Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia covers a number of abnormalities that develop in the elbow :

 

          Fragmentation of the medial coronoid process MCFP

          Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the

                              medial portion of the humeral condyle

          United anconeal process (UAP)

          Elbow Incongruity

 

Elbow incongruity is quite poorly defined but the other problems are anatomically well located.

 

The breeds most commonly affected are Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Rottweiler, Bernese Mountain Dog & Newfoundland, but many others breeds can also develop this problem.

 

Just like Hip Dysplasia, this is a situation where a number of bones must grow in coordinated fashion so that the jigsaw fits together. Any tiny abnormality results in a situation whereby a small fragment will rub on other parts of the jigsaw. It is very much like having a tiny piece of grit in your shoe. The discomfort is completely disproportionate to the size of the grit.

 

Like hip dysplasia, this condition is carried in the genes, and often shows up as lameness when the dog reaches 5-6 months of age.  Whereas dogs with hip dysplasia are relatively easy to diagnose, some of the conditions that develop with elbow dysplasia are very hard to see on x-ray.

 

The graphic on the left shows just how small the lesion known as Fragmented Coronoid Process can be.

 

Some of the other lesions are more obvious, such as when the bones are clearly not in good contact with each other.  Other lesions in the elbow occur on the Humeral Condyle - the main weight bearing surface, and the Anconeal Process at the rear of the joint.

 

Dealing with these problems surgically is a challenge, with some lesions being far easier to address. FMCP however is much trickier and is probably best addressed using ARTHROSCOPY. This involves using a very small camera inserted into the joint and the used to visualise the area that needs attention.

 

Unfortunately this surgery is good at reducing pain in the elbow, but quite so good at reducing the long term development of arthritis in the joint.

 

Again, control of activity and weight is vital to ensure that excessive weight does  not contribute to the deterioration of the joint.