Rickets in dogs develops more often at a very young age. At a more “conscious” age, osteoporosis and osteomalacia develop (softening of the bones due to leaching of large amounts of calcium from them). Owners can feed their pet with at least kilograms of cottage cheese, but if they did not take into account one small nuance, all this will be useless. Today we will talk about the symptoms and treatment of rickets in dogs in detail.
What is rickets?
Rickets is a non-communicable disease. Therefore, do not worry that it is transmitted from the dog to other pets or to the person. It is rarely transmitted by inheritance (although the predisposition can be, especially if the female has a lactating problem with calcium or phosphorus).
But rickets threatens just young puppies. In older pets, more serious problems are recorded - osteomalacia, osteochondrosis, in those who give birth to females - postpartum eclampsia, which can even lead to the death of your pet.
Causes of Rickets in Dogs
There are several causes of rickets in dogs:
- Lack of calcium.
- Lack of phosphorus.
- Vitamin D deficiency
At least one reason is enough to cause serious health problems. Even if you enrich the diet with calcium and phosphorus, but give enough vitamin D, rickets in a dog will develop. Without this vitamin (which can be produced in the body of an animal if it is exposed to ultraviolet light), calcium is simply not absorbed.
If there is not enough phosphorus, then the balance is disturbed. In general, the seemingly harmless at first glance, the lack of one of the useful substances can lead to irreversible consequences. Bones after rickets will not straighten, and will remain a wheel.
The onset of the disease may not be noticed, because there are no visible changes in the bones yet. The first, subtle signs include changes in the central nervous system. She feels that there are metabolic problems in the body and gives the animal alarming signals. At this stage of rickets, the dog becomes shy, restless. She feels quick fatigue, unnaturally excitable, and problems with reflection also appear. In addition, itching periodically occurs in the pet. The dog begins to itch and wipe its originally thick coat. In this state, the animal spends a little - 2-3 weeks. After this, if no measures are taken, a noticeable change in the bone apparatus appears. After all, mineral salts for the full impregnation of bones are no longer enough. In a rickety dog, the content of calcium salts in the skeleton is three times lower than that laid by nature. On bones, this is reflected as follows:
- they are softer;
- pain is felt;
- bone shape easily changes.
Change in shape is most reflected in the limbs. Indeed, on the long bones of the paws rests the main part of the body. On each joint of the paw, due to the increased load, a thickening appears - a bracelet. The bones of the forearm become like an arc, except that they become very fragile and easily prone to fractures. Especially this problem affects large dogs. Naturally, because of all this, the pet has problems with movement.
Then comes the turn of the teeth. Healthy puppies already in the eighth month receive a formed, formed jaw. A sick animal begins to lose baby teeth about a year. In addition, some teeth change shape, sometimes it spoils the dog. The enamel condition of such teeth is critical, they turn yellow, crumble. Due to the lengthening of the upper jaw and deformation of the lower, the natural bite is disturbed.
Symptoms of rickets in dogs
Symptoms of rickets in dogs, although diverse, are difficult to confuse with the symptoms of other diseases. After all, almost all the signs of the disease are external and quite obvious. But let's take it in order. How can a dog get rickets?
- The spine is bent, a strong stoop appears.
- The animal becomes very lethargic, quickly gets tired, his mood is absolutely playful.
- The muscles are weak. For this reason, even while walking, the legs are bent. If you feel the muscles, you feel that there is no tone. They are very flabby.
- One of the obvious symptoms of rickets in dogs is the fact that the joints on the legs are thickened (osteochondrosis), and nodules appear on the ribs - clearly rickety.
- Of the visible problems are poorly developed teeth. They may bend, crumble or even fall out.
- A sick puppy can begin to eat everything that catches his eye: earth, dirt, feces. Licks the walls, floor, doors. In general, not quite normal behavior, even for a puppy.
- Bones can break easily, even with a small bump or fall. But puppies practically do not look under their feet, like children, cling to everything, their paws get confused. Therefore, kids are injured very easily.
- The chest also changes, becomes wider, as if sagging due to weight pressure on the bones of the chest.
- Some signs of rickets in a puppy can only be recognized by a veterinarian with a thorough examination. Due to the lack of calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, pathologies of the heart, liver, and kidneys begin to develop.
Rickets of a puppy look something like this:
The following are examples of symptoms of rickets in dogs in the photo:
If you find one or more of the above signs of rickets in dogs, we recommend that you consult a doctor immediately and start treatment.
Rickets in a dog affects not only the internal structure of the bones. The disease causes an uneven deposition of lime on the skeleton. Outwardly, this is expressed in the form of thickenings, tubercles. They can often be found in the forehead, crown. And if in the sick animal to feel the front ends of the ribs, then with a high degree of probability thickening is observed there.
This is the heyday of the disease and, in addition to the foregoing, rickets are supplemented by changes in the musculo-ligamentous apparatus. Ligaments become less elastic, resilient. Because of this, one can see such a thing as “throwing” a dog’s backside and crawling its hind legs. Due to lethargy and sagging, the abdominal muscles sag, they can no longer withstand the pressure of intestinal gases. This leads to a gradual increase and lowering of the abdomen.
The dog will most likely not have a fatal outcome from rickets. But the risk of severe disability, unsuitability for standard living conditions, is quite large. For example, you can’t take a dog who has been ill with rickets for hunting.
But this is not the most formidable consequences of the disease. Much worse changes in the hip joint, pelvic bones, chest. If a dog's hip joint is affected, it becomes lame. At first, this is not very noticeable, but over time, the pathology intensifies. Still deformed pelvic bones are a problem when reproducing offspring.
The chest suffers from rickets more than other bones. The ribs become painful and easily injured.
Initial problems of the central nervous system make themselves felt in the future. A dog may suffer from cramps, cramps and seizures. These manifestations can occur in mild and severe form. A prolonged seizure can kill a dog.
Treatment of rickets in dogs
How to cure rickets in a dog? If the veterinarian has confirmed the diagnosis is true, treatment should be started as soon as possible so that no serious complications arise. The process is not fast, not cheap, not even always effective. Before starting treatment, be sure to visit a veterinarian. He must determine exactly what your pet is missing. And only after this can treatment begin.
- If there is not enough vitamin, then the use of the drug ergocalciferol (dosage of 5-10 thousand IE) will be ideal. Do not exceed it, otherwise there will be hypervitaminosis.
- Together with ergocalciferol, it is necessary to administer calcium gluconate intravenously (only 0.5 ml). Multiplicity - a couple of times a week (twice - thrice).
- More trivitamin will be required. It is administered either intramuscularly twice (sometimes once) at a dosage of 1 ml for every 10 pounds of live weight of the pet, or it is dropped directly into the mouth (from one to ten drops). This will strengthen the immune system, support your baby.
Do not stop with therapy with only one vitamin D. It would be nice to add retinol capsules (vitamin A), tocopherol (E), duovit, aevit and other vitamin complexes to the dog’s treatment for rickets. But do not exceed the dose. Follow the prescription prescribed by your veterinarian.
And be sure to walk longer. Not 5 minutes is purely for meeting the needs, but a full-fledged long walk in the sun so that the puppy is “irradiated” under ultraviolet light, thereby stimulating the production of vitamin D3 in his body.
Prevention of rickets in dogs
Cheaper treatment can only be the prevention of rickets in a puppy. And she is the simplest. First of all, you need to create a diet in which everything will be in the required quantities. That is why it is so important to properly feed the puppy. It is not necessary to give only one type of food. Be sure to diversify the dog’s menu. It should contain not only meat and cereals, but also dairy products. Plain milk is not always digested. Yes, at a very young age, enzymes that break down the components of milk are present in the puppy's intestines. But as they grow older, nothing remains from these enzymes, so after the dog drinks milk, she begins to have diarrhea.
It is for this reason that it is recommended to add "sour" milk to the diet: kefir, sour cream, fermented baked milk, cottage cheese, yogurt (unsweetened and without various additives, such natural yogurt can be prepared from milk and special sourdough yourself). These foods should be daily in a bowl. Just put enough so that the puppy eats everything. And after the meal, be sure to wash the bowl thoroughly so that the product does not deteriorate and the pet does not poison.
In food, you can add special vitamins for puppies. Drip as much as necessary according to the instructions. Do not forget about minerals. On sale, you can often find specialized fortified fish oil. The puppy will have to pour it into the mouth through force, it is unlikely that the baby will agree to accept it voluntarily. No need to give daily. The ideal multiplicity is in a day. The amount depends on the size of the puppy. The smaller it is, the smaller the dose. And it varies from 3 to 30 ml at a time.
Just make sure that the puppy does not grab anything from the ground, does not sniff with other pets before vaccination, otherwise the risk is that a small pet will pick up a plague, parvovirus enteritis or other infectious diseases.
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