A Doggie Slow Down
Painful strains and sprains in dogs.
Dogs love to run, jump and romp inside and outside. It takes lots of energy, strength, and flexibility to chase squirrels, scratch behind ears, wrestle with playmates, jump on beds, and leap for toys. Every now and then dogs overdo it, asking just too much of their front legs (shoulders, elbows, wrists, and toes) or back legs (hips, knees, ankles, and toes). Just like us, dogs can pull a muscle and sprain an ankle. The result is a painful Strain, Sprain or soft tissue injury.
Strains vs. Sprains
The words sound similar but the meanings are quite different.
Strains injure tendons that link muscles and bones. This can happen if your dog stretches too far, too much, or too often. Athletic dogs get strains, but this injury also can happen when a dog slips, falls, or jumps during normal play.
Sprains harm the ligaments that connect bones, which causes joint damage. Sprains can happen to hunting dogs who jump hurdles, as well as to the average dog who may hurt himself taking a hard landing off the couch, or even by something as simple as stepping in a hole.
Where is the pain?
The first warning sign of strains or sprains may be that your dog starts to limp or is suddenly lame, meaning he can’t use his leg. If this lasts more than a day or so, or if it happens again and again, it’s time for a visit to the vet.
Both strains and sprains can be chronic (ongoing) or acute (sudden), and can range from mild to severe. Your vet will figure out what kind of injury your dog has based on what you tell them and the results of a physical exam and tests.
It takes the same kinds of things to get your dog back on four feet as it would take to get you back on two.
Your vet will decide how to treat your dog based on whether he has a strain or a sprain, and just how bad it is. They will likely try to avoid surgery as a first line of treatment unless a tendon or ligament is torn.
In a typical plan to treat strains and sprains, your vet may tell you to:
- Give your dog nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease inflammation.
- Apply an ice pack or heating pad.
- Make sure your dog rests.
- Walk your dog on a leash, taking it slowly at first.
- Use a brace or support to hold your dog’s muscle or joint in place.
- Try physical therapy, such as walk on an underwater or land treadmill, balancing on a ball or board.
- Massage the area.
OrthoVet offers a full line of lower limb splinting and bracing products to help stabilize a sprain or strain.
Visit our website at www.orthovet.com or give us a call toll free at 866-207-9205