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Elbow Dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers

Affecting over 12% of Labrador Retrievers that have been tested this serious health problem is not one that should be overlooked.


Elbow Dysplasia


Elbow Dysplasia is a term that is actually used for several distinct, inherited elbow abnormalities. A few of these abnormalities include osteochondrosis dessicans, and and ununited anconeal process. The various abnormalities have a higher instance in males due to the larger size.


Most believe the main factor in the development of Elbow Dysplasia in dogs in heredity. Environmental factors such as obesity, excessive calcium intake and exercise can also attribute to this health problem. This is why it is so important to choose a reputable breeder when choosing a Labrador. Make sure that both parents have been certified to have no problems. You can review tests of a dogs heritage on itsí pedigree and the OFA is responsible for keeping a registry of dogs certified. Of Labradors over the age of 2 years old, 12% of Labs have been rated dysphasic.


Elbow Dysplasia can usually be detected by the use of an x-ray of the forelegs. In cases that can not be detected by an x-ray a cat scan will be used. Typically symptoms of Elbow Dyslasia begin to show at an early age, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. Although not as common, there have also been cases documented of late onset Elbow Dysplasia in senior dogs. The first sign is usually mild lameness in the front legs and is typically heightened after strenuous exercise.


There are various ways to treat Elbow Dysplasia including surgery, glucosamine food supplements and pain medication. The best results are seen when the Elbow Dysplasia is detected early. Of the dogs diagnosed, only slightly more than half will successfully be treated.