Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)

Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a developmental abnormality caused by abnormal cartilage and bone development in affected joints. Commons sites of this heritable condition include the shoulder, elbow, knee, and hock (ankle). The cause of this condition is not precisely understood, however, genetics and nutrition appear to play key roles. Accelerated growth rates in large and giant breeds predispose dogs to the development of this disease. Dogs with OCD commonly present with problems around 4 to 8 months of age; some dogs may not show symptoms until they reach middle age. Diagnosis of OCD requires a physical examination and conclusive radiographs of the affected joint(s). Because OCD tends to be a bilateral (occurring on both sides) disease, both right and left affected joints should be x-rayed. Treatment ranges from conservative therapy (e.g.: rest, weight management, anti-inflammatories) to surgical intervention in more severely affected patients or for patients that do not respond to conservative therapy.