Elbow dysplasia is a malformation of the elbow joint. The OFA has developed an elbow registry to provide a standardized evaluation of the elbow joint and help breeders choose healthy dogs for their breeding programs. Elbow dysplasia is a common cause of lameness in large-breed dogs.
Most elbow dysplasia occurs before the bones have fully developed, with clinical signs beginning to show between four and seven months of age. The symptoms can vary, ranging from recurring bouts of lameness to moving awkwardly while at a trot. Commonly, a young dog develops a sudden limp, which goes from intermittent to severe to slight without any apparent outside cause. Elbow dysplasia can be diagnosed only through X-rays. Like hip dysplasia, it is believed that elbow dysplasia is mainly an inherited problem, with environmental factors influencing its development.