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Am J Vet Res. 2006 Feb;67(2):211-8.

Assessment of the geometry of the cubital (elbow) joint of dogs by use of magnetic resonance imaging.

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  • 1Department of Pathobiology, Institute of Anatomy, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria.



To assess joint geometry and highlight potential evidence of physiologic incongruity in cubital (elbow) joints of large, small, and chondrodystrophic breeds of dogs.


Nonarthritic elbow joints obtained from cadavers of mature dogs of large breeds (n = 19), small breeds (14), or chondrodystrophic breeds (8).


Magnetic resonance imaging was used to quantify interosseous gaps at 6 defined positions and 2 sagittal planes of the humeroantebrachial region by use of a fat-suppressed 3-dimensional gradient-echo sequence.


Interosseous gaps in the more medially located sagittal plane were significantly narrower at the level of the anconeal process than at any other position of the joint in large-breed dogs, compared with results for small- or chondrodystrophic-breed dogs. In both sagittal planes, the gaps were significantly wider at the center of the ulnar trochlear notch than at any other position. Significant correlation between body weight and width of the interosseous gaps was found only in large-breed dogs and was found in both sagittal planes at the center of the ulnar trochlear notch (r, 0.834 and r, 0.680, respectively).


In large-breed dogs, the interosseous gap was especially narrow at the level of the anconeal process and its diametric position. This suggests less ability to compensate intra-articular steps in dogs with short ulna syndrome, which predisposes to failure of the union between the anconeal process and olecranon. Geometric incongruity may be regarded as clinically normal in nonarthritic humeroulnar joints. The degree of geometric incongruity increases with body weight.

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