st. bernard breed information

common health issues

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit well together, resulting in a hip with increased laxity. This laxity can lead to degenerative changes and depending on the severity, may require surgical correction.

GDV (or bloat) describes a condition whereby a dog's stomach becomes dilated with air and then, while dilated, twists over on itself, effectively sealing the stomach. The most common sign of bloat is a firm, distended stomach, especially if it seems to occur rapidly. GDV is one of the true life-threatening emergencies in dogs and many cases require emergency surgery.

Elbow dysplasia is actually a collective term which refers to the effects of one or more diseases of the elbow joint which result in pain and arthritis. Many of these problems can affect both elbows and result in forelimb lameness and elbow pain, often requiring surgical correction.

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a cardiac condition that Boxers are prone to develop. In this adult onset disease, cardiac muscle responsible for pumping the heart is replaced with fatty tissue, leading to dysfunction of the heart, arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure. Medical treatment centers on normalizing the heart rate and rhythm.

Entropion describes the inward rolling of the eyelid, often causing the eyelashes to come into contact with the eyeball and cause irritation and often ulceration. Many affected dogs will require surgical correction and severe cases may require multiple surgeries.

With their heavy, shaggy coats and prodigious tracking ability, the St. Bernard became a breed prized for their ability to locate lost or injured people in the bitter cold and snow of the Alps.

While today's St. Bernards are a little larger and shaggier than their forefathers, they are beloved by many for their generally kind, gentle demeanor. Classified as a "giant" dog breed (usually weighing at least 140 lbs.!), early training is advised to ensure a well-behaved adult - even a strong person can have trouble controlling an untrained St. Bernard on the leash!

Despite their gentle demeanor, St. Bernards are prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – not to mention your family’s vacation fund. Some of the conditions and illnesses St. Bernards are prone to include heart problems such as dilated cardiomyopathy; digestive issues such as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat); joint conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia; and eye issues such as entropion.

Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your lovable St. Bernard inherits more than just his dad’s slobbering kisses or his mother’s endearing snorts and snores, you’re covered.

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

claim calculator

  • your share of the cost: $450
  • Petplan's reimbursement to you: $1,550
  • coverage remaining in policy period: Unlimited
    (full policy limits are reinstated upon renewal)