We are committed to provide service 24 X 7

Deals, Shopping, Training, Tools

Elbow dysplasia in dogs is one of the most common causes of lameness in a young dog’s forelimb. It occurs when the bones that make up the elbow joint don’t come together just right, leading eventually to painful movement in the forelimb.

The elbow joint is a complex joint made up of 3 bones (radius, ulna, and humerus). If the 3 bones do not fit together perfectly due to growth abnormalities, abnormal weight distribution on areas of the joint occur causing pain, lameness, and the development of arthritis.

This condition is an inherited condition that can occur in most dog breeds but is most commonly seen in large to giant breed dogs. It has been noted to affect both elbows in up to 80% of patients. Bernese Mountain Dogs, German Shepherds, and Golden retrievers among others are predisposed to UAP while Labrador retrievers, German Shepherds, and Golden retrievers have an increased predilection among other breeds for developing medial compartment disease.

Causes of Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs

This condition is primarily of genetic cause although environmental factors, such as obesity during puppyhood, may influence whether an animal with the genes coding for elbow dysplasia will develop a clinical problem. Current estimates state that more than one hundred genes code for elbow dysplasia. Our ultimate goal will be to genetically map affected animals and tailor breed programmes to minimise this disease.

Symptoms of Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs

A dog suffering from elbow dysplasia can have a marked decrease range of motion in the joint and can even display signs of pain or discomfort upon extension or flexion of the joint.

Other signs include;

  • May have intermittent or persistent lameness that is made worse by exercise
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Swollen joints
  • Reluctancy to play or go on a walk
  • Decreased range of motion of one or both elbows
  • Holding elbows out of tightly into the body


Some dogs with elbow dysplasia can be managed satisfactorily without the need for surgery. Exercise often needs to be controlled to some degree. Each dog will have its own threshold of duration and type of activity beyond which elbow pain may increase. Hydrotherapy is often beneficial.

Dogs that are overweight benefit from being placed on a diet. Tit-bits may need to be withdrawn and food portions reduced in size. Regular monitoring of weight may be necessary. Painkillers (anti-inflammatory drugs) may be indicated to make the dog more comfortable. Long-term drug therapy should be avoided if at all possible in view of potential side effects.

Dogs with elbow dysplasia that fail to respond satisfactorily to conservative treatment may need surgery.


Your Cart is Empty

Back To Shop