Gunther Von Emrick (Gunther)

Gunther Von Emrick (Gunther)

  • Litter: B
  • Height: 34"
  • Weight: 135 lbs
  • Registration Type: Limited
  • Spay / Neuter Received: Received
  • Location: Pennsylvania

Gunther's Story

by Tracy Miller, PA 

The exact dates are a bit sketchy with Gunther and the HOD problems, but I’ll do my best on describing what happened and how he got treated.  He was born on May 4th, and I got him from Tanya at 12 weeks.  He was a perfect pup (and still is perfect, I must say!  ;- )).  I took him for his required shots when needed.  I recall shortly after getting his first DHLPP vaccine that I noticed something not quite right.  (here is where things get a bit sketchy).  I think it was about a week or so after the vaccine that the one evening, he didn’t seem his bouncy self and was very warm.  I called my local vet for an emergency visit.  She examined him, x-rayed him and sent us home.  The next day I went back and she gave me the diagnosis of him having HOD.  I never heard of this and just about fell to pieces; I was a wreck.  She showed me the x-rays and how all of his joints had (what appeared to be) cracks or small breaks.  In the article it describes just how the joints are affected and are basically similar to having broken bones.  He was in a lot of pain.  She prescribed Rimadyl tablets.  He was on them for a few days, and showed no signs of improvement, and was getting worse.  He could not walk at all.  He could only lift his head.  I put 2 mattresses on the living room floor one for him and one for me.  I had my parents come up from FL to help me out with him.  By now he was around 4 ½ (or so) months old and he was getting too heavy for me to carry.  I would carry his front and my mom would carry his back end to get him down my steps and outside.  I had to hold him up while he did his “business”.   It was heartbreaking.  I called a different vet; Dr. Miller from Centre Animal Hospital in State College, PA.  A friend of mine came over to help me get Gunther there.  When she looked at him she just cried.  The poor little fellow couldn’t move and his legs were quite deformed at the joints.  When I got him to State College, Dr. Miller said this was the worst case he had seen, and he couldn’t make me any promises.  He said he might come out of it, he might have some deformities, and at worst, he may have to be put down.  After examining him he as me if I’d be ok with giving him an injection of Prednisone.  At this point, whatever he thought would help, I was ok with.   So, he gave him the injection and sent me home with Prednisone pills.  That evening, I actually saw slight improvement.  Over the next several days, I saw more and more improvement.  He started to stand and eventually walked.  His back feet were terribly splayed, but he was starting to get around.  We built a ramp so he could start going outside without me having to carry him down the steps.  It took nearly a month for him to finally shake this disease.  I really feel that I owe his well being to Dr. Miller.  Gunther shows no signs of the disease at all.  Sometimes if he plays hard, I see his back feet a bit splayed, but that could just be him and not from the HOD.  I read a lot about this disease.  I had him on the proper, low protein, diet and did what is right for a growing large breed dog.  My personal feelings are it was brought on by the DHLPP shot at an early age.  No vet has agreed with me.  But I will hold off on giving any vaccines to my next Dane for as long as possible. 

During Gunther’s illness Tanya and I were in constant contact.  She drove up from MD, to my home in PA, to see Gunther and decide if she should take him to her vet.  She saw the improvement he had made and the effort he would make just to try to stay near me.  She seemed reassured that he was in good care, and at a very loving home.  This also gave me reassurance in her as a breeder and that her pups are always in her best interest. 

For more information, visit http://www.vetsurgerycentral.com/hod.htm and http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1561&aid=446