Osteochondrosis and OCD, which is a consequence of osteochondrosis, are caused by disturbances in enchondral ossification.1–3 Once the cartilage exceeds a certain thickness, deeper layers of cartilage can no longer be nourished. This leads to degeneration of the chondrocytes and the development of necrotic cartilage areas.1,3–5 Mechanical stress can cause fissures that extend from the cartilaginous surface to the necrotic areas, which may lead to loose cartilage or bone fragments.1–3 However, the cause of OCD remains unclear. Possible factors involved in the development of OCD include genetics, nutrition, hormonal imbalances, a deficient vascular supply, and trauma.1–4,6–12 The disease typically affects young large- and giant-breed dogs between 3 and 12 months of age.7,13–16
In the tarsal joint, 74% of affected dogs develop OCD at the medial trochlear ridge of the talus, and 26% develop OCD at the lateral trochlear ridge.17 In contrast to results for the shoulder, elbow, and stifle joints, where osteochondrosis or OCD is uniformly more common in male dogs,4,5,7,12,14,18–22 the sex-related data for the tarsal joint differ. Data in the literature range from a predisposition for OCD in female dogs23–25 to approximately equal numbers of male and female dogs that develop OCD17 to a predisposition for OCD in male dogs.26
In contrast to findings in other joints predisposed to OCD in dogs, OCD fragments in the talus are often described as large fragments. This may be attributable to avulsion fractures at the talus in immature as well as mature dogs that may lead to large fragments in the talocrural joint, which results in an osteochondral defect that could be mistaken for OCD.27
To our knowledge, there are no data about cartilage thickness at the talus and the corresponding articular surface of the tibia. The purpose of the study reported here was to determine the cartilage thickness at the proximal trochlea of the talus and the cochlea tibiae in tarsocrural joints of juvenile and adult dogs not affected with OCD and to ascertain whether the OCD-predisposed areas at the trochlear ridges corresponded to the areas with the thickest cartilage.
Leica M5, Leica Microsystems, Wetzlar, Germany.
Canon S45, Canon Inc, Tokyo, Japan.
Irfan View, version 3.93, Irfan Skiljan, Vienna, Austria.
SPSS, version 14.0, IBM Inc, Somers, NY.
Olsson SE, Bojrab MJ. Pathophysiology, morphology, and clinical signs of osteochondrosis in the dog. In: Bojarab MJ, ed. Disease mechanisms in small animal surgery. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger Co, 1993;777–796.
Ekman S, Carlson CS. The pathophysiology of osteochondrosis. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 1998; 28: 17–32.
Fayolle P, Ormieres P, Autefage A, et al. Ostechondrose du grasset chez le chien. Synthese bibilographique et presentation d'un cas. Prat Med Chir Anim Comp 1987; 22: 41–53.
Alexander JW, Richardson DC, Selcer BA. Osteochondritis dissecans of the elbow, stifle, and hock—a review. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1981; 17: 51–56.
Dämmrich K. Relationship between nutrition and bone growth in large and giant dogs. J Nutr 1991; 121: 114–121.
Weiss S, Loeffler K. Histological study of cartilage channels in the epiphyseal cartilage of young dogs and their relationship to that of osteochondrosis dissecans in the most frequently affected locations. Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr 1996; 103: 164–169.
Richardson DC, Zentek J. Nutrition and osteochondrosis. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 1998; 28: 115–135.
LaFond E, Breur GJ, Austin CC. Breed susceptibility for developmental orthopedic diseases in dogs. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 2002; 38: 467–477.
Denny HR, Gibbs C. Osteochondritis dissecans of the canine stifle joint. J Small Anim Pract 1980; 21: 317–322.
Montgomery RD, Milton JL, Henderson JT, et al. Osteochondritis dissecans of the canine stifle. Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet 1989; 11: 1199–1205.
Montgomery RD, Milton JL, Hathcock JT, et al. Osteochondritis of the canine tarsal joint. Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet 1994; 16: 835–845.
Vaughan LC, Jones DG. Osteochondritis dissecans of the head of the humerus in dogs. J Small Anim Pract 1968; 9: 283–294.
Jones DG, Vaughan LC. The surgical treatment of osteochondritis dissecans of the humeral head in dogs. J Small Anim Pract 1970; 11: 803–812.
Smith CW, Stowater JL. Osteochondritis dissecans of the canine shoulder joint. A review of 35 cases. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1975; 11: 658–662.
Breur GJ, Spaulding KA, Braden TD. Osteochondritis dissecans of the medial trochlear ridge of the talus in the dog. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 1989; 4: 168–176.
Smith MM, Vasseur PB, Morgan JP. Clinical evaluation of dogs after surgical and nonsurgical management of osteochondritis dissecans of the talus. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1985; 187: 31–35.
Beale BS, Goring RL. Exposures of the medial and lateral trochlear ridges of the talus in the dog. Part I: dorsomedial and plantaromedial surgical approaches to the medial trochlear ridge. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1990; 26: 13–18.
Fitch RB, Beale BS. Osteochondrosis of the canine tibiotarsal joint. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 1998; 28: 95–113.
Kuettner KE, Thonar EJ, Aydelotte MB. Modern aspects of articular cartilage biochemistry. Verh Dtsch Ges Inn Med 1989; 95: 436–447.
Recht MP, Resnick D. MR imaging of articular cartilage: current status and future directions. AJR Am J Roentgenol 1994; 163: 283–290.
Arokoski JP, Hyttinen MM, Helminen HJ, et al. Biomechanical and structural characteristics of canine femoral and tibial cartilage. J Biomed Mater Res 1999; 48: 99–107.
Töyräs J, Nieminen HJ, Laasanen MS, et al. Characterization of enzymatically induced degradation of articular cartilage using high frequency ultrasound. Phys Med Biol 1999; 44: 2723–2733.
Mow VC, Holmes MH, Lai WM. Fluid transport and mechanical properties of articular cartilage: a review. J Biomech 1984; 17: 377–394.
Millington SA, Grabner AM, Wozelka R, et al. Quantification of ankle articular cartilage topography and thickness using a high resolution stereophotography system. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2007; 15: 205–211.
Schiefke I, Weiss J, Keller F, et al. Morphological and histochemical ageing changes in patellar articular cartilage of the rat. Ann Anat 1998; 180: 495–500.
Castano Oreja MT, Quintans Rodrguez M, Crespo Abelleira A, et al. Variation in articular cartilage in rabbits between weeks six and eight. Anat Rec 1995; 241: 34–38.
Karvonen RL, Negendank WG, Teitge RA, et al. Factors affecting articular cartilage thickness in osteoarthritis and aging. J Rheumatol 1994; 21: 1310–1318.
Byers S, Moore AJ, Byard RW, et al. Quantitative histomorphometric analysis of the human growth plate from birth to adolescence. Bone 2000; 27: 495–501.
Faber SC, Eckstein F, Lukasz S, et al. Gender differences in knee joint cartilage thickness, volume and articular surface areas: assessment with quantitative three-dimensional MR imaging. Skeletal Radiol 2001; 30: 144–150.
Eckstein F, Siedek V, Glaser C, et al. Correlation and sex differences between ankle and knee cartilage morphology determined by quantitative magnetic resonance imaging. Ann Rheum Dis 2004; 63: 1490–1495.
Gielen I, van Bree H, Van Ryssen B, et al. Radiographic, computed tomographic and arthroscopic findings in 23 dogs with osteochondrosis of the tarsocrural joint. Vet Rec 2002; 150: 442–447.
Beale BS, Goring RL, Herrington J, et al. A prospective evaluation of four surgical approaches to the talus of the dog used in the treatment of osteochondritis dissecans. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1991; 27: 221–229.