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Hypertrophic osteodystrophy is a disease of the front limbs in large-breed puppies. Affected puppies suffer from a noninfectious inflammation of the bony spicules (pointed, mineral structures) in the metaphysis of the long bones. The metaphysis is the conical part of the bone between the epiphysis (the growing end of the bone), and the diaphyses (the shaft of the long bone). The most severely affected bones are those that grow most rapidly. Swelling around the metaphyses, and bone deposition, cause widening of the metaphyses. Tiny fractures of the bony spicules in the metaphyses, and metaphyseal separation occur close to and parallel to the physis. The physis is the epiphysial cartilage in the joints – the soft, connective part of the bone that hardens (ossifies) after full growth has been reached, joining the parts of the bone into one. There may also be ossifying periostitis, a painful inflammation of the most external layer of the bone, the periosteum. Ossifying periostitis can cause bits of the periosteum to break off and mineralize in the soft tissues of the leg, and soft tissue in other organs may mineralize as well.
Affected puppies may also have accompanying signs of pneumonia and diarrhea. While the cause of this disease is unknown, it is currently suspected to be a hyper-reactive response to vaccination.
Suspected (but not proven) to be a reaction in the bone-producing centers to vaccination.
Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam of your pet. While a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis are good indicators of possible systemic disease, radiograph imaging of the legs is crucial for diagnosis of hypertrophic osteodystrophy. Thoracic (chest) radiographs will also be taken if pneumonia is suspected.
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ
The fiber that covers the outside of a bone
Any type of pain or tenderness or lack of soundness in the feet or legs of animals
A record of body structures using an x-ray