Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs
Dogs that develop elbow arthritis in middle and older age will usually have had elbow dysplasia as a youngster which may have gone completely unnoticed.
We are seeing this condition more and more in young dogs and will often still want to play and chase a ball despite having stiffness when rising from rest. Typically young dogs, particularly labradors and bigger breeds are affected. In the early stages, changes in the joint may be minimal. However, the lameness stops for some, whilst in others it progresses. All of the cases will develop elbow arthritis later in life.
How do we manage elbow dysplasia?
Clinical examination may show signs such as joint swelling and discomfort on movement of the elbow joint. Diagnosis of elbow dysplasia in dogs is important when it comes to deciding which treatment option is best suited for your pet. X-rays are a good starting point but many X-rays are normal. Sometimes a CT scan and/or elbow arthroscopy (camera in the joint) are needed to confirm the problem.
Sometimes there can be a loose fragment of cartilage in the joint. This can be removed by arthroscopy. Some dogs may need more involved surgeries. Some of these dogs are good candidates for stem cells and regenerative medicine.
All dogs whether they have surgery or not, will go through a comprehensive physiotherapy program including laser, hydrotherapy, exercise and dietary advice to mention just a few techniques.