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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First has anyone heard of Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy  (HOD) in Boxers.??

My brother in Law has a boxer almost 1 now and found when he was a little pup 3-6 weeks old that he had Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy I was wondering if anyone else heard of this in boxers and how it is brought into existance... Meaning in my terms as well can it be passed along in lines?

648 Posts
Hi Rich,

I never heard of it before you just mentioned it. However, I Googled it and came up with the following:

Rapidly growing large breed dogs
Two to six months of age is most common
Typical breeds affected
Great Danes
German shepherds

Clinical signs

Fever, anorexia, depression
Lameness may vary from mild to severe
Reluctance to stand if multiple limbs affected
Lameness may be episodic and most dogs recover after one episode
Bones affected
End (metaphyseal regions) of long bones (fore limbs more common than hind limbs)
ribs - uncommon
jaw - uncommon
bones of the paw (metacarpals) - uncommon
Affected bones are very painful to touch
Swelling and heat are commonly present over the affected bones
Other signs:
diarrhea, discharge from the eyes, tonsillitis, thickening of the foot pads, pneumonia, and abnormal development of the enamel of the teeth


Currently unknown
Proposed causes
distemper virus infection
vaccination with distemper virus
bacterial infection
other viral infection
Vitamin C deficiency is not likely as dogs make this vitamin in their liver


This is a self-limiting disease which can last a few weeks
Treatment is largely supportive
Intravenous fluid therapy
Pain medications
Anti-inflammatory medications
Antibiotics if bacterial infection is suspected
Dogs that are severely affected should be euthanatized


Prognosis is variable
Dogs having mild disease usually have a good prognosis
Dogs having severe disease have a poor prognosis
Permanent skeletal deformity can occur
Dogs usually do not die of the disease rather are euthanatized if recovery is poor or if clinical signs are severe
Recurrence can be a problem until the dog reaches maturity

3,939 Posts
It is basically a bone disease.  The exact reason younger dogs get it is still somewhat unknown but it is thought to be a slighter case of distemper virus, bacterial infection  or other types of viral infection.  They have also seen it in puppies that have had parvo.  There does not appear anything genetic or inherited in this disease.  

Although there is nothing concrete on this..... a possible cause of the disease may be nutrition. It has been suggested that several bone diseases in young puppies are linked to an excess of protein and calories.

7,757 Posts
I have also read that high protein diets in puppies can contribute to joint and development issues, such as, Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD), Pano, and hip dysplasia. That is a big reason why I steer clear of high protein puppy formulas, and feed an ALS or adult formula right from the start.
I've never had experience with this disease but hear it can be very painful.

Here is a link for you about HOD.

Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have an idea on what it is and does it is brutal.. I watch their pup go through some bad things.

We were told that in a lot of cases if the puppy hasnt been fed properly when a baby by the mother it may have many nutritional deffincies, which could lead to it. We know the  other didnt produce enough milk for all the pups she had we are thinking he might have been starved while waiting to be taking off the teets.

THey began a diet and a horrible amount of steroids given by the vet to get thngs rioght without putting him down, now his knees and ancles on the back legs are engourged greatly a=nd he walks with his knees in and sags. He dont move to far to fast becuase of lack of energy but he is still alive...

744 Posts
Excess dietary protein was once thought to be a contributing factor with HOD, however, it is now thought that the issue is excess dietary calcium (and, through that, Vitamin D, as it applies to its role with calcium absorption in the body) and phosphorus, which makes an immense amount of sense when you take into consideration that it really is a form of skeletal scurvy. While I don't feel that diet is the sole cause of this disorder, I do feel that it's the catalyst for the expression of underlying genetic defect.

This is one of the best websites that I know of regarding developmental bone disorders and dietary influences: ... le_hod.htm

(If you take a look around the site, there is additional info about Pano, etc, along with info on how to begin to reverse each of these conditions with diet.)

Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We read Great Dane Ladies page several times.  thats where we got the diet i was refering to in the above comment... She is great we talked to her in person ....

1 Posts
Hello Everyone,
I've never heard of this until last week. Our puppy, Cooper, just died from HOD on Friday. It's a very painful thing to watch them go through. The more research I am doing, I'm finding that a balanced low protein diet is the best way to prevent the onset of the disease. And HOD strikes between the ages of 3-6 mos and they usually outgrow the disease by 10-12 mos. I also am re-thinking the vaccine route as well since there is some speculation with that as well. This was our 2nd boxer... our other boxer, Tucker, died just one week earlier due to seizures. I love this breed and will never have another... They are too loyal a breed to just forget about and try something else! If anyone else knows of this disease please let me know because our puppy was taken by this horrible disease! His symptoms started on Tues and by Thurs he was diagnosed and Fri he passed away....
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