ISSN 2398-2942      

Elbow dysplasia certification scheme



  • Elbow dysplasia (ED Elbow: dysplasia ) is the collective name for a group of common developmental orthopedic conditions affecting young dogs of medium and large breeds including:
  • As well as causing elbow pain in their own right, these conditions give rise to subsequent osteoarthritis which may cause severe lameness in later life.
  • In many cases the underlying lesion goes undetected either because it is clinically silent or because bilateral lameness is unrecognized by the owner.
  • Since these diseases have a proven and strong genetic component, radiographic screening for elbow dysplasia is an important means of detecting affected dogs before they can be used for breeding.
  • Application of screening programs has proved helpful in reducing the incidence of ED in many countries, and these schemes are monitored by the International Elbow Working Group (IEWG).
    May be carried out at the same time as screening for hip dysplasia but animals must be at least 1 year old.

Normal elbow anatomy

  • The elbow is a complex joint involving the humerus, radius and ulna.
  • Anatomical features of importance in the assessment of ED include:
    • The medial part of the distal humeral condyle.
    • The humeral epicondyles.
    • The caudal distal humerus.
    • The radial head.
    • The anconeal and coronoid processes of the ulna.
    • The trochlear (semi-lunar) notch.

Print off the owner factsheet Elbow dysplasia certification scheme Elbow dysplasia certification scheme UK Elbow dysplasia certification scheme US to give to your client.

Radiography for ED assessment

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Assessing radiographs

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Hornof W J, Wind A P, Wallack S T et al (2000) Canine elbow dysplasia. The early radiographic detection of fragmentation of the coronoid process. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 30 (2), 257-266 PubMed.
  • Lang J, Busato A, Baumgartner D et al (1998) Comparison of two classification protocols in the evaluation of elbow dysplasia in the dog. JSAP 39 (4), 169-174 PubMed.
  • Keller G G, Kreeger J M, Mann F A et al (1997) Correlation of radiographic, necropsy and histologic findings in 8 dogs with elbow dysplasia. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 38 (4), 272-276 PubMed.
  • Snaps F R, Balligand M H, Saunders J H et al (1997) Comparison of radiography, magnetic resonance imaging, and surgical findings in dogs with elbow dysplasia. Am J Vet Res 58 (12), 1367-1370 PubMed.
  • Swenson L, Audell L, Hedhammar A (1997) Prevalence and inheritance of and selection for elbow arthrosis in Bernese Mountain dogs and Rottweilers in Sweden and benefit - cost analysis of screening and control program. JAVMA 210 (2), 215-221 PubMed.
  • Read R A, Armstrong S J, Black A P et al (1996) Relationship between physical signs of elbow dysplasia and radiographic score in growing Rottweilers. JAVMA 209 (8), 1427-1430 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Pead M J & Guthrie S Elbow dysplasia in dogs - a new scheme explained. You & Your Vet. pp 1-4.

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