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Retriver Field Trial News - December 2004

Cal Cadmus DVM

Ed Note: Cal Cadmus DVM has been involved in Field Trials for more than 20 years and won the '86 National Amateur Championship with NAFC-FC Winsom Cargo. His office is located in Oakdale, California where he specializes in TPLO repair (cruciate injury).



Our 8 month old golden retriever suddenly started limping. Shortly thereafter, we noticed that the muscles in his shoulder were getting smaller. We took him to the vet, who took x-rays and said he had a condition with a long name, he called it OCD for short. He also recommended surgery and said that "Flyer" had a good chance for recovery. Can you tell us more about OCD? Does it happen to other joints? What happens if we do not do surgery?



First of all, I completely agree with your veterinarian's recommendations for surgery. Surgical treatment for OCD of the shoulder joints removes that damaged cartilage flap smoothly off the defect on the joint surface and promotes healing. Most patients do very well and lead healthy active lives.


Now, let's describe osteochondrosis. It is a disturbance in the formation of bone growth plates and joint cartilage. The result of this disturbance is a dissecting

flap of cartilage with secondary inflammatory changes in the joint. The OCD lesion starts as a thickened portion of articular cartilage that is not connected to the underlying bone. An injury, such as jumping out of a vehicle, may cause this area to crack which can later become a non-healing flap. Clearly, there are multiple factors contributing to osteochondrosis, these include inherited factors, injury, and, even, diets that are high in calcium.


Osteochondrosis is most common in the shoulder, but may be found in the stifle, hock, and elbow. The shoulder responds quite well to surgery while the other joints have significantly less favorable results. In the elbow, an additional condition, fragmented coronoid process is often seen in conjunction with OCD. Unfortunately, surgery is not always successful and arthritis in the elbow results.


It is important to remember that in all cases, and all affected joints, the sooner the problem is recognized the more favorable the outcome.



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