Mafia's "Wild Card" William (Jericho)
The Story of Jericho
Health: Jericho has unfortunately had several surgeries and procedures during his first year. He had a cherry eye in both eyes. One eye has been fixed. They have done 2 prodedures in his right eye but the lid is too stretched out to stay where it should. He has also had a couple surgeries resulting from the angular limb deformity in both of his front legs. We're hoping his second year with us is a little less eventful and that we don't stay on a first-name basis with our vet!
Temperment: Despite his problems, he never complains and always has the sweetest disposition. He is very happy-go-lucky and loves to be loved. He will play outside in the backyard for hours and he enjoys taking walks around the neighborhood. He likes to snuggle in bed and is sad when he's not allowed up at night. He almost always sneaks up at about 6am though. His favorite sleeping position once on the bed is usually laying across my stomach. He must think he weighs 20 lbs still.
Jericho is usually pretty laid back in the house but he gets very excited when people come over. He thinks everyone comes to see him. Sometimes he has crazy spells when he races around for several minutes.
Other: Jericho has a fabulously soft coat and great color. We can't take him out without being stopped by people commenting about him. We are so glad he's bigger now and not being mistaken for a Weimaraner anymore! He is a beautiful dog and loves people and other animals. Whether he's entertaining himself with a stick outside, sleeping on top of us, or trying to chew on our feet, we love him dearly and are happy we chose a Great Dane as our first dog.
When Jericho was 6 months old he was diagnosed with an angular limb deformity.
We started noticing his front feet were turning outwards when he was about 4 months old but didn't think it was very serious. Tanya thought it might be an exaggerated case of the easty-westies which his mom had, and some Great Dane Rescue people we ran into thought it was knuckling over or bowing out. Which can definitely be serious but is also fixable. Jericho also didn't act like he was in pain.
Over the weeks his feet grew more pronounced and we started getting a little worried. We had our vet take x-rays and they sent them to a surgical repair specialist. We thought that was a little over the top because we could just wrap his legs or change his food or something to fix him. The specialist wanted to see Jericho in person and when we went we were very shocked by the prognosis. The specialist said one of the bones on the front legs (the ulna) wasn't growing and the other bone (the radius) was pushing down on it because it was growing which was causing his feet to turn out.
The only solution was surgery. He would need a surgery to take out the growth plates that were stunting the growth and another surgery to put wedges in his bones to try to straighten his legs. They could remove the growth plates in both legs and wedge one leg all in the first surgery, but they'd have to wedge the second leg after the first one had healed so he could walk. It would take 8 weeks for each leg to heal and he couldn’t play, go up stairs, or go on walks during that time.
Jericho's first surgery was in June 2009. He didn’t have a cast, but he had pins in his right leg where the wedges are and a bar connecting them. He looked like Frankenpuppy. The first week was pretty bad. Jericho just laid down the entire time and looked sad. My husband was able to carry him up the stairs to our bedroom so he wouldn't have to sleep downstairs alone. And he was able to carry him outside to the bathroom. Outside, he'd relieve himself and immediately sit down. He had no interest in walking. We also had to bring his water to his bed for him to drink it. He would get up to eat though.
By the second week Jericho was doing much better. We could at least get him up and out the door without having to carry him. Our front yard has the least amount of steps so that's where we’d go. After using the bathroom he liked to sit and watch the people go by.
After about the 3rd week Jericho thought he was fine and it was a struggle to keep him inactive for the next 5 weeks. That was one of the hardest parts of the surgeries. He was bored and wanted to play.
Although the pins didn’t seem to bother him at all they were lethal to anything else that happened to get in the way. My husband and I both have several scars from them not to mention ripped sheets and clothing.
He had his second surgery in August. They took out the wedges in his right leg and put them in his left leg all at the same time. His recovery from this second surgery was very much like the first. Except that in the last 2 weeks before they removed the pins we were able The final set of pins were removed in October and it was a very happy day for all of us! He was able to take several short walks a day and could start to play a little. The specialist still didn’t recommend him jumping around very much. We just had the 1 month follow up appointment last week and Jericho looks very good.
His legs are still crooked and one is noticeably more crooked than the other. But he plays and runs just like normal and doesn’t let anything slow him down. Sometimes if he jumps off the bed the wrong way he yelps, but that isn’t very often. He seems to know his limits.
The surgeries will hopefully allow the ulna to grow again but it will never be able to make up the time it has lost. His front legs will probably be about 20% shorter than his back legs. Which could cause arthritis, and back & hip problems since he'll be slanted. That is what I'm most worried about. That despite all of our efforts and care that he will still be in a great deal of pain later on. But at least for right now he’s happy. We can only wait and see what will happen. (11/15/09)
For more details, you can also visit the following links:
1. Pet Place
3. Great Dane Lady (Please note, in this article, Linda speaks of changing to a diet of Eagle Pack. Mafia Danes does NOT reccomend Eagle Pack as we have noted that the European Danes do NOT grow well on Eagle Pack and this diet has actually been the cause of European Puppies to knuckle over and have serious growth issues. As part of our contract, we tell all buyers that they are not allowed to feed Eagle Pack due to these known growth issues.)