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While the exact mode of inheritance is unknown, osteochondrosis is considered to be an inherited disease. In affected individuals there is a disruption in ossification of the cartilage mold beneath the articular cartilage of the joint. This results in aseptic necrosis and when the weakened area collapses, the articular cartilage fractures resulting in lameness.OCD has been reported to occur in the shoulder, elbow, stifle, hock, and spine, and can be unilateral or bilateral. Most affected dogs that develop clinical signs are less than one year of age.
OCD is seen in many breeds but appears to be more common in the larger body type breeds. It is also seen more frequently in males than females.