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ED – Elbow


Elbow dysplasia is a term used to describe a general incongruency of the elbow joint. The elbow itself is a complex joint composed three major bones, the humerus, radius, and ulna, joining together. Elbow dysplasia is seen most often in young, fast growing, large and giant dog breeds. It will normally affect both elbows with one being slightly worse than the other, though unilateral cases are also seen. Elbow dysplasia consists of 4 conditions: joint incongruity, ununited anconeal process, fragmented coronoid process, and osteochondrosis. One or more of these conditions may be present in cases of elbow dysplasia.

Joint Incongruity In joint incongruity the elbow joint does not fit together properly. This is normally due to the bones not growing at the same rate causing the conformation of the elbow to be incorrect. This increases the wear and tear of the joint and will most likely lead to general arthritis.

Ununited Anconeal Process (UAP) The anconeal process is a hook like projection which connects the humerus and the ulna. In normal development the process is fused with the ulna between 20-24 weeks. In UAP the anconeal process does not fuse with the ulna. It is held mostly in place by ligaments but does not provide the amount of stabilization as it should. This makes the joint very unstable and can cause pain.

Fragmented Coronoid Process (FCP) In a fragmented coronoid process, this area of the ulna degrades or breaks off. The coronoid process of the ulna helps hold the humerus in place as well as helping distribute the dog?s weight through the joint. The fragmented process causes pain and can lead to other problems in the joint.

Osteochondrosis (OCD) In osteochondrosis the bones and cartilage in the elbow joint do not form correctly. Instead of being a thin layer of cushion, the cartilage is abnormally thick. This creates problems because the synovial fluid, which provides the cartilage with its nutrients, cannot reach the entire cartilage. It results in cartilage being broken down. In many cases parts of the cartilage will separate from the underlying bone. This can either happen as a flap of cartilage or it can come completely loose and be floating in the joint. This causes pain and swelling of the joint.

Grade:        Discription:

0/A               Normal

1/C                Mild ED

                                          2/D              Moderate ED or a primary lesion

    3/E              Severe ED

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