Growth Plate Soreness.
This soreness of the growth plate (Epiphysitis) is usually confined to the young growing puppy. It is more common in males as they are bigger, stronger, heavier and more boisterous than their litter sisters.
The problem causes a shifting lameness due to inflammation and small, fine fractures in the growth plates at the ends of the long bones of the limbs. These are the cartilaginous areas, approximating the actual joint, where calcification is occurring in the process of lengthening and structurally strengthening the bone.
The condition is usually due to an overuse response in developing bone caused by excessive running usually on hard, unforgiving surfaces. It differs from polyarthritis in that the pain and soreness are confined to the area of the long bone just above or below the joint, where as polyarthritis these signs are confined to the puffy, swollen, fluid filled joint. At times, abnormal bony enlargements due to growth plate soreness may be present on visual inspection indicating abnormal growth activity at the growth plates.
Growth Plate soreness is aggravated by a deficiency or imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in the diet which frequently occur with high levels of meat in the diet without additional calcium added to balance the mineral content or inadequate vitamin D intake. For my puppies l always add Calci-D to the raw diet.
Treatment; The puppy or puppies should be placed under crate rest or confined to a SMALL yard for 4 to 6 weeks. A good dietary intake of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D should be ensured. Stimulating liniments or counter irritants such as bone radiol or similar human medications designed to improve blood flow to the area should be applied once a day for 5 days. Then reduce application to alternate days for 3 to 4 weeks.
Following a suitable convalescence, return the puppy to a gradual increase in exercise for a few weeks to avoid the recurrence of the over use problem of growth plate soreness.