Prognosis for Osteochondritis Dessicans

Recovery depends on the size and location of the lesion, the amount of erosion in cartilage bed, and the animal's general health and diet. Within 6 to 8 weeks, most animals achieve normal function.

Prognosis for OCD in the shoulder is good to excellent with full function restored after surgery.

Prognosis for OCD in the elbow, stifle, and hock is fair to guarded, depending on the size of the lesion, the severity of degenerative joint disease, and the animal's age. Lameness, months to years after surgery, is common if degenerative joint disease progresses.

Osteochondritis Dessicans Prevention

The only way to prevent osteochondritis dessicans (OCD) is to stop breeding animals that may carry the genes for disease.

A restricted diet may slow muscoloskeletal development during the formative months. Providing a lean diet (low in protein and fat) for the first 2 years may lessen the severity of OCD. Owners should not feed puppies excessive amounts of food or give food that is high in calcium.

Running on hard or slippery surfaces, jumping, and climbing increase stress to the joints and should be discouraged, especially while the muscles and bones are developing.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 01 May 2001

Last Modified: 03 Feb 2015