Osteochondritis dissecans is a type of inflammatory disorder that affects cartilage. With osteochondritis dissecans, a dog's cartilage cells do not form properly, leading to unusually thick segments that break away from their connected bones. The condition can appear in the knees, elbows, hocks and shoulders but is especially prevalent in the latter.
Dogs who have osteochondritis dissecans frequently experience problems in walking normally. Walking difficulties sometimes show up abruptly and sometimes take a long time to manifest. They are especially apparent right after a dog has completed any type of physical activity. Other common indications of osteochondritis dissecans are hobbling, swollen joints and morning rigidness.
Various Possible Causes
The specific cause of osteochondritis dissecans is uncertain. However, it is believed to have a hereditary component. Apart from genetics, other potential causes of osteochondritis dissecans are joint injuries, fast growth, improper diet and excessive consumption of food.
Certain dogs are especially vulnerable to osteochondritis dissecans. Rottweilers, Bernese mountain dogs, Newfoundlands, German shepherds, golden retrievers and Labradors are particularly susceptible. While the condition is more common in midsize or big canines, some breeds that are in that category rarely develop it -- think Siberian huskies and Doberman pinschers. Osteochondritis dissecans typically appears in wee puppies are from 6 to 9 months in age, particularly those of moderate to big size. Although the disease is prevalent in bigger pooches, smaller dogs occasionally experience it, too. Dogs who are a little older sometimes get osteochondritis dissecans. The disorder is more abundant in males than in the fairer sex, possibly because of their usually bigger bodies and higher levels of joint tension.
Regardless of the root cause of osteochondritis dissecans, never let the condition go ignored. If you think that your cutie is showing any signs of this ailment, visit the veterinarian immediately. A veterinarian might perform a variety of examinations in order to figure out what's ailing your pet, from X-rays to blood work. She might also closely look over your dog's physique, checking for any hints of movement problems. Common management options for osteochondritis dissecans are surgery and abundant relaxation. Surgery entails the extraction of the problematic cartilage.
By Naomi Millburn
VCA Animal Hospitals: Osteochondritis Dissecans or OCD in Dogs
PetEducation: Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) in Dogs
Michigan Veterinary Specialists: Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Elbow
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Osteochondritis Dissecans in the Dog - Diagnosis and Therapy
Hereditary Bone and Joint Diseases in the Dog; Joe P. Morgan, Alida Wind and Autumn P. Davidson
University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science: Disorder - Osteochondritis Dissecans
PetMD: Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) in Dogs
Veterinary Surgical Centers: Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.