Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow Dysplasia in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Elbow Dysplasia is common to the breed due to their large size relative to their leg length as well as higher than average body weight % over the front legs vs the hind.

Elbow Dysplasia in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs CAUSE

Elbow dysplasia is caused because the elbow joint’s abnormal development during your bulldog puppy’s growing phase.

In newborn bulldog puppies, many bones are not actually one long bone, but consist of many pieces of bone surrounded by cartilage.

Elbow Dysplasia in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs As your bulldog puppy grows into an adult bulldog, the cartilage changes into the bone, and the pieces fuse together, along with the surrounding bone fragments, to create and form one long, fluid bone.

When this process does not work as it should, elbow dysplasia can occur, and an elbow joint that is out of alignment, resulting in chronic pain, swelling, limping, and arthritis.

ELOBW DYSPLASIA is the most common bulldog and French bulldog front legs limping


Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is an abnormality of the humeral condyle cartilage and formation of the bone underneath, which can be extremely painful for your dog.

Fragmentation Defects where the bone begins to break up into smaller pieces and degenerate can also be a factor.

  • Ununited Anconeal Process (UAP)

Is a developmental defect whereby the anconeal process should have fused with the ulna, but instead does not properly attach and floats nearby, causing the joint to be unstable and preventing proper interaction of the humerus and ulna bones.

  • Fragmented Coronoid Process (FCP)

Is a developmental defect of the ulnar coronoid processes. The coronids are two small areas on the articulation part of the ulna within the elbow joint. If this area does not fuse with the rest of the ulna, it will once again lead to pain and joint instability

Elbow Dysplasia in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Ununited Anconeal Process

Elbow Dysplasia in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PREVENTION:


Keep your bulldog puppy’s weight under control and don’t overdo the caloric, protein, and calcium content.


bulldog total joint care supplement

Dr. Kraemer’s Elbow Dysplasia RULE OF THUMB:

Elbow dysplasia in bulldog puppies, and most dog breeds, happens during the growing period of the bones (5-11 months) and usually will manifest as a limp in their front legs.

Elbow Dysplasia in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TIPS & WARNINGS:


Bulldog Elbow Dysplasia Tip #1 GATE:

If you notice a problem with your bulldog puppy’s gait or the favoring of a leg over a protracted period of time, you should take your dog to your veterinarian and ask for x-rays to be taken.

Bulldog Elbow Dysplasia Tip #3 RX:

In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend medications for pain and inflammation such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).

Bulldog Elbow Dysplasia Tip#4 ALTERNATIVES:


Bulldog Elbow Dysplasia Warning #1 SURGERY:

Elbow dysplasia in bulldog puppies, and pets in general, can be extremely debilitating. Unfortunately, there is no satisfactory surgical procedure that can significantly alter the progression of the disorder, or cure it.

Bulldog Elbow Dysplasia Warning #2 GENETICS & BREEDING:

The cause of elbow dysplasia in bulldog puppies is multifactorial, including genetics, growth rate, and nutrition, as well as trauma. Therefore, when buying a bulldog puppy, it helps to know whether the parents had evidence of elbow dysplasia.

Responsible breeding will reduce the incidence of the disease.

Elbow Dysplasia in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Warning #3 DIET:

High protein, high calcium, and high-calorie diets have been cited as possible reasons for elbow dysplasia in bulldog puppies.

Obviously, not all puppies on such diets get elbow problems. If your bulldog puppy seems to be growing too fast, it may be advisable to change the diet after consultation with your veterinarian.

An Ounce of PREVENTION Is Worth a Pound of CURE

Pododermatitis in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs store

*This guide was compiled courtesy of Dr. Kraemer, a “must-read” manual for current or future bully owners