Osteochondritis dissecans or OCD is a common, developmental condition arising out of a disturbance in the process of normal calcification of cartilage cells into the formation of bone within a joint.

In dogs that grow very quickly, rapid cartilage growth is capable of outstripping its own blood supply causing abnormal cartilage development.

As cartilage over-thickens, the process of bone formation proceeds abnormally, flaps and fragments of diseased cartilage become separated from the remaining cartilage surface, as the cartilage becomes necrotic and develops fissures, it begins to break away from the bone as a flap and will often take shards of bone with it, referred as osteochondral fragmentation.

As fragments become lodged within the synovial space of the joint they cause an inflammatory response, leading to pain and lameness – an ultimately to osteoarthritis; which once present can only be managed throughout the dog’s life.

Depending on the severity of the case, surgical removal of the flap may be undertaken or it may be left to be naturally broken down by the dog’s body; the offending flap is sometimes reabsorbed back into the system but quite often remains as a painful fragment, especially if it begins to ossify or turn into bone away from the original site.

Affected dogs are likely to show clinical signs before they are 1 year old, although occasionally signs may present in the older dog. Outward signs will variable depending on the joint affected and the extent of the defective cartilage, but are likely to include lameness or stiffness after periods of inactivity, joint pain and swelling, a change in the dog’s gait, reluctance to exercise or play, or general lack of engagement and depression.

The correct maturation of the growth plates of a young dog’s bones is therefore essential - age approptiate or modified exercise and good nutrition all play a significant role in healthy cartilage development within the dog’s joints.

The use of myotherapy to support OSTEOCHONDRITIS

Galen Myotherapy© can be focussed on easing the tension and pain throughout the body triggered by inflammation.

Treatment would be similar in pattern and effect to that of osteoarthritis; working on secondary and compensatory muscle issues, supporting muscular health, thus promoting normal movement of the affected joint.

Depending on the severity of cartilage damage or stage in the animal’s treatment, myotherapy would not be applied directly over the affected joint as this could be both dangerous in that it might disrupt the area and prove to be painful - but is remains highly effective at flushing oxygenated fresh blood into the area which naturally encourages the dog’s own natural healing processes. 

To talk to me about Galen Myotherapy© and how it might help your dog, contact me here.