Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) In Dogs

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Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD or OD) is an inflammatory disease that results when the diseased cartilage is removed from the underlying tissue. It more usually affects the joint of the shoulder, but the elbow, hip, or knee can also be affected.

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Osteochondrosis?

Genes is known to be the primary cause of osteochondrosis. Much of the study has been conducted on the elbow, where genetics plays a crucial role. Nutrition, exercise and environment can also be other factors.

Signs And Symptoms Of Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)

Many OCD dogs begin to display clinical symptoms when they are 1 year old, but sometimes signs can appear when the dog is older. The clinical symptoms are complex, depending on the joint affected and the size of the cartilage defect. The most common signs shall include:


        The onset of lameness may be abrupt or incremental, and may affect one or more limbs;

        Lameness gets worse after exercising

        Couldn’t bear weight on the affected limb

        Swelling of the limbs

        Pain in the limb, particularly in the handling of the joints involved

·         Wasting of muscles with chronic lameness

How Is Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) Diagnosed?

Many dogs are considered to have lameness that worsens with heavy exercise and extended rest. In certain cases, no apparent affected leg can be identified, since osteochondritis dissecans is present in both limbs.  X-rays are mostly diagnostic, but other examinations, including X-rays with contrast inside the joint, CT scan, or MRI, can be used in more complicated situations.

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What Is The Treatment For Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)?

Once a diagnosis has been made, the veterinarian will schedule corrective surgery. Arthroscopy or arthrotomy (surgical incision in the joint) procedures can be used to reach the area. Your veterinarian will administer drugs to control pain and inflammation for several days after the surgery. There are also several medications available that are considered to reduce cartilage degradation and degeneration. Your veterinarian will discuss the options with you depending on the final diagnosis.

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