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Osteochondrosis in Dogs

Dog recovering from knee surgery


Occurs commonly in the shoulders of immature, large and extra large breed dogs. It is relatively common and painful congenital bone defect disease that is characterized by abnormal cartilage-to-bone transformation, which causes cartilage and bone fragments to break off into your dog’s joint causing mild to extremely severe discomfort and pain.

Osteochondrosis isn’t a form of arthritis, although it can and often does lead to arthritis. Larger breeds of dog have a genetic predisposition towards the condition. Unlike most diseases, the various forms of OCD don’t produce immediate, obvious symptoms.

There are, however, several clues you can watch for including lameness and pain in the affected joint, restricted movement of the affected joint and/or muscle wasting in the most affected side. Treating OCD is most often directed towards inhibiting further cartilage breakdown of the joint and toward decreasing the affected dog’s pain.


Fortunately, there are a number of medical and surgical procedures available that can ease your dog's discomfort and pain. Non-surgical treatment of osteochondrosis will most likely consists of exercise restriction, body weight management and pain management using analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

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