Elbow dysplasia is a condition involving multiple developmental
abnormalities of the
elbow-joint. It is a common condition of certain breeds of
developmental elbow abnormalities are related to
osteochondrosis (OCD), which is a disease of the joint
cartilage. Osteochondrosis (or
osteochondritis) dissecans refers to separation of a flap of
cartilage on the joint surface.
In OCD, the normal change of cartilage to
bone in the
development of the joint fails or is delayed. The cartilage continues to grow
and may split or become
The cause is uncertain, but possibly includes
nutrition (including excessive
Vitamin C intake).
OCD lesions are found in the elbow at the medial epicondyle of the
Specific conditions related to OCD include fragmentation of the medial
coronoid process of the
ulna (FMCP) and an
ununited anconeal process of the ulna (UAP). All types of OCD of the
elbow are most typically found in large breed dogs, with symptoms starting
between the ages of 4 to 8 months. Males are affected twice as often as females.
The disease often affects both elbows, and symptoms include intermittent
Osteoarthritis will develop later in most cases.
Diagnosis is through
x-rays. In cases
with significant lameness,
the best option, especially with UAP. However, conservative treatment is often
enough for cases of FMCP and OCD of the medial humeral epicondyle. The dogs are
exercised regularly and given pain medication, and between the ages of 12 to 18
months the lameness will often improve or disappear. Control of body weight is
important in all cases of elbow dysplasia, and prevention of quick growth spurts
in puppies may help to prevent the disease.
Commonly affected breeds
For OCD of the medial humeral epicondyle:
A combination of FMCP, UAP, and OCD of the medial humeral epicondyle is seen
Bernese Mountain Dog. This is known as elbow incongruity, and it may
be caused by abnormal development of the trochlear notch of the ulna.
- Ettinger, Stephen J.;Feldman, Edward C.(1995).Textbook of Veterinary
Internal Medicine(4th ed.). W.B. Saunders Company.
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