Can young dogs get osteoarthritis?


Believe it or not, the answer is ‘yes’ … but it can be prevented! Let’s take a look at Jock, the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s, story…


The client: Wagner, a farm manager on a cattle farm.

The patient: Jock, an 18-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, and Wagner’s best friend.

The background: Jock accompanied Wagner everywhere. To keep a cattle ranch running smoothly requires several activities like fixing windmills, ensuring adequate cattle supplements, moving herds to new pastures and checking that boundaries fences are intact. When a task was completed, Wagner would drive off to the next one. It was never necessary to plead with Jock to come along. From a young age, Jock learnt to jump onto and off Wagner’s trustworthy Land Cruiser. Until one morning…

The problem: Jock was in agony. The poor dog could hardly move. At the vet, Jock was carried in by Wagner. Brave Jock even whimpered when he was placed onto the table.


Vet: Wagner, Jock has an extremely painful lameness. Does he do any jumping when he’s with you on the ranch?

Wagner: Yes… he jumps up onto the back of my Land Cruiser, and off again, several times a day. Isn’t that okay for an agile dog to do?

Vet: Not for Jock, I’m afraid this lameness is the result of that regular impact… but let’s confirm my diagnosis by doing an arthroscopy. Vet examines Jock’s joint cavity with an arthroscope, and confirms his diagnosis. He also had to remove the cartilage debris from Jock’s shoulder joint cavity.

Vet: What do you feed Jock, Wagner?

Wagner: I feed him porridge and gravy, Doc. Feeding him something else won’t help a dog with arthritis, will it?

Vet: Yes, it might have prevented this disease altogether. You see, the diet Jock’s been getting lacks protein and calcium, which are two nutrients that are essential for bone health.

Wagner: What do you recommend?

Vet: I’ll show you a couple of foods in the front shop that are specially formulated to help a dog like Jock with his condition. And I’d like to prescribe a supplement that’s been shown to strengthen the cartilage of working dogs.

Wagner: Thanks, Doc I’ll do anything to get my friend back on all fours!


Jock recovered to good health and was promoted to drive with Wagner in the front of the Land Cruiser. The case serves to illustrate that joint disease could have been prevented through proper nutrition and the right exercise. Jock’s enthusiasm and loyalty at such a young age led to the condition called osteochondritis desiccants, a condition that might have been prevented altogether in a young, growing dog like Jock. As they say: Hindsight is always the perfect science…



©Pet’s Health

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