Objective—To investigate topographic and age-dependent adaptation of subchondral bone density in the elbow joints of healthy dogs by means of computed tomographic osteoabsorptiometry (CTOAM).
Animals—42 elbow joints of 29 clinically normal dogs of various breeds and ages.
Procedures—Subchondral bone densities of the humeral, radial, and ulnar joint surfaces of the elbow relative to a water-hydroxyapatite phantom were assessed by means of CTOAM. Distribution patterns in juvenile, adult, and geriatric dogs (age, < 1 year, 1 to 8 years, and > 8 years, respectively) were determined and compared within and among groups.
Results—An area of increased subchondral bone density was detected in the humerus distomedially and cranially on the trochlea and in the olecranon fossa. The ulna had maximum bone densities on the anconeal and medial coronoid processes. Increased bone density was detected in the craniomedial region of the joint surface of the radius. A significant age-dependent increase in subchondral bone density was revealed in elbow joint surfaces of the radius, ulna, and humerus. Mean subchondral bone density of the radius was significantly less than that of the ulna in paired comparisons for all dogs combined and in adult and geriatric, but not juvenile, dog groups.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—An age-dependent increase in subchondral bone density at the elbow joint was revealed. Maximal relative subchondral bone densities were detected consistently at the medial coronoid process and central aspect of the humeral trochlea, regions that are commonly affected in dogs with elbow dysplasia.