This is my little girl, Didi. She will be 4 in July. She is an American Bulldog. I rescued her right after my beloved Dakota died. She was living in a garage with 2 dogs that tried to rip her throat out. When I first saw her, her entire face was swollen from a bite wound abscess. She was a mess. It was love at first sight. To this day, she doesn't trust anyone outside the family and the only dogs she loves are her brothers, Rio & Bobo.
The pic to the right was taken right after the three dogs got hold of a lace shawl I was knitting and ran it through the sage brush over about 1 acre of property. Notice how they don't look the least bit remorseful. Anyway, the other day I notice a large lump on her wrist. I took her into work and had Ted, the vet, look at her. He wasn't happy either and we did radiographs on both her front wrists. The good news: it wasn't bone cancer. However, the bad news is that due to inbreeding and improper nutrition when she was a puppy, her bones did not grow correctly, resulting in what is called 'bad conformation.'
So what does this mean? It means that she is already in the process of developing arthritis. It means there is no surgical cure. It means she will be on Dasauqin (a chondroitin/glucosamine supplement) for life and will have to go on some sort of canine NSAID eventually. And, ultimately, it will probably take some years off her life.
It means no long hikes, ever, for Didi. I am so sad and feel even more protective over her than ever.
If you have a puppy that is destined to be a "large breed" dog (over 60#), it is imperative that you feed her "large breed" puppy food so her bones do not grow too quickly. This is also a perfect example of why backyard breeders should not be encouraged.
Didi will be getting a lot of bedtime snuggle privileges in the foreseeable future.