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Bone Diseases in Growing Dogs and Puppies

Reviewed by Peter Kintzer DVM, DACVIM on Thursday, June 5, 2014
Posted January 10, 2012 in Dog Diseases & Conditions A-Z

Is your dog limping? Dogs of all ages can limp for a variety of reasons. In this article, we will focus on some bone diseases that affect growing dogs, causing them to limp! The cause may be minor and resolve on its own, but others can be more serious and lead to permanent lameness or debilitating conditions such as arthritis. Therefore, it is important to work with your veterinarian to determine why your dog is limping.

If your furry friend is a large-breed dog, those weighing more than 60 pounds when fully grown, there areseveral bone-related diseases that can occur during your dog’s “growth spurt,” which is ongoing until the age of 2.

If your pet has a persistent limp and your veterinarian suspects a bone disease, he or she will likely recommend x-rays to investigate why your dog is lame. Several x-rays of each affected leg are necessary to examine the various bones and joints that may be impacted. Often this procedure will require a short-acting anesthetic or sedative in order to achieve the optimal positioning for the x-rays. Your veterinarian may recommend preanesthetic blood tests to ensure your dog has the safest anesthetic experience possible. Additionally, your veterinarian may recommend that the x-rays are be reviewed by a veterinary radiologist for the most accurate diagnosis possible.

What are common bone disorders in a young dog?

The following diseases are common causes of lameness in growing dogs:

Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is condition caused by a flaw on the smooth cartilage surface within one or more joints. In a dog with OCD , the cartilage on the end of a bone in the joint develops abnormally and separates from the underlying bone. The shoulder joint is most commonly affected, but the elbow, hip, or knee (stifle) may also be involved. Sometimes there is a flaw in a flap of cartilage or a crack in the cartilage located on the end of the bone. If the dog’s activity is severely restricted for several weeks, he often may heal without intervention. If a piece of cartilage breaks off and is floating loose in the joint, your veterinarian may recommend surgery to remove the “floating" piece of cartilage. This condition often causes your pooch some pain, which varies from mild, intermittent limping to intense, constant pain; therefore, medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation may be prescribed.

Panosteitis is commonly

Related symptoms: 

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