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.