The Bone Remodeling Process in Dogs Made Simple
If your dog is recuperating from a fracture, you’ve probably been told by your veterinarian that it will take at least quite a few weeks for the bone to substantially heal. Last week we talked about how to tell if your dog has a broken leg, so you may be curious about how to heal a broken bone faster or how this healing process actually works. The repairing of bones is known as the bone remodeling process. In this blog we will easily describe the process of bone remodeling, and how you can stimulate the bone healing process to help get your dog back on his paws faster.
WHAT IS BONE?
WHAT ARE MY DOG’S BONES MADE OF?
Bone is composed mostly of collagen, which is a protein that provides a soft framework, and calcium, which is a mineral that adds strength and hardens the framework. This combination of collagen and calcium makes bone strong and flexible enough to withstand stress.
WHAT IS BONE REMODELING (OR BONE METABOLISM)?
The bone serves as a storehouse for minerals and these minerals are constantly withdrawn to support various bodily functions, from regulating heartbeat to firing neurons in the brain. Cells called osteoclasts constantly break down old bone so that osteoblasts can replace it with new bone tissue -- a process called bone remodeling. In the simplest terms, osteoblasts are the cells that build bone, while osteoclasts are cells that break down bone.
The remodeling of bones occurs even without a broken bone. It is a natural lifelong process that occurs throughout your dog’s life. This remodeling process does not change the bones shape, but it is vital for bone health for many reasons: it maintains normal calcium levels, repairs everyday stress, and shapes and sculpts the skeleton during growth.
IS THE PROCESS OF BONE REMODELING DIFFERENT IN A DOG WITH A BROKEN BONE?
After a fracture, the same principles of bone remodeling apply (osteoblasts form bone and osteoclasts break down bone). There are however, certain steps that take place that are different from normal wear and tear activity.
Healing time depends on the dog, severity of the issue, and where the injury occurs. Check out our health section for more information on the science behind fracture healing in dogs.
ARE THERE ANY NUTRITIONAL OPTIONS TO SUPPORT STRONG BONES IN DOGS?
Minerals are the building blocks of bones. While your dog is healing from a bone fracture you should give him a diet rich in calcium, which plays a major role in the strength and structure of the bones, and magnesium; which helps to direct the calcium to the bones.
Many people think of bones and automatically think of calcium, but remember that calcium balance is important; too much or too little calcium can cause problems in your dog. Talk to your vet about how to ensure that your dog has appropriate levels of calcium.
There are also proteins that can actually help stimulate healthy bone turnover in dogs. One of the more effective nutrients is lactoferrin, a lactose free milk protein. Giving your dog a supplement containing lactoferrin (like Boneo Canine), can also help to stimulate the osteoblasts that are responsible for forming new bone.
Check out our blog on the Benefits of Lactoferrin for Dogs and learn more about Boneo Canine by watching this video: