This article was written by Pamela Francis for the FLCV in 2010. Pam's work remains an up to date and relevant summary for people who are considering buying a Finnish Lapphund. If you would like to read about steps that breeders can take to reduce the chance of hereditary disease, refer to the club breeding guidelines 2017-2020.
This term refers to a range of conditions which involve the malformation of the elbow joint. Like hip dysplasia, arthritis can result in the joint and cause pain and inflammation. As with hip dysplasia, both genetic and environmental factors play a part, although the hereditary element does appear to be more influential with elbow dysplasia.
Elbows are X-rayed and each elbow joint is given a score from 0 to 3. O means there is no sign of arthrosis. A score of 1 indicates minimal arthrosis, 2 indicates moderate arthrosis and 3 severe arthrosis.
There is very little evidence of an elbow dysplasia problem in the Finnish Lapphund breed. However, just to be sure, most ethical breeders will elbow score their breeding dogs. In the majority of cases the score is 0/0. However some 0/1, 1/0 or 1/1 scores have been seen, but only very rarely a worse result. As of December 2012, in the past five years, only 6.49% of Lappies tested in Finland have had elbow scores other than 0, most of these being a score of 1.
Like hip scores, breeders will use the elbow scores of their dogs as a tool to help them with their breeding decisions. Generally speaking, only dogs with elbows scoring 0 and/or 1 should be bred from. This is also the recommendation from the Lapphund Club of Finland.