One of the largest dog breeds, the Great Dane is strong in build yet gentle in personality. This breed has been given the nickname “gentle giant” because, despite their large stature, they are very friendly and loving which makes them great family pets. Great Danes have a dignified, muscular appearance and a short glossy coat that requires little grooming. Due to their large size, Great Danes require a moderate amount of space and daily exercise to keep their energetic personalities under control.
Compared to other breeds, Great Danes have a relatively short lifespan of only seven to ten years. This may be due to the fact that, as a breed, Great Danes are prone to a number of serious health problems including Addison’s disease, gastric torsion, cardiomyopathy and Wobbler’s syndrome. Pet insurance may help you cover treatment and medications for these conditions.
Also called hypoadrenocorticism, Addison’s Disease is characterized by an adrenal insufficiency which affects the body’s normal production of certain hormones and may increase potassium levels in the blood. Symptoms of this disease often include depression, weakness, loss of appetite, vomiting and increased urine production. Mild cases of this disease can be treated with intravenous fluids but severe cases may require a daily shot or pill to supplement hormone production. The cost of medication is generally between $35 and $100 per month depending on the drug.
Gastric torsion, or bloat, is common among Great Danes and other large breed dogs. This is a condition in which the stomach swells or rotates, cutting off the blood supply to other vital organs and causing pain, abdominal swelling and excessive salivation. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or reposition the stomach. Without complications, this procedure generally costs around $1,200 but can increase to around $5,000 if complications arise.
A progressive congenital disease, cardiomyopathy is fairly common in Great Danes. This is a condition in which the heart muscle stretches and, as a result, the enlarged heart fails to function properly. Though this condition cannot be cured, medications like diuretics and ACE inhibitors can help to reduce fluid retention and increase blood flow. The cost of these medications is generally under $100 per month.
Most common in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers, Wobbler’s Syndrome is a vertebral instability in the neck caused by a malformation of the cervical vertebrae. The cause of this malformation is unknown and it often leads to compression in the spinal cord which can cause weakness, lack of coordination and abnormal gait. The most common treatment of this condition involves surgically removing ruptured discs and stabilizing the vertebrae, a procedure which costs upwards of $3,000.
Disclaimer: Symptoms, conditions, and costs may vary. Consult a licensed veterinarian to inquire about treatment options and cost of care for your particular situation. Check actual coverage and benefits for your dog to determine whether you will be covered by pet insurance.