Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is caused by malformation or degeneration of the elbow joint and is very common in larger dog breeds but rarely affects cats or small dogs. Most pets inherit the disease, which is first noticeable when they are younger, between the ages of 4 and 10 months old. However, some pets do not show signs of elbow dysplasia until late adulthood. Dysplasia can be characterized by bony fragments in the joint, elbow incongruity, or severe arthritic changes. All can be managed with proper veterinary care. If you think your pet might be suffering from elbow dysplasia, contact our office to schedule an exam. We can start your pet’s treatment plan right away!

Some of the most susceptible breeds include: 

  • Australian Shepherds 
  • Mastiffs 
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs 
  • Newfoundlands 
  • Chow Chows 
  • Rottweilers 
  • English Setters 
  • Saint Bernards 
  • German Shepherds 
  • Shar-Peis 
  • Golden Retrievers 
  • Shetland Sheepdogs 
  • Labrador Retrievers 
  • Springer Spaniels

What symptoms will my pet exhibit if they have elbow dysplasia? 

  • Flipping of feet when walking or running
  • Holding elbows outward from chest
  • Inclination to hold painful limb out and away from the body
  • Noticeable pain when extending or flexing elbow
  • Reduced range of motion during walks or play
  • Swelling near the elbows
  • Weakness that worsens with movement and exercise

Living with elbow dysplasia

An initial diagnosis is necessary prior to any treatment; X-rays are usually taken to ensure that elbow dysplasia is the cause of the pet’s pain. Managing pain caused by elbow dysplasia is absolutely probable. There are both surgical and non-surgical treatment options available with positive and negative aspects of both options.

Surgery is one treatment option that typically provides a sort of permanent relief for elbow dysplasia sufferers. However, if there are multiple defects in the joint and the defects are severe, the surgery can prove less successful, and a dog can still develop degenerative arthritis.

For dogs who are not good candidates for surgery or whose owners opt against it, traditional therapy involves a combination of weight control, moderate exercise, and anti-inflammatory medications. Additional therapies might be suggested, depending on a dog’s current health status. For severely overweight dogs, hydrotherapy might be recommended to alleviate additional joint stress, and allow for weightless, no-impact fitness until significant weight loss is seen. These traditional therapies are more of an “elbow dysplasia management”, as they will not cure the disease and will have to be incorporated throughout the remainder of the pet’s lifespan.

If you have any questions about elbow dysplasia or the treatment options we offer, please contact our office.


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Here's a vet that still cares.
Just wanted to say I love Dr. Petcu's staff and his compassionate , caring way of taking care of my dogs.The staff is not only friendly and professional ,they know who you are when you arrive ,and they actually love animals. Is the first Animal Hospital that my dogs are at ease and feel comfortable.The place is very clean and the reception area very elegant and inviting. Exquisite services and Dr. Petcu always take his time to explain the disease and options and still finds time to play with my dogs. He's always treated both his animal and human patients with compassion and dignity,and would never recommend procedures unless he truly feels your pet will benefit from it. One of the vets that cares for your pet. The prices are reasonable and the services exceed all expectations. I Highly recommend Dr.Petcu and his hospital.

Reba S

Western Animal Hospital AMAZING! Western Animal Hospital is the best place in the valley .The staff is professional, friendly, caring and accommodating. The hospital is very clean and upscale. The customer service and the provided services are outstanding.Dr. Petcu is one of the most professional veterinarians that i have ever met in my 25 years of pet parenting. I drive across the valley just to see him( i live in Anthem) .He really cares about his animal patients and it shows in every visits . He is very knowledgeable , compassionate, friendly and always takes the time to answer any question i have and explaining in detail any situation we are dealing with. I had my share of visits to many animal hospitals in the valley but none of them had the last technology as Western - digital X-ray ( they send you home with a cd for you x-ray records ) every room has a computer monitor where the x-ray shows and Dr. Petcu can review with me every detail of it. Also they have the laser surgery and digital dental x-ray. Dr. petcu is one of the most
courteous and pleasant Vets I have ever met. The prices are more than reasonable and also they try to accommodate everybody. I cannot recommend them enough. You can rest easy knowing your pets are in their care.I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS HOSPITAL - THEY HAVE A CUSTOMER FOR LIFE IN ME! very good !

Betty K

Western Animal Hospital this doctor is making a lot of sense and will explain everything in details..
prices are great ....

.the best vet I met !! Pam M. 5 Western Animal Hospital - we are bringing our pets to Dr Petcu for 8 years. He was always helpful, many times we did not have the funds to treat our pets but he was fine with us paying when we had the money. He saved our cats in many instances and all I have to say is that I greatly reccomend Western Animal Hospital for any responsable pet owner .

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