Elbow dysplasia is a condition caused by the abnormal growth of cells, tissue or bone. The cause of elbow dysplasia in your dog may be combination of several different factors including: defects in their cartilage growth, trauma, genetics, exercise or diet. These factors lead to a mismatch of growth between your dog’s radius and ulna, two bones in the forelimb part of their leg. Elbow dysplasia is the most common cause of elbow pain and lameness and large breed or giant breed dogs are most commonly affected. Clinical symptoms usually present by 4 to 10 months of age, however diagnosis typically occurs sometime between 4 to 18 months.
Symptoms of elbow dysplasia may include:
- Acute episodes of elbow lameness in senior dogs
- Intermittent or persistent forelimb lameness (aggravated by exercise, progresses from stiffness and noticed only after the dog has been resting)
- Pain when extending or flexing the elbow
- Holding the affected limb away from the body
- Fluid build-up in the joint
- Grating of bone and joint with movement may be detected with advanced degenerative joint disease
- Diminished range of motion
Treatment is personalized and will depend on your dog’s age, the degree of their pain and the severity of the joint defect. Treatments may include:
- Referral to a veterinary orthopedic surgeon for surgery or rehabilitation therapies
- Pain management procedures including k laser therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications or shots
- Joint supplements
- Healthy exercise
Many dogs respond well to treatments and will go on to live normal, active lives. The prognosis will ultimately depend on your dog’s age, their overall health, and the severity of the joint defect.
If you are concerned that your dog may have a joint problem please contact us today for an appointment.