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(A painful distending and twisting of the stomach) is considered rare but is a great concern for all Great Dane Owners, especially those with dogs 5+ years of age. Bloat can be a critical condition that affects Great Danes and results rapidly in death if not quickly addressed.

As of 2011 there is no concrete evidence as to what can cause Bloat, however there are many there are some general precautions many Dane owners take that many believe act as a preventative which include:

1) Provide meals and water from a shoulder height position, although one study of 50 Great Danes said this method increased the risk.

2) Do not exercise the dog within an hour before or after meals.

3) Avoid boarding kennels where possible (Stress)..

4) If dogs eat fast, slow them down with a BrakeBowl or put their meals into Treat balls

5) If you see them spending a long time at the water bowl or gulping, guide them away from it.

Whilst there is no guarantee, the fore mentioned should help reduce the risk.

There is no genetic test for Bloat however there appears to be an increased risk for Danes whose Parents and/or siblings have suffered the condition. It is recommended you speak to your Breeder about the Bloat that they have experienced in their lines.

Hip/Elbow Dysplasia:  

Hip Dysplasia is a poly-genetic hereditary disease which can cause pain and lameness - even to the point of being crippling. .X-raying the Dam & Sire is recommended to ensure only suitable breeding stock is used.

Many Breeders recommend minimal exercise for Great Dane puppies whilst in their critical growth period to prevent what is commonly referred to as environmental HD/ED.

Providing ramps instead of stairs and helping a dog in and out of the vehicle whilst it is still developing.

It is recommended that you ask your Breeder if they Hip & Elbow score their breeding stock and if so, what were the results, you can find out more about scoring here.

Dilated cardiologist (DCM):   DCM is a heart breaking condition affecting the heart which typically strikes down young dogs in their prime. There is no genetic testing available at this time however ethical Breeders will not use a dog from a line which has had known DCM in their lines.

There are heart clinics held throughout Australia which some Breeders will have their breeding stock screened, screening should occur annually.
Thyroid:   Hypothyroidism can cause a variety of medical problems, and has been linked to auto-immune disorders. It is diagnosed with blood screening.
Von Willebrand's Disease:  

Von Willebrand's Disease is a bleeding disorder (similar to Hemophilia in people), and is diagnosed with blood screening. This condition is rare in Australia.

There is a genetic test for this condition, however because this condition is considered rare in Australia it would be unlikely Breeders here would conduct this test unless a problem has actually come up in their line.

Ocular disease:   A Specialist should certify a breeding dog to be free of apparent heritable ocular disease based upon examination of a veterinary ophthalmologist. The dog must be re-examined and re-certified every 12 months.

Wobblers disease is a condition of the cervical vertebrae that causes an unsteady (wobbly) gait and weakness seen in Great Danes that is typically a genetic condition however the mode of inheritance is unknown and there is no genetic test at this stage. Wobblers in rare instances can be due to an accidents, if you are informed by a Breeder that there is a case or cases of accident induced Wobblers you are advised to investigate/research further.

The term wobblers disease refers to a number of different conditions of the cervical (neck) spinal column that all cause similar symptoms. These conditions may include malformation of the vertebrae, intervertebral disc protrusion, and disease of the interspinal ligaments , ligamenta flava , and articular facets of the vertebrae.

Wobblers disease is also known as cervical vertebral instability, cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM), and cervical vertebral malformation (CVM). In dogs, the disease is most common in large breeds, especially Great Danes .

There is currently no genetic test for Wobblers, however ethical breeders will not breed a dog from lines known to have Wobblers. This condition is considered uncommon although not unheard of in Australia. Ask your Breeder if they have had any Wobblers before or Neurological problems as Wobblers can only be 100% diagnosed with a risky and expensive procedure and therefore some Wobblers go undiagnosed and are labeled Neurological problems.


Deafness 'can' occur in some white and lightly marked Harlequins, however not all white or lightly marked Harlequins will have the condition.

A registered ethical breeder would typically know prior to homing if a dog is deaf or has some loss of hearing, however a Baer test can be conducted with a specialist.

If you are offered a Deaf puppy, it is recommended that you think this over thoroughly before making the commitment because deaf puppies can be hard to train and manage throughout their lives. They are also near to impossible to re-home if a situation comes up which means you need to seek an alternative home for your dog.

Many Harlequin Breeders will cull Whites out of their litters as excellent and well suited homes for them are very rare.

Allergies/Skin issues:

Allergies are the result of an overactive immune system that releases histamines in its' effort to rid the body of foreign proteins from pollen, dust mites, trees, grass, household dust, dander, and many other materials.

Atopic allergies is believed to have a genetic component so you will want to ask your Breeder if they have seen any skin issues, if so what was the condition, how did it affect the dog, how is it treated and often has this problem been seen in dogs from their lines.

Some people may talk about a dog 2 or 3 generations back that used to itch when it was on certain grasses or who reacts to chicken, these are allergies and need to be considered when looking at potential offspring.

There are legitimate hormone related skin problems i.e. a Bitch may have skin issues occur around her heat cycle and then clear up afterwards etc.

Thyroid problems can also be a cause of skin issues.

There is some evidence that already sensitive dogs can be affected by allergies due to vaccination, your Breeder will be able to tell you if there is a vaccination sensitivity in their line.

Some people may deny the genetic component to allergic skin disease as perhaps only one puppy in the litter has allergies, however genetics doesn't affect every offspring just like one child in a family of 6 may need glasses and the others do not.

Allergies can be an expensive and heartbreaking condition, some dogs have minor seasonal flares ups where others suffer all year round and have to be on medication to have quality of life.

Skin Allergies/Skin Conditions are more easily seen on Harlequins as you can see the pink skin through the white hair, some believe Harlequins are more at risk of skin issues due to the pigmentation.

Dogs with skin issues can also suffer from digestion issues their whole lives and may require a supplementation of digestive enzymes.

Avoid purchasing a dog whose parents have noticeable skin problems such as pink/red skin, dull brittle coat, skin scabs, smell of yeast (smell like corn chips), scratched skin from where the dog has been scratching alot, hair loss etc, and avoid purchasing a puppy that has noticeably pink skin.

Allergic Skin Disease can start as young as in baby puppies and in some cases not until a dog is 2 years of age.

There are different forms of testing available as well as desensitising injections that have varied results.

An ethical Breeder will not breed known allergic dogs.

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