Long-term outcomes in dogs with elbow dysplasia, assessed using the canine orthopaedic index

Christina Obel, Annika Bergström, Arianna Comin, Karolina Engdahl
Vet Rec. 2023 Oct 7;193(7):e2950. doi: 10.1002/vetr.2950

Background: Elbow dysplasia (ED) is an important cause of lameness in dogs. This study aimed to report long-term outcomes in dogs with elbow osteoarthritis.

Methods: Demographic data, medical management, and scores from The American College of Veterinary Surgeons' Canine Orthopaedic Index (COI) were collected from owners of dogs radiographically screened for ED, graded as normal, mild, or moderate. Telephone interviews were performed in 2017 (Q1), followed by an email survey in 2020 (Q2). The association between ED grade and deterioration in COI scores over time was evaluated with logistic regression.

Results: A total of 765 replies were collected for Q1 and 293 for Q2. At Q2, 222 dogs (76%) were alive, with a median age of 8 years (range 5-12 years). No association was found between ED and changes in COI score over time or between ED and survival (p = 0.071). Dogs with mild and moderate ED were treated with analgesic medications to a higher degree than dogs without ED (p < 0.05).

Limitations: Only owner-assed data were assessed; no clinical orthopaedic examination or follow-up radiographic evaluation was performed.

Conclusions: No association was found between the grade of ED and the worsening of clinical signs in dogs with elbow osteoarthritis.