Bone Deformity and Dwarfism in Dogs


Osteo means bone, chondro means cartilage, and dysplasia means abnormal growth. Osteochondrodysplasia (OCD) is a growth and developmental abnormality of the bone and cartilage resulting in lack of normal bone growth and bone deformities. Some breeds are predisposed to this disorder. These are great Pyrenees, Alaskan malamutes, Samoyeds, Scottish deerhounds, Labrador retrievers, basset hounds, and Norwegian elkhounds.

Achondroplasia is a form of osteochondrodysplasia where the bones do not grow to the normal size resulting in abnormally short limbs. This condition is also called Dwarfism. This is caused by a mutation of the fibroblast growth factor receptor gene. In some breeds this trait is selectively encouraged, such as with the dachshund, Skye terrier, and Welsh corgi. Other breeds that are reported to be affected are bulldogs, German shepherds, basset hounds, Boston terriers, pugs, Pekingese, Japanese spaniels, shih-tzus, beagles, English pointers, cocker Spaniels, and Scottish terriers.

Both of these disorders are genetic in origin.

Symptoms usually associated with these conditions are 

Larger than normal head

Undershot jaw with shorter nose

Crooked teeth due to shorter jaw

Abnormal bone shape

Poor growth or lack of growth

Bones appear shorter than normal

Enlarged joints

Sideways bowing of forelimbs – front legs are more likely affected

Spinal deviation to either side of the body

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