How to care for a dog with elbow dysplasia

Written by stevie donald
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Some dogs, especially large breeds, are susceptible to elbow dysplasia. It tends to affect male dogs more often than female dogs and is usually diagnosed when the dog exhibits a persistent limp with one or both front legs. An xray will confirm the diagnosis. Severe cases may require surgery but many dogs with elbow dysplasia can live full, active lives without surgery if the condition is managed well.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Joint supplement containing glucosamine
  • Omega 3 fish oil capsules
  • Large exercise area
  • 20' leash

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  1. 1

    Work closely with your vet and osteopathic veterinary specialist. Take their suggestions and let them know what you are doing to maintain your dog's health and mobility. Always let your vet know of any supplements your dog may be taking. Some supplements have unwanted interactions with prescription medication.

  2. 2

    Wait until all his bone growth has finished before neutering if your dog is not yet spayed or neutered at the time of diagnosis. There is ample evidence showing that neutering immature dogs greatly increases the chance of bone and joint problems as they mature. Physical maturity can be anywhere from six months to two years of age, depending on the size of your dog. Less severe cases of elbow dysplasia in young dogs may “fix themselves” if the dog is allowed to mature naturally.

  3. 3

    Start your dog on joint supplements with glucosamine. There are many different supplements used to joint problems in dogs but the most important ingredient is glucosamine. Other supplements include chrondroitin, hyalauric acid, MSM and vitamin C. Many joint products include some or all of these but make sure glucosamine is the main ingredient.

  4. 4

    Add Omega 3 fatty acid fish oil capsules to your dog's daily diet. Fish oil has been shown to improve joint health and mobility as well as being very good for the skin and coat. You can either buy this at pet stores or use the ones sold for human use. They are the same product. Fish oil is a much better source for Omega 3 than flax seed oil for dogs.

  5. 5

    Exercise your dog as tolerated. Exercise and building muscle that may compensate for weak joints is extremely important. If your dog swims and you can find water for him to swim or even walk in, this is one of the best forms of exercise. Daily walks, running and playtime is also vital.

  6. 6

    Do not let your dog gain any extra weight at all. Not one ounce. A healthy dog is very lean, and lean, fit dogs live longer and happier lives than even slightly overweight ones. If you love and care for your dog, keep him lean.

Tips and warnings

  • You may be told to expect early arthritis, which is why the glucosamine is so important.
  • If your dog exhibits lameness, restrict exercise immediately. If it persists more than a couple of days, take him to your vet.

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