Osteochrondrosis Dessicans (OCD)

This is where the cartilage within the joint breaks free from the bone resulting in pain and discomfort for the dog. It is commonly seen in the shoulder, knee or ankle.

It occurs during the developmental years and happens because the articular cartilage is too thick and doesn’t allow bone marrow to penetrate through to the bone, as it would in a normal bone. When this cartilage is thickened it will begin to crack and eventually break away from the bone to which it is attached.

The flap of broken cartilage will cause the pain and discomfort at the joint. As the body naturally tries to heal the site; scar tissue will also form and with it more pain will occur.

Symptoms include:

• Restricted movement
• Lameness on the affected limb (normally evident before 9mths of age)
• Abnormal posture
• Stiffness
• Reluctance to weight bear on the affected limb
• Reduced muscle development
• Evident pain after exercise
• Abnormal placement of the leg
• Care when laying/sitting down
• Nervousness or anxiety in certain situations
• Muscle wastage

Surgery to remove the cartilage flap is beneficial but in some cases total rest can resolve it.

Massage should not be used directly over the area as it is extremely painful and could cause further damage. Using massage to flush blood into the area will assist with the body’s natural healing.

Benefits of massage include:

• Reduces chances of oedema (fluid build-up)
• Reduces muscle wastage
• Reduces inflammation
• Stimulates lymphatic system and waste removal
• Stimulates nervous system to reduce anxiety/stress
• Eases areas of overcompensation on other limbs
• Relieves pain
• Promotes muscle strength on affected limb