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Theresa, A Voice for Your Pet
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 8007
Experience:  19+ years experience in small animal medicine
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We just adopted a 3 month old american pit mix from the

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We just adopted a 3 month old american pit bull mix from the animal shelter and within 3 days we've noticed that his front legs are starting to knuckle over, and they've gotten progressively worse each day. I've tried to research it online and a lot of the information i can find pertains to diet. The shelter had him on Science Diet puppy food, but just tonight i picked up a bag of purina pro plan as that's what we've fed our 2.5 year old lab mix for several years and I really like the pro plan. In my research I've found that knuckling can be the result of a high protein diet, but the pro plan has a higher amount of protein than the science diet, 26% vs 23%. I'm wondering what I can do to help my pup through this and make sure it gets corrected. Should we keep him from being overly active?

Theresa :

Hello, congrats on the new pup.

Theresa :

The first thing you really need to do is get radiographs ASAP on those front legs to confirm or rule out a diagnosis. Yes this could be related to diet very easily but medical intervention will also be necessary to get him through this as comfortably as possible.

Theresa :

Radiographs by an orthopedic specialist is what I would recommend. Then proceed as needed. There are a few conditions that can cause this which include HOD (hypertrophic osteodystrophy), pano, and OCD (osteochondritis dessicans). Physical therapy should also be instituted as soon as possible.

Theresa :

Treatment for these conditions are usually supportive care, change in diet, and pain management. In some cases splinting or wrapping the legs for added support during recovery can also help to improve the condition and allow the pup to be as active as possible.

Theresa :

I would put him on a high quality diet for a large breed dog. Proplan should have large breed puppy as an option.

Theresa :

I also suggest keeping him off of hard surfaces or slick surfaces until he is at least 8 months old as much as possible.

Theresa :

Protein levels should range from 23-28% for the growing boy and don't restrict his exercise just be sure it is on carpet, rugs, or grass because his bones are still softer than normal and can be affected by this.

I changed this to question answer format to make this easier as I am thinking there might be an issue with chat. Please respond with any further questions below so that I can continue to assist you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is this painful for the puppy, it seems that the more he plays the worse it gets?

All the conditions mentioned above are painful. Some more than others. Some dogs even develop fevers and generalized lethargy and weakness. This is the reason for the vet visit to help keep him comfortable as he recovers.
Theresa and 4 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Mark,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Maximus. How is everything going?


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