9 Common Bone Issues in Growing Dogs

9 Common Bone Issues in Growing Dogs

Bone and joint problems are common in dogs of all ages. But these are especially more prevalent in young dogs undergoing growth spurts and in large dog breeds. Your furry friend might show signs like limping or lameness, reluctance to jump or run, stiffness, depression, tiredness, and irritability due to such joint issues.

Is your dog showing such symptoms? If yes, this might be due to some underlying bone and joint problems. Take your dog to the vet and get appropriate medical care at the earliest. Now, there are several types of orthopedic problems seen in growing dogs.

Some might be due to minor issues and will go away within a few days with proper care, but some may persist for more than 14 days, and if not brought to proper medical attention, it can cause some serious issues like arthritis. In this article, we will be discussing some of the most common bone and joint issues seen in young dogs. So let us get started!

Dog Bone Issue infographics

1. Panosteitis

This is caused when the shaft of the long bones in their legs gets inflamed. Due to the inflammation, the dog experiences pain and discomfort in that specific leg, and this results in lameness. This can affect one or more bones at the same time or might shift from one bone to another, which results in the shifting of lameness too.

Panosteitis is also known as growing pains or pano. This is a self-limiting condition that will resolve on its own as the dog grows. If the pain is severe, vets normally prescribe some painkillers; no specific treatment is required.

Omega 3 for pets has been proven to reduce inflammation and associated pain. It is normally seen in large breeds of dogs under the age of 2 years which is the age of rapid growth. This might get better with joint health supplements for dogs.


2. Hypertrophic osteodystrophy

When there is decreased blood flow to the growth plates of long bones in your dog's leg, the bone formation doesn't occur adequately in such areas and will result in less hardened, soft bones. Eventually, there might be inflammation in such areas.

This causes severe joint pain, fever, and swelling in young dogs. It is more painful than pano. And unlike pano, it can cause permanent damages resulting in permanent lameness and malformed limbs. This too, is usually seen during the rapid growing time of large breed puppies. This is usually a self-limiting problem that will go away after some time on its own.

3. Osteochondrosis

This occurs due to the abnormal development of the smooth cartilages present on the tip of the bones. Mostly there is a malformed cartilage flap or cracks in cartilages that results in discomfort; in such cases, severe rest and restricted activities with some painkillers and cartilage supporting medications will help.

Some other times, a small part of the cartilage may break off and float freely in the joint fluid. This is known as osteochondritis dissecans or joint mouse. It causes severe joint pain, and the vet usually recommends surgical removal of the floating flap to solve the problem. This too is commonly seen in big dog breeds undergoing a growth spurt. It commonly affects the shoulder joints.


4. Osteoarthritis

This condition is caused by inflammation of the joints due to deterioration of the cartilages. It usually occurs in adult dogs as a result of aging as a degenerative disease but might be seen in young dogs too.

In young dogs, it occurs due to some congenital malformations and serious injury or trauma to the joints. It is painful, and as the condition progresses, the pain will also increase. Omega 3 for pets can help in such conditions due to its immense anti-inflammatory properties. 

Large breeds and overweight dogs are mostly affected. This is a progressive disease and will get better only with adequate nutrition, proper exercise, and joint health supplements for dogs.


5. A fragmented coronoid process

It's a kind of elbow dysplasia. At the end of the ulna of the dog's elbow, there are two protruding bony processes known as the coronoid process. When this coronoid process has some deformities, it forms a crack and detaches from the bone; it causes pain and discomfort in the area.

It can cause instability of the joints as well. It is more of a hereditary condition that mostly occurs in large breeds. If not early diagnosed and immediately treated with appropriate surgery, it may cause further inflammation in the joints leading to osteoarthritis.


6. A ununited anconeal process

This is another elbow dysplasia. At the rear part of the dog's elbow, the bone ulna has an anconeal process. When some deformities occur in this part, it gives rise to severe pain and discomfort.

Normally during the time of puberty, the ulna and its associated anconeal process fuse together, and this enables the proper functioning of the joint. But sometimes, their fusion doesn't occur properly and might cause joint problems.

The anconeal process might also get completely detached from the ulna and float between the joints causing more pain. This can lead to the development of arthritis in that joint. It can be resolved with immediate surgery.

Bone Issues in Growing Dogs

7. Hip dysplasia

The hip joint, which is a ball and a socket joint, is responsible for holding the hip skeletons together. During the period of rapid growth and development, these bones grow as every other bone does. But here, the bones of the socket and ball should grow at uniform rates; any irregularities in their growth can result in a misfit of the joint that causes discomfort and aching.

This also causes limping and lameness. Hip dysplasia in dogs is a hereditary joint problem and can be treated with a combination of drugs and surgery. It might have associated inflammation leading to osteoarthritis.


8. Luxating patella

This is mostly a congenital condition that causes the dislocation of misalignment of the kneecap or patella. It can also be due to some severe joint trauma or overstretching of the joints. The small toy breeds of dogs are predisposed to this condition. It can be treated with massages and medications if mild. Severe luxating patella with pain needs surgery.


9. Cranial cruciate ligament tearing

This is one of the many ligaments holding the knee joint in place and allowing proper movement of the bones. Sometimes due to trauma or diseases like arthritis, it might get damaged. In the initial stages, it gets partially damaged, causing mild limping, and gradually there occurs complete rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament resulting in severe pain, swelling, and improper functioning of the joints. A good quality joint health supplement for dogs might help.


What are the causes of Orthopedic issues in young dogs?

causes of Orthopedic issues in young dogs

  • It might be caused due to inadequate nutrition during the period of the growth spurt. The dog must be fed a well-balanced diet with a proper amount of every essential nutrient, or it affects your dog's health.
  • Some of the joint issues are hereditary. For example, osteoarthritis and dysplasia are commonly seen in large breeds.
  • Overweight may also cause joint problems due to excess load on them
  • Trauma or injury to the joint.
  • Lack of joint supplements for Labradors, German Shepherd, English Mastiff, Great Dane, and every other large breed.

How to deal with orthopedic issues in young dogs?

As said earlier, when your puppies start limping for more than two days, consider going to a vet. Sometimes it might get resolved with some medications and proper rest. If it persists for more than two weeks, some diagnosis has to be made to rule out the underlying problem. Good nutrition, including omega 3 for pets, medications, and surgeries, are commonly used to treat such problems.


Using a good joint health supplement for dogs will also be beneficial. Supplements with green-lipped mussels extracts will be very helpful as it contains eicosatetraenoic acid, which is many times more powerful than normal omega 3. Green-lipped mussels are the best natural joint supplement for dogs.


So, that's it. These are some common bone issues seen in young dogs. Early identification, proper medical attention, and adequate care will help to get everything back to normal. May your fur babies be healthy and happy always! See you.