Yarmouth Veterinary Center

75 Willow Street
Yarmouth , ME 04096

(207)846-6515

www.yarmouthvetcenter.com

ELBOW DYSPLASIA

Overview
- Dysplasia means abnormal development
- Elbow dysplasia includes multiple developmental abnormalities that lead to deformity, inflammation, and degeneration of the elbow
- Most common cause of foreleg lameness in large breed dogs
- Inherited at a high rate
- Large and giant breed dogs primarily affected - Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, rottweilers, German Shephard dogs, Bernese Mountain dogs, Chow Chows, bearded collies, Newfoundlands
- Risk factors include high calorie diet and rapid growth and weight gain
- Occasionally occurs with other joint abnormalities, including hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, and hypertrophic osteodystrophy

Signs
- Age of onset of signs typically 4-10 months, but can occur at any age; not all affected dogs show signs when young
- Onset of signs associated with degenerative joint disease (DJD), which is progressive and permanent deterioration of the cartilage in the elbow
- Intermittent or persistent lameness
- Pain when flexing or extending the elbow
- Leg held away from the body (abducted)
- Decreased range of motion of the joint
- Swelling of affected joints due to fluid production and/or abnormal cartilage and bone production

Treatment
- Surgery is controversial but usually recommended; severe djd negatively influences the outcome of surgery; the surgical technique(s) used depend on the abnormalities of the particular patient
- Weight control is very important; preventing obesity in the young patient decreases the incidence and severity of the problem, and, in the mature dog, it decreases the load and stress on the elbows
- Medical management of arthritis, using nsaids, pain control medications, nutraceuticals including glucosamine and chondroitin, therapy laser treatments
- Available now, stem cell therapy

Prognosis
- Fair to good for good to very good mobility
- Improved prognosis for patients with effectively managed arthritis
- Not curable