Poodles are one of the breeds affected by chondrodysplasia, a genetic condition with severity ranging from mild to crippling. This inherited disease frequently occurs alongside other problems. Knowing the disease's risk factors, signs and options will help you address this condition if it arises in your poodle.
Chondrodysplasia is an abnormal growth of cartilage, the connective tissue in joints and elsewhere in the body. This abnormality causes a poodle's limbs to grow incorrectly, causing abnormalities in the legs. Chondrodysplasia is inherited through a recessive gene. Both parents must be carriers, and affected poodle pups are born with this condition. Some poodles with relatively mild cases have bowed legs or other signs but live a normal life. In more severe cases, poodles can become crippled due to the deformation of their limbs.
Diagnosis and Associated Health Issues
Chondrodysplasia is diagnosed through X-rays. As a pup grows, the condition becomes obvious as the deformity takes shape in his limbs. Over time, it becomes evident whether the condition will be mild or severe. Depending on severity, an affected poodle may experience joint pain and limping. His legs will appear excessively curved.
Dealing With Chondrodysplasia
You may find relief knowing chondrodysplasia-affected pets can live relatively normal lives. In moderate to severe cases, you need veterinary oversight. Joint pain is manageable to a degree, and orthopedic surgical options are available. Surgeries typically take place at about a year of age, when the poodle's bones are almost grown. No cure for chondrodysplasia existed at the time of publication, although a possible link to genetic defects in the pituitary gland and cholesterol production is progressing.
Since both poodle parents must be carriers in order for chondrodysplasia to take hold, research whether any of your breeding stock's relatives have this condition. Many kennel clubs and poodle-specific organizations offer testing for chondrodysplasia and other breed-specific genetic diseases. Stopping chondrodysplasia early can save a lot of grief and vet bills, and will reduce the risk of passing it to future poodle generations.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.