12 May Rickets – A Curable Disease?
What is Rickets?
Rickets is a are disease of young, growing animals that causes soft and deformed bones. It is commonly caused by insufficient phosphorus or vitamin D in the diet. More rarely, calcium deficiency is to blame. An excess of calcium has caused rickets-like signs in some dogs. As in most diets causing defective bone formation (osteodystrophies), the cause is typically an imbalance in the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the diet. Animals fed all meat diets commonly develop rickets.
Signs of Rickets
Signs my include bone pain and swelling, a stiff gait or limp, difficulty in rising, bowed limbs, and fractures. Affected puppies may be quiet and reluctant to play. Touching the bones may cause pain. Folding fractures (pressure on the bones causes the to slowly “fold” over and deform instead of fracturing.) In advanced cases, limbs can be deformed due to the bones growing at unequal rates.
The outlook for treating rickets is good if there are no broken bones or irreversible damage to the bone. The primary treatment is to correct the diet. Exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet radiation) will also increase the production of vitamin D.
Homemade Diets or Commercial Foods?
Studies show that many homemade diets for dogs are deficient in minerals and fail to achieve a proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. A high-quality commercial food is design to meet the needs of your growing puppy. As long as the diet meets nutritional needs, well balanced in vitamins and minerals it doesn’t matter where it comes from.