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Physiotherapy for Elbow Dysplasia

What is Elbow Dysplasia?​

Elbow dysplasia is a very complex disease which can affect dogs from early on in life. It is particularly prevalent in certain breeds, such as Labradors and Springer Spaniels. Please visit Elbow Dysplasia - Fitzpatrick Referrals for more details regarding the disease.

Treatment options that your vet will mention will be either surgical management or conservative management. Physiotherapy is essential either to ensure the best outcomes for your dog. Physiotherapy can help to alleviate the symptoms of elbow dysplasia and improve your dog’s well-being and quality of life. By increasing the muscle tone surrounding the joint, there will not be as much strain on the joint, leading to reduced pain and improved flexibility.

Aims of Elbow Dysplasia Rehabilitation ​

  • Reduce pain and swelling

  • Maintain and/or increase joint mobility

  • Maintain and/or increase muscle mass

Physiotherapy Treatment for Elbow Dysplasia​

  • Manual therapy techniques such as massage, mobilisations and stretches

  • Electrotherapies such as Phototherapy, Ultrasound and Pulsed Electromagnetic Field

  • Land-based exercises for balance, strengthening and spacial awareness

Hydrotherapy Options

Water-based therapy is an ideal environment for a dog’s suffering from elbow dysplasia. The properties of water provide relief and allow easier mobilisation of joints. Using the buoyancy of the water, the patient can move their elbows easier and therefore strengthen specific muscle groups. It also helps maintain cardiovascular fitness, which is not as easy on land when exercise is restricted.

What can I do to help my dog at home?


A diagnosis of elbow dysplasia can be a very confusing time for owners. Emma is here to guide you through the process with regular reviews and assessments, working together with your vet to ensure that your dog receives the best treatment. Emma considers every dog as an individual and their family circumstances, so she will work with you to ensure that all treatment is achievable for you and your dog.


A specific home care exercise programme and walking advice will be given to you by your physiotherapist, and it will be uniquely designed to suit your dog’s needs. Emma will also be able to offer advice on activities in your daily routine, such as how best to assist your dog in and out of a car, the avoidance of slippery floors, the avoidance of high impact activities such as jumping up or down from furniture, running up and down stairs. Think of Emma as your dog’s occupational therapist!

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