Is Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs Genetic?

1st November 2020

Is Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs Genetic?Canine elbow dysplasia is a common condition affecting a dog’s elbows. In this article, we ask:

  • Is elbow dysplasia in dogs genetic?
  • What dog breeds are at risk for elbow dysplasia?
  • What are the early signs of elbow dysplasia in dogs?
  • How do you treat elbow dysplasia in dogs?
  • How long can a dog live with elbow dysplasia?

Elbow dysplasia is prevalent among certain breeds of dog. Even one of the most popular dog in the UK – the Labrador Retriever – typically sees 20-40%[1]  of its numbers affected by elbow dysplasia. 

So what exactly is elbow dysplasia? The condition is the result of a dog’s elbow joint failing to develop correctly, preventing its components from working properly together. 

There are a number of specific types of elbow dysplasia, including:

  • medial compartment disease: cartilage erosion in part of the joint
  • fragmented medial coronoid process (FCP): a crack in the joint which causes it to separate
  • ununited anconeal process (UAP): where parts of the joint are not fused together properly
  • osteochondritis dissecans (OCD): a disease affecting cartilage

So, is elbow dysplasia in dogs genetic? How can you tell if your dog has it and what can you do to treat it?

The team at Physio-Vet know that most pet parents would do anything to help improve their best friend’s quality of life. We’ve created this article to shed a little light on elbow dysplasia in dogs, helping you to find the answers.

 

Is elbow dysplasia in dogs genetic?

 

Yes – most commonly, the tendency towards elbow dysplasia is passed down from a dog’s parents. Specialists who breed dogs can help to reduce its prevalence by mating together dogs that are free from the condition. 

Smart breeding decisions like this make it far less likely that the resulting puppies will develop dysplasia.

If you’re considering buying a puppy from a breeder, you should first consult the dog’s “Estimated Breeding Values” (EBVs). These figures represent hip and elbow “scores” calculated by way of a Kennel Club approved dysplasia scheme involving x-rays and other tests.

The lower the value – particularly if it is below zero – the less likely the dog is to develop elbow dysplasia.

Environmental factors, including a lack of exercise, poor nutrition and obesity can also increase the risk of elbow dysplasia.

 

What dog breeds are at risk for elbow dysplasia?

 

Elbow dysplasia is most commonly found among larger breeds including Golden Retrievers, Labradors and German Shepherds. However, the condition is not breed specific and may also affect smaller dogs.

Symptoms can begin to show in dogs as young as 5 months, so it’s definitely worth arranging for diagnostic imaging, such as a CT scan, as soon as these signs start to appear.

 

What are the early signs of elbow dysplasia in dogs?

 

If your dog struggles to bear weight on one or more paws, this may be a sign of elbow dysplasia.

You may also notice the affected paw turning outwards a little more than the others. A stiff manner of walking, particularly after exercise, and on rising, or a reluctance to exercise at all can also suggest elbow dysplasia.

 

How do you treat elbow dysplasia in dogs?

 

If your dog has developed elbow dysplasia, there are a few things you can do. First of all, it’s important to keep your pet’s weight down, as heavier animals will suffer greater discomfort. Your dog should get regular, gentle exercise; short walks on a lead are best.

Try to make sure your dog doesn’t overexert itself by running or jumping too much. It should also get lots of rest and recuperation after exercise.

In some cases, painkillers or anti-inflammatories may reduce discomfort. It’s also possible to opt for surgery or physiotherapy in order to treat the problem, or improve the condition of the joint.

 

How long can a dog live with elbow dysplasia?

 

While elbow dysplasia is a long-term condition, it shouldn’t shorten your dog’s life. Reduced exercise due to discomfort may lead to issues such as obesity, but a good diet, exercise and proper treatment will ensure that they stay healthy and enjoy a good quality of life.

Hip dysplasia is another common condition among dogs. We provide further details of this condition here.

We understand how difficult it is to see your dog in discomfort, so if you are concerned about your pet’s joint health, we recommend getting in touch with Physio-Vet as soon as possible.

Happy Owners and Happy Pets

Physio vet were brilliant in the treatment of my old lady Tabitha, some 6 years ago. The treatment for her arthritis gave her visible relief. She was chilled and relaxed and clearly enjoyed thr administration of the treatment. Alas, she went downhill suddenly due to her age. We lost her at 19 and 5 months. I would have no hesitation in visiting with my current cats if and when the need is. Deb Godfrey Facebook
The best place for a diagnostic and treatment! Very nice people. Tell you accurately what is wrong with your pet even before you take it through the CT! Very knowledgeable, straight to the point, they have definitely earned my respect and if I have to, I will be going back! Anna Patus-Sykes Google
Met Dave yesterday as my dog had an allergic reaction, he knew what to do immediately and taught me what to do next time, really lovely and professional man and a lovely wife thanks again. Rebecca Wragg Facebook
Absolutely amazing. Buddy has been attending weekly for around 2 months and I’ve already seen a huge improvement In his hips! He gets so excited there as everyone is so lovely. The team are fabulous. Jessica Waltham Facebook
David is probably the best canine physiotherapist in Europe. Gemma Del Pueyo Director of Teaching Veterinary Physiotherapy, University of Madrid, Spain.
Just wanted to say thank you for the excellent service we received on Saturday when you gave Dotti an ‘Agility MOT’ and helped us with the problems she was having. I am pleased to report that she was more relaxed on Saturday evening than she had been for a while. HR. Shropshire Facebook
Great aspirational staff who want to get your dog back to a good quality of life. Kirstie Ashworth Facebook
Their absolute professionalism, coupled with an amazing caring ethos. Steve Darling Facebook

Message Us Directly

Contact Details

Telephone01270 586008

Emailinfo@physio-vet.com

AddressThe Smithy, Crewe Hall Farm, Old Park Road, Cheshire CW1 5UE

Visit Our Specialist Care Unit