OK. I've been remiss in my dog owner duties of posting puppy pics here. But, then I've generally been remiss about my blog this year. (I've had a lot on my plate, and don't want to bore you about them, or whine about these things). Samson is growing. I mean REALLY REALLY growing.
We carefully measure out his food, and have been very careful to not allow him to become fat (hard on these giant breeds' bones). He's off the charts on the dog food bags for how much to feed, even for the foods designed for giant breeds. He eats ten cups of food/day. Yep, that wasn't a typo. He gets GOOD food, too, also so his bones grow well and properly, and so we can try to prevent some giant breed issues through proper nutrition (these concepts have changed a lot in the ten years since I got my first giant dog). He is 15 months old now, weighs in at 140-150 and is about 3/4 of the way to his adult size. At the shoulder, he is 32+ inches tall, and from nose to rump is 53" long. (Which means only one manufacturer makes a crate large enough for him).
In June, Sam had a prophylactic laparoscopic gastropexy done. Translation: giant breeds are prone to "bloat" with is a twisting of the stomach/intestine which leads to obstruction and rapid death in these creatures. To prevent that from happening, Sam had a laparoscopic surgery to tack his stomach up so it can't do that. Hopefully, it will prevent him from dying that ugly sort of premature death. While there, his vet found that one of his patellas (kneecap) is off to the side, and won't return to where it is supposed to be. About 4-6 weeks after the gastropexy, he started limping.
So, we went to the fancy board certified surgical specialist vet in Portland, ME (about a 2 1/2 hr drive south of here) for a consult. Indeed, his patellar tendon needs some surgical encouragement to stay where it is supposed to be, but the limping is felt to be due to unusual strain on his ACL (cruciate ligament) because of the patella not staying where it is supposed to be. SO, this means Sam needs to have a tibial plateau lateral osteotomy to keep his femur (long leg bone) from slipping off the tibia (lower leg bone) AND have the patellar tendon groove enhanced to fix all this. The issue is his age. Giants grow for two years.
In early September, he is going back to the referral vet, getting an anesthetic, and they will do x-rays while he is asleep to check and see if his growth plates are closed. If they are, then she will proceed with the corrective surgery. If not fused, they'll wake him up and we will wait as long as we can to fix his leg.
Poor Samson! He will have plates and screws in his tibia (the lower leg weight bearing bone). He will have to be kept quiet (his temperament helps us there) for 8-10 weeks for this to heal so he doesn't fracture the bone above or below the plates. That means walking him on a lead, with a sling for his back end mostly (or so I am told) for control. I'm ordering the giant (translation - expensive) crate so we have a safe place to put him if we have to leave him alone, where we can keep him quiet and prevent injury to the leg after surgery.
Meanwhile, since Sam's vet recommends giant breed food for the specialized nutrition these giants need, and Sam's digestive system only tolerates the most expensive food, I called the manufacturer of this expensive (but excellent nutrition) food to see what sort of deals I could get from them. They have a program where if one orders 250 lbs of dog food at a time, they will give a good discount. Beyond that, however, they have "short dated" foods which are still good, but will reach their expiration dates soon. Shipping, regardless of how many pounds, is $5. So, I ordered 858 lbs of food in one order, expires in October, and saved 43% on the food. Not bad. My basement storage area has shelves of dog food now. The manufacturer even figured out how many cups of food/bag so I could estimate how much food I needed through the end of October.
What we go through for our special pets! But I can't imagine my life without this guy letting me know he cares I am home, and he loves me.