English Pointers and Osteochondritis Health Issues

English Pointers and Osteochondritis Health Issues

Health & Safety

English Pointers are extraordinary dogs that have a fascinating ancestry with Bloodhounds, Foxhounds, Greyhounds and different types of Setters having been used to develop the dogs we see today. These elegant pointers have often been described as congenial companions"" always nice natured and totally devoted to the people they love.

If you are hoping to share your home with an English Pointer puppy, there are a few health issues that are worth making a mental note of because like so many other pure breeds, they have their fair share of conditions both genetic and acquired to have to deal with, one of which is Osteochrondritis. Sadly, just why some dogs develop the disorder whereas others do not, is not known. However, vets believe there are certain factors that may contribute to the fact English Pointers and other dogs are so prone to suffer from the condition which are as follows:

  • Genetic factors which basically means it could be a hereditary disorder
  • Diet may also play a part in dogs developing the disorder especially if their calorie intake is very high
  • Trauma is thought to also be a contributing factor
  • One thing that is known about the disorder is that it is associated with rapid growth

Symptoms to Watch Out For

The condition can prove hard to spot because some dogs don't display any symptoms at all. However, if they do the signs of there being something wrong could include the following:

  • Dogs appear stiff
  • A dog may suddenly go lame although it could come on gradually too

Dogs typically go lame on one leg first, but the condition does generally affect their limbs bilaterally. Complete rest can often help with lameness whereas if a dog continues to be exercised, their condition typically worsens. Sometimes when a dog's leg is manipulated in any way it causes them great pain. Another sign there is something wrong is when dogs suddenly develop a strange posture.

Needless to say, there are several things that occur when any of the above symptoms manifest themselves and this includes the following:

  • Dogs generally suffer quite a bit of muscle wastage and more especially on and around an affected joint
  • They develop a painful condition known as Osteoarthritis
  • They develop OCD of the elbow

Diagnosing the Problem

A vet would need to thoroughly examine a dog if an owner suspects they may be developing the condition. The only real way of establishing a dog is suffering from the disorder is for a vet to take X-rays of affected joints. However, sometimes making a correct diagnosis can prove challenging for the following reasons:

  • A dog may have more than one lesion in a joint which can complicate things
  • If a dog is suffering from osteoarthritis, this may disguise the fact they have developed OCD
  • A vet would need to take X-rays of several joints even though a dog may only be lame on the one leg

Treating the Condition

If the condition is mild, a dog can be very successfully treated using pain relief drugs and lots of rest which means more invasive surgical intervention is not needed. However, if a dog has been suffering from the condition for quite a while and where symptoms were not evident or went unnoticed, then a dog may need to undergo surgery in order to correct the problem.

The Prognosis

When a dog is treated early enough the prognosis is generally very good although there will always be long-term problems associated with the condition. If the condition is severe, a dog would develop chronic osteoarthritis which is a very painful secondary condition and it means a dog would need long-term pain relief therapy to make their lives more comfortable.


English Pointers are very elegant dogs renowned for their loyalty towards their owners. They are generally quite healthy dogs, but as with so many other pure breeds, they do tend to suffer from a few hereditary and acquire health issues one of which is Osteochondritis, a painful condition that affects a dog's joints. If the condition is mild, vets can treat dogs using pain relief medication. Dogs need to be kept quiet and at rest because exercise only exacerbates the condition. If you notice your dog is limping on one or more legs, you need to get them along to a vet so they can be thoroughly examined. The earlier the condition is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis.


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