Osteochondrosis of the medial humeral condyle is one of the disorders that are caused by elbow dysplasia. Occuring mostly in larger breeds, this disorder affects one or both of the front legs. If diagnosed early, most dogs can go on to lead a very normal life. While most dogs that develop this disease because of genetics, other factors can lead to its development, including diet. In this article, weâ€™ll discover what causes OCD of the medial humeral condyle, which breeds are predisposed to develop it, and available treatments.
What is OCD of the medial humeral condyle?
OCD of the medial humeral condyle is one of the conditions that are grouped together under the term elbow displaysia, as they all concern disorders in the elbow. Osteochondritis dissecans, or OCD, occurs when a small piece of cartilage peels away from the bone in the elbow joint. When this happens on the end of the humerus, or the longer bone above the elbow in the front leg, this is called OCD of the medial humeral condyle. All of the conditions included in elbow displaysia are considered polygenic, which means that more than one gene is necessary to develop the disease, but it is not currently known which genes are required.
Which dogs are affected?
This disorder can be inherited by larger breeds including Basset hounds, Bernese Mountain dogs, Bloodhounds, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chows, German shepherds, Golden retrievers, Great Pyrenees, Irish wolfhounds, Labrador retrievers, Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, St. Bernards, and Weimaraners. This disease is found more in males than females. It can also develop in dogs that have experienced too much weight gain in a short amount of time.
The lameness associated with OCD of the medial humeral condyle can start as early as seven to ten months of age. This lameness will be present every day and most obvious when the puppy gets up from a lying position or begins to run. If caught very early, the pain will not be very bad, but left untreated, the dog will experience a great deal of pain and the lameness will worsen.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The sooner treatment begins, the better the results will be, so handlers that notice this lameness in their dogs should bring them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. However, the lameness will be very subtle in the beginning and difficult to discern. A veterinarian may suspect elbow displaysia if the puppy is of a larger breed and growing quickly and show pain in the elbow area and lameness. The disorder is diagnosed through x-rays or through a CT scan, which can better show the cartilage fragments.
In the case of OCD of the medial humeral condyle, surgery will be performed to remove the fragment of cartilage that is causing the problem. After the surgery, the puppy will need to have controlled exercise to allow the leg or legs to heal, and he may be prescribed anti-inflammation medicine to help keep the swelling down.