What is elbow dysplasia in dogs? This is a condition caused by a faulty union of the elbow bone with the ulna. Dog elbow dysplasia is the leading cause of arthritis in large breed dogs. It is of developmental origin. It primarily affects Basset hounds and German Shepherd dogs, but has been described in other breeds too. It is said to be inherited, but the exact cause is unknown. Hormones and trauma may also cause this bone disease.
The loose fragment in the elbow acts as an abrasive and irritant. Arthritis is likely to develop in the joint. Dog limping is caused by pain.
Puppies around six months of age begin to show lameness in the front leg. It can be seen in dogs up to two years of age. Some puppies are unable to bear weight and others limp only when they trot. The elbow is held outward from the chest. Canine elbow dysplasia is seen more in rapidly growing large and giant breed dogs. It can be in one or both legs.
In mild cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can be given to reduce pain and inflammation. Glucosamine Chondroitin Sulfate which is a nutritional supplement has shown signs of helping this disease. It can take up to a month before the dog shows signs of improvement.
In more advanced cases, treatment of dog elbow dysplasia is surgical removal of the loose piece of the bone. After five months of age, X-Rays can diagnose the disease.
Rapid weight gain and accelerated growth in puppies that are fed a high protein diet can cause this disease. Dogs that have this disease should lose weight and puppies should bed fed a food formulated for large breeds.
Dogs that are know to have this bone disease should not be bred.