Osteochondrosis (OCD) is a disease of the musculoskeletal system of dogs, which primarily occurs in the shoulder joints, but also in the elbow, knee and hock joints. As a typical growth disorder, its "field of activity" is limited to the immature skeleton of growing dogs.
Learn more about other medical conditions in dogs that can be treated with physical therapy.
Consequences of OCD
Due to a disturbance in cartilage growth, critical cartilage thickening occurs. As a result, deeper layers of the cartilage can no longer be adequately nourished, which ultimately leads to the death of the cartilage. This process, which begins before the fourth month of life, is often accompanied by severe pain and leads i. d. R. Between the sixth and eighth month of life to lameness and stiff gait.
Causes of osteochondrosis in dogs
The causes are manifold, but in addition to other factors, they suggest a certain genetic and race-dependent disposition. Thus, predominantly dogs of medium to large breeds (such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers) are at risk. Labrador and Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Great Dane as well as Rottweiler, Saint Bernard and Bernese Mountain Dog) are affected and also males more frequently than females.
Since overloading of the growing skeleton, injuries and sprains can be just as causative for this disease, fast-growing and spirited dogs must also be counted among the potentially endangered target group, as well as animals that are comparatively heavy in relation to their peers. The more active and heavier the young dog is, the more stress is placed on the skeleton and muscles.
Nutritional aspects also play an important role during growth. A diet that is too rich in energy is just as problematic as rations that do not provide a sufficient supply of important nutritional components. Appropriate and adequate feeding at all stages of life is essential for the growing young dog.
Diagnosis for osteochondrosis
How can a suspicion of osteochondrosis be reliably confirmed diagnostically?? Since intermittent lameness is very characteristic of OCD and is considered to be the main symptom of the disease, an accurate lameness examination must be performed. The results of this examination, the breed and age of the dog, its housing conditions and the evaluation of appropriate radiographs are to be used for a meaningful diagnosis. The fact that OCD can be bilateral should be taken into account.
Therapeutically, OCD can be divided into two areas. For example, mild OCD defects in which no scaling has yet occurred and no parts of the cartilage have become detached can be treated by two to three months of strict rest (u. a. (no leash and no wild playing) and consistent change of feeding will heal.
In more severe cases, surgical intervention is required. detached cartilage. Bone fragments are removed. In early stages of the disease, however, there is a good chance of recovery. In advanced stages, in dogs aged 10 to 16 months, most joints already show arthritic changes that can no longer be reversed.
Physiotherapy helps! Here physiotherapy provides in terms of pain relief. Muscle strengthening good results. The therapy-accompanying measures move in the area of the massages and stretches as well as the equipment training and various swimming exercises. The affected joints are relieved and stabilized by targeted muscle building. The applications at the unaffected but strongly overloaded structures have a pain-relieving effect. The aim is to restore and permanently maintain joint mobility, thus enabling the dog to enjoy as high a quality of life as possible.
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