this was in a later THE DOCTOR'S BAG column and it does mention a litte about OCD as well. Hope all of this has been a little help. If I can do anything else let me know. If you would like to examine other articles from my newsletter, you may find examples at:

ROTT N CHATTER newsletter February 1995


This letter was in response to the "Plea' from Joanne Bruzaukas last month along with many others. It is from Peter L. Vogel, VM MD, one of the Staff Surgeons at the Southern California Surgical Group. They see more Rotties with various 'bone' related afflictions than most as their referrals come from all over.

"Dear Jan,

After reading your newsletter the other day, I came across a plea for help from Ms. Joanne Bruzauskas. I would like to take this opportunity to offer some suggestions.

Ms. Bruzauskas describes a 7.5 month old Rottweiler with a forelimb lameness that is worse after rest. There are several causes of these lamenesses in Rottweilers of this age. The most common orthopedic problems in the young dogs involve the shoulder and elbow joints. The onset of clinical signs for all these problems is usually around 6 months of age and are associated with problems of normal ossification (bone formation).

In the shoulder, the most common cause of the described lameness is OCD) Osteochondritis Dessicans) of the caudal humeral head. In this condition, there is a defect in endochondral ossification (the normal growth process where cartilage is turned into bone). This defect results in a weakened area of cartilage that often lifts up or breaks free to form what is called a "joint mouse". when this occurs, the dogs become quite painful. This pain manifests itself as a limp. Cartilage has no blood supply and thus does not heal. The treatment of choice is surgical removal of the flap and currettage (scraping) of the underlying bone to encourage healing. The prognosis is very good.

Probably the most common cause of the described lameness is due to elbow dysplasia. This may be a new term to many of your readers, but unfortunately, the Rottie is one of several breeds affected. Elbow dysplasia describes a incongruous joint (kind of like a shoe that doesn't fit). Because certain structures in the elbow end up bearing more weight than normal, problems can occur. The most common of these is a Fragmented Medial Coronoid Process (FCP) of the ulna. This small structure ossifies at about 6 months of age. In dysplastic elbows, this structure will often break off (fragment) at this time (like having a pebble in your shoe). This can cause a significant lameness. A fragmented coronoid is usually not visible radiographically (on X-rays). However, certain characteristic changes associated with this problem are visible. Ununited Anconeal Processes (UAP) can also occur by the same mechanism as the fragmented coronoid. This is much more common in breeds other than Rottweilers. Thirdly, OCD can occur in the elbow as well. Both UAP and OCD leasion are usually visible radiographically.

The treatment of choice is surgical exploration of the elbow and removal of the fragments. Unfortunately, while we can remove the pebble, we can't do much about the fit of the shoe. Therefore,there may be a residual lameness due to osteoarthritis. this is usually manageable with non-steriodal anti-inflammatories (such a buffered aspirin). While the prognosis is good, it is not as good as OCD of the shoulder.

Finally, a condition called Panosteitis can be seen in the breed. This is a sterile inflammation of the bone which is self-limiting and usually resolves spontaneously. Pannosteitis can affect any long bone and can shift from limb to limb but causes no lasting damage once it resolves. The prognosis is excellent.

A thorough orthopedic exam can usually localize the lameness to a particular joint or bone. all of the above described problems, except panosteitis, are considered to have a underlying genetic predisposition. Breeding of affected animals should be discouraged.(added emphasis)

I hope this imformation will be helpful to your readers.


Peter L. Vogel, VMD"

EDITOR'S NOTE: I wish to thank all of those that took the time to respond to Joanne's plea for help. Many letters and phone calls came in after she had her Rott N Kid appropriately diagnosed and surgically repaired. (see her letter this issue)

It is wonderfully to know that there are so many folks willing to stop and take the time to help a Rott N Owner in need.

Thanks to all of you.