A 6-year-old, spayed female rottweiler dog had been diagnosed with lymphocytic plasmacytic enterocolitis with lymphangiectasia and villous atrophy. The dog was fed a homemade food consisting of 75 g of an inexpensive meat for animals, 500 g of pasta (uncooked weight), and 250 g of canned green beans. No vitamin or mineral supplement was provided. About a year after being started on this homemade food, the dog presented with facial enlargement. The jaws were flexible and the teeth moved with digital pressure. Radiographic tomodensitometric examination of the skull revealed severe generalized osteopenia that suggested metabolic bone disease. Plasma parathyroid hormone was very elevated, and the serum concentration of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol was very low. Values for calcium, phosphorus, and calcitriol were normal, suggesting that primary hyperparathyroidism was unlikely. The dog was diagnosed with secondary hyperparathyroidism, thought to be due, at least in part, to the unbalanced diet the dog had been eating for the past year. The only treatment the dog received was dietary modifications. The dog is still alive 2.5 years after presentation and is doing well. Mineralization and remodeling continue to occur.

COMMENTARY: Nutritional deficiencies in dogs are not as common as they once were but, as this case illustrates, they still do occur. A survey of homemade food recipes found that many were unbalanced. If an owner wants to feed a homemade food, be sure that a veterinary nutritionist has evaluated it and confirmed that it is complete and balanced.

Unusual case of osteopenia associated with nutritional calcium and vitamin D deficiency in an adult dog. de Fornel-Thibaud P, Blanchard G, Escoffier-Chateau L, et al. JAAHA 43:52-60, 2007.