Image description

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dyspalsia defines the conditions resulting from the abnormal development of the three bones in the elbow joint. These abnormalities give rise to the elbow not working as effectively as it should.



There are four developmental causes for elbow dysplasia and they are all grouped together in this condition as their symptoms are the same.


Fragmented medial coronoid process – Occurs when a small part of the bone of the ulna breaks away and irritates the humerus and gives rise to arthritic changes in the joint. These changes to the joint will result in pain and affect the dog’s range of movement.


Osteochondrosis dessicans – Cartilage from the joint will break off and grow abnormally causing irritation and inflammation.


Unuinted anconeal process – The anconeal process (a bony area or the joint) develops abnormally in joint away from the ulna. This will mean that the elbows natural range of motion is inhibited due to the abnormality.


Incongruity of growth between ulna and radius – The epiphyseal growth plate of the radius forms irregularly; leaving the ulna and the radius open to rubbing against the adjoining bone.


All four causes of elbow dysplasia will result in pain for the affected dog and will generally be apparent within the first 6-10 months of the dog’s life. Those dogs which do not exhibit symptoms will begin to in old age due to the formation of osteoarthritis as a result of abnormal bone growth or the irregular grinding of two bones together. Generally both legs will be affected but not in all cases.



  • Foreleg lameness
  • Increased lameness following exercise
  • Abnormal elbow placement (away from the chest)
  • Swollen elbow joint
  • Stiffness (especially following rest)
  • Restricted range of movement
  • Reluctance to jump down from height/go down stairs

Benefits of Massage


  • Relieves pain
  • Reduces discomfort from muscle tension
  • Relieves muscle spasms
  • Releases trigger points
  • Helps promote natural range of movement
  • Relieves muscle tightness from overcompensation
  • Helps with pre and post-operative care
  • Reduces inflammation