Rickets is a disease that affects puppies at a very early age. If it does not commence before six months of age, it is not likely to occur at all.
A video of rickets disease in puppies
A great deal of investigation has been carried out to ascertain the causes of this disease, and it has been definitely established that it is principally due to a deficiency of lime salts in the bones, rendering them soft and flexible, instead of hard and healthy.
This deficiency is brought about by insufficient and improper food, lack of meat, especially bones. It has been demonstrated that animals with rickets, if given these articles of diet, show immediate improvement.
Insufficient food to the bitch during gestation, or trying to raise too large a litter, or early weaning, or damp, dirty surroundings, are all factors to be avoided .
It is therefore of the utmost importance that the bitch be given doses of calcium phosphate as previously recommended.
Rickets symptoms in puppies
The symptoms of rickets are easy to detect. As the bones have become soft and flexible, the weight of the body on the legs will cause these bones to bend and become enlarged at the joints, especially at the knees and hocks. As a result of the weakening of the joints the pup walks on the back of his legs instead of on his feet.
The whole of the hind-quarters tends to collapse, and in very bad cases curvature of the spine sets in.
The puppy, when suffering froth rickets, is dwarfed in growth, very thin and miserable-looking, with a pot belly, and is always more or less in pain.
Treatment of rickets in puppies
If the pup is much below normal size and weight and is badly crippled, it should be destroyed, because even if the bones are hardened by treatment they will always remain irregular in shape, to the permanent detriment of the dog.
If, however, the dog is not too badly affected he can be treated quite satisfactorily. If his diet is incorrect, this should be immediately rectified, to include raw meat, preferably on a bone.
The limbs should be bathed twice a day in salt water, and lime water should be added to the drinking water.
As regards a medicine, one teaspoonful of hypol emulsion should be given every morning and night. This medicine contains cod liver oil and calcium phosphate, which is an excellent bone builder.
No treatment is of any use without fresh air, sunshine and liberty in dry, dirty surroundings.