My previous dog had terrible joints from any early age – like Nando, she was also a mixed-breed dog, and in theory should have had less problems, at least from a genetic standpoint. She suffered joint pain throughout her entire life, and so it is through that ‘filter’ or ‘lens’ that I worry about Nando’s legs and joints.
Here are the things we did/do/will do to look after Nando’s bones and joints:
- We checked to see if Nando’s parents had joint problems: This was made easy because Nando’s breeders published all of the relevant information (hip dysplasia and elbow dyplasia scores and genetic test results) on their website. Both his parents tested negative for joint problems – yay!
- He is fed a ‘large puppy’ diet and is kept on the lean side. I feel his ribs daily to ensure he is not getting overweight, and we weigh him often.
- We try not to over-exercise him – this is not always possible with an energetic puppy, and it is anyone’s guess how much exercise is too much…….well, 25km is too much, but is playing with 4-5 dogs in one day too much?
- We carry him down stairs – he is allowed to walk up stairs though (at 18 weeks he is now allowed to walk downstairs, under close supervision – he walks down very carefully).
- He will not be castrated until he is at least 9 months of age – if ever – as testosterone contributes to bone and joint development.
Mostly I think Nando is moving nicely (in an awkward growing puppy kind of way), with no pain, but I have questions about the conformation of his front legs. Crooked? or normal for a growing large breed puppy? And more importantly – is it going to be a problem?
Especially that right front leg. If he were a foal, I would say he has carpal valgus, which is reasonably normal and often improves in appearance as the foal grows and the chest becomes broader, but I cannot find a lot of information on carpal valgus in puppies, except for extreme examples……so, we will see what happens.
At 10 months old, I am happy to say that his legs are lovely 🙂 – nice and straight, no problems at all (photo on the far right). The boy can jump!