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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
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Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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german shepherds: crack on the odd occasion

Resolved Question:

my 11 month old german shepherds bones crack on the odd occasion, want to know how to stop it or why its doin it
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 4 years ago.
Hello,

The cracking or popping you're hearing is more likely in the joints than the bones. Being a young german shepherd, I'd get an orthopedic exam by an orthopedic surgeon to really evaluate the hips as it could be an early sign of hip dysplasia. If signs of hip dysplasia on x-rays and exam (positive ortolani sign) but no evidence of joint arthritis then there is a procedure called a TPO (triple pelvic osteotomy) that can be done to prevent worsening and significantly improve quality of life with these dogs. The key is catching it early enough as if there is any arthritis then the surgery is not effective.

Hopefully this is just benign noise in the joints from joint fluid popping and nothing needs to be done- but I'd get the exam just to error on the side of caution.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
ive looked at a few forums and stuff, theyve said that their dogs had the same problem caused by growing fast. my little girl did grow very quick. also some people suggested ptuuing glucosimine or chrondoitin in her food. she doesnt seem to be bothered by the cracking sounds but im worried it'll cause her problems when shes older. to save me paying a truckload at the vet, do u suggest the glucosamine and other stuff or maybe calcium is a good idea?
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 4 years ago.
Hip dysplasia is a common disease due to abnormal growth which is why I'd rule it out. Often these dogs are painful when you pull back on the hips- normally the back leg can be pulled back nearly parallel with the spine. Dogs with hip dysplasia only get ~ 50-75% of the way and then cry out or resist this.

I would not give any supplements, especially calcium. Supplementing calcium is a big cause of hip dysplasia as it throws off the calcium: phosphorous ratio that is needed for normal bone growth. Feed a large breed puppy food and that will have all the nutrients she needs.
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 17139
Experience: DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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