were understanding and didn't think we were crazy about all of the allergies but after thinking back we were able to prove it without a doubt.
I don't know if past medications, diet and vacinations had a role in Jasmins complications as she grew older but I had stopped giving her rabies vacinations a few years back. Moose is getting some of his shots as he does go out to public places but no more rabies for him either, he is 10 .....he isn't going to be around for many more years and we don't want him to have anything in his system that he doesn't need. I have even gone as far as making his food for him. With Moose being 10 already I think it would be difficult to switch him to a RAW diet otherwise I would have done it already.
**These are just our opinions and past experiences with our Great Danes. I have also been involved in Great Dane rescue for the past 5 years & feel we have seen the best of the best when it comes to our local vets.
Please educate yourself before becoming a Great Dane owner as these gentle giants can have a multitude of problems and a dog at 165 lbs is much more difficult to care for than a 25lb dog. I will continue to have Great Danes but want to make sure everyone understands just what it takes to care for them. A large van or truck is the ideal vehicle so they do not have to jump in...as they are puppies you might think it's fine but as an adult Dane it is very hard on their joints. A king sized bed would also be a plus as they want to be right on you.....literally. I will miss her 165lbs pushing us off the bed at night....you must get to bed before the dog!
We are open to your questions but will not respond to any negative comments made on this blog.