Early reports that some dogs responded to vitamin C administration, despite the fact that dogs can manufacture their own vitamin C and do not have a dietary requirement for it. This lead to speculation that deranged vitamin C metabolism may be involved in the disease. However, subsequent reports suggest that vitamin C supplementation may be contraindicated because it increases serum calcium concentrations.
The observation of soft tissue calcification in some dogs suggest that mineral imbalance, overnutrition or abnormal hormonal control of calcium and/or phosphorus metabolism may be involved (e.g. mediated by vitamin D, or parathyroid hormone).
Periods of remission can occur followed by relapse. Death can occur and euthanasia is often requested by owners with severely affected individuals. Puppies that survive this disease may have permanent skeletal deformities such as cow-hocks or angular deformity of the front legs.
The Xray below shows the roughened outline of the long bones due to irregular new bone deposition. There is also soft tissue swelling.
In some cases soft tissue calcification may be present as well (e.g. the aorta, lining of the heart (endocardium), kidneys or lungs.
Relapses are rare once skeltal maturity is reached.
Updated October 2013