SlimDoggy Health Check: Skeletal Disorders Part 2
Today we continue our SlimDoggy Health Check series by taking a closer look at some additional skeletal issues that may befall our pets. We already covered some of the most common, Osteoarthritis and Dysplasia in Part 1.
Let’s take a look at:
- Luxating patella
- Osteochondritis dissecans
Luxating Patella in humans is sometimes called a “trick knee”. This is when the patella, or kneecap dislocates or moves out of position. The knee joint is made up of many moving parts that all have to work in harmony. The patella floats as it does to allow movement and to keep the muscles and bones working together. If the ridges that hold the patella in place, but still allow it to move when the knee bends, are malformed or injured, a Luxating Patella may develop.
It occurs more frequently in smaller dogs, but may affect a dog of any size. You will likely see symptoms and know that something is wrong with your dog as an acute episode can be quite painful and your dog will typically yelp in pain and then hold up the offending leg. It may last only a short period of time, or they may be lame for several days. You may also notice them ‘skipping’ a step – bypassing the injured leg. It may occur intermittently with the dog being fine in between episodes. Untreated, the condition worsens over time, arthritis is likely to set in and your dog may become unable to use the limb.
Diagnosis can usually be made through palpitation by your vet and is graded in its severity. It’s important to treat as 15-20% of dogs with it eventually rupture their cranial cruciate ligament – a much more serious orthopedic condition. Treatment options for Grades 3 & 4 is usually surgery to correct the problem. Less serious Grades can be aided through diet and exercise – another important reason to keep your dogs weight down.
Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD or OD) is a condition that also occurs in humans. It is caused by abnormal cartilage development and the diseased cartilage separates from the underlying bone. Cartilage is the connective tissues between bones it is softer and more flexible than bones and provides a protective layer between them. It typically occurs in larger dogs, including the German shepherd, Golden and Labrador retriever, Rottweiler, Great Dane, Bernese mountain dog, and Saint Bernard. A genetic component is suspected.
Symptoms include lameness, swelling, pain and muscle wasting. Your vet may diagnose the condition using xrays, CT scans and MRI studies. Like other joint disorders, OCD can vary in severity and treatment will be based on the injury, your dogs age and overall health. Your vet may prescribe moderate treatment including anti-inflammatory medication, a diet and exercise program if your dog is overweight. If the condition is advanced or a serious tear to the cartilage, then surgery may be required. The prognosis for recovery depends on the location of the OCD and early treatment (before arthritis sets in).
Panosteitis is a painful condition that affects the long bones of dogs. It is typically found in adolescent, larger breed dogs and may be referred to as ‘growing pains’. While it is quite painful for the dog, it typically resolves itself as they grow into adulthood. Symptoms include a sudden lameness of unknown origin that may shift from limb to limb as it may affect all limbs. It may also come and go with long periods of remittance. Your dog may also develop a fever and loss of appetite. Your vet may diagnose the condition with xrays and since the condition is self-limiting (your dog will outgrow it) treatment consists of keeping your dog comfortable with proper diet, exercise and anti-inflammatories or pain medications as needed.
Knee Problems In Your Dog Patellar Luxation
Treatment Options For Your Dog’s Luxating Patella
Osteochondritis Dissecans or OCD in Dogs
What is panosteitis?
Bone Inflammation (Panosteitis) in Dogs