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Osteochondrosis Dessicans, Developmental Orthopedic Disease, OCD and DOD in Horses

As the bone grows, the border between the cartilage on the end and the calcified (hard) bone continually differentiates. One side becomes cartilage that lines the joints and the other becoming bone. In OCD, the cartilage formed is abnormal. There is argument over how it is abnormal and there probably are several types of OCD. Many cases fit the "abnormally thick" hypothesis. The cartilage becomes too thick in a region and this causes problems because the cartilage does not have blood vessels to feed it. It receives nutrition by diffusion from the joint fluid. If the cartilage becomes too thick it cannot receive adequate nutrition by this mechanism and becomes weakened at its base. This may result in a defect that goes all the way to the joint space. This defect results in abnormal joint function, inflammation, and pain. A frequent sequelae to OCD is arthritis and degenerative joint disease.

OCD in shoulder joimt

Additional information

Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) or osteochondrosis is a failure of the bone underlying the smooth articular cartilage inside the joints, i.e. the subchondral bone, to form properly from the skeleton’s cartilage template. This weakness results in cracking and fissure formation in the articular cartilage, when the foal, yearling or young horse takes weight on its joints during exercise. Flaps and fragments of cartilage consequently form within the joint, some of which are transformed from cartilage into bone and are termed ‘joint mice’. Chemicals that cause joint inflammation (synovitis) are released during the development of the flaps and fragments, or as a consequence of exercise on the abnormal surfaces. The affected joints may become visibly enlarged and distended with fluid and the horse may become lame, but there is no doubt that many cases never show symptoms of abnormality, are never recognised and resolve in time of their own accord.
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