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There is always a whole lot of discussion about WHEN to start running a young dog in harness. An answer depends on a multitude of things - not least of which would be what breed of dog you run in harness, how far you run, do you run recreationally or professionally? I have always been interested in the structure of a working sled dog...and have poured over hundreds of books, articles and research over the years from professional mushers and vets who have made this type of research their priority.

I found this information, provided by Provet, to be a good starting bench for novices or those interested... This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

In evaluating radiographs of the skeleton of young animals it is important to know the usual closure times of growth plates in order to decide whether there is premature, or delayed closure.

The following tables list the range and average closure times (in days after birth) reported by different authors worldwide.


Growth Plate Closure Range (days) Closure - Average (days)


Tuber scapulae 117-210 186

Proximal humeral epiphysis 273-465 375

Medial and lateral humeral condyles 138-236 187

Medial humeral epicondyle 187-240 216

Proximal radial epiphysis 136-330 258

Distal radial epiphysis 136-510 318

Proximal ulnar epiphysis 161-450 258

Distal ulnar epiphysis 217-450 308

Intermediate and radial carpal bones 101

Central carpal bone 110

Epiphysis of accessory bone 113-180 135

Proximal metacarpal epiphysis 145

Distal metacarpal epiphysis II-V 165-240 203

Proximal phalangeal epiphysis I 141

Proximal phalanx proximal epiphysis II-V 131-224 186

Middle phalanx. proximal epiphysis II-V 131-224 183


Acetabulum 112

Ilium 112

Ischium 112

Pubis 112

Tuber ischii 292


Femoral head 129-540 320

Femur - greater trochanter 129-540 320

Femur - lesser trochanter 129-360 269

Distal femoral epiphysis 136-392 330

Tibial condyles 143-413 322

Tibial tuberosity 143-435 249

Distal tibial epiphysis 136-495 313

Medial tibial malleolus 138

Proximal fibular epiphysis 136-360 297

Distal fibular epiphysis 136-495 288

Fibular tarsal bone 159

Tarsal bones III and IV 101

Distal metatarsal epiphysis II-V 165-270 217

Proximal phalangeal epiphysis II-V 161-210 187

Middle phalanx - proximal epiphysis II-V 161-210 187

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