What is OCD?
Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD), is an abnormal development of cartilage in joints. It is also referred to as dyschondroplasia, osteochondrosis and osteochondritis dissecans. The condition is characterized by loose flaps of cartilage in joints that, untreated, can lead to secondary osteoarthritis and pain. It can affect joints in the shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles. If the cartilage breaks free, it will float around in the joint as a ‘joint mouse’. This is a rare condition in cats.
How does my cat get OCD?
The exact cause is unknown in cats. Although OCD has been linked to certain canine breeds as a congenital defect, no specific feline breed has been identified. Some cats are born with abnormal joint cartilage development while others can acquire it through trauma or nutritional deficiencies.
How do I know if my cat has OCD?
Young, large breed cats begin to show signs of lameness by age 4 or 5 months. Since this rarely occurs in cats, OCD can be easily mistaken for other conditions. Your veterinarian will need to perform a complete orthopedic exam, take radiographs of the affected joints, conduct blood tests as well as MRI or CT scans to accurately make a diagnosis of OCD.
What can I do about OCD?
Contact your veterinarian promptly if your cat shows mobility problems. Untreated, this condition can lead to osteoarthritis. Surgical treatment focuses on removing loose bits of cartilage from the joint surface and to cleaning up the cartilage defect of the affected area. Glucosamine and condroitin sulfate supplements may be given to assist in the healing of the cartilage following surgery. Confining the cat is essential to also help with the post-surgical recovery.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my cat from getting OCD?
Not really, other than keeping your cat at a healthy weight. Obese cats place more weight on their joints.
Are there certain breeds that get OCD more often???
No. Cats of any breed or mixed breed can have OCD.