Surgery for Elbow Dysplasia

One of the most common causes of forelimb lameness in the dog is elbow dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia is a generic term referring to arthritis in the elbow joint. As in people, arthritis in the dog is painful, resulting in intermittent and persistent lameness, especially following physical activity. Initial signs may appear between 5-12 months of age but often do not get diagnosed until later in life.

Consequences of Elbow Dysplasia

  • Cartilage deterioration releases a combination of inflammatory factors from the ligament.
  • Increasing instability of the joint from the damaged cartilage causes arthritis to develop quickly within the joint.
  • Every time the pet bears weight on the affected leg, abnormal or overloading of the medial compartment occurs. This abnormal loading often leads to concurrent cartilage erosions (often full thickness) and possible fragmentation of the medial coronoid process. Once the cartilage is damaged, arthritic change accelerates and perceived pain worsens.
  • A vicious cycle of compensation-related damage leads, in many instances, to debilitating lameness.

What surgeries are recommended?

Since elbow dysplasia is a very complex disease there is not one perfect surgery to correct every complication. Surgical options are dependent on the primary problem.

The Proximal Abducting Ulnar Osteotomy (PAUL) imposes a corrective limb alignment, aimed at unloading the medial compartment, thus reducing pain and improving limb use and function.

At Advanced Veterinary Care, we prefer PAUL surgery over other unloading surgeries due to significantly reduced complications. Other surgeries require implants to be applied to the actual joint. These often lead to complications that require arthrodesis or amputation of the forelimb.

Patients can resume normal activity in 10-12 weeks.

 Completed PAUL Surgery