The clinical path of a patient with lameness starts with a thorough orthopaedic examination, which thanks to the use of the latest diagnostic tools will guide us in making a diagnosis and prescribing the most appropriate medical-surgical treatments for all types of orthopaedic disorders.
Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is the evolution of Osteochondrosis (OC), which is defined as impaired endochondral ossification (lack of ossification) in animals with rapid growth rate. Impaired ossification leads to thickened and weakened cartilage, which then detaches with the formation of a cartilage flap (fragment). The ethiopathogenesis of this disease includes hereditary, nutritional and growth factors.
OCD can involve various joints and those most affected are the shoulder (humeral head), elbow (humeral trochlea), stifle (medial and lateral condyles), and hock (astragalus). OCD of the shoulder mainly affects large or giant breed dogs with rapid growth rate and is more frequent in males and subjects often present bilateral lesions. Border Collies and English Setters are also frequently affected. The disease causes lameness in one or both front limbs and typically appears between 5 and 8 months of age. Surgical treatment of choice consists in the arthroscopic removal of the dissected cartilage flap and guarantees complete functional recovery in nearly all treated subjects. When left untreated or treated without following correct methods and timing, the disease evolves into osteoarthritis with progressive functional limitation of the affected joint.
Agility dogs, utility dogs, hunting dogs, field trials dogs, search and rescue dogs, obedience dogs: our dogs are increasingly involved in athletic/recreational activities. The athletic dog must reach skeletal and muscular perfection; this is why it becomes essential to take athletic dogs to regular orthopaedic examinations before and during athletic activity. Small or serious injuries can not only reduce athletic performance but also cause the dog to suffer. It is the utmost duty of the owner to recognise even the slightest of problem and take their dogs to the most suitable check-ups in order to guarantee optimal psychophysical wellness that is fundamental for reaching important goals.