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A need exists for an animal model to assess therapeutics for osteoarthritis (OA) without sacrificing the animal. Our goal is to assess the progression of experimentally induced osteoarthritis in the rat knee joint by monitoring articular cartilage thickness, surface abnormalities, and collagen organization using a new technology known as optical coherence tomography (OCT). OA was generated in Wistar Hanover rats via injection of sodium iodoacetate into the left articular joint of the knee while normal saline was injected as a control in the contralateral right knee. Rats were sacrificed at 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, and 8-week intervals and the knee joints were subsequently harvested and imaged using normal and polarization sensitive OCT (PS-OCT). Treated knees were compared to normal counterparts in the contralateral leg. Following imaging, knees underwent both routine histological processing and picrosirus staining for organized collagen. OCT images indicate that injection of sodium iodoacetate resulted in a progressive decrease in cartilage thickness and loss of the bone-cartilage interface which correlated with histology. In addition, PS-OCT was able to detect collagen disorganization, an early indicator of OA. The use of OCT in combination with the induction of OA in rats is a promising new animal model for assessing articular changes with the goal of monitoring therapeutics longitudinally. Future work will extend the model to in vivo assessments.