Shoulder Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)

What is OCD?

Osteochondrosis Dessicans (or OCD) occurs when the cartilage cells fail to attach to bone or in some cases, dogs grow too fast can cause rapid production of cartilage tissue which can damage blood supply to the forming tissue resulting in a flap of diseased cartilage. This diseased flap is known as OCD in the joint causing severe lameness, pain and in some cases osteoarthritis. This disease can be commonly seen in Labradors and other giant breeds most showing signs of OCD before they are 1 year old.

How do you diagnose shoulder OCD?

You, your primary veterinarian, and Dr. Jha (Board Certified Surgeon) will use multiple layers of diagnostics to confirm OCD in your pet. You will notice lameness (limping) from your pet during playing or walking and stiffness while getting up and down. Your primary care veterinarian will do a physical exam and radiographs of the shoulder. He may suggest further review/diagnostics by a referred specialty veterinarian. Dr. Jha will do a thorough physical exam with palpation of the joint, full flexion and extension, and watching the dogs range of motion and how it is walking in a straight line. After analyzing radiographs taken from your primary veterinarian, we may repeat x-rays under sedation for “stressed” views and for measurements. Additional advanced diagnostics such as CT scan or MRI might be necessary in completing the diagnostic process.

How do you treat shoulder OCD?

There are two ways you can treat shoulder OCD, with surgery being the most common with the best possible prognosis. Medical management (non-surgical) for dogs that have smaller cartilage flaps and very minimal pain is also an option. OCD surgery is a minimally invasive surgery where Dr. Jha places a small scope in the joint (arthroscopy), finds the flap, and removes it. After the flap is removed, he then gently scrapes the left over affected area. By doing this, it allows scar tissue cartilage (fibrocartilage) to cover the area. These dogs typically go home the same day of surgery.

Recovery Process

These dogs tend to recover in 2-3 weeks with activity restriction. Some physical therapy or rehab could aid in the recovery of full range of motion.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Orthopedic Surgery

General Surgery

Neurological Surgery