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What is shoulder OCD? 

Shoulder Osteochondritis dissecans is a disease of young dogs where the cartilage of the shoulder joint grows more rapidly than normal. This rapid groth resukts in the cartilage growing so fast the usual blood supply needed to keep the cartilage healthy can't keep up. The results in unhealthy cartilage development 

which leads to arthritis (overall inflammation of the joint). In some dogs with this condition dead pieces of cartilage break away and become loos e in the joint

adding more pain to an already painful condition

Which breeds are susceptible to shoulder OCD

This is possible in all breeds but is seen more commonly in Labradors and Great Danes.














Clinical signs of shoulder OCD

Lameness in the affected front leg is key sign of shoulder OCD. It is generally seen in dogs in less than 12 months but there is many dogs not picked up with this condition until later in life. The owner may also see stiffness, unwillingness to jump down, joint pain or swelling.

Diagnosis of shoulder OCD

Many cases of this condition can be diagnosed with Physical Examination and Xray. Some dogs may also require CT or MRI to confirm diagnosis.

Treatment of shoulder OCD

Surgery is considered the treatment of choice for shoulder OCD.

Conservative management with supplements and other rehabilitation modalaties can be a useful addition to management of this condition.

Therapies that have been shown to be helpful in pets with Shoulder OCD.

Treatments offered by Balance Vet Rehab that may be beneficial for these pets include:


BalanceVet utilises a specialist mobile surgical specialist to achieve the best results in these cases.

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy

This is a newer therapy which can help reduce the inflammation secondary to arthritis shoulder OCD.

Effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials Vavken, Patrick et al

Animal Biomechanical Medicine 

Manual therapies can be part of the overall treatment regime used in shoulder OCD. There can be benefits locally in the shoulder and also in the compensations in other parts of the body.

Effects of orthopaedic manual therapy in knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis Shahnawaz Anwer et al


Acupuncture can be helpful in reducing pain associated with shoulder OCD before and after surgery.

Effectiveness of combined acupuncture and manual therapy relative to no treatment for canine musculoskeletal pain David M. Lane et al

Acupuncture for peripheral joint osteoarthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis Y. D. Kwon et al


Not all pets are great candidates for electroacupuncture. If we have a calm pet then this treatment can be attempted.

Electro-Acupuncture is Beneficial for Knee Osteoarthritis: The Evidence from Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials Na Chen et al


This is always worth considering in non-surgical patients. It can also be considered as one of the treatments to use in shoulder OCD pets following surgery.

The effect of low-level laser in knee osteoarthritis: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Hegedus B et al

Shockwave (COMING SOON) 

This may not always be the first treatment we use in shoulder OCD but studies are now suggesting that shockwave therapy is worth considering as part of the overall treatment plan.

Effect of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy Versus Intra-articular Injections of Hyaluronic Acid for the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis June-Kyung Lee et al

Radial shock wave therapy in dogs with hip osteoarthritis Alexandre N. A. Souza

Home exercise program

A home exercise program which takes into account the home environment and activity levels is very important in the treatment of these OCD patients.

Effect of therapeutic exercise for hip osteoarthritis pain: Results of a meta‐analysis Gabriela Hernández‐Molina et al

Effects of caloric restriction and a moderate or intense physiotherapy program for treatment of lameness in overweight dogs with osteoarthritis Evamaria Mlacnik et al

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