Cauda equina disease picture
Osteoarthritis disease

Symptoms of ED (elbow dysplasia)


Elbow dysplasia (ED) is an inherited, chronic developmental disorder of the elbow joint in fast-growing dog breeds.

Disease origin and development

Elbow dysplasia is a hereditary disease that is inherited polygenetically, rather than through multiple genes. However, since it is not yet known which genes are involved, no genetic test for the disease can be performed. Improper feeding during the growth phase can encourage the onset of elbow dysplasia. Large breed dogs initially double their weight almost every month. With their large heads and huge paws, they still look as if they can still take an extra portion of food. Don’t be fooled by the impression: “Giant puppies” in particular are often fed too richly and grow too quickly. An increased weight is then placed on the joints with an unfavorable leverage effect. Since a large part of the bone growth occurs on the joint surfaces, the cartilage layer also becomes too thick. The result: cracks and small fractures occur, later on joint damage and arthrosis occur.

Clinical picture – symptoms

It is noticeable that the dog is beginning to lame in the area of ​​the front limbs. The elbow joint bends towards the body while the paw bends outward. The entire leg appears to be turned inward. Walking causes the sick four-legged friend more and more pain. The disease is divided into three degrees of severity, with grade one being the weakest and grade three being the most severe.


Once ED is detected, a veterinarian should be seen as soon as possible. The splintered joint parts should be surgically removed before the elbow dysplasia can develop into osteoarthritis. The dog then has to keep calm for the next few weeks and should, as far as possible, remain in a cage. The disease cannot be cured and it will progress for a lifetime, but mostly freedom from pain can be achieved.

Read also:  Symptoms Allergic or atopic eczema

With overweight dogs, it is essential to reduce the weight. Dogs with elbow dysplasia should be excluded from breeding due to the inheritance of the disease.

Osteoarthritis, Herniated Disc, Cauda equina, Elbow Dysplasia (ED), Hip Dysplasia (HD), Spondylosis