What are the Symptoms?
An affliction of puppyhood marked by the rather sudden appearance of limping, often several hours after vigorous activity. Lameness in the rear legs and usually one leg is favoured. The dog may be in pain and whimper as it walks. Appetite and activity often decline.
Five to six months of age is the critical period, although general incidence ranges from 3 months to 2 years. Common to larger breeds but can strike smaller breeds as well.
The Relationship of Vitamin C and Collagen plus Stress
Collagen is the intercellular cement that binds tissues, that make tendons and ligaments strong and strengthens all other structures in the body.
Good quality collagen is dependent on an ample source of Vitamin C.
Stress is the scourge of both man and dog. Stress undermines resistance to disease and germs in part by depleting the body’s stores of water-soluble vitamin, namely Vitamin C and the Vitamin B complex group.
As an example, work stressed dogsled teams have displayed signs of scurvy, the disease that results from a Vitamin C deficiency. Symptoms only diminished when the dogs were given food containing Vitamin C.
How Puppies Are Affected By Stress?
Consider now the puppy, a tiny and vulnerable animal undergoing constant assault from stress: environmental and emotional stress when the puppy is separated from mother and littermates and placed in new surroundings: toxicologic stress from deworming, immunologic stress from vaccination, physical and mental stress from conformation and obedience training, stress from cosmetic surgery such as dewclaw removal, docking of tails, and cropping of ears. Pups of the larger breeds grow especially fast and this puts an added load of stress on their developing bodies.
The Benefits Of Vitamin C
The big breed pup has an extraordinary need for large amounts of Vitamin C. The vitamin is needed in laying down the collagen. He needs strong ligaments and tendons to hold bones and heavy muscle mass in place. He gets limited vitamin c from food and if his liver does not produce enough the animal is at risk of creating a deficiency. It seems the liver is unable to produce enough vitamin c for domesticated dogs to keep them healthy.
When a young dog is undergoing constant stress and not producing enough vitamin c, the quality of the Collagen is below par. The pectineus muscle does not develop as it should to keep pace with the skeletal growth. The ligaments are not strong enough to hold the bulk of muscle and bone in place. On the surface all appears normal, the next minute he is a cripple. It can happen that fast.
The idea is to prevent hip dysplasia in the first place rather than look for ways to help a limping dog in pain that already has the condition.
Remember most pet food companies believe that dogs produce sufficient Vitamin C and so they don’t fortify their food with Vitamin C.
Hip Dysplasia is a problem that has anguished dog owners and breeders for years. By simply supplementing a good quality Sodium Ascorbate Vitamin C owners and breeders can limit the incidence of Hip Dysplasia in their dogs, key is to supplement and limit stress in younger growing dogs.