Elbow dysplasia (ED) occurs with developmental abnormalities in a dog’s elbow joint that could be caused by genetics, trauma or other issues. ED is typically seen in large to giant dogs, particularly Labradors, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Rottweilers, but can happen in most breeds. The damaged cartilage can lead to inflammation and possibly progressive arthritis.
Dogs with ED typically show signs when they’re young, but dogs as old as 4-6 years have also been diagnosed. The primary symptom is an abnormality in how your dog walks with its front legs. This front limb lameness can develop over weeks to months and will typically get worse after exercise yet never fully goes away, even with rest.
Treatment options will depend on the progression of the disease and can include elbow replacement if the damage is severe.