Orthopedic injuries in dogsrefer to injuries or conditions that affect the bones, joints, or muscles of the canine skeletal system. These types of injuries can range from minor sprains and strains to more serious fractures or dislocations, and they can occur as a result of various activities such as playing, running, or even just everyday wear and tear.
Five Common Orthopedic Injuries in Dogs
While these leg injuries in dogsare common in canines of all shapes and sizes, some breeds are more prone to specific health problems, which we’ll discuss later.
Cruciate ligament tear:
This is a common injury that occurs in the knee joint of dogs. Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) is often caused by a sudden twisting or turning motion, and it can result in pain, swelling, and difficulty walking. While it’s true that avoiding common dog injuries like CCL tears is challenging, you can do several things to prevent your dog’s cruciate tears from worsening.
For instance, regular exercise helps your canine’s muscles stay strong and flexible. A consistent exercise schedule with your pet allows you to go for strenuous runs without worrying about dog leg injuries. Another great solution to preventing cruciate tears is by maintaining a healthy weight.
When treating CCL tears, surgery is a common long-term solution most vets recommend. Unlike typical dog leg injuries, cruciate tears don’t heal independently. Procedures like Extracapsular Lateral Suture Stabilization and Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) will help your dog regains mobility and recover fully.
Dogs can suffer fractures in any bone in their body, but the most common fractures occur in the leg bones. Fractures can be caused by trauma, such as being hit by a car, or by osteoporosis, which is a condition that causes weak bones. Treatment for fractures usually involves rest and immobilization, either through the use of a cast or a splint.
Dislocations occur when a bone becomes displaced from its joint. This can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the affected limb. Dislocations are usually treated with rest and immobilization, followed by physical therapy to help the joint regain its range of motion.
Sprains and strains:
Sprains and strains are injuries that occur when the muscles or ligaments are stretched or torn. They are often caused by overuse or improper use of a joint, and they can result in pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the affected limb. Treatment for sprains and strains usually involves rest, ice, and physical therapy.
This is a genetic condition that affects the hip joint and can cause pain, lameness, and difficulty moving. It is more common in larger breeds of dogs, and it is usually treated with medications, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. Hip dysplasia is a genetically inherited ailment and is not exactly a dog leg injury. The most affected breeds are large to giant canines like golden retrievers, bulldogs, Rottweilers, and mastiffs. Despite being inherited, other factors can affect the development of a pup’s hip joints, like their weight, nutrition, and regular activities.
Preventing CHD can be difficult, but there are methods to reduce your dog's risk of developing the said condition. For one, you must keep your pet’s bones healthy early. While they’re still a puppy, feed them a nutritious diet so they can develop strong bones and joints. It also helps to have your canine maintain a healthy weight to prevent obesity.
Ensure A Long and Active Life for Your Pet
It is important to seek veterinary care for any suspected orthopedic injury in your dog, as timely treatment can help speed up the recovery process and prevent further complications. By following your veterinarian's recommendations and taking proper care of your dog, you can help ensure that your furry friend remains happy and healthy.
For more information on how to tell if your dog’s leg is broken, visit our blog here.