DireWolf Dog Health - Elbow Dysplasia


Elbow Dysplasia is a generic term referring to the abnormal development of the elbow joint.  As with hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia has both a genetic and an environmental component and as such, dogs that exhibit any signs of malformation or arthritis in the elbows should not be bred.  Vallecito Alsatians will go one step further and assert that any two pair of dogs bred who produce stock with hip or elbow dysplasia should not be bred, even if they are both free of either disease.


The actual cause of elbow dysplasia can be due to one of the following:

  1. Osteochondrosis: a flap of cartilage comes off the end of the humerus bone during the growing process
  2. Fragmentation of the coronoid process: a bony projection on the inner side of the ulna comes loose process
  3. Ununited anconeal process: a bony projection near the top of the ulna comes loose during the growing 
  4. Elbow incongruity: joint does not fit together properly which results in abnormal wear of the cartilage


Dire Wolf Project - DireWolf Dogs - American Alsatian Dog - Elbow DysplasiaArthritis is a common secondary problem to elbow dysplasia.  Dogs with elbow dysplasia may be stiff after periods of sleep or rest and the lameness may worsen after exercise.  Sometimes the lameness is very subtle and it can be difficult for owners to tell which leg is lame.  There may be a decreased range of motion in one or both elbows.  Crackling of the joint may also be present.  Sometimes fluid in the joint and swelling may be evident on palpation and the joint may be painful during these manipulations.

Ununited anconeal process in a 

5 year old German Shepherd Dog.


Dire Wolf Project - DireWolf Dogs - American Alsatian Dog - Zorro Elbow










Zorro's right elbow.  Notice the smooth lines forming a V

between joint.  This is a picture of an excellent elbow joint.



If your puppy exhibits ANY symptoms of elbow dysplasia,

please email us right away.


We send all of our elbow x-rays to OFA for standardized hip and elbow scores.  The following information is provided for you as a way to help you interpret those scores in a meaningful way.  We want you to be an informed puppy buyer and owner and want to provide you with as much information about our dogs as we can.  Please ask if you have a question that has not been answered.