Hip and elbow dysplasia injuries in dogs

Have you recently added a new furry friend to the family? You may enjoy the antics of this newcomer as he is growing fast and is in a good state of health. In a few weeks, he will start to grow big, and you will be amused to see your loved one leaping the steps of growth.

But wait. Have you recently observed limping? Do your dog's walks show abnormal gait, signs of lameness, and limping a little? If he does so, your furry friend is may be suffering from hip and elbow dysplasia injuries. There can be multiple causes for hip and elbow dysplasia. Sit back! And start reading how this disease occurs and what you can do to treat and prevent this from happening in the future.

What Is Canine Elbow Dysplasia?

Let us dig a little into the medical explanation of canine elbow dysplasia. The Merck Veterinary Manual describes the skeletal disorder as an abnormal growth or development of bones of the elbow joint. At a young age, dogs often experience different types of stress. This stress may affect the joint anatomy, and due to the rapid growth, the bone grows in abnormal orientation and results in issues like elbow dysplasia.

Let us discuss the opinions of experts. The elbow joint comprises three bones; humerus, radius, and ulna. When aligned in the proper orientation, these three bones result in the formation of an elbow joint. However, due to any growth abnormality, if these bones don't align in the proper orientation, it affects the proper weight distribution on the bones.

The results are lameness, joint pain, irregular gait, and abnormal posture.

What are the signs and symptoms of elbow dysplasia?

The most apparent sign of elbow dysplasia is lameness. The extent of lameness may depend on several factors, such as changing physical routine, weight gain, and amount of daily exercise. Pet loves who notice even the slightest changes in their pet's behavior can easily spot something wrong going on with their pet.

However, other signs can help you notice elbow dysplasia or similar skeletal disorders in your furry friend.

  • Your furry friend may start limping on occasions. The most obvious occasions are after the exercise and during standing.

  • Dogs suffering from elbow dysplasia may rotate their front leg inward and the elbows outward.

  • Inflammation is obvious. The elbow joint may seem inflamed, stiff, or unable to move.

  • When your dog walks, you may hear a crackling sound when the elbow joint moves.

  • You may find your dog hesitant to go for a walk or indulge in physical activities.

What is canine hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a somewhat similar condition to elbow dysplasia. The only difference between the two conditions is the locality of abnormality. Hip dysplasia, like elbow dysplasia, starts developing at an early age when the growth rate is high.

There are more than the cause of hip dysplasia. It is a condition in which the bones hip joints don't orient properly. The reason may be abnormal development, degradation of cartilage and bones due to old age, or any trauma.

Once developed, hip dysplasia may result in further complications. Arthritis is a common condition that may result as a sequel to hip dysplasia. In most cases, large dog breeds are affected mainly by skeletal disorders like hip dysplasia.

What are the signs of hip dysplasia?

Mild cases of hip dysplasia may even go undetected. However, some apparent signs can help you detect the skeletal abnormalities in your dog.

  • Your dog is showing occasional or chronic lameness

  • Your dog shows limping without any sign of injury or trauma

  • Your dog producing cracking sounds during walking

  • Your dog is showing abnormal gait along with "bunny hopping."

  • Your dog is experiencing trouble standing and sitting

If the condition is mild or your dog's bearing threshold is high, he may not show all of the symptoms. In any case, this condition is very painful.

Which dog breeds are prone to dysplasia?

Dysplasia is a skeletal disorder, and large heavyweight dogs are prone to be affected by this painful condition. Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and German shepherds are the most affected dogs with dysplasia. However, there is no discrimination; any large breed dog is equally prone to dysplasia.

If you have a large breed dog, you should set up a regular appointment with your veterinarian to rule out the chances of dysplasia.

How to treat dog hip and elbow dysplasia?

Multiple approaches are applied to treat this issue. Hip and elbow dysplasia are progressive diseases, and like the same, they need long-term treatments. The most obvious approach in severe cases is surgery. Along with surgery, many allied therapies are also applied to boost the healing process and prevent it from happening again.

Surgical approach

There are many factors to consider before opting for surgery. The age and severity of the disease are the most obvious factors to consider. Several surgical operations can be performed depending on the type of disorder.

The basic principle in every surgical procedure is to cut and remove the extra growth of bone and orient all the joint bones in their normal place.


Here comes the management before the onset of the condition to prevent it from happening and after the surgical treatment to avoid any complications. We at Quincydogs are well aware of the complications related to post-surgical management. We also know that prevention is better than treatment.

Keeping all the complications in mind, we have designed three different kinds of harnesses to let your dog enjoy its fearless life. The harnesses available at Quincydogs are as follows.

The harness covers the shoulder, hip, and abdomen. We have designed it in the right way to apply adequate pressure on the body's pressure points. these pressure points, when triggered, helps in the healing process

Our harness covers the main body parts to allow all the joints to properly orient. It helps in post-op management and care of your furry friend. Additionally, it provides prevention from several other skeletal disorders. It is better to get advice from your veterinarian to select a suited harness for your furry friend.

Final thoughts

Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are skeletal disorders. These disorders can be easily prevented from affecting your furry friends. Proper diet, exercise, and use of Quincydogs harness can significantly reduce the chances of onset of these skeletal disorders.


written by: 

Dr Saba Afzal, DVM, RVMP

M.phil in Microbiology.