Dog Training

OCD in dogs: (causes, symptoms & treatment)

We have prepared 5 important facts about OCD for you for this post. These are enormously important. In addition, for this article we have Advice from veterinarian Emin Jasarevic obtained. Note: This article is written for the german country.

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OCD stands for osteochondrosis dissecans. This developmental disorder of the skeleton can occur in humans, but also in dogs. It comes to a disturbance of the cartilage formation. 

When a dog comes into the house the joy is great. As long as the preparations for the new arrival are, so short it takes until the new darling is an established member of the family. 

Surely your protégé already has a place in the middle of your heart and you have lived through and collected countless moments of happiness with him. The most important thing is that he is doing well and for this most dog owners give everything.

It is all the worse when the four-legged companion becomes ill. Often it's just a harmless illness that can be quickly overcome with a little extra affection and care. 

But sometimes it comes to diseases that are more complicated. Therefore, it is important to always watch him very closely and get to the bottom of every small change in behavior.

Caution is advised if your young four-legged friend is sluggish in the growth phase and hardly responds to play requests. Maybe he is lame or walks unusually. Then you should probably talk to your vet about the bone disease OCD.

He can make a diagnosis and help your beloved friend. To see your own protégé suffer is terrible. But try to hide your insecurity and worry from him and to radiate calmness and composure, especially when visiting the vet.

OCD - What is it?

OCD stands for osteochondrosis dissecans. This developmental disorder of the skeleton can occur in humans, but also in dogs. It comes to a disturbance of the cartilage formation. 

If your pet belongs to a heavy and larger breed, the risk for OCD is higher. Breeds that are often affected include Great Danes, German Shepherds and Labradors. However, Golden Retrievers and the Bernese Mountain Dog are also susceptible to this condition. 

Basically, however, all four-legged friends, including mixed-breed dogs, can suffer from OCD. In most cases, the disease affects the Ankle and knee joints, the elbows and the shoulder joints. The latter have a particularly high susceptibility to OCD. 

Advanced damage to the affected joints can no longer be cured. However, if the disease is detected early, special therapies can prevent the condition from deteriorating even further. If the joint is already too far destroyed, only surgery can help.

What are the causes of OCD?

To date, doctors and scientists are still not completely clear about why dogs get OCD. However, it is certain that the disease is due to various causes.

One of the biggest factors is the Race. Because the disease is particularly prevalent in large breeds, OCD is thought to be heritable command

Are you worried that your pet is affected by OCD? Then it is advisable to ask if parents or older siblings suffer from the disease. 

Another cause may be excessive load of the joints. Is your faithful companion very active and do you have the feeling that he exerts himself and just always wants to keep up despite tiredness? Then he is probably putting too much strain on his joints. Especially during growth, OCD occurs especially with overloaded joints. 

Also the Nutrition plays an important role in the development of OCD. 

With too much energy, the skeleton grows quickly. Especially the joints suffer as a result. So make sure that you offer him a balanced diet and do not overfeed him. 

In addition, doctors assume that Hormonal and circulatory disorders can be a reason for OCD. As they can have a negative effect on cartilage formation and ossification.

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Watch for these symptoms

OCD mostly occurs in young dogs. Already in the 4th - 7th month of life, the disease can develop. However, it is usually discovered a little later.

Since it is important not to waste time, therefore, at the slightest suspicion you should go with your darling to the vet and mention OCD directly.

As one or more joints are damaged, the first symptom is the Lameness. Try to get him to play and wait for his reaction. If he inert and listless is, you should not animate it further.

The best thing to do then is to palpate his joints. If you notice a Swelling on or are they warm? Then go to the vet immediately in any case. He will examine the joints carefully and observe whether your protégé has pain.

If the suspicion hardens, he will X-ray the affected joint or perform a magnetic resonance imaging, MRI for short. In this way, the vet can get a picture of the joint of your furry nose. He may also decide to perform a arthroscopy. This involves examining the joint with an endoscope through a small incision in the skin.

It sounds worse than it is. As long as you are there for your darling and radiate serenity, he will survive the small procedure well.

This is how you can prevent

You should now be aware of possible causes of OCD and can therefore reduce the risk of it in your furbearer.

When your pet is in the growing phase, it is especially important that you let them not to the excessive load urge. Of course, it's fun to romp around with him and certainly the bright four-legged friend also enjoys exercise. 

Exercise is healthy and good. However, make sure your young dog doesn't jump too high and wild or hit hooks in the yard. Even excessive and rapid climbing of stairs may increase the risk for OCD. 

Often it is well-intentioned, but please do not overfeed him. Growth is accelerated if the energy intake is too high and in the worst case, even a young dog becomes too fat. The excess pounds must then be carried around and unnecessarily stress the cartilage of the joints. 

If he is active and often outside, he will consume more energy. If you are unsure about the choice of food and ration, your veterinarian will certainly help you. He can recommend additional food that has the perfect composition of Vitamin D, phosphorus and calcium has to provide adequate care for your dog's joints.

Treatment methods

In the best case, an OCD disease is not even noticed because it can heal on its own. The healing process in the early stage is significantly supported by the preventive measures. Visible symptoms appear only when the disease is already advanced. 

If you are lucky, not too much damage has been done to the joints when OCD is discovered. At this point, further progression of the disease can be prevented by be counteracted by strict immobilization and an ideal diet. 

Limit your pet's exercise and always keep him on a leash. If necessary, you should carry him longer distances or organize some kind of cart for him. You can safely ignore if other people smile at you for it. After all, it's about the health of your pelt-nose. 


The administration of drugs used against inflammation varies from case to case. As long as it is possible, it is advisable to avoid such drugs. But here, too, the veterinarian has the last word. 

In the case of advanced OCD and especially if he already has severe pain. and impairments, only surgery can help. During the operation, destroyed fragments are removed and, if necessary, the cartilage is smoothed. 

Many dogs need after such an operation Rehabilitation measures. Not an easy task.


OCD is a disease that should not be taken lightly. The earlier the disease is detected, the greater the chances of recovery.

This is where your sensitivity and observation skills are especially called for. As soon as you notice changes in your dearest friend, do not hesitate and make an appointment with your veterinarian.

I keep my fingers crossed for you 😊

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Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic
Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion and it is my personal concern to create medically accurate articles and videos to inform pet owners as much as possible.

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