This term refers to a range of conditions which involve the malformation of the elbow joint. Like hip dysplasia, arthritis can result in the joint and cause pain and inflammation. As with hip dysplasia, both genetic and environmental factors play a part, although the hereditary element does appear to be more influential with elbow dysplasia.
Elbows are X-rayed and each elbow joint is given a score from 0 to 3. O means there is no sign of arthrosis. A score of 1 indicates minimal arthrosis, 2 indicates moderate arthrosis and 3 severe arthrosis.
There is very little evidence of an elbow dysplasia problem in the Finnish Lapphund breed. However, just to be sure, most ethical breeders will elbow score their breeding dogs. In the majority of cases the score is 0/0. However some 0/1, 1/0 or 1/1 scores have been seen, but only rarely a worse result. As of June 2015, in the past five years, only 7% of Lappies tested in Finland have had elbow scores other than 0, most of these being a score of 1.
(Full data:1,307 dogs tested, 77 received a score of 1, 13 received a score of 2, 8 received a score of 3).
Like hip scores, breeders will use the elbow scores of their dogs as a tool to help them with their breeding decisions. Generally speaking, only dogs with elbows scoring 0 and/or 1 should be bred from. This is also the recommendation from the Lapphund Club of Finland.
Some of the dogs we use for breeding have had their elbows tested. In Finland, often a dogs hips are tested but their elbows are not. Therefor some of the dogs we have frozen semen from have not had their elbows tested, and our dogs imported from Finland have not had their elbows tested. If my dogs go under general anesthetic for other purposes in the future we will then gain an xray of their elbows for testing purposes. Given the low incidence of elbow dysplasia in the breed we don't wish to put them under general anesthetic unnesesarily.