Elbow dysplasia (ED) is emerging as a serious problem in English Setters. Currently 15.4% of setters submitted to the OFA have ED. Like hip dysplasia it is a multifaceted polygenic disease with a complicated inheritance, and is even more likely to cause crippling arthritis and pain. A dog with ED can also sometimes show no visible symptoms until old age, so screening is critical. Reducing the incidence of this disease requires selection of breeding dogs using the same principles that are effective with hip dysplasia.
Elbow dysplasia itself cannot reliably be seen on an x-ray, and is diagnosed largely by the presence of the arthritis it causes. Because this arthritis does not always develop at an early age, “normal” results from early preliminary elbow evaluations are not as reliable as they are for hips. We wait until two years of age to do elbow evaluations on our own dogs for this reason.
We are aware of three dogs out of our litters diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. Our breeding dogs are OFA certified elbows normal.