Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) in Dogs

Overview of Canine Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)

Hypertrophic osteodystrophy, also referred to as HOD, is an orthopedic disease seen in immature large and giant breed dogs. The cause of HOD is unknown, but it may be linked to diet or an infectious disease. HOD goes by other names including skeletal scurvy, osteodystrophy II, idiopathic osteodystrophy, metaphyseal osteopathy and Moller-Barlow’s disease.

Hypertrophic osteodystrophy causes inflammation of the growing bone leading to pain and lameness. HOD primarily affects the front legs but can also affect the rear legs, scapulae and ribs of young growing dogs often starting at 2 months of age to 8 months of age.

Breeds most commonly affected include the Great Dane, Irish wolfhound, Saint Bernard, borzoi, boxer, Dalmatian, Irish setter, Weimaraner, German short-haired pointer, Doberman pinscher, German shepherd, Labrador retriever, Collie, greyhound, basset hound and some terriers. Signs usually develop between two and eight months of age.

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) in Dogs

Treatment of Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) in Dogs

Treatment includes the administration of pain relievers, such as deracoxib, aspirin, carprofen, or etodolac. If the dog is severely debilitated, he may require hospitalization and intravenous fluid therapy and/or nutritional support.

Home Care and Prevention

Be aware of your pet’s normal gait, appetite, and demeanor so that you can be aware of any changes. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the above signs of hypertrophic osteodystrophy.

If you own a large or giant breed of dog, feeding a puppy food that is labeled for large- or giant-breed dogs may help prevent this and other orthopedic conditions.

In-Depth Information on Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)

Hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD) is a disease of young, skeletally immature large- and giant-breed dogs. The cause of HOD is unknown. An old theory was vitamin C deficiency, but this theory has since been discarded. Currently, excessive nutritional supplementation, genetics, and possibly an infectious agent are believed to play roles in the development of HOD. HOD develops in puppies between two and eight months of age, more commonly around three to four months of age.

Dogs with HOD have a limp that can be mild or so severe that they hold the leg off of the ground. The front legs are usually affected, and both front legs are often affected at the same time. The disease can be episodic, such that the signs come and go.

The carpi or wrists are usually swollen, painful, and warm to the touch. Affected pups usually have a fever, are not interested in food, and are depressed and lethargic.

This disease can present with signs similar to other orthopedic diseases of young dogs, such as panosteitis or osteochondrosis. Panosteitis is an inflammatory condition of the long bones of young large breed dogs. Osteochondrosis is an abnormality of mineralization of the bones of young growing dogs, which can result in disruption of joint cartilage overlying the bone.

In-depth Information on Diagnosis

History and physical examination are important in any illness. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam, examining all four legs carefully. Often, orthopedic disease can affect more than one leg, but the dog will only be obviously lame on the worst leg. Your veterinarian will also take your dog’s temperature to check for a fever. Specific tests may include:

In-depth Information on Treatment

Since the cause for this disease is unknown, specific treatments for it are not available. The disease is usually self-limiting and runs its course as the dog matures. The treatments are therefore designed to make the dog comfortable and keep him nourished through the disease.

Prognosis with Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)

Dogs that are mildly affected have a very good prognosis, but dogs that are severely affected have a guarded prognosis and may be euthanized because of unrelenting pain or poor nutritional status.

Optimal treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your dog does not rapidly improve.

Follow-up Care for Dogs with Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy

Optimal treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve.