Elbow dysplasia refers to an abnormality of the elbow joint (the joint formed by the Humerus, Radius and Ulna). There are four classifications of elbow dysplasia –

Fragmented Coronoid Process – this is the most common and is where a small piece of bone becomes fragmented which causes irritation in the joint, prevents the joint from moving as freely as it should and is likely to cause early onset arthritis.

Ununited Anconeal Process – a piece of bone grows separately from the Ulna and fails to unite, again causing irritation and likely arthritis.

Osteochondrosis Dissecans – A disease that can occur in various joints. In the case of it leading to elbow dysplasia the cartilage from the condyle of the Humerus develops too quickly, drying out and detaching either partially or fully. This causes inflammation and pain.

Medical Compartment Disease – this is the least common cause and is where the bones in the joint don’t articulate correctly, causing cartilage to wear down exposing the bone, and the joint to become inflamed and painful.

What causes Elbow Dysplasia?

  • Breed disposition
  • Over exercise or repetitive exercise in a puppy
  • Obesity / poor nutrition in puppies
  • Early impact exercise
  • Injury or trauma to the joint while it is developing

Symptoms –

  • Lameness
  • Stiffness
  • Standing bow legged
  • Lack of control from a sit or stand to a down – flopping rather than lowering
  • Difficulty with stairs
  • Reluctance to jump
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Thickened or swollen joint
  • Licking at the affected joint

How can massage help?

  • Breaks down protective muscle splinting
  • Addresses overcompensation
  • Helps to provide pain management
  • Reduces swelling and inflammation