What is Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy?
Hypertrophic osteodystrophy is a condition of rapidly growing, usually large, puppies in which the long bones become inflamed and painful.
How does my dog get Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy?
The cause is unknown. Many people believe it is more common in puppies fed overly nutritious food that encourages rapid growth, but the association is far from absolute. In some cases, vaccination has been associated with precipitation of signs.
How do I know if my dog has Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy?
Puppies between 2 and 8 months of age, especially between 3 and 4 months, are most likely to show signs, which include general depression, lack of appetite, fever, weight loss, lameness (sometimes intermittent), reluctance to move, and joints that are swollen, warm and painful. Your veterinarian may suspect the condition but will need to differentiate from several similar conditions, such as panosteitis , osteochondritis dissecans, or elbow dysplasia. She will probably take radiographs of the legs to be certain of the diagnosis.
What can I do about Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy?
Treatment depends on how severely the dog is affected. Mild cases may require no treatment other than to keep the puppy comfortable and to restrict activity to leash walking and padded sleeping area. More severely affected puppies may need intravenous fluids to combat dehydration, and may need to be turned to prevent pressure sores if they refuse to get up. Anti-inflammatory and pain drugs may be prescribed. The condition may come and go for several months, and the puppy may be left with permanently bowed legs.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my dog from getting Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy?
Feed a puppy food formulated for large breed puppies if you have a large breed puppy. Avoid supplements. Even this is no guarantee your puppy will not develop the condition.
Are there certain breeds that get Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy more often?
Large and giant breeds, especially Great Danes and Weimaraners are predisposed, but it's also reported in Irish Wolfhounds, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Irish Setters, Doberman Pinschers, Saint Bernards and many others.