Manifested as: OCD, FCP(fragmented coronoid process), UAP (ununited anconeal process), DJD (degenerative joint disease, note that DJD may also occur in the cartilage of other joints). The form most often diagnosed in Swissys appears to be DJD, a slowly progressive form of cartilage degeneration usually caused by trauma or abnormal wear on the joint. DJD is classified as primary (idiopathic or no known cause) or secondary (a known predisposing cause or injury exists). Anecdotal evidence suggests that most Swissys diagnosed with DJD during radiographs of the elbows for OFA certification fall into the mildest form grade I. They have never displayed any clinical signs such as pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion or lameness. With DJD, genetic predisposition cannot be established as definitely as with other orthopedic conditions. Hence, there is a wide range of opinions among Swissy breeders with regard to breeding a dog affected with DJD grade I. There is, however, general consensus among breeders not to use Swissys with DJD beyond grade I as well as with any of the other forms of ED.
This is the irregular formation of the coxofemoral joint. This is the joint that joins the femur, the longest bone in the body, to the hip socket. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and the ball(femoral head) must fit well into the socket (cup) for the joint to function properly. The main contributors to the development of CHD are joint laxity and the depth of the acetabulum (cup). Early signs of CHD include: - Reluctance to go up and down stairs or to jump - Difficulty rising or laying down - Bunny hopping when running, i.e. both hind limbs move together. Diagnosis is made through radiographic findings, either by the method advocated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or by that of the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP) which measures joint laxity. While CHD is among the principal orthopedic diseases in the GSMD, fortunately for Swissys, it manifests itself rarely in a severe and crippling form. Indeed, unless x-rays are taken, many Swissy owners are not even aware that they have a dysplastic dog. Quite often, mildly and even moderately affected Swissys do not show any or only very subtle clinical signs of the disease. While treatment options for severely dysplastic dogs are available, we will not discuss them here as they are so rarely applicable to Swissys. Prior to breeding, Swissys should be screened for CHD and evaluated by an established registry such as OFA or PennHIP. It is preferable to use only CHD free animals.
OCD of the Shoulder
Osteochondrosis is a generalized disturbance of the normal development of cartilage. The articular cartilage becomes abnormally thickened and small fissures and cracks may develop. The "dissecans" refers to the stage when cartilage becomes dissected resulting in cartilage flaps. These flaps may remain attached or become loose and fall into the joint space. In Swissys, the vast majority of OCD cases occur in the shoulder joints and occasionally in other joints such as elbows and hocks. The onset of the disease may begin as early as at 4 months and as late as at 14 months. The most typical age of appearance, however, is between 6 and 8 months. Except for very mild cases without flap development, the clinical signs are almost invariably persistent, and less frequently, intermittent lameness. The dog may be stiff after resting and the lameness is usually aggravated by exercise. OCD is diagnosed by radiography. However, in the early stages, radiographic findings might be inconclusive. In such situations, contrast radiography (arthrography) may be necessary for definite diagnosis. Treatment depends on the severity of the case. OCD lesion in the shoulder joint. Lesion evident on the joint surface of the humeral head Mild cases without cartilage flaps may be treated and heal spontaneously with several weeks of rest and treatment with the drug Adequan and supplements such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin, MSM and Vitamin C. Many cases, however, will require surgery which consists of the removal of flaps and loose fragments and the scraping and smoothening of the defective surface. Surgical repair of OCD of the shoulder usually renders excellent results. Surgical results involving other sites are not as predictable. Because mild forms of OCD can occur without presenting clinical signs, a prudent approach is to radiograph shoulders prior to breeding so that affected Swissys can be eliminated from a breeding program. In fact, Swiss health data has convincingly shown that by excluding affected dogs and bitches, incidences of OCD can be significantly reduced.