Forums » Joint Health

Weak Pasterns - What to do?

  • July 12, 2015 11:29 PM EDT

    I am seeing an epidemic of weak pasterns in my breed ... I'm seeing recommendations that feeding a reduced protein food in puppyhood can head this off. That makes no sense to me! I think we should stop using dogs with weak pasterns in our breeding programs! What are your thoughts on this?

    • 146 posts
    July 12, 2015 11:40 PM EDT

    Answered by:  James L. Cook, DVM, PhD, DACVS, DACVSMR:

    It depends a lot on breed and severity. Carpal laxity syndrome is common in some breeds such as German Shepherds and Great Danes. In these breeds, there is a genetic component, but it is most often clinically related to nutrition and exercise factors – low quality primary food source and low levels of activity (or very rarely overuse). We typically address it by ensuring a high quality balanced diet for puppies and strength building exercise on good surfaces. You do not want to use support wraps, splints, or orthotics for this in puppies. If it is not in a breed that it is commonly seen in, is severe, and or does not respond fully to the management described above, then it may be a primarily genetic problem and addressing it via responsible breeding may be necessary.