Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)

This bone disease usually affects young, rapidly growing, large breed canines. It also goes by many names — skeletal scurvy, Moller-Barlow’s disease, osteodystrophy II or metaphyseal osteopathy. HOD causes severe lameness and pain and can affect multiple limbs. The cause is currently unknown.

HOD usually strikes puppies between the ages of 3 to 6 months. It tends to strike male dogs more than females. It is common ailment among all large breeds of dogs, and, at the moment, there doesn’t appear to be a genetic or inherited link.

If your dog is suffering with HOD, you may notice a mild to moderate painful swelling of the growth plates in your dog’s leg bones. It most commonly starts at the end of the radius, ulna (the bone between the elbow and the wrist) or the tibia (the bone from the knee to the hock). This can cause his leg to look lame and show a reluctance to move. He may be lethargic and refusing to eat. A fever can also accompany HOD. It usually affects both legs at the same time. The symptoms may wax and wane all on their own and even resolve itself. However if the fever (of up to 106 degrees) is so high for too long or the damage so severe, your dog may suffer permanent structural damage to his legs and could even die.

An official diagnosis will be based on a physical exam and through x-rays. If your dog has a fever, a blood cell count should be high.

Treatments will include anti-inflammatories to help with the pain. As well, a broad spectrum antibiotic is prescribed. Strict rest in a warm bed is strongly recommended. Feeding your dog a highly palatable, nutritious food should encourage him to eat. In severe cases, your dog may be prescribed steroids or a vitamin C supplement to control the pain.

The cause of HOD is unknown. Some vets believe HOD may be a bacterial infection. The bony changes and high fever support this theory. HOD tends to mimic the symptoms of scurvy in humans — which is a vitamin C deficiency. However not all affected dogs who take a vitamin C supplement show improvement. This leads researchers to speculate the low blood level of vitamin C is a result of HOD and not a cause.

Additionally other research suggests a possible cause is nutrition. Several bone diseases in young puppies have been linked to an excess of protein and/or calories in their diet. There haven’t yet been any studies to link HOD to diet. However, many owners of large or giant breed canines are encouraged to feed their dog a diet low in fat and protein to try to encourage moderate and steady growth instead of rapid growth.

At this time, an exact cause of HOD and a prevention plan of this painful and debilitating disease is unknown.

Great Dane

AKC Group: Working
A similar-looking dog to the Great Dane has been found on Greek coins that date back to the year 36 B.C. They were the dogs of royalty and highly prized. These dogs were heavier, larger and less refined than the modern Great Dane. Today’s Great Dane was developed in Germany and likely a cross between Mastiffs from the Asiatic people and Irish Wolfhounds. They were bred to be dogs of war and to hunt large game and were valued for their strength, obedience and ability to work independently. They caught the eye of English hunters and became known as the German Boarhound(they were first used by the English to hunt wild boar). Eventually they became known as the Great Dane, but how or why that new name came about has been lost.
Size: 25 to 30 inches; 100 to 200 pounds.
Color: Brindle; black-masked fawn; blue; black; harlequin (white with irregular black patches); mantle (black with white collar, muzzle, chest and tail tip).
Life span: 6 to 8 years.
Health problems: Deafness, heart problems, bloat, hip dysplasia, cataracts, bone cancer, hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD). Take care with your Great Dane in extreme temperatures, they are a breed that is sensitive to extreme heat and cold.
This giant dog has a patient and gentle personality. Sweet natured to the core, a Great Dane makes a fantastic family pet. These dogs are attentive and devoted to their families. They can have a tendency to be bossy or stubborn, so a family with previous canine experience is ideal. A Great Dane requires plenty of attention and devotion back to him; he does not do well with someone with precious little time to commit. A young Great Dane can be boisterous and destructive and requires much supervision. They require plenty of exercise and (due to their size) plenty of space to roam around in. He makes a fine companion for children, especially for those he grows with. In regards to other companions, he may do well or he may not. Early socialization can help with this. Likewise, his reaction to strangers is the same based on innate personality. A Great Dane is a sensitive dog but this may come across as aloofness.
The Great Dane is the tallest breed of all canines. They are well muscled and athletic. Their expression of nobility and dignity remains constant. The coat of the Great Dane is short, dense and sleek. Brush him occasionally to keep it sleek. When he sheds seasonally, he may require more help. Start his training as young as you can. He should be relatively easy to train. (Trying to train an older Great Dane will make you both want to pull your hair out; so give him the best foundation as a pup.) Obedience training is the best place to start with him. Always train him with calm and positive methods. Great Danes are extremely sensitive and quickly become attuned to your emotions and your level of approval or disapproval. If he does something wrong, a sharp “no!” and lack of attention for a short period is all that’s required to let him know he’s done wrong. When roaming the neighborhood or in a park, a Great Dane should always be on a leash. Not because they’re aggressive, but for their sheer size. A Great Dane is huge and a frightening sight to some. A Great Dane also requires a lot of socialization to other dogs and non-canine companions to learn the social rules. At times you may find that your Great Dane is trying to be dominant (especially if you’re inconsistent), you will probably need to enlist professional help. Never allow any bad habit to form with a Great Dane; you may never be able to it once established. They should also be discouraged from jumping on people. It’s much safer for everyone if you can teach him to sit first when meeting someone new.


Nebelung cats are long-bodied, medium-sized and muscular. Their long legs end with rounded oval paws that feature tufts between the toes. Nebelungs appear to stand and walk on the balls of their feet. The tail is long. Males weigh 8 to 11 pounds; females weigh 6 to 9 pounds.
A Nebelung’s head is more pointed, but the long hair suggests a round appearance. The muzzle is medium with puffy whisker pads (this makes the females look pouty). Ears are large and pointed. The eyes are medium sized, slightly oval looking and widely spaced. Their eyes turn a vivid green when they reach maturity, which is at two years (or even older). A yellow-green mix can occur sometimes.
The Nebelung coat is medium-long, silky and blue to the root. Guard hairs are tipped in silver to give the coat a luminous look. The double coat is resistant to water. The outer coat of fine hair is shortest at the shoulders. The hind legs appear to be “wearing pantaloons.” The hair on the tail is long. Males have a noticeable neck ruff, on females it’s less noticeable. Their coat can take up to 2 years to fully develop. Lighter blue feathering behind the ears is seen rarely.
In the early 1980s, a shorthaired black female named Terri gave birth to two shorthaired black females and a longhaired black male. One of the females was given to a Denver computer programmer and named Elsa. In 1984, Elsa produced a litter from a neighborhood tomcat. In it was a shorthaired cat that looked like a Russian Blue. Both Elsa and the father must have possessed the recessive gene for long hair because the litter of six contained five black or blue shorthairs and one longhaired male. The programmer kept the longhaired kitten and named him Siegfried. At maturity, Siegfried was big with long legs, medium-long hair, a long tail and had a loving personality.
Elsa’s next litter (of seven) contained a longhaired female. Her hair was lighter, longer and silkier. Named Brunhilde, the two (after a move to Texas) produced a litter of three longhairs. Siegfried, Brunhilde and the breed were named after her favorite opera, Richard Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelung.” Nebelung is loosely translated to “creature of the mist” in German. Russian Blues that possessed the recessive gene for long hair were added to broaden the gene pool and to improve the breed’s conformation.
Nebelungs are sweet, gentle companions that are playful and affectionate without being intrusive. These cats will wait until you’re ready to receive them! They aren’t impressed with strangers, needing a safe place and plenty of time to acclimate. Once they know they can trust you, they become devoted to you. They typically bond to just one person and give that person their all.
Some Nebelungs prefer laps, most want simply to sit beside you, observing. Don’t mistake their reserve as indifference. They do need your affection and attention; they don’t like being left alone for too long. If you’re looking for a perfect companion, Nebelungs prefer the company of other Nebelungs or Russian Blues; they like their friends to be intelligent and cautious too.
Nebelungs dislike disorder and change more than most other cats. It takes them longer to adapt to newness. Loud noises makes them very nervous. They do much better in households with no young children. A Nebelung can do well with a cat-friendly dog provided that the introduction is done right — and when the Nebelung is a kitten. When introducing any kind of change to these creatures of habit, time and much patience is the name of the game. It is well worth it though, a Nebelung is truly an amazing cat to love and be loved by.

Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen

AKC Group: Miscellaneous
Like all basset breeds, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen descended from hounds of superior size, most specifically in this case, the Grand Griffon. They were used to hunt hare.
Size: 15 to 17 inches tall; 40 to 45 pounds
Color: Black with tan markings; fawn with white markings; fawn with black markings; tricolor.
Life span: 12 years
Health problems: The common issues afflicting Basset Griffon Vendeen are reproductive, dermatologic and aural.
Taller than most Bassets, there are four closely related breeds of Griffon Vendeen: the Grand Basset, the Petite Basset, the Grand and the Briquet. The Grand Basset is the tallest. They have short heads and low-set long ears. A short muzzle, a long, stocky body, a saber-shaped tail, a heavy moustache and eyebrows complete their look. The Grand Basset has a dense, bushy double coat that needs brushing and combing to prevent mats. Their coat does not need to be trimmed.
The Grand Basset retains their puppy-like look for an entire lifetime; their tails always seem to be wagging. They are happy, outgoing, independent dogs who are willing to please and are generally well behaved. They are alert, decisive, courageous, good natured, enthusiastic little dogs. Some may be snappy. They like to dig, so provide an outlet. They like kids, but tend to be extremely vocal. The natural hunting instincts are strong, so they may not make a great rodent animal companion.
Grand Bassets are difficult to train since they are naturally independent and possess a singular mindedness. Enlist some help unless you have a lot of experience with independent-minded canines.

Gordon Setter

AKC Group: Sporting
The Gordon Setter came from Scotland in the early 17th century. Duke Alexander the 4th of Gordon popularized the breed. They were used as bird dogs thanks to their terrific sense of smell. They would point to the bird, retrieve it and bring it back to the hunter. They could hunt in poor weather and on land or water. When Pointers came along and exhibited quickness, Gordon Setters fell out of popularity. The Gordon Setter was used to develop the Irish Setter.
Size: 23 to 27 inches; 45 to 80 pounds
Color: Black and tan
Life span: 10 to 12 years
Health problems: Hip dysplasia and eye disorders have been noted.
The Gordon Setter is a loyal and obedient canine. They are polite and sweet-natured. Intelligent, brave, cheerful and affectionate, a Gordon Setter is never wrong about a scent. They need a lot of daily exercise to avoid becoming high-strung. Though they are loyal to their family, they are not fond of strangers. They do well with other pets, unless not properly socialized and trained. A scenter, your Gordon Setter needs a secure fence, otherwise he’ll always be off chasing scents. Puppies are clumsy.
Gordon Setters are active dogs with a strong, short back and a short tail. His head is finely chiseled. The Gordon Setter can have a straight or slightly wavy coat. He will need to be brushed once or twice a week to keep his coat in good condition and to minimize shedding. It may be necessary to clip his coat every so often. Bathe or dry shampoo when necessary. Trim the hair on the bottom of his feet and keep his nails trimmed.
Introduce your Gordon Setter to all situations, people and animals as early as possible. Other animals are important because this will stop him from trying to dominate them later. Though easy to train, they still have a mind of their own. They can have a stubborn streak, so they require a firm handler. If they sense a meekness in you, they’ll become stubborn. You won’t need to dominate him, simply be firm and consistent. Housebreaking can be problematic. Employ the crate method. In all matters, train your Gordon Setter early to avoid bad habits from setting in. Remember it’s easier to prevent negative behaviors than to fix them.

Bobbie the Wonderdog


Also known as Silverton Bobbie, this Scotch Collie-English Shepherd mix gained worldwide fame in 1923 when he walked from Indiana to Oregon— a journey of 2551 miles—to reunite with his owner, six months after getting lost in the Hoosier State while on a family road trip. In 1924, a silent film, The Call of the West was made about Bobbie; the pup played himself.

Golden Retriever

AKC Group: Sporting
Back in the late 1800s, Lord Tweedmouth developed the breed to be a skillful hunter and tracker as well as retriever of waterfowl. He also wanted a beautiful hunting partner. It is believed that he took a yellow dog and crossed it with a water spaniel (which are now extinct).
Size: 21.5 to 24 inches tall; 55 to 75 pounds
Color: Various shades of gold
Life span: 10 to 13 years
Health problems: Cataracts, entropion, allergies, thyroid issues, cancer, epilepsy, osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), hip dysplasia and von Willebrand’s Disease.
Currently sitting as the third most popular American breed (it has been the favorite breed numerous times), Golden Retrievers are stable, loving, gentle, eager to please dogs. They love to give and receive attention, making them wonderful family pets. A huge people dog, unless you have the time to devote to them, you should consider a more independent breed. They love to swim and play. Extremely sociable, the Golden Retriever has a huge love of life. They love all ages and stages of children, strangers and all other pet companions. If a Golden Retriever doesn’t like you, there’s obviously something wrong with YOU! He loves to eat, so you’ll need to be vigilant about his diet. They like to chew. You’ll need to provide him with an outlet to avoid him chewing something inappropriate. Highly intelligent and quick to learn, he makes training easy. Positive obedience, plenty of praise and the occasional treat will be all you need. A trusting nature, a natural obedience and his sweet nature combines to create a perfect family companion. (This is why Golden Retrievers are consistently found high on the list of the most popular breeds.)
Golden Retrievers are large, powerful dogs with a sweet face. His coat is soft to the touch. It can be flat or wavy and feathered. The Golden Retriever undercoat is weatherproof. He always wears a keen and eager expression. His coat needs to be brushed twice a week — more when he’s shedding seasonally. Trim any straggly hairs as needed. His bottom hair will need to be trimmed as needed for hygienic reasons. To reduce the chance of infections, check his ears. Golden Retrievers tend to be heavy shedders year round.
As a large dog, your Golden Retriever would benefit from obedience training. No matter what you decide to train him to do, it’s super easy to train him. Golden Retrievers have been used in police work to sniff out drugs, as service dogs for the blind and excel at agility tasks. This is a dog who can and will learn every trick you can teach him. Don’t forget to train him on the basics (sit, come, stay and heel) It will help you to manage him as he grows (like a weed) and make all future training even easier.