Bone and Joints
CHONDRODYSPLASIA (Dwarfism) Dwarfism in the Akita is now steadily on the increase and is the result of a genetic recessive gene carried by BOTH parents. This can affect one puppy or an entire litter and is diagnosed by X-ray studies between 5 and 12 weeks of age. A dwarfed puppy’s forelimbs will show a definite bowing of the pasterns and bone malformation of varying degrees in shape and structure, not dissimilar to a puppy affected by rickets (lack of vitamin D) however X-rays quickly rule this out. A dwarf Akita’s life span is about 7 years with proper care. These Akita’s should never be bred with and parents that produce these puppies should never be bred with again.
HIP & ELBOW DYSPLASIA These painful and debilitating diseases can be caused by a number of factors including genetic ones and contribute to the development of dysplasia that effects the hip and/or elbow joint. A puppy born of parents free from dysplasia can develop the problem due to improper nutrition and/or unsuitable living conditions (slippery floors, stairs etc). Over supplementing with calcium and other vitamins and minerals can cause skeletal deformities along with overfeeding. Fat puppies cause damage to soft growing bones. Rough housing with other dogs or jogging and jumping on hard surfaces can also cause damage. Treatment is varied depending on the severity of the individual case. Some find relief with acupuncture and supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin to increase mobility while others respond well to anti-inflammatory drugs with surgery also an option.
SLIPPING OR LUXATING PATELLAR (KNEECAP) Dislocating kneecap can be inherited or acquired through trauma. Small toy breeds are more prone to this than large breeds but it is now also commonly seen in the Akita. Signs of a slipped kneecap are difficulty in straightening the knee, pain in the stifle and an obvious limp. The dog is reluctant to put weight on the effected leg and hold the leg high. Diagnosis is confirmed by manipulation of the stifle joint or X-ray. Treatment involves surgery.
POPPING HOCK This condition is usually not painful but can affect one or both hocks. It is caused by loose supporting structures around the joint and will impair the dogs drive and agility. Dogs with straight rear end angulation are prone to this disease. In puppies early treatment may reverse the condition. This involves total immobilisation using splints and cage rest.
^ Top of page