Osteochondrosis in Dogs
World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2003
Leo Brunnberg
Small Animal Clinic, Free University of Berlin
Berlin, Germany

OCD (osteochondrosis dissecans) is one of the most common disorders in the skeletal development of the dog. It is diagnosed as a multifactorial disease. Rapid growth due to methods of keeping and feeding dogs, as well as to a genetic disposition, are under discussion as possible causes. It mostly affects large canine breeds which grow quickly. The following investigation was conducted at the clinic and polyclinic for small domestic animals at the Free University Berlin on patients with OCD in their shoulder, elbow, stifle an hock joints, which had been examined and treated in the period between 1993 and 1998. The joint most affected was the shoulder, in a group of 60 dogs (82 joints). 21 dogs had disorders of the elbow joint (26 joints), ten of the stifle joint (12 joints) and 16 of the hock joint (22 joints). OCD of the patella was diagnosed in one dog.

Subsequent follow-up examinations were carried out at the clinic and polyclinic for small domestic animals at the Free University Berlin on 92 joints. These examinations took place over a period of between three months and six years.

37 dogs with OCD in the shoulder joint (50 joints and 61,0 % of the animals suffering from this form of the disease) and 14 dogs with OCD of the elbow (18 joints and 69,2 % of those with OCD of the elbow joint) were checked. In the case of stifle joint follow-up examinations were carried out on six patients, i.e., seven stifle joints (58,3 % of the OCD stifle joints). It was also possible to check 13 dogs with hock joint disorders in the clinic. As in the case of four dogs both hock joints were affected the course of the hock joint OCD could be monitored clinically and radiographically on 17 joints (72,7 % of the hock joint disorders). The patient with OCD of the patella was also examined.

It was possible to show that the results of this study are in good agreement whit those presented in the literature. In a total of 80,0 % of the cases an improvement in clinical function was observed after surgical treatment. From the study it can be concluded that patients with clinically and radiographically observed pathological changes should receive surgery as early as possible. The comparative assessment of the joint disorders illustrate that the success of treatment was determined both by age and the duration of lameness before the operation.

The chances of recovery in these cases could be improved not only with regard to function but also to radiographic changes. This applied in particular to the elbow and hock joints, whereas the clinical function of the shoulder and stifle joints was to a large extent independent of these radiographic findings.


1.  Hazewinkel, H. A. W., S. A. Goedegebuure, P. W. Poulos und W. Wolvekamp (1985) Influences of chronic calcium excess on the skeletal development of growing great danes.J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 21: 377-391.

2.  Hedhammar, A., F. M. Wu, L. Krook, H. F. Schryver, A. D. Lahunta, J. P. Whalen,

3.  F. A. Kallfelz, E: A. Nunez, H. F. Hintz, B. E. Sheffy und G. D. Ryan (1974) Overnutrition and skeletal disease. An experimental study in growing Great Dane dogs. Cornell Veterinarian 64 (5): 1-160.

4.  Johnson, K. A. (1980): Osteochondritis dissecans of the lateral ridge of the tibial tarsal bone in a dog. Aust Vet J 56 (12): 615-616.

5.  Olsson, S. E., und S. Reiland (1978) The nature of osteochondrosis in animals. Summary and conclusions with comparative aspects on osteochondritis dissecans in man. Acta Radiol Suppl (Stockh) 358: 299-306.

Speaker Information
(click the speaker's name to view other papers and abstracts submitted by this speaker)

Leo Brunnberg
Small Animal Clinic, Free University of Berlin
Berlin, Germany

MAIN : Surgery : Osteochondrosis
Powered By VIN