As with hip dysplasia there is “abnormal development” this time within the elbow joint however that is where the similarity ends as there are several different disease processes that are collectively termed ‘elbow dysplasia’. The elbow is a complex joint because it involves the articulation of three bones – the humerus, ulna and radius and specific abnormalities affect different sites in the joint. According to the Canine Massage Therapy Centre there are 4 developmental causes of elbow dysplasia in dogs namely:
Basically what this means is if these bones do not fit together absolutely perfectly the consequence is abnormal concentration of forces on a specific region of the elbow joint.
It is thought that environmental factors such as obesity during puppyhood may influence whether an animal with the genes coding for elbow dysplasia will develop a clinical problem. In addition to this, over exercising including climbing up and down stairs excessively, whilst the dog is still young can contribute to this condition. Diet and nutrition can also play a part as can trauma or injury to the joint.
Elbow dysplasia mostly affects large and giant breed dogs but this condition cannot be ruled out being found in other breeds.
The symptoms of elbow dysplasia include: