Elbow Problems in Labradors

Labrador retrievers are large dogs bred for hunting and other activities. They often suffer from elbow problems associated with arthritis and muscular dystrophy. With care and early treatment, Labradors can live healthy, active lives.


In dogs, the elbow is a joint in each of the two front legs. Lameness is an early sign of elbow problems in Labradors. Pain, decreased motion range and loss of muscle mass are other signs. Trouble standing, getting up or sitting, joints that appear abnormal in size and shape, and a grating sound when the dog moves the joint are symptoms of elbow arthritis. Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), which is canine elbow dysplasia, is common in large-breed dogs.


Treatment will depend on the underlying cause. If your dog is overweight, you will need to make changes in the dog's daily diet. Your veterinarian will assist you in creating a food plan that will best work for your dog according to its breed, size and age.

Several medications are used to treat the symptoms and underlying causes of your dog's elbow problem. For example, pain relievers may be prescribed, along with steroids that can help reduce inflammation in the muscles and nerves, allowing healing to take place. Surgery is used to treat OCD.


Elbow dysplasia means arthritis in the elbow joint. Elbow arthritis can make young Labradors lame. It is often found in both elbows.


You will need to keep your dog from gaining excess weight. Very energetic dogs need to be observed for any changes in behaviour or movement after they have been exercising to prevent overdoing it.

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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Carol Owens has been writing home, health and business-related articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the North County Review, "The Nearness of Day" anthology and on the PhoneSmart website. Owens received a Bachelor of Arts in art from Columbia College.