What is Shoulder Dysplasia in Dogs?

happy dog wearing a balto lux brace

How to Support My Dog with Shoulder Dysplasia?

The ball-and-socket joint found in a dog’s shoulder involves two bones of your pet’s anatomy: the scapula and humerus. The conjunction of these bones creates a joint that plays a vital role in the dog’s ability to walk and run naturally. When conditions such as Shoulder Dysplasia are diagnosed in pets by a veterinarian, the ability to walk and run naturally becomes more difficult and likely painful as a result.

What is Shoulder Dysplasia?

Shoulder Dysplasia is diagnosed when pets are experiencing the cartilage of the shoulder pulling away from the bone.  It is caused by a defect in the normal growth process and causes excessive joint laxity within the shoulder, much like hip dysplasia.  Joint laxity, or hypermobile joints, allows the shoulder's ball-and-socket joint to move around; causing pain and inflammation.  This is typically recognized in large and giant breed puppies. Some common signs that indicate that a pet may have Shoulder Dysplasia can include:

  • Inflammation
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle Atrophy
  • Lameness

How is Shoulder Dysplasia Treated?

Removal of the affected cartilage during surgery, along with post-operative support methods such as bracing devices, gives dogs a 90% chance to recover fully. Although this surgery is a treatment option for Shoulder Dysplasia, it is not always the best option for your dog due to age, other illnesses, or preferences in treatment. In these cases, a shoulder brace may become the best option.

The Balto Lux is designed to limit the overall abduction of the dog’s shoulders. The brace works by using internal stiffeners which compress both shoulders, limiting their range of motion (ROM). It can be used for inflammation, dislocation, shoulder disease (such as Shoulder Dysplasia), hypermobility, and instability of the joint. Additionally, it can be used pre- or post-operatively to promote the gradual return and rehabilitation of the joint. The brace is made of breathable, hand washable material and comes with an optional hobble strap for a greater limitation of movement.