Medical Conditions


Bloat is a simple term that describes a very serious and potentially deadly medical condition called Gastric Torsion. The animals stomach fills up with air puts pressure on the other organs and diaphragm. Once filled with air the stomach twists or rotates on itself. This twist cuts off blood supply. The stomach then begins to die and blood supply to the rest of the body is interrupted.

Symptoms include rapid abdominal distension, rapid shallow breathing, non-productive vomiting and retching, often coupled with restlessness and pacing. Profuse salivation may indicate severe pain of your pet. Dogs suffering this condition may go into shock quickly. They have a weak pulse and rapid heartbeat.

If you notice these symptoms contact your emergency vet immediately and get there as quickly as possible.

After assessment, your dog may be tubed to eliminate the excess gas. Once stable, an x-ray will be taken to determine if the stomach has flipped. If it the stomach has flipped a surgical procedure will correct the problem. During the surgery a vet will tack the stomach to prevent it from flipping again in the future.

Breeds with deep chests and thin abdomens are most susceptible. It is not limited to Great Danes.



Why we recommend that Great Danes be Indoor Dogs

Heat stroke is unfortunately a common occurrence in summer months for large breed animals. Heat stroke is a very serious condition and without quick medical care can be fatal. Many people may think that keeping these animals in a shaded area with fresh water can prevent heat stroke. In fact, drinking excessive amounts of water to try and cool off can lead to bloat. Another potentially deadly condition.

Normal body temperature for a dog is 100 to 103 degrees. Heat stroke occurs when the body temperature is 106 degrees or higher. At temperatures that high, it does not take long to literally boil the internal organs of an animal. With extremely warms days, it is very easy for a health animal’s body temp to rise to dangerous levels. The sick and injured animals are even more susceptible to heat conditions.

Dogs perspire through panting and through their nose and pads of their feet. They simply cannot process extreme heat conditions in the same way humans can. Great Danes would much prefer the cool concrete, wood floor or tile floor in your house to sleep on due to the cooling affects of the surfaces.

How to Recognize & Treat Heat Stroke

  • Excessive panting / heavy breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bright Red Tongue, thick saliva / drool
  • Vomiting
  • Body temp of 106 degrees or higher (measured with rectal thermometer)
Seek IMMEDIATE Medical Treatment
    • Mild cases respond to moving the dog to a cooler surrounding with fans or air-conditioning.
    • If possible place the tub or shower and run cool water over the dog. If this is impossible, hose your dog down with a garden hose — focus on areas of the body where skin is exposed — belly, groin, armpits, etc. If nothing else use wet towels to cover the body.
    • Run Cool Water in their mouths — but do NOT let them drink excessive amounts of water.


  • Restrict exercise during the heat of the day in summer.
  • Crate a dog only in an wired or mesh cage, in a cool, well ventilated area.
  • Provide shade & shelter and plenty of fresh cool water to dogs living in outdoor runs.
  • Keep older dogs & those with medical conditions inside except for brief potty breaks.
  • Do not expose dogs with respiratory issues or impaired breathing to prolonged heat.


Hip Dysplasia

By: Dr. Patrisha Young, Steele Creek Animal Hospital

What is Hip Dysplasia?

The term Hip Dysplasia refers to poor formation of the hip joint and describes the most common inherited orthopedic disease seen in a veterinary practice. Though most commonly seen in large to giant breed dogs, Hip Dysplasia can affect any size or breed of dog and some cats.

Hip Dysplasia can affect dogs in several ways. The severe form affects the younger pet causing lameness and marked pain. These symptoms certainly can interfere with a young dog’s activity and attitude. The more chronic form will often remain undetected until the dog ages. This pet will experience intermittent pain, stiffness and lameness that worsens over time. The looseness in the hip joints of a dysplastic dog eventually results in degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis.

What are the Most Common Symptoms?

The most common complaint is lameness or difficulty rising, especially following heavy exercise. The chronic pain of Hip Dysplasia may cause a dog to be irritable or to be reluctant to move. Owners may note their dog no longer plays willingly, gets up to greet them or jumps freely.

How is Hip Dysplasia diagnosed?

For a dog who already has diseased joints due to Hip Dysplasia, a good orthopedic exam may reveal decreased range of motion of the hip joint, or pain or crepitus (bone spurs). Radiographs taken with your pet under sedation or anesthesia will confirm the presence and severity of disease. For dogs who have not yet developed joint pain or disease, PennHIP radiographs are needed to determine the presence of hip laxity (Looseness). This is a series of three radiographs that are evaluated by a radiologist at The University of Pennsylvania. Since we now know there is a strong correlation between the amount of looseness in a dog’s hips and the onset of osteoarthritis later in life, this evaluation can give you and your pet’s doctor valuable information about your pet’s susceptibility to osteoarthritis.

Why should I have my dog evaluated with PennHIP radiographs if he/she has no symptoms of Hip Dysplasia?

As we said, many dogs with hip dysplasia show no symptoms until degenerative 1oirt disease (DJD) has occurred. We also know that for dogs “at risk” of DJD, there are life style changes that can be made earlier in their lives that significantly reduce the impact of their inherited Hip Dysplasia. These include weight control, regular controlled exercise, and joint nutritional supplements.

Recently Purina™ released the results of a 10 year study that showed without question that dogs “at risk” of osteoarthritis who were kept at a lean body weight were substantially older before showing signs of their disease. Dogs in the “well fed” (but not “over fed”) group required pain medication for their joint disease approximately three (3) years earlier. The study also reinforced that use of the PennHIP method of radiographic diagnosis as being superior for detecting “at risk” dogs. Dogs of any age over 4 months old can be evaluated. Knowing your dog is “at risk” due to hip laxity will allow you the opportunity to dramatically improve his longevity and quality of life by taking the preventive measures mentioned above. Obviously, if you are considering breeding your dog, you should know he/she has tight hips and will not be passing Hip Dysplasia to his/her puppies.

How do I Schedule this Procedure for My Dog?

The PennHIP radiographic evaluation requires that your dog be briefly anesthetized for proper positioning. Therefore, we will ask you to ‘withhold food overnight and drop your pet off the morning he/she is scheduled for evaluation. Your pet will be given a thorough examination prior to anesthesia. Your pet can go home the same day. Once the radiographs are evaluated, you will have a consultation with the Doctor to explain any findings and suggestions.

This procedure may also be done in conjunction with other procedures requiring anesthesia such as spay, neuter, dental work, etc.

Please Note: Both Doctors and some technical staff can be certified to perform this evaluation. If you desire to have this done when your pet is being anesthetized for another procedure please be sure the staff knows you are requesting a PennHIP evaluation also.

What are the Treatment Options for Hip Dysplasia & Resulting Degenerative Joint Disease?

Appropriate treatment for a dog with degenerative joint disease may be medical or surgical. There are now several excellent analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications available for dogs to minimize their discomfort and allow increased activity. Regular exercise helps maintain muscle strength and aids in weight reduction. Nutritional joint supplements are also helpful. For severe cases where medication is not sufficient, a total hip replacement is the best option.




Wobbler’s Syndrome

Wobbler’s Syndrome is a disease affecting the spinal cord. It is caused by a deformity of the vertebrae in the neck. This deformity increases pressure on the spinal cord where the opening of the spinal canal is smaller than it normal.

This deformity usually shows itself early very early in Great Danes, but could take up to age 4. Symptoms include a difficulty or unwillingness to bend the neck. This is usually followed by weakness and loss of coordination in the hind legs. This can often progress to weakness in the front legs, and can lead to total paralysis.

It is a very serious disease should be evaluated immediately by a vet for an animal with demonstrated symptoms.

Treatment may include anti-inflammatory medications such as Prednisone for pain management. Surgery may be an option to help correct the problem by creating stability of the vertebrae or even removing a portion of the vertebrae to create more room for the spinal cord. With any sugical pocedure, there are no guarantees of complete recovery.

Though not limited to, Great Danes and Dobermans are the two most commonly affected breeds.




Alternative Treatments

Dr. Patricia Young
Steele Creek Animal Hospital
Companion Animal Rehabilitation Services
9729 South Tryon Street Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28273

Rehabilitation / Physical Therapy:


  • Post orthopedic or neurological surgeries: speeds healing, decreases some of the side effects from immobility post surgery, decreases pain and discomfort during healing, helps keep the patient strong during the healing process
  • Arthritic / geriatric patients: builds strength and increases mobility, helps with pain management and weight control.
  • Healthy patients: agility training, increase strength and endurance, weight management.


Treatment sessions are specially designed for the individual patient and disease process and may include any combination of the following that the doctor feels is most beneficial:

  • Thermotherapy / Cryotherapy: the use of hot or cold to decrease pain and swelling and to increase stretch
  • Electrical Stimulation: to help relieve acute and chronic pain and help strengthen individual muscle groups
  • Ultrasound: relieves pain, decreases muscle spasms and increases flexibility by heating deep tissue planes
  • Medical Acupuncture: relieves acute or chronic pain and increases blood flow
  • Stretching and range of motion exercises: decreases pain and healing times
  • Therapeutic Exercises: i.e. theraballs, sit to stands, slow leash walks, cavalletti rails, stair climbing, land treadmill, water treadmill, balancing exercises, standing exercises, pole weaving, etc
  • Aqua Therapy: WATER TREADMILL – increases strength, endurance, range of motion and coordination, soothes sore muscles and joints, and improves balance
  • Tissue Massage: relaxation of the patient and the tissues and increases blood flow to damaged tissues


For More information about Dr. Patricia Young and Steele Creek Animal Hospital visit:


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