What Is Osteochondritis In Dogs?

The osteochondrosis is a disorder that characterizes the development of bone growth or joint. Large breeds, such as Rottweilers, seem to be the most affected.

Definition of osteochondritis in dogs

This alteration of the cartilage is a local disorder of endochondral ossification. It is precisely an abnormality in the growth of cartilage, this one is a connective tissue that is found at the ends of the bones. This disease mainly affects the shoulder in dogs but also the knee and elbow. It affects males twice as much as females.

The origin of osteochondritis in dogs

The disruption of endochondral ossification is multifactorial, we note a few hypotheses:

  • Genetic predisposition: Some dogs are more likely than others to suffer from osteochondritisThe heavy breeds are most affected, mainly the Rottweiler, the Labrador Retriever, the Bouvier, the English Setter, and the Golden Retriever.
  • Nutritional factors: The protein-energy excess of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, increases the risk of having osteochondritis.
  • Very rapid growth (Which explains why females are the least affected, their growth is slow)
  • Traumatic factors: Trauma increases the risk of developing osteochondritis (This is very unlikely)

Clinical signs of osteochondritis

The warning signs of osteochondritis in dogs are easily and quickly recognized, between 4 and 10 months of age. We note:

  • lameness of (the) member (s) anterior (s) that appear suddenly or gradually.
  • pain visibly manifested in dogs (due to inflammation)

The diagnosis

The diagnosis is based on the dog’s report and on the various signs observed, mainly lameness. The diagnosis is confirmed following an x-ray. This is done following anesthesia or sedation as it requires precise positioning. The scanner is also useful in some more delicate cases.

The treatment

The treatment of osteochondritis necessarily requires surgery, usually preceded by conservative treatment. It is possible to speed up the healing process by making a hole in the bone.


Surgery appears to be very effective if done as early as possible, before the onset of osteoarthritis. The prognosis is therefore generally good, particularly for osteochondritis of the shoulder.

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