If your dog has elbow dysplasia, you may be feeling frustrated and worried because of their constant pain. Even though there isn't a cure for elbow dysplasia, you will want to continue to do the things you love with your dog.
Before you give up completely on the activities that you love the most, take a look at the options to help manage your dog's symptoms.
The Canine Elbow Joint
The elbow joint is a hinge joint that connects the humerus bone of your dog’s front leg to the ulna and radius bones in his forearm.
The elbow joint is also called a synovial joint, which means it has a membrane lining and lubricants that allow for smooth motion between bones. This type of joint allows dogs to move their legs freely, so they can run, jump, walk, or even sleep comfortably on their sides.
The ball-and-socket design of this synovial hinge allows for great mobility while still providing stability for your pup’s joints as they move around throughout the day or night.
It also makes it easy to understand why dysplasia occurs in dogs: when there’s too much stress applied during movement at this specific location on an animal whose genetics make them predisposed toward developing this problem.
What is Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs?
Elbow dysplasia is a disorder of the elbow joint. It's a common problem in dogs, and it can cause pain and stiffness for your dog, as well as shorten their lifespan.
Canine elbow dysplasia occurs in about 20 percent of all dogs. In this condition, there are two main types: osteochondrosis dissecans (OD) and fragmented medial coronoid process (FCP).
Osteochondritis dissecans is characterized by a damaged portion of bone and cartilage that separates from its normal position at the end of a bone (osseous defect).
Fragmented medial coronoid process occurs when there is an abnormal piece of bone within the joint capsule surrounding your dog's elbow joint.
Regardless of type, the signs and symptoms and treatment options are similar.
Signs of Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs
If you notice one or more of the following symptoms, your dog could be suffering from elbow dysplasia:
- Elbow pain and inflammation
- Inability to extend the front paws fully when lying down
- Shoulder pain
- Elbow joint clicking
- Loss of range of motion
- Elbow joint swelling
- Elbow joint stiffness
As time goes by, dogs with this condition will have difficulty walking normally and may have difficulty even climbing stairs. Eventually, if left untreated, there may be so much pain that it affects their ability to sleep comfortably at night. They may wake up every few hours due to the pain and inflammation associated with the condition.
What Causes Canine Elbow Dysplasia?
Elbow dysplasia is a congenital orthopedic disease that affects German Shepherds and other large breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, and Dobermans. It's also more common among male dogs than female dogs.
Additional causes of elbow dysplasia include:
- Poor nutrition
- Being overweight
- Lack of exercise or activity
All these are factors, but genetics are the primary cause of elbow dysplasia. If a parent has elbow dysplasia, there's a good chance that their offspring will too. In addition to genetics, there are other factors that may contribute to its development:
- Lack of calcium and vitamin D in your dog's diet, as well as a lack of exercise can exacerbate symptoms.
- Obesity is also linked to elbow dysplasia; overweight dogs tend to develop more severe cases than those who maintain healthy weights throughout life.
Diagnosing Elbow Dysplasia
If you suspect your dog has elbow dysplasia, your veterinarian will perform a physical examination of the joints to check for swelling and pain. X-rays may be recommended to rule out other problems with the bones or joints, but they won’t show if there is damage to the cartilage in between bones.
If signs of elbow dysplasia are unclear, your vet may recommend an MRI or CT scan, two types of imaging tests that let doctors see inside your dog's body more clearly than X-rays do.
- An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of organs, soft tissues, and bone structures in the body.
- A CT scan uses X-rays and computer technology that allows doctors to view cross sections of organs inside a living patient without having to make incisions (cuts) through skin layers during surgery.
When dogs are diagnosed with elbow dysplasia, they usually have a grade 2 or grade 3 condition. Grade 2 means that there is moderate damage to the joint, while grade 3 means that there is severe damage to the joint.
Once you receive the diagnosis, your veterinarian will recommend conventional treatments. Or, if you have a holistic or integrative veterinarian, you can discuss natural options.
Conventional Treatment for Elbow Dysplasia
If your vet determines that your dog has elbow dysplasia, there are many treatment options to consider. If the problem is mild, your dog may need no treatment at all. Some dogs will respond well to medication and physical therapy as a form of non-surgical treatment.
If this does not solve the issue, surgery will be considered with either partial or total replacement of the affected joint.
Surgery involves removing damaged bone and tissue from the elbow joint, then replacing it with either an artificial implant or real human cadaver tissue.
In some cases, another surgical procedure called arthrodesis may be necessary in order to stabilize and reduce pain in an arthritic elbow joint. The goal of both types of surgery is to restore function in the joint so that your dog can return to normal function as soon as possible after the operation.
Dog Elbow Dysplasia Natural Treatment
Treating elbow dysplasia naturally is possible, but it can take time and patience. To help your dog recover from elbow dysplasia naturally, you can explore the following options:
1) Using Eggshell Membrane to Help with Elbow Dysplasia
Eggshell membrane is a nutrient-rich substance found in the egg shell. It's been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, but it's only recently become popular in the Western world as a joint supplement.
Eggshell membrane is a natural product that can help to heal elbow dysplasia in dogs. It is a thin membrane that surrounds an egg and is made up of collagen, glycoproteins, and hyaluronic acid.
The eggshell membrane has been shown to help with the healing process of dogs with elbow dysplasia by providing them with essential amino acids to help stimulate cell regeneration and repair damaged cartilage. It also helps to reduce inflammation and reduce pain.
2) Incorporating CBD to Provide Relief
CBD works by interacting with receptors found throughout the body called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are responsible for regulating important processes such as mood, appetite, and pain sensation, among other things.
When these receptors are activated by cannabinoids like CBD, they cause changes in our dogs’ bodies that can have positive effects on health conditions like elbow dysplasia.
In many cases, CBD oil will help reduce inflammation and provide relief from the pain associated with elbow dysplasia. It also helps promote bone growth, which can help prevent further damage to joints over time.
When it comes to administering CBD oil to dogs, there are two ways you can do this: topically or orally. Topical application involves applying a small amount of oil directly to the skin using your fingers or an applicator. Oral administration involves giving your dog a capsule, or edible like Canine Cush, containing CBD.
3) Turmeric as an Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and pain. Since it’s an anti-inflammatory it can reduce swelling and pain in your dog's joints.
Turmeric also helps keep your dog's blood flowing smoothly through his body, which helps prevent blood clots from forming in the dog’s arteries or veins. This is important because if blood clots form in either of these places, they could block the flow of blood and cause serious damage or even be fatal.
It's best to give turmeric daily, either mixed into food or in a treat like Canine Cush that has the added benefit of incorporating CBD, another anti-inflammatory that reduces pain. That way, it will be easier for your dog to get the right amount of two beneficial supplements without it causing adverse effects.
Balance Activity Levels to Help Your Dog
When thinking about exercising a dog with elbow dysplasia, you should reduce intense activity with your dog. Dogs with elbow dysplasia should be kept on a leash at all times, and they should not run, jump, or climb stairs.
If you have an agility course at home, either remove it or cover the jumps if you can't get rid of them altogether. It may also be wise to turn down invitations to play fetch and tug-of-war with other dogs, at least until your dog is feeling better, as the extra strain can exacerbate the problem in your dog's elbows.
This coincides with preventing excessive exercise. Keeping your pet active is important for maintaining good health, but if they have elbow dysplasia, it's best to limit their activities so they don't overwork their joints too much or too often (or at all). This will help prevent further damage and inflammation in his joints.
Start Treatment for Elbow Dysplasia Today!
The long-term prognosis for dogs with elbow dysplasia is generally good. With proper treatment, whether natural or conventional, they can go on to have active, pain-free lives.
Ultimately, there are no guarantees that any treatment will work in every dog, but the many ways elbow dysplasia can be treated mean that most dogs will likely find a way to improve their condition and live a healthy life.
Check out Rocket Animal Health’s Canine Cush soft chews for a comprehensive natural solution.