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Relationship between physical signs of elbow dysplasia and radiographic score in growing Rottweilers

Read, R.A., Armstrong, S.J., Black, A.P., Macpherson, G.C., Yovich, J.C. and Davey, T. (1996) Relationship between physical signs of elbow dysplasia and radiographic score in growing Rottweilers. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 209 (8). pp. 1427-1430.


To examine the relationship between physical signs of elbow dysplasia and radiographic appearance of the elbow joints in growing dogs.

Prospective study.

55 Rottweiler pups.

Owners of clinically normal Rottweiler pups were contacted through breed clubs in 3 Australian states and asked to participate in the study. All those offering to participate were included.

The first physical examination was performed when pups were 3 months old and included a lameness evaluation and palpation of the elbow joints. Physical examinations were repeated when pups were 5, 6, 9, and 12 months old. Radiographs of the elbows were obtained at 6 and 12 months. Relationships among lameness, decreased range of movement, signs of pain, and radiographic data related to elbow dysplasia were examined.

Elbow dysplasia caused clinical lameness in only 3 dogs but 57% of dogs developed radiographic signs of elbow dysplasia by 12 months of age. A grade-2 radiographic score at 12 months of age was significantly associated with clinical elbow dysplasia.

Elbow dysplasia has a prevalence of > 50% in certain breed populations. This study supports radiographic screening at 12 months of age, accompanied by physical examination to detect clinical elbow dysplasia.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary Studies
Publisher: American Veterinary Medical Association
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