Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs
If you have a large breed dog, then you have probably heard all about hip dysplasia, since it is a common occurrence in large breeds. Hip dysplasia’s counterpart, elbow dysplasia, also occurs frequently in certain breeds. Elbow dysplasia is just as serious as hip dysplasia, so it is important that you are able to recognize the signs of the disease. Your veterinarian can confirm the problem, and a treatment plan can be started immediately.
Like hip dysplasia, understanding elbow dysplasia can be pretty tough. Since we aren’t veterinarians or surgeons, this article will keep things as simple as possible. If you would like to find out more about how the problem develops, then do a little research. It’s a not a rare problem, so there is a ton of information about it. (You can start your elbow dyslplasia information search by clicking here). Your veterinarian can also provide you with literature containing pictures and diagrams to help you get a better grasp on what is really going on with your pet. Basically, elbow dysplasia affects the dog’s front legs in a similar way to the way hip dysplasia affects the dog’s hind legs; both are problems with the joints. If left untreated, arthritis develops, causing lameness and extreme pain for the dog.
It’s easy to say that “large” breeds suffer from the problem. But, there are certain breeds that are more likely than others to develop elbow dysplasia. The Bernese Mountain Dog, Chow Chow, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, and Saint Bernard (among others) have all been known to suffer from the disease. If you are considering (or have already gotten) a purebred dog, then speak to the breeder about any medical problems in the line. Elbow dysplasia should be reported on the certificate, but it never hurts to ask.
A dog with elbow dysplasia can start showing signs of the dysplasia as early as six months of age. Limping, lameness, and a limited range of motion are often the first signs. Normally, the joint will also swell. It is not too common for only one leg to be affected; most of the time, the dog is having problems with both legs. If your dog is in pain, then take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your dog uses his legs and joints in more ways than just walking around; the pain of elbow dysplasia is serious.
There are a few ways to diagnose dysplasia. X-rays and CAT scans are the most commonly used diagnostic tools. Your pet will probably be given pain medication (if not anesthesia) for the diagnosis. Once elbow dysplasia is confirmed, a treatment plan will be started immediately. If the dog is still fairly young and the disease is still in its beginning stages, then your vet may prescribe pain medication and a strict exercise and diet plan to help build the muscles around the joint and to keep excess weight off your pet. Sometimes, this plan can keep the disease at bay throughout the dog’s life. Surgery is another treatment option, and veterinarians say that it is the most successful one. After the surgery, your pooch will be placed on “bed rest” for four to six weeks. During this time, you are instructed not to play with or encourage your pooch to move; however, short leash walks are recommended.
Whether you opt for your pet to have surgery or decide that pain medication is the better choice, you must understand that your pet will more than likely suffer from arthritis later on in life. Even dogs that have undergone surgery develop arthritis; although, it is usually less severe and starts later in life than the dogs that did not undergo the surgery. Elbow dysplasia can be extremely painful; and, if left untreated, can cause lameness for the sufferer.
It seems that hip dysplasia is a fairly well known topic; but, its counterpart is still relatively unknown. Elbow dysplasia is similar to hip dysplasia. It is very painful for the pooch and can lead to severe arthritis. If you suspect your pet is suffering, then take him to the veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian can diagnose the disease and get your pet started on a treatment plan. No matter what treatment method you choose, you should keep your pet’s health and wellbeing in mind.
And don’t overlook the natural elbow dysplasia treatment options. They really do work well and can be much less stressful on your dog’s body than pain medications. If in doubt, discuss the natural options with your vet, or read the information here.
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