Osteochondrosis is a family of orthopedic diseases of the joint that occur in children and adolescents and in rapidly growing animals, particularly pigs, horses, and dogs.

They are characterized by interruption of the blood supply of a bone, in particular to the epiphysis, followed by localized bony necrosis, and later, regrowth of the bone.This disorder is defined as a focal disturbance of endochondral ossification and is regarded as having a multifactorial etiology, so no one thing accounts for all aspects of this disease.


The ultimate cause for these conditions is unknown, but the most commonly cited etiologic factors are rapid growth, heredity, trauma (or overuse), anatomic conformation, and dietary imbalances; however, only anatomic conformation and heredity are well supported by scientific literature. The way that the disease is initiated has been debated. Although failure of chondrocyte differentiation, formation of a fragile cartilage, failure of blood supply to the growth cartilage, and subchondral bone necrosis all have been proposed as the starting point in the pathogenesis, recent literature strongly supports failure of blood supply to growth cartilage as most likely.Osteochondrosis in pigs has been shown to be a condition responsive to supplementation with the essential trace element boron and may be a manifestation of boron deficiency.