Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

Growth Problems In Puppies - Part 2


We got Hero from a great Dane rescue the third week in January 2002, at 4 months old. A week after having him, he shut down and would not walk, he just laid there and cried. We Had to help him to his feet to get him to walk. He was diagnosed with HOD, and put on Rymadil for joints problems, he seemed to be fine after that. At about 6 months of age, his front foot seamed to be growing out to the side, my vet at the time didn't know much about Dane's, and sent us for an evaluation for Osteotomy, he thought that his growth plate was damaged. We also started him on a special diet for proper growth.

We went for the evaluation, The New Vet said, that his growth plate was fine, and that the deformity, wasn't directly linked to the HOD, more from a trauma at an early age. She advised me to take him to the University of PA for a second opinion.

At the University they took preoperative x-rays that indicated an angular limb deformity of the forelimb. The Ulna contained a retained cartilage core in the distal aspect. They said that the cartilage and the HOD could have contributed to the angular limb deformity. They way they explained it to me was, the back bone in his upper leg stopped growing, which caused the front long bone to bend under at the joint, which was forcing his foot to grow out to the side. They removed a 4 inch section of the back bone, and the bottom of the front bone, which was replaced with a metal bar, and his foot was also straightened. He was placed in a splint with a lateral walking bar. It took him only a day to figure out how to maneuver with it. We had to use a sling around his belly to help him go down the stairs for the first week. At his 3 week follow up visit, it was found that after the back bone was shorted, that it starting growing back very fast, they were worried that if it grew back too fast it, would again make the foot grow out to the side, so, He had another surgery done at that time, and again removed the piece of back bone.

After 2 months of splints, he finally got everything off his leg, he's as good as new, running and playing, he has a slight limp, due to his toes being wrapped for so long, they became straight instead of having the small curve to them. He is just about 1 year old now, and is bigger than my 5 year old Harlequin. We invested a lot of money in him, but he is worth it, he is a wonderful animal, and deserved the chance to grow up happy. Thanks to Linda, sending out the word to help us find a Veterinarian in our area who was familiar with Dane's and large breeds. I am now comfortable knowing that when in need, my Dane's will get experienced care.

HOPI’ S Story

Hopi is a typical case of developmental orthopedic problems (HOD) based on his former diet. As you can see by the overgrowth on his front pasterns, he is very deformed. But within a very short period of time, with a change in diet (Eagle Natural) his bone is starting to remodel. I have great hopes for Hopi since he is progressing so rapidly. He may end up toeing out a bit in front, but his bone is remodeling nicely within 2 months. I will add more photos of Hopi as he matures. Thanks to Val Parker of Yancydanes - Australia, for sharing his story.




Apollo’s is no different than many young dogs with developmental orthopedic disease. In his case with a change in diet (Eagle Natural) and casting the weak leg, it helped to get him back on track. I have found if we can catch these situations at 6 months or younger, we can often correct them. Casting is rather drastic, but not as drastic as in the case of Hero where surgery was needed. When these situations are not bilateral, I am convinced it is a problem of trauma to a joint area, and again, as I in Hero’s case the legs start to grow unevenly. Terrie has so graciously allowed me to share Apollo’s story and included the casting technique they used, as seen in the photographs.


Casting Apollo’s Leg

My vet first wrapped his leg and foot with gauze and then put his leg/foot in a spoon brace, with the spoon part to cradle his elbow.

Then she wrapped gauze around the brace and his leg/foot from the elbow all the way down to the POINT of his toe (it looked like he was in a ballet position with his toe pointed in that brace) and he walked on the end of that brace .

He walked normal and did just fine with the brace on.

She said do NOT let it get wet inside and if it rained to wrap/tape a plastic bag to his leg.

So I ducked tape a bag on his brace when he was outside, because it rained that whole two weeks (off and on) when he had that brace on. (Editorial comment: you should not leave duct tape on the dogs cast, because it can’t breathe. If you use duct tape and plastic, make sure it is off when the dog is in the house because the leg needs to breathe.)

But then when the brace came off because he was acting as if it was bothering him, but the vet said this was normal and that she "tweaked" that foot/leg to get it straight and it would be sore but the soreness would get worked out, which it did.

After about 3 weeks he started putting weight on that leg and he walked with a limp for the next week but then he was back to normal.He was very flat footed on that foot and I gave him 1000 mg of VIT C and it arched back up to normal.

Now when you look at Apollo that foot just doesn't look as tight as the other foot but just a normal person who didn't know he had a problem wouldn't even notice.

I mean he is perfect now. He is so awesome, I am SO glad I found the right vet to treat him, I was afraid he was going to be crippled and no one knew how to fix him.

I had considered having Apollo put to sleep because his foot/leg was so bad and it HURT me to see him like that and he was living a terrible life being crated and kept quite while his foot/leg was all messed up- he was crippled actually.

And the help from you was great for him !!! He loves the Eagle Pack and he is now growing at a nice slow pace and not getting too heavy or big growth spurts. When he was on the large breed puppy formula, he was growing WAY too fast and his bones were WAY to big ! Now he's active, healthy and VERY.

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