Elbow dysplasia in a dog occurs when the elbow joint, which is made up of cartilage and bone, is out of shape. This is when problems will occur. It is like a hinge, and if something gets in the way, it will not work properly.
Although the condition is normally hereditary, it can also be caused by arthritis setting in, getting in the way of the normal function of the elbow joint.
Dogs who have this condition will normally display signs at about six months of age. Symptoms will include lameness and possibly an uneven gait.
Treatment normally consists of supplements and limiting the dog's exercise. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove bits of loose bone. Although there is no real cure, it is not a totally crippling condition and the dog can lead a reasonably normal life.
Because a Newfoundland dog is a fairly low energy dog, limiting exercise is not such a difficult task as it would be with a different breed.
It is essential that your puppy's parents have low elbow scores. 0 is the normal score, but slightly above, i.e. 1 is acceptable.
The condition can also be caused by too much exercise as a growing pup. The right sort of puppy care is essential to prevent this and other potentially crippling and painful conditions.
A dog with this condition is going to be in some pain and care should always be taken that he does not climb or overdo his running. Normally an intelligent dog like a Newfoundland will know when he has had enough, but it is still up to you to curb his enthusiasm.
Hydrotherapy is a wonderful treatment for joint problems of all kinds in a dog. It has done more for my dog than anything else I have tried.