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Study roundup: Could Vitamin C play a role in preventing Hip Dysplasia?

21/01/2022
During our recent Naked Truths show : The Truth about Inflammation and Silent Pain, I was reminded of a study I had read many years ago, very relevant to our discussion as it highlighted the benefits of additional vitamin C in the potential prevention of Hip Dysplasia in dogs. An oldie but a goldie! The […]

During our recent Naked Truths show : The Truth about Inflammation and Silent Pain, I was reminded of a study I had read many years ago, very relevant to our discussion as it highlighted the benefits of additional vitamin C in the potential prevention of Hip Dysplasia in dogs.

An oldie but a goldie! The study was published in veterinary journals in 1976 by veterinary doctor Dr. Wendell O. Belfield DVM (1928—2018) who was a pioneer of his time, promoting wholesome foods for pets. He ran a successful veterinary practice in San Jose, California, USA. He pioneered many studies into the efficacy of offering certain nutrients to dogs with certain ailments.


His research in brief:
Studying Parents and Litters of  German Shepherd Dogs, known for HD issues.
Parents had either suffered from HD, or had previously produced pups that went on to have HD.
Providing the measured Vitamin supplementation below1 Wendell’s’ results were that none of the Pups showed or suffered HD when x-rayed at 18-24months.
The study was repeated over five years with eight litters, each study showing the same results.

In is interesting to note that wolves or wild dogs do not suffer the same HD prognosis and our pet dogs.
The Difference with many Wild Dogs to the Pet Dog.

Wild Dogs forage for items naturally high in Vitamin C, Berries and leave for instance.
Traditional Processed pet food only sometimes contains extra Vitamin C, which usually oxidises or gets heated from the ingredients.

Many fresh food diets do not contain extra Vitamin C, foraging plants are not always included.
Vitamin C is used up during times of stress, and thus after emotional stresses such as leaving the litter, their parents coupled with a new range of stimuli, people, food type and places take their toll.
Traditional veterinary medicine can also contribute to the Vitamin C uptake, worming and vaccines for instance that influence the Immune system, a system known for its Vitamin C requirements.
Operations to remove tails, dewclaws or other body parts could also contribute to internal stressors and to collagen use during healing.
Early Neutering may also play a role, it is known the same hormones related to the reproductive system are used to balance the rate of joint growth in puppies. Without them the joints can often over-grow, causing issues with surrounding tissue and joint problems later in life.

All in all it is likely the new Puppy, or even adult dog would need some extra Vitamin C to support the building of collagen and thus the rate of growth and social play or exercise puppies, and dogs, enjoy.

Extra Vitamin C is easy to add on a daily basis with the addition of plant foods such as Berries or Butternut Squash. If you would like to add higher doses of Vitamin C to your pups’ diet to support our recommendation is to work alongside a holistic vet, herbal vets maybe a great option. Find one at .herbalvets.co.uk

Author Caroline Griffith, NDFD Product Development Manager


1 - https://www.schlossfelsenkennels.com/vitamin_c.pdf - Directly from web article.
‘’Dr Belfield thought that the solution to Hip Dysplasia was obvious. Prevent hip dysplasia by supplying enough vitamin C.
He tried it with several litters of German Shepherd pups, a breed with serious CHD problems. The parents either had hip dysplasia themselves or they had already produced dysplastic pups.
The first bitch had very bad hips, and according to Seeing Eye dog standards, should have been neutered to prevent damaging pregnancy.
Dr. Belfield gave her 2,000 milligrams (2 grams) of C daily as soon as she was pregnant. Eight pups were born, and they were given 50 to 100 milligrams of liquid C from birth until weaned. From that point to four months, 550 milligrams of powdered C were added to their food. This was increased to 1,000 milligrams, then 2,000 until the pups were 18 to 24 months old. None of the pups were dysplastic.
Another bitch had been bred twice to different studs that were certified free of CHD. Each time, half of her pups were dysplastic. She was bred again and vitamin C was administered under Dr. Belfield's guidance.
She produced eleven pups with perfect hips. In all, eight litters were handled in this manner over a five-year period. When x-rayed at two years of age, all pups were free of CHD.
The testing ended in 1976. He published a paper in a professional journal.”

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