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Dr. Loretta
Dr. Loretta, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  25 years of experience in surgery and internal medicine.
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Rickets and need very specific answers. 4 month old Boxer puppy,

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Rickets and need very specific answers. 4 month old Boxer puppy, 14 lbs, recovering from very severe pneumonia (so didn't eat much for almost a month and no dry dog food). Much better with pneumonia but now diagnosed with rickets. Limping and left front paw folding back. Given calcium supplement (huge pill!), told to take Vit D but not how much and no sun in area for a few more days. Also started on large breed dry dog food.
Questions: 1. Exactly how much Vit D does he need to recover quickly from rickets and what is best way to get it? Have heard that Cod liver oil liquid works well but how much? Or should we use a Vit D pill and how much?
2. Can we give the Calcium through his diet? If so, specifically how much dairy should he get? For instance, how many slices of cheese, etc."?
3. Any other suggestions?
HI there and welcome to Justanswer!

How was he diagnosed with this condition?

How long has he had these symptoms?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
He was diagnosed by vet 4 days ago by physical exam--our vet said left leg was "knuckling back." Symptoms for only one day before that, so total five days of symptoms of limping and deformity, although when we got him a month ago he seemed a little bow legged, but we didn't think much about it at the time because then he got really sick with the pneumonia.
Thanks for the info.

Because he caught pneumonia, there is a possibility that your young guy did not have a good beginning and may have had a nutrition problem that has caused these symptoms. There has been theorized that this condition does have a hereditary component that has caused your guy to not assimilate the Vitamin D, Calcium and Phosphorus that is required for bone growth.

The fact that he was bowlegged at first tells us that he may have started at that time having abnormalities in his growth patterns and this can often be due to rickets, a deficiency in Vitamin D.

the best treatment I have used is in a pill form of Vitamin D2 given daily at 10 IU per pound of your guys weight. Cod Liver oil does have Vitamin D at 6000 IU per fluid ounce and that may be too much for your guy.

The Calciferol must have a good calcium/ Phosphorus ratio to be useful so be sure to not over due the calcium supplementation. Often, a good calcium/phosphorus supplement is good for this but most vets prefer to feed a good puppy food which has a good balance if these 2 components which is plenty to allow his bones to form correctly. Since your guy is so young their is a good prognosis for full recovery.

Good luck!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Okay, 10 IU per lb. is only 140 IU per day for this puppy. I have read, and could be wrong, that puppies with rickets need their stores built up of Vit D. Someone also told me that they give their puppies with rickets 1/2 tsp twice a day of the cod liver oil for rickets, but sounds like you would stick with the pill and the 140 IU per day?
Also, would it hurt to give him one or two ounces of cheese (around 200 mg Ca per ounce) instead of Ca pill (it's huge and he hates it).
In your experience, how long does it take until limping and 'knuckling back' go away?
Last question, how long do we supplent the Vit D?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
see above
HI again.

yes, puppies with this condition do need to build up stores of Vitamin D but the stores are very small since they can run out quickly if the have no sunlight. I would not give the cod liver oil since the pill is more specific for the correct amount and once he has this, the improvement will begin immediately. You may not see the improvement outwardly for a few weeks but for example, this knuckling should resolve in a week to 2 weeks due to the bones becoming strengthened.

yes, the cheese will be fine since I discourage a calcium supplement without phosphorus. If you are feeding a good brand name puppy food, this will have to correct balance of CA/Phosphorus and additional supplementation is not required. 200 mg of calcium will not hurt your guys progress and may help it.

Supplement with Vitamin D until up to 9 months of age unless he has serious improvement before this.

Does that help?
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