Nutrition and osteochondrosis.
- Nutrition and osteochondrosis.
Richardson DC, Zentek J.
Science and Technology Center, Hill's Pet Nutrition, Topeka, Kansas, USA.
Developmental orthopedic disease is a group of musculoskeletal disorders that occur in growing
animals (most commonly fast growing, large breed dogs). Osteochondritis dissecans and canine
hip dysplasia are the overwhelming majority of the diagnoses in those musculoskeletal problems
with a possible nutritional-related etiology. Nutritional management alone will not completely
control osteochondrosis or any of the developmental bone diseases. However, osteochondrosis
and other developmental orthopedic diseases can be influenced during growth by feeding
technique and nutrient profile. Dietary deficiencies are of minimal concern in this age of
commercial foods specifically prepared for young, growing dogs. The potential for harm is in
overnutrition from excess consumption and over supplementation.
- Effects of diets with different calcium and phosphorus contents on the
skeletal development and blood chemistry of growing great danes.
The skeletal development of three groups of great dane dogs, fed a diet composed according to
the published nutritional requirements for dogs (controls) or with increased calcium or calcium
and phosphorus content, was examined radiographically, histologically and biochemically. The
diets were fed from the time the dogs first began eating food in addition to their dam's milk, until
they were 17 weeks old. Thereafter, the calcium and phosphorus intakes of the dogs in the high
calcium groups were normalised for a further 10 weeks. The dogs fed the high calcium diet
without a proportionally high phosphorus intake became hypercalcaemic and
hypophosphataemic, and had severe disturbances in skeletal development, growth, and
mineralisation which were typical for rickets. After their calcium intake was normalised the lesions
of rickets resolved but osteochondrotic lesions became apparent. The dogs fed the high calcium
and phosphorus diet became slightly hypophosphataemic, their growth was retarded, and they
had disturbances in skeletal development resembling osteochondrosis, which had only
- excellent and extensive write up on calcium and phosphate
diets high in meat are deficient in calcium and have a very low Ca:P ratio
absorption of calcium in young dogs is largely uncontrolled so they cannot protect
themselves from excessive calcium in the diet
long-term oversupply of calcium is a causative factor in osteochondrosis and several
other skeletal deformities in large and giant breeds of dog
the extra demands for calcium during gestation can be met by feeding increasing
amounts of balanced, complete food
eclampsia can generally be avoided by correct nutritional management of the lactating
Certain problems are believed to be at
least modulated by over supplementation of
various nutrients, in the mistaken belief that rapid
growth is desirable. Included in the list of medical
problems that are believed, in part, attributable to
over supplementation are: Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy, Osteochondrosis, Hip
- skeletondiseases of growing dogs"Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is the most frequently encountered orthopedic disease in veterinary medicine
practice. This extremely common heritable disorder of the growing dog can be influenced by nutrition. "
Rapid weight gain in
German shepherds during the first 60 days after birth has been associated with CHD at a later age.
Early fusion in
the acetabulum is speculated to result in bone/cartilage disparities in the future and to predispose to
dysplastic changes.(9) Limiting food intake in growing Labrador retriever puppies has been associated with
less subluxation of the femoral head and fewer signs of hip dysplasia.(10)
Osteochondrosis (OCD) is a focal area of disruption in endochondral ossification. OCD occurs in the
physis and/or epiphyseal regions of growth cartilage. This disease can be generalized or systemic and is
widespread among young, rapidly growing, warm blooded, domesticated species and in humans. In all
species the etiology is considered multifactorial. In the dog, OCD risk factors are associated with age,
gender, breed, rapid growth, and nutrient (primarily calcium) excesses.(1,11-14)with Great Danes, Labrador retrievers,
Newfoundlands, and rottweilers having the highest risk.