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Pet care with Hansel

Bahrain News
Sat, 09 Apr 2016

Vet Hansel answers your questions about pet care in this weekly advice column, created in partnership with the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA). It will also be highlighting each week some of the animals in the BSPCA
sanctuary, in the hope of finding each of them a loving home.

Question: What is hypertrophic osteodystrophy? Is it a treatable condition?

Answer: Hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD) is a canine non-infectious inflammatory disease usually affecting large breed puppies between the ages of two and eight months.

Sick dogs exhibit swelling and pain in their legs with reluctance to stand or walk. The disease causes a disturbance in blood supply to the growth plate, resulting in delays in bone production and weakening of the bony latticework in this region. All or some of the limbs may show signs of the disease and the lameness is usually symmetric, meaning that both the right and left sides of the body are affected equally.

With severe disease, the dog is often systemically ill and may need supportive care. Systemic signs include fever, lethargy, depression and loss of appetite. In the most serious cases, damage to the growth plates can lead to growth deformities in the limbs. In milder cases, dogs can make a full recovery with no permanent damage.

Several breeds of dogs, including the Rottweiler and the Great Dane, are at high risk of developing HOD. Therefore, an inherited component is highly probable. Selective breeding will reduce the number of HOD-affected puppies in the general population.

Viral diseases such as distemper and other respiratory problems have been thought to play a role in causing HOD. Vitamin C deficiencies and other metabolic defects have been suggested as possible causes of HOD, but no research to date supports this. As some breed lines develop the disease with increased frequency, a genetic component is suspected.

The treatment of HOD is supportive. Intravenous fluids are given to dogs with a high fever or dehydration. Aspirin, carprofen, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or narcotics may be required to control pain.

Calorie-dense diets are discontinued and the dog is placed on an adult or large breed growth diet. Also, over-supplementation with vitamins and minerals is discontinued from the diet, since massive Vitamin C supplementation may contribute to the disease.

The veterinarian often makes a presumptive diagnosis if the dog shows signs of the disease and is a commonly affected breed. A definitive diagnosis is confirmed by taking an X-ray.

The prognosis is fair to good for mild cases but guarded for severe cases. Spontaneous regression often occurs in dogs that reach maturity. In severe cases, growth deformities requiring surgical correction can result. Avoid feeding high-calorie diets to large or giant breed dogs. Vitamin and mineral over-supplementation should be avoided because they may increase the incidence of the inflammation.

lDr Hansel Geo is a veterinary consultant and surgeon for the BSPCA and Charis Vets. Please send questions to


Breed: Mix

Sex: Male

Age: Approx. three years

Neutered: Yes

Oddie is a bit of an oddball, hence is name. He came to the shelter more than two years ago wearing a T-shirt and was deemed a very quirky boy from then on. Apart from his looks, you can expect a loving gentleman that wants friendship. If there was more room in my house this dog would be the first one to join the group. Sadly, he is often overlooked at the shelter when people pass his pen. But, like many other dogs at the shelter, he can offer you much more if you take the time to say hello and introduce yourself. Oddie is neutered, tick-treated and fully vaccinated.


Breed: DSH

Sex: Male

Age: Three years, seven months

Neutered: Yes

Ghost can be a great cat to be around, given the chance. This might not show from his placid looking face although he enjoys being picked up – if it’s the right time of day. Don’t let his older looks turn your head; go for it and pet him gently and show him some love. He would be a very low maintenance cat and great around young children growing up. Ghost is neutered and fully vaccinated.

By BSPCA Pet  Reporter Ghazi Almoayed

*If you are interested in adopting Oddie, Ghost or any of the other cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, please visit the Animal Welfare Centre in Askar. From the Alba roundabout, take the road sign-posted Askar and Durrat Al Bahrain and at the third signal take a right on to the truck road and after approximately 800 metres you will see the AWC on the right side, just before the flyover. Or, log onto the website for directions. The shelter is open from 9am to 5pm on Sundays to Thursdays and 9am to 1pm on Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays. It accepts animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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