You've probably seen breeders on the web, who recommend giving Vitamin C to "prevent" hip dysplasia.
Vitamin C will NOT *prevent* HD.
If only Hip Dysplasia could be prevented by something so simple as taking Vitamin C !!! If that were true, there would be no dysplastic dogs. Sadly, this isn't the case.
This theory was proposed by Dr. Wendell O. Belfield in the late 1960's based on the notion that Vitamin C is used to make collagen, one of the major tissues of cartilage, bone and tissues supporting the joint.
Dogs, unlike people, make their own Vitamin C. They produce an enzyme called L-gulonolactone oxidase, which allows them to synthesize vitamin C from glucose without having access to a dietary form of vitamin C.
Still, Belfield suggested that a deficiency of Vit. C causes joint laxity seen early in hip dysplasia. The study, which showed some benefit from Vit. C supplementation, can not be repeated by others who have tested the theory.
Research has shown that Vit. C
affects the dogs' calcium balance, so it is possible
in excess, it can actually increase the risk of some bone diseases,
including hip dysplasia [Dr.
Cindy L. Shmon article].
One test conducted in 1980, by Teare et al., showed that supplemental
vitamin C can aggravate skeletal disease induced by overfeeding
protein, energy, and calcium to Labrador Retriever puppies. The
test by Teare et al. is shown on page 38 in the US Government
National Research Council's publication, Nutrient Requirements
of Dogs - Revised 1985. National Research Council's, Nutrient
Requirements of Dogs Revised 1985, from: National Academy Press
- P.O. Box 285 - Washington, D.C. 20055. The National Academy
Press also has on-line ordering at: The National Academy Press
Requirements of Dogs Revised 1985)
Cornell's work has debunked Belfield's unscientific claims. Belfield's theory will always be touted by those who simply operate on a wish and a prayer, instead of careful breeding, and culling of breeding stock with less than normal hips.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease.The genetic transmission of hip dysplasia involves multiple genes. Dysplastic hips are recessive to normal hips. Dogs with x-ray evidence of hip dysplasia, regardless of the severity, carry the genes for hip dysplasia and should not be used for breeding. Dogs with normal hips on x-ray may carry the genes for the disease, however, this is the only safe method to prevent hip dysplasia -- decrease the incidence by only breeding dogs with normal hips.
BE SURE your breeder has cleared the joints of their breeding animals via x-ray, and not simply playing vitamin roulette with a puppy that you will be making part of your family.
Ask your vet about vitamins he or she wants you to include in the diet of your puppy.