Problems during the growth period in puppies – what to do ?
Did you see examples of knuckling over (bowed limbs) or other bone deformations on young growing dogs in your kennel or at home ? Of course, but what are the reasons ? Can we solve the problem or not ?
Following conditions are the most common seen in young growing puppies and can be categorized as ‘Developmental Orthopedic Diseases’:
- Carpel Flexural Deformity or “Knuckling Over or Bowed Legs”,
- HOD – Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy,
- OCD – Osteochondritis Dissecans,
Knuckling over (bowed limbs) is the main problem normally seen and is not genetic, it happens to all breeds, large or small and it is due to how you are managing your dogs dietary needs and the flooring you are keeping them on to develop. Poor quality diet or too much of a good food, poor footing/slick floors with no rugs, and missing trace minerals. All things that contribute to this problem. If caught early enough it can be reversed with no problem. If left, it causes permanent damage. Knuckling over is first noticed in the area of front leg on a puppy, or the growth plate (wrist or carpal but also shoulder; the dog can be lame) area due to a lack of integrity in the muscle, tendon and ligaments. It is due to uneven growth pattern between the bone and tissue/muscle of the puppy. A diet can cause uneven growth patterns between muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones. They are all developing at different rates – the end results are severe knuckling over and this grotesque deformation can be permanent if not taken care of a proper diet in the early stages. Under 8 weeks of age, it is not a problem and very common because the large and giant breeds grow quickly during the early stages of development.
Inappropriate feeding as a cause of bone deformations – Don’ts !:
- a combination of two different types or brands of dog foods – feeding (50/50)
- change the brand or type of food several times (3-4) times
- the addition of poor quality vitamins/minerals to a diet (not from whole foods)
- feed human foods in amounts enough to disrupt the calcium/phosphorus balance
- feed too many calories vs. the amount of free exercise the dog et on a daily bases
- feeding a pet food that has minerals that are not very available to the body – crude forms
- feeding diets lacking in vital micro minerals or trace minerals
- feeding too much of a well-balanced, high quality-food
Most of the growth problems in puppies are linked to a too high calorie intake (over nutrition) or not adapted calcium level of the diet to the breed size.
Supplementation for puppies is still a need in avoiding other problems as for example skin or gastro-intestinal disorders. But please make sure those supplements are adapted to puppies in their growth period : calcium level must be adapted to the breed size (1.2% for small & medium breed dogs, 0.8% for large & giant breed dogs) and may not provide too much calories to the puppy.
Viyo Elite, a high palatable nutritional drink, is safe to feed to growing puppies. Beside the positive effects on skin & coat health, gastro-intestinal health, muscle tone and joint health, it is also adapted to growing puppies due to the low calorie content and adapted level of calcium to the breed size.
Dr. Wim Van Kerkhoven – Viyo International