Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia (ED) affects the elbow joint in dogs primarily as a result of several genetic developmental abnormalities. These abnormalities affect the growth of cartilage at the joint or the surrounding structures. The lack of cartilage results in high levels of wear and tear on the elbow joint, eventually leading to other problems such as osteoarthritis.1,2,3

Elbow Dysplasia Image

X-ray of canine elbow dysplasia, with arrows indicating defects in the joint.

ED is commonly found in certain large-breed dogs, such as Chow Chows, Rottweilers, Boerboels, Bulldogs, Bernese Mountain dogs, Labradors, Newfoundlands, and smaller dogs, such as Pugs and Black Russian Terriers.4

Causes

Elbow dysplasia most commonly occurs as a result of several genetic developmental abnormalities that affect cartilage and bone development in the elbow joint. These abnormalities can result in separation of cartilage from the bone, failed or delayed development of cartilage to bone, or lesions, which in turn contribute to cartilage damage.2,3

Symptoms

Symptoms of elbow dysplasia include abnormal gait (how a dog walks, such as straight or normal versus wobbly or erratic), lameness, stiffness, and limping, due to the pain in the elbows.2,4

Diagnosis

Dogs often become lame between six and twelve months of age and are typically diagnosed through arthroscopic surgery, MRIs, or X-rays. ED can be hard to spot initially, as the lameness can be difficult to attribute to a particular joint.2,3,4

Treatment

Dogs diagnosed with elbow dysplasia can be treated in a number of ways depending on the age of the dog and severity of the disease. Conservative treatment involves regular exercise and weight control. Drugs can also be used to alleviate inflammation and pain. Harnesses or carts can also be used to reduce stress on joints. In more severe cases, surgery may be required to remove damaged cartilage, or, in some cases, total replacement of the elbow joint.2,4

Canine Elbow Dysplasia Statistics5

Below are statistics of elbow dysplasia in dogs from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals between January 1974 through December 2013.

Breed Evaluations Percent Dysplastic
Chow Chow 953 48.4
Pug 138 44.2
Rottweiler 15804 39.1
Boerboel 108 38.9
Bulldog 159 32.7
Black Russian Terrier 483 28.2
Bernese Mountain Dog 13204 27.8
Chinese Shar-Pei 572 24.0
Newfoundland 6676 23.2
Fila Brasileiro 182 23.1
Dogue De Bordeaux 321 21.2
Sussex Spaniel 102 19.6
American Bulldog 411 19.2
German Shepherd Dog 36523 18.9
Irish Water Spaniel 506 17.2
American Staffordshire Terrier 729 16.9
Staffordshire Bull Terrier 225 16.9
American Pit Bull Terrier 262 15.6
English Setter 2862 15.4
Tibetan Mastiff 500 14.6
St. Bernard 253 14.6
Bloodhound 1165 14.5
Mastiff 6124 14.4
Bullmastiff 2401 14.2
Cane Corso 323 13.6
English Springer Spaniel 2375 13.2
Irish Wolfhound 702 13.1
Gordon Setter 864 12.8
Australian Cattle Dog 1133 11.1
Golden Retriever 34054 11.0
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog 2327 11.0
Labrador Retriever 68823 10.5
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier 319 10.3
Airedale Terrier 339 10.0
Belgian Malinois 1642 9.7
Bouvier Des Flandres 3195 8.9
Clumber Spaniel 333 8.7
Giant Schnauzer 515 8.3
Keeshond 1021 8.2
Shiloh Shepherd 477 8.0
Spinone Italiano 531 7.2
Standard Schnauzer 182 7.1
Afghan Hound 215 7.0
Rhodesian Ridgeback 5727 6.3
Kuvasz 436 6.2
Anatolian Shepherd 510 5.9
Havanese 1817 5.8
Chesapeake Bay Retriever 2407 5.5
Belgian Sheepdog 1880 5.1
Belgian Tervuren 3330 4.8
Beauceron 148 4.7
Kerry Blue Terrier 196 4.6
Puli 151 4.6
Leonberger 1524 4.4
Pointer 239 4.2
Australian Shepherd 7041 4.1
Shiba Inu 418 3.8
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 312 3.8
Tibetan Terrier 164 3.7
Great Dane 2331 3.7
Border Terrier 441 3.6
Cardigan Welsh Corgi 348 3.4
Shetland Sheepdog 762 3.4
Old English Sheepdog 469 3.4
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen 213 3.3
French Bulldog 370 3.2
Basenji 375 3.2
Alaskan Malamute 832 3.1
Irish Setter 620 3.1
Pembroke Welsh Corgi 744 3.1
Poodle 2144 2.8
Boykin Spaniel 186 2.7
German Wirehaired Pointer 691 2.6
Dutch Shepherd 163 2.5
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Ret. 695 2.4
Samoyed 1374 2.3
Vizsla 1864 2.3
Bearded Collie 651 2.3
Hybrid 877 2.2
Mini American/Mini Australian 512 2.0
Welsh Springer Spaniel 691 2.0
Labradoodle 267 1.9
Brittany 1137 1.9
Finnish Lapphund 119 1.7
Weimaraner 1522 1.6
Rat Terrier 312 1.6
Norwich Terrier 123 1.6
Coton De Tulear 547 1.6
Collie 430 1.6
Portuguese Water Dog 2875 1.5
Great Pyrenees 854 1.5
Canaan 149 1.3
Akita 2236 1.3
Border Collie 2621 1.2
Cocker Spaniel 421 1.0
Doberman Pinscher 2267 0.9
German Shorthaired Pointer 1945 0.9
Flat-Coated Retriever 2350 0.8
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 573 0.7
American Eskimo Dog 134 0.7
Boxer 639 0.6
Dalmatian 386 0.5
Bichon Frise 634 0.5
Curly-Coated Retriever 262 0.4
Field Spaniel 266 0.4
Briard 601 0.2
English Cocker Spaniel 311 0.0
Finnish Spitz 113 0.0
Siberian Husky 279 0.0
Norwegian Elkhound 154 0.0
Beagle 128 0.0

References

  1. Elbow Dysplasia Types“. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. http://www.offa.org/ed_types.html. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  2. If Your Dog’s Gait is Changing, Check for Elbow Dysplasia“. Mercola.com. http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/04/16/canine-elbow-dysplasia.aspx. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  3. Pead MJ and Guthrie S. “Elbow dysplasia in dogs – a new scheme explained“. http://www.bva.co.uk/public/documents/chs_elbow.pdf. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  4. Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs“. WebMD.com. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/elbow-dysplasia-dogs. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  5. Elbow Dysplasia Statistics“. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. http://www.offa.org/stats_ed.html. Retrieved 2014-03-14.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *