Carpal Subluxation Syndrome

Down in the Pasterns

This is a picture of this puppy at the age of 12 weeks before CSS.

Here are some pictures of this puppy with CSS. This puppy came to us when he was 5 months old. As you can see from the pictures he was in tough shape. First thing a complete blood workup done. From there on to research.



                                                                             1. Taken on 8/27/98                                                                                                    2.Taken on 9/10/98


                                                                                            3. Taken on 9/30/98

This is what we did for this puppy!

Changed his feed to Sceince Diet Lamb and Rice. Started him on supplements of: Vitamin C&E, gelatin tablets, Selenum tablets, Prozeyme, Gluscosamin and Chondroiton,
Please before you follow this regimen please contact me first. The dosage for each dog will be different depending on how bad they are in the pasterns!
Very important not to over do the supplements.

This puppy responded very well to this form of treatment. In fact he is now 2 yrs old and you would never know he was like this at one time. People are always saying what beautiful feet he has! HONEST! Here is a picture of the puppy at 1 year old. Feet look good!


Below is an article written by Helen "Scootie" Sherlock

Terms: Carpal- involving the front pastern or rear pastern(hock).

Subluxation- incomplete or partial dislocation. In a joint, displacement or abnormally loose-fitting of joint parts.

Definition: Carpal Subluxation is a condition affecting young German Shepherd Dogs. It has been reported occasionally in other breeds, especially Shelties, Rottweilers, and Wolfhounds. CSS is also referred to as subluxated pastern/hyperextended hock syndrome. Symptons of CSS include excessive outward extension of the front pastern joints either with or without accompanying inward hyperflexion(letting down) of the rear pasterns(hocks).

Age of Onset: Most typically 13-16 weeks of age.

1.) The stress of teething, repeat bouts with parasites, and respiratory or uninary tract infections can be percipitating factors. Diet, Health and adjustment stress(such as changing homes) should be carefully monitored.

2.)Some pups are completely down on their carpal joints from the time they first start to walk. They use their legs like "FLIPPERS."

3.) Some pups go completely down or near total wrist collapse between 6-9 weeks; if there is a history of CSS through the sire or dam, or the litter is a repeat of a breeding which produced CSS, careful management should be practiced through the entire weaning process and changes in diet. It may be wise to take blood samples from the pups, with "softer" appearing pasterns, to compare blood serum phosphorus and calcium levels between pups,as well as checking for anemia, abnormal liver enzyme levels, and total protein.

Diet: does make a difference, review feeding practices-check the kibble or frozen, fresh food product for/ % of fat,/ % of protein,/ % of phosphorus,/ % of calcium.There are different ways to calculate and list percentages. You may need to consult your distributor or pet store or use the "800" numbers available for most major dog food companies.

Eliminate or greatly reduce any other food additives such as meat, eggs, chicken, yogurt, buttermilk, goat's milk, milk, and cottage cheese, which are all high in phosphorus and calcium.

Keep additives minimal to the pup's basic diet. Stay generally with in the limits of 12-14% fat and not more than 23% protein. Science diet maintenance or lamb and rice are excellent.

One inherited factor in this CSS may relate to a basic inability to assimilate (use) certain critical minerals, like calcium and phosphorus, in a correct ratio for proper development of muscles, cartilage, tendons and ligaments during times of stress such as teething, rapid growth rate, parasitism, or infection. Factors such as very high protein and fat foods, over-supplementation, poor pancreatic or thyroid function appear to "overload the circuits"

High risk animals are generally males in a single or double dog home- which are fed premier puppy foods, allowed to get over weight, and are fed "extras" in terms of meat, cottage cheese, chicken or goat and vitamins/mineral products. The other high-risk group seem to be the breeders choices as "top show" prospects-males or females, generally of the more extremely angulated type; this may be linked to bloodline factors.

If there is a family history of CSS take your puppies off puppy diets at 10 weeks of age. Substitute a quality 23 to 25 % protein adult diet. If pasterns become soft, go to 21 to 23 %.

In general, if a puppy shows signs of CSS or is from a definite risk background, it might be wise to use an enzyme like prozyme . in every feeding. These products contain enzymes which assist in breakdown of protein, promoting better disgestion. If the pup shows signs of stool problems, check pancreatic function and consider switching to Viokase, a more expensive enzyme product containing Trypsin, a critical pancreatic enzyme. Yogurt encourages healthy intestinal flora for better digestion and absorption. Probios 180D culture powder is the best additive- available from Omaha Vacc. Co.

Some of the findings indicate that using Selenium, a trace mineral might have some value; in sheep and some other large animals, a deficiency in selenium can cause a similar condition to CSS.

Also consider running a thyroid function T3 and T4 functions; we recommend using the lab in Michigan State; Dr. Nachreiner, assocciated with this lab, is exceptionally knowledgeable regarding thyroid function in the dog. Please request a written explanation from the lab of the test results.

Also consider doing a general blood panel plus a trypsin level blood serum test (TLI). The Trypsin test can be sent to any of these labs Texas A&M, Antech and IDEXX. Trypsin is a vital pancreatic enzyme for protein digestion which is often deficient in the German Shepherd Dog.
Fecal sample checks are not adequate for accurate measurement of trypsin levels. Fecal checks on CSS pups should be done for parasites which can also cause intestinal inflammation and malabsorption.