Canine Elbows X-rays
1. the bend of the lower forelimb.
2. the joint connecting the humerus, radius and ulna. It is one of the body's more versatile joints, with a combined hinge and rotating action allowing the limb to bend and paw to make a half turn. The flexibility of the elbow and shoulder joints together permits a nearly infinite variety of paw movements. In ungulates the elbow is a simple hinge.
Three labels of dysplasia of elbows are:
1. fragmented medial coronoid of the ulna,
2. osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle in the elbow joint and
3. ununited anconeal process.
Symptoms of front leg lameness, and heat and swelling of the elbow joint are found as early as four months of age in affected individuals.
If a dog has hip dysplasia, it is possible for him to get up from a sitting position by throwing his head and neck down, thereby lightening the load on his rear.
He can also trot around with his head down.
A dog with elbow dysplasia will exhibit great difficulty in lowering his front when he tries to lie down. He will lower each leg a little at a time. He’ll rise to a sitting position in a similar manner.
The OFA has labeled any x-ray with some sclerosis as dysplastic.
Sclerosis is the result of degenerative changes and will appear in any joint over time. It results from normal wear and tear.
Eventually the joints showing mild sclerosis will develop osteoarthritis. This is arthritis as a result of wear and tear. Dogs with the three conditions the OFA cites will develop massive sclerosis in a very short time.
However, some breeds show a slight degree of sclerosis in the elbow joint by two years of age without any of the elbow conditions the OFA describes being present. These dogs are not painful in these joints.
The OFA reports are a level playing field for evaluating hip films and elbow films submitted by veterinarians of widely varying ability to read the films themselves.
They are a fairly administered database for the use of breeders, and they have taken on the task of administering other genetic databases.
The OFA is not, however, perfect. Dogs with good hips are occasionally labeled as dysplastic and dysplastic dogs are occasionally passed.
Occasionally they misread films and they have broadened the Elbow Dysplasia diagnosis in a manner harmful to those trying to breed good dogs.
Great Hips and Elbows on all American Alsatians