OBJECTIVE: Identify radiographic risk factors for development of elbow dysplasia in giant breed dogs less than one year of age.
METHODS: Twenty-five giant breed puppies (Bernese Mountain dogs, English Mastiff, and Newfoundland) were studied. Both elbows of each dog were radiographed monthly from two to six months of age, then every other month until radial and ulnar physeal closure, followed two months later by bilateral elbow computed tomography. Radiographic parameters measured included the presence or absence of a separate centre of ossification of the anconeal process (SCOAP), medial coronoid disease (MCD), ununited anconeal process, humeral osteochondrosis, elbow incongruity, as well as the length of the radius and ulna, radius-to-ulna ratio, and date of closure of the radial and ulnar physes.
RESULTS: Fifteen dogs completed the study. Two Bernese Mountain dogs were diagnosed with MCD. Risk factors significantly associated with medial coronoid disease included dyssynchronous physeal closure and a decreased radius-to-ulna ratio, both detected between eight to 11 months of age. A separate centre of ossification of the anconeal process was present in 60% of the dogs, and was not a risk factor for development of elbow dysplasia.
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Transient, dyssynchronous growth of the radius and ulna may be a risk factor for development of MCD in Bernese Mountain dogs. Dyssynchronous physeal closure or decreased radius-to-ulna ratio prior to radiographic closure of the distal ulnar and radial physes warrants further study in Bernese Mountain dogs and other breeds subject to MCD development.