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Click in dog's elbow.

Species: Dog
Breed: golden
Age: 1-2 years
Hi Dr.

I've noticed that sometimes Max's right elbow will creak as he bends it. (Much as human's knees creak when they stand up).

It's not consistent and there is absolutely no sign of lameness or swelling. It occurs every now and then.

I first noticed it when he was just a pup but since he likely has hip dysplasia I am now more conscious of it.


What are the chances this is an early sign of elbow dyspasia?

Jay


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Jay,

A click or creaking noise when the elbow is bent is not something I see very often in dogs.

Because I don't see this often, I did some research for you. If it is a "click" then the most common reason is if there is ligament damage somewhere in the leg. It doesn't necessarily have to be in the elbow. I read of some cases where this was the cause, but in many of those cases the dog just got better on their own.

Elbow dysplasia can cause a click as well, but it is usually painful. Most dogs with a painful elbow will not like it if you try to extend the elbow. See what Max does if you extend the leg so that, rather than being flexed, the elbow is as straight as possible. Does he let you do that equally on each leg? If not, this could be a sign of pain.

If this were my case I would probably do nothing, especially if Max is not showing any signs of pain or limping. If you are worried though, it's not a bad idea to get some xrays of the elbows done. One of the problems though is that elbow xrays can be hard to interpret, especially if there is only mild disease (or no disease) present. So, your vet may consider sending xrays to a radiologist to see what they think.

With that being said, I really do think it is possible for this to be just a normal thing. Personally, my own elbow clicks from time to time and has done so for years. It doesn't cause me any pain at all.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thanks for doing the research.

He has no issue with me extending the right and left front legs. I fully extended the limb by supporting the elbow. Actually when extended he leaves the limb loose without tensing or trying to move back - left and right limbs.

He retains full activty level. I just enticed him to jump on the counter a few times and he did so without reservation.

I isolated the click sound because it occured when he was 'giving paw'. Other than the noise his behaviour was unremarkable.


I realise in most humans (me included) joint clicks are not an issue. If that's all it is I don't care.

Given his knee and hips I just wanted to make sure it was not part of a pattern.


Tanks,

Jay




Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I really wouldn't be worried.

Here is something to look for in the future, just to be safe. Keep an eye on how well Max can jump down from things. So, if he is on the bed, or in the car and jumps down onto the ground, does he hesitate at all before jumping down? If you start noticing some trepidation before he jumps down then this can be a sign that he is hiding pain somewhere.

I'm guessing that this is nothing to worry about though!

Dr. Marie.



Customer reply:

Thanks. I will keep it in the back of my mind.

Given that I first noticed it about a year ago so it may be nothing.

Unrelated but a lot of my friends feed their dog those deer antlers. Is that a good or bad idea?



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I think they're probably good. I haven't completely made up my mind yet, but everything I've read on them so far is positive.



Customer reply:

Thanks again.

Have a nice weekend.


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.