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The elbow, in dogs, is a fairly complex part of the anatomy.  The humerus is the bone of the upper leg.  The radius and ulna bones form the lower leg.  The radius and ulna are brought together by several ligaments and form both a cradle and a hook that support the humerus.  The humerus has a hole in the bottom of it that fits the hook.  Sometimes, there are cartilage issues that prevent proper usage of the joint.  This is most common in larger dogs.  There are other times where the hook that should fit into the humerus does not go into the hole and moves around the joint instead.  This can cause irritation and bruising within the elbow.  There are other conditions where the radius and ulna do not grow at the same rate causing the cradle to not support the humerus properly and damage to the cartilage.  Finally, the top of the ulna can begin to deteriorate , again causing problems with the cradle.  Most often, there is not one issue happening in affected dogs, but multiple causations.  No matter the causation, arthritis will be the end result.  Symptoms can include:

  • Persistent or Random Lameness in One or Both Front Legs
  • Pain When Extending the Elbow
  • Holding Problem Leg Away from the Body
  • Refusing to Put Weight on the Leg
  • Fluid Build Up in the Joint
  • Grating of Bones Against One Another
  • Diminished Range of Motion
  • Arthritis