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Vet J. 2012 Aug;193(2):486-92. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.01.001. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Phenotypic and genetic evaluation of elbow dysplasia in Dutch Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Bernese Mountain dogs.

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Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80154, 3508TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Canine elbow dysplasia encompasses four developmental diseases: ununited anconeal process, osteochondrosis of the medial part of the humeral condyle, fragmented medial coronoid process (FCP), and incongruity of the elbow joint. Four radiographic views per joint were used to evaluate 2693 Labrador Retrievers (LRs), 1213 Golden Retrievers (GRs), and 974 Bernese Mountain Dogs (BMDs) for the presence of elbow dysplasia between 2002 and 2009 in the Netherlands. The views were also graded for signs of osteoarthritis and sclerosis. FCP was diagnosed most frequently in LRs, GRs and BMDs, with an incidence of 6%, 5%, and 15%, and a heritability of 0.17, 0.24, and 0.06, respectively. Heritabilities were estimated using a sire model and all available ancestors. Sclerosis at the base of the medial coronoid process was the radiographic sign most strongly correlated with FCP (r=0.95, 0.92, and 0.95 in LRs, GRs and BMDs, respectively). The sex of the dog was significantly correlated with the presence of osteoarthritis in LRs, but not in GRs and BMDs. Male LRs were 1.7-fold more frequently, but not more severely, affected by osteoarthritis than female dogs. Age at radiographic examination was significantly associated with osteoarthritis in all three breeds. The heritability estimates in Retrievers were high enough to warrant including FCP findings in the breeding policy, but until the biomechanical and genetic background of elbow dysplasia are better understood, correct phenotyping with a sensitive technique is essential.

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