German Shepherd Elbow Dysplasia & Problems | Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
A developmental degenerative disease, elbow dysplasia – like its cousin hip dysplasia – is particularly common in larger and more active breeds of dog, including the German Shepherd dog, in part because of the pressure a larger frame places on the leg joints. While both male and female German Shepherd dogs are susceptible to this illness, male dogs are more likely to develop this condition than their female counterparts. If an animal's afflicted with elbow dysplasia in at least one joint, the likelihood of the condition developing in an additional joint is high – between 25 and 30%. Elbow dysplasia is something of an umbrella term: problems with the elbow can be caused by a number of individual factors, including osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle located in the elbow joint (a condition referred to as OCD, which arises when there is a fracture in the articular cartilage of the humerus bone leading in turn to a loosening of tissue within the joint susceptible to inflammation), pathologies involving the medial coronoid of the ulna bone (known as FCP) or a condition known as UAP – ununited anconeal process.. Both of these latter conditions cause excessive growth in the bones, damaging the balance of size and shape necessary to maintain a strong elbow joint. Elbow dysplasia can be brought on by any one – or more – of these existing conditions, and veterinaries are divided as to the relative importance of each in the overall development of elbow dysplasia. Some veterinarians believe that elbow trauma in puppyhood contributes to the development of elbow dysplasia; for this reason, exercise in young German Shepherd dogs should be monitored and trauma avoided if at all possible.
Though not life threatening, German Shepherd elbow dysplasia can be a constant source of pain for your dog if not treated correctly.