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Elbow dysplasia in dogs

Elbow dysplasia is a growth-related disease affecting the elbow joints of dogs. Depending on how severe the elbow dysplasia is in the dog, it leads to more or less severe lameness and osteoarthritis.


As a rule, affected dogs have a genetic predisposition to elbow dysplasia. Although a correct cure is not possible, there are various ways of significantly delaying the onset and progression of the disease.

What is elbow dysplasia?

What is elbow dysplasia

The elbow joint is formed by the three bones spoke, ulna and humerus. In order to guarantee the mobility of the joint, they fit together perfectly in a healthy joint and have an intact layer of cartilage.


However, if the bones do not fit together properly, excessive friction occurs within the joint. This causes the cartilage and bones to wear down over time, which in turn leads to elbow joint dysplasia in the affected dog, resulting in increased loss of mobility, inflammation and pain.

Symptoms and diagnosis of elbow dysplasia

As the elbow dysplasia progresses, the symptoms of the disease in dogs become more and more obvious and are not hidden from the attentive eyes of the owner.


Initially, the symptoms in the affected dog may only appear in the form of a slight change in the gait. Over time, however, the mobility of the forelegs becomes more and more limited, so that the movement pattern appears increasingly stiff and insecure and the four-legged friend will try to spare the damaged joint.


Whether a dog is actually suffering from elbow dysplasia can only be determined by x-rays. In some cases, computer tomography (CT) may also be necessary to diagnose elbow dysplasia.

Treatment of elbow joint dysplasia in dogs

Treatment of elbow dysplasia in dogs

The treatment essentially depends on how far the elbow dysplasia has progressed and on the exact form.


In principle, surgical and non-surgical treatment options are available for therapy.


In severe cases of elbow dysplasia, surgical intervention is often necessary to alleviate the dog's symptoms. If there are loose bone or cartilage fragments in the joint, these are usually removed surgically.

It may also be necessary to implant an endoprosthesis or stiffen the affected joint. Whether this method is necessary and recommended must be decided in each individual case on the basis of the severity of the disease.


Apart from surgery, dogs suffering from elbow dysplasia are treated with a combination of pain and inflammation remedies. In mild cases, this may be enough (at least temporarily).

Breeds frequently affected by elbow dysplasia

Whether a dog suffers from elbow dysplasia is essentially determined by its genetic predisposition. Large breeds in particular are often affected by this form of joint pain, whereas smaller breeds rarely suffer from it.

The risk of elbow dysplasia is particularly high in the following breeds:

  • Rottweiler
  • German shepherd dog
  • Newfoundlander
  • Big Swiss Mountain Dog
  • Bernese mountain dog
  • Chow-chow
  • Labrador
  • Dogue de Bordeaux

Possibilities for prevention of elbow dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia cannot be completely cured. However, it is possible to significantly delay the onset and progression of the disease. In order to prevent elbow dysplasia, it is particularly important to exercise and feed the dog as needed.


Constant overloading of the musculoskeletal system promotes wear and tear of the susceptible elbow joints. Dog owners should therefore pay attention to a balanced measure between movement and recovery. This is especially important for puppies whose joints are still growing, but also for adult dogs.


The nutrition should cover on the one hand the nutrient need of the four-legged friend, which ensures in the long run also an optimal supply of the joints. On the other hand, it should also be adapted to the dog's energy requirements. Because too much food causes overweight, which in turn represents an additional burden on the joints and can thus promote the development of elbow dysplasia.

Joints & Bones by Bellfor

Expert tip against elbow dysplasia in dogs

We recommend that you support your dog's joint health with Bellfor Joints & Bones as a dietary supplement. The high-quality preparation, which is available either in the form of tasty biscuits or as capsules, contains the special active ingredient complex Ovopet.


Ovopet is extracted from the membrane of hen's eggshells and provides your four-legged friend with more than 500 different ingredients. These include collagen, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine.


Thanks to the unique combination of active ingredients from Ovopet, you can make a decisive contribution to prevention with Bellfor Joints & Bones, or meaningfully support the veterinary treatment of your dog with elbow dysplasia.


Get to know about Bellfor Joints & Bones.


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