|While growing pains are common amongst human children as a part of growth and maturation of the long bones, dogs often experience similar type pains as growing puppies. While this most commonly occurs in larger breed dogs, any dog can be affected. Usually between the ages of 4 and 18 months this often presents as some sort of limping or stiffness, which can often shift from one limb to another, after seemingly resolving on its own for a period of time.|
It is important for a veterinarian to do a proper exam and workup to differentiate such symptoms from other causes of lameness that can present as any of the tick-borne diseases, especially Lyme disease. However, unlike Lyme disease, many puppies with growing pains or problems in maturation or calcification/elongation of their growing bones, present more with long bone pain, rather than the joint pain more common in infectious diseases. Usually through a combination of a physical exam, blood work and x-rays, these possibilities can be sorted out.
Some of the more common “growing pain” diseases in dogs include panosteitis and hypertrophic osteodystrophy (known as HOD). There are also certain calcification defects involving the joints of particularly large breed dogs, known as osteochondrosis or OCD that can also cause pain and lameness in young dogs. While in the latter condition of OCD, surgery is sometimes necessary, however, most of these other common “growing pain” conditions of young dogs can be treated through a combination of rest, nonsteroidal anti inflammatory medication such as Rimadyl or Deramaxx, and mild opioid medications such as Tramadol.
Some clients will also supplement with antioxidants like Proanthozone, as well as fatty acids or Yucca Intensive. While most puppies typically outgrow most of these conditions by sexual maturity, some dogs can be so severely affected that on rare occasions (if surgery is not an option) euthanasia is rarely needed. While many of these conditions are not well understood, in terms of exact causation, it is important to feed your puppy a good quality natural diet, but also to recognize not to overfeed or over supplement as well, which some believe can also play a role in some of these conditions. .