Growing Pains Are Real
Natural Supplements Build Strong Joints and Bones And Reduce Pain
We’ve all heard the term “growing pains”, and we usually apply it in a casual sense—maybe to describe a gawky adolescent who won’t clean his room, or a fledgling start-up business that makes one rookie mistake after another.
But “growing pains” is a non-scientific term for an actual physical phenomenon, one which may be causing your dog pain.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF “OCD”
When we think of “OCD” these days, we generally think of a neurological/psychological disorder which leads to repetitive behaviors like washing hands hundreds of times a day, or being unable to leave the house because the front door lock and key must be checked and re-checked exhaustively.
But for dog-lovers, OCD means something quite different: Osteochondritis Dissecans, sometimes spelled “Dessecans”. What’s important to understand is the first part of the word, “osteo”, meaning “bone”. This painful condition is basically a disorder of immature long bones. And it may affect your growing dog.
Is your dog experiencing joint pain? Before you turn to potentially toxic painkilling drugs for your canine, check out the natural alternative: Winston’s Joint System, which replenishes cartilage, sinew and synovial fluid for less pain, greater mobility, healthier growth, more fun!
GROWING BONE-TISSUE MAY BE AT RISK
What exactly is this condition called Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)?
It’s a condition of immature long bones—meaning the bones of mammalian limbs. Creatures with long legs, namely humans, horses and dogs, are especially prone to this condition, especially in the first years of life. The condition is, in simple terms, cracks which form in the cartilage of the weight-bearing surface of the bone, generally in a dog’s front legs. Untreated, the condition is painful, and can lead to inflammation, scarring and other permanent damage which may leave your growing dog unable to run, or even walk.
Joint pain in dogs often causes—pardon the expression—a knee-jerk reaction in their humans. We just want the pain to stop, now.
We recognize that our cherished pet is in pain through changes in the dog’s movement, such as:
- favoring one side
- movements seem stiff
- difficulty getting up from the dog-bed
- avoiding stairs
- unwillingness to jump up to or off a deck or landing
- unwillingness to run, or tiring out mid-run
- holding up or “pointing” out a front paw
- losing interest in favorite walks
- not even wanting to chase a ball (or a neighborhood cat!)
If any of the above describes your pet, Winston’s Joint System, an innovative, non-toxic, non-drug approach to managing joint pain and rebuilding joint health in your dog, including the condition known as OCD, is a safe, natural alternative to commercial painkillers.
Our desire to end our dog’s pain and suffering relating to joint pain may result in a quick diagnosis: painkillers for the pet. Often, veterinarians will even prescribe these powerful drugs, including steroids and NSAIDS (non-steroidals) over the phone, without examining your animal.
These drugs may offer quick relief in the short term, but they also have a high potential of toxicity. A natural, safe, effective alternative is Winston’s Joint System, which rebuilds the joint structure as it relieves inflammation and pain.
What causes the condition?
OCD may affect the shoulder, ankle or elbow joint, and the condition generally starts to show itself within the first 6 – 9 months of a young dog’s life. Unless the condition is recognized and treated, the damage may severely diminish the health and happiness of your dog.
Let’s start with a few facts: large dog breeds, including mixed-breeds, are more prone to this condition, though it may affect any dog. Retrievers, Shepherds, Setters, Rottweillers and other big breeds may begin to evidence signs of OCD early in the puppy’s life.
Contributing factors may include:
- Genetics—Certain breeds pass on a predisposition to OCD. If your dog is a purebred Shepherd, Retriever, Rottweiller, Setter or other large dog, chances of this condition being present in the first year of life are increased. Large, mixed-breed dogs also are prone to OCD.
- Trauma—Injuries, including activities which many dog-owners take for granted as safe and normal, such as requiring that a dog frequently (as in, daily) jump from a truck-bed or deck onto a hard surface. These constant impacts to the joints of the front limbs can lead to pain and bone/cartilage damage, especially in a dog which is prone to the OCD condition.
- Anthropomorphized nutritional choices—In other words, thinking that your dog is human, and has the same needs that humans do.
Many dog-lovers are gentle souls who want to live in harmony with the planet. This desire may lead to incorrect decisions regarding dog nutrition.
Dogs are carnivores.
Dogs are hunters.
Dogs are predators, often the “apex predator” in their ecosystem! These are irrevocable facts of nature, evolution and metabolism.
Have a good look at those “eye teeth” which form the fierce, fang-silhouette of your dog’s dental bite—even if your dog is a darling Pomeranian who loves to cuddle, or well-groomed toy poodle with a hair-bow in her pompadour.
There is a reason that these two elongated front-side teeth are called “canines”. They are meant for grabbing and gripping moving prey, and we’re not talking about an apple or an ear of corn here. Canine teeth have been engineered over millennia of hunting specifically for piercing skin, shearing through muscle, and tearing flesh from the bone.
To the vegetarians and vegans who may be reading, we have to consider our dog’s ancestral nature—not our own– when selecting the dog’s menu.
While caring, compassionate human beings often choose a meatless diet for their own table, this regimen does not suit dogs. Simply, dogs are not designed to live on a high-carbohydrate diet of corn, wheat and soy. In fact, these products often produce allergic reactions and inflammation in dogs. Dogs crave high-quality protein and fat, and depriving them of these species-correct nutrients may result in many health problems for your dog, including bone and joint weakness.
Apart from the specific foods you choose for your dog, obesity antagonizes the condition, because extra weight places more stress on all of the joints, especially when jumping, landing and climbing. Monitor your pet’s weight carefully.
In many cases, all of these factors come into play. The result: growing pain and permanent damage, including scarring and erosion of the bone and limited mobility, if the condition is left unchecked.
DO YOU EVER WONDER WHAT YOUR DOG IS FEELING?
As expressive as our animal companions are, they cannot speak. So if your growing dog shows evidence of distress related to movement of the shoulders and limbs, immediately schedule an X-ray with your veterinarian.
Multiple factors, including rapid growth of body size and weight, can lead to OCD’s defining symptom: cracks in the cartilage which may end deep into the soft (cancellous) bone beneath the cartilage layer. The result is often that a section of the joint cartilage will separate from the underlying structure, forming a flap. This flap irritates the joint, resulting in inflammation and nerve irritation.
Inflammation in the joint results in pain and degeneration of the joint, which can affect your dog’s gait, mobility, strength and overall health.
As a compassionate dog-person, you can tell that your pet is hurting. But even your dog doesn’t know what is happening deep inside a shoulder or other joint affected by OCD.
Inflammation triggers a series of defensive responses in your dog’s body. When a cartilage flap lifts off the bone surface, such as the surface of the humerus (front leg bone), movement causes irritation. The surface of the bone becomes pitted, instead of ball-bearing smooth. When the bone is perfectly smooth, very low surface-resistance allows for the fluid power and grace we see when a dog (or racehorse, or human athlete) runs.
However, the roughened texture of the bone surface typical of OCD contributes to “drag” in terms of movement, and adds to the pain. Just putting weight on a joint affected by OCD causes pain. Running, jumping, climbing and impact of any kind can cause your dog to literally curl up in defeat.
A healthy dog often loves to walk, run and play so much that the humans in the household resort to spelling out the “W” word (“W-A-L-K”) to avoid wildly swinging tails, jumping for joy, barking outbursts, prancing, dancing in place and generally gleeful doggie mayhem.
A dog experiencing the pain of OCD doesn’t do this. Your pet may no longer show enthusiasm for a run or walk, or may not be able to keep up on a favorite route. If this is happening with your pet, Winston’s Joint System offers a two-fold remedy – immediate pain relief, and long-term joint support.
Can OCD Be Prevented or Cured?
Preventing OCD may not be entirely possible, with the understanding that a strong element in the condition is genetic or inherited predisposition. Bear in mind that if your dog is a large breed, there may be a tendency toward OCD, and that symptoms could appear in the first several months of life as the long limb-bones grow dramatically.
Preventive measures may reduce this risk, although there is no absolute medical proof.
- Feeding your dog a canine-correct diet—high in protein and quality, with zero to no corn, wheat or soy—may allow new bone and cartilage to mature in such a way that splitting and lifting are less likely.
- And just as feeding your dog correctly, and adequately, are important to health and growth, don’t overfeed your pet. Watch the midsection – dogs show belly-fat just as humans do. Excess weight puts the joints, and the rest of the dog, at risk.
- Also, reducing trauma, injury and impact may be factors. While dogs, especially puppies, will naturally bound up and down stairs and fearlessly leap from high places, do not make these actions necessary in your dog’s daily life. Provide easy access to food, water, shelter and fun! –toys, activities, other dogs, and humans—which do not require hard-landings and lots of jumping-down which may traumatize joints.
- Provide a thick, resilient, cushioned dog-bed for your pet. A thin mat on an unforgiving cement floor or asphalt surface is not sufficient. The best possible insulation is the high-tech gel bed, which supports your dog’s weights at key pressure-points, cushions bones and joints, and will keep your dog comfortable.
Once OCD has been identified in your dog, several approaches to treatment may help, although strictly speaking, there is no cure.
A conservative approach to treating OCD is crating or confining the dog to a pen, which forces the animal to rest the affected joint. Many dogs do respond well to this non-invasive approach, which minimizes running and jumping from 4 – 10 weeks. Defects in the humeral head (head of the humerus bone) often heal as the result of this treatment. Winston’s Joint System supports this natural, gradual process as a first option. The whole-food ingredients allow cartilage, sinew and synovial fluid to replenish themselves naturally. In tandem with rest and recovery, this unique, holistic product can support healthy joint repair.
A more aggressive solution to OCD is surgery. In many cases, surgery gets the dog mobile and back to normal faster than the “rest” therapy on its own. The procedure consists of making an incision and removing any loose cartilage. After the joint has been flushed, the incision is closed with sutures, and the dog generally is on its feet with full function in a few weeks.