Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs
Definition of Elbow Dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia is a developmental defect in the elbow joint that is one of the most common causes of front leg lameness and pain. It is primarily a disease of young, rapidly growing large and giant-breed dogs, although some dogs don’t develop symptoms until adulthood. Elbow dysplasia is caused by several distinct but often related anatomical abnormalities in one or both elbows. While genetics play a huge role in this condition, other possible factors are trauma, hormonal imbalances, poor nutrition, excessive dietary protein, accelerated growth, rapid weight gain and congenital conformational defects. Dogs with elbow dysplasia become uncomfortable, painful and lame, especially after exercise. They may be reluctant to play or go on walks and can be stiff when getting up from a nap. Some affected dogs are stoic and show no signs of elbow pain, especially in the early stages of the disease.
Elbow dysplasia in dogs is widely considered to be primarily a genetic developmental disease. It often is associated with rapid growth and a high protein diet in young, large and giant breed dogs. Elbow dysplasia can be caused by one or more of four distinct but often related hereditary conformational abnormalities. These are:The humerus is the long bone in a dog’s upper front legs which connects the shoulder and elbow joints. The radius and ulna
Most dogs with elbow dysplasia eventually become uncomfortable and develop varying degrees of pain, which causes them to limp on or favor one or both of their front legs. Lameness frequently becomes worse after exercise. Affected dogs may be reluctant to play actively or to take long walks, because their elbows hurt. They often are stiff when getting up in the morning and after taking a nap. However, dogs can be quite stoic and some
Dogs that are lame, limping or showing other signs of pain in one or both of their front legs should be seen by a veterinarian. They may be suffering from elbow dysplasia, especially if they are a large or giant breed puppy less than one year of age, although there certainly are lots of other things that can cause front limb lameness in dogs. Elbow dysplasia is usually diagnosed when the affected animal is between
When an owner first notices that her dog is stiff or sore when rising after rest, or sees that he is limping on one or both front legs, it probably is time for a trip to the veterinarian. If elbow dysplasia is diagnosed, the goals of treating the condition will be to remove the structural bone or cartilage defects that are causing the dog’s discomfort and to minimize any ongoing degenerative changes. Pain relief, of