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Osteochrondrosis Dessicans

Is a condition where the cartilage within the joint breaks free from the bone resulting in pain and discomfort for the dog. It is commonly seen in theshoulder, knee or ankle.


It occurs during the developmental stage of life and happens because the articular cartilage is too thick and doesn’t allow bone marrow to penetrate through to the bone, as it would in a normal bone. When this cartilage is thickened it will begin to crack and eventually break free from the bone to which it is attached.


It is this flap of broken cartilage that will cause the pain and discomfort at the joint. As the body naturally tries to heal the site; scar tissue will also form and with it more pain will occur.




  • Restricted range of natural movement
  • Lameness on the affected limb (evident before 9mths of age usually)
  • Abnormal posture
  • Stiffness
  • Reluctance to weight bear on the affected limb
  • Reduced muscle development
  • Evident pain after exercise
  • Abnormal placement of the leg
  • Care when laying/sitting down
  • Nervousness or anxiety in certain situations

Surgery to remove the cartilage flap is beneficial but in some cases total rest can resolve it. Your veterinary surgeon would advise the appropriate course of action here.


Benefits of massage


  • Reduces chances of oedema (fluid build-up)
  • Reduces muscle wastage
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Stimulates lymphatic system and waste removal
  • Stimulates nervous system to reduce anxiety/stress
  • Eases areas of overcompensation on other limbs
  • Relieves painRelieves pain
  • Promotes muscle strength on affected limb