Dog Leg Injuries

The symptoms of dog leg pain or injury are characterized by lameness, inability to walk and a prominent limp. Although the symptoms are similar for most leg injuries, the underlying cause of pain or injury varies. The treatment options also differ according to the type of leg injury present. Pet owners who notice a mild limp in the leg should take the pet for a vet examination. However if the leg injury stems from bone fracture, it's important to avoid unnecessary movement and seek emergency care.

Severity of Leg Injuries

The origin of leg injury could be one of many parts that include the foot, ligaments, muscles, knee joint, hip joint and bones. Most leg injuries are treated with medication and rest. However, leg injuries more severe in condition, may require surgical intervention and hospitalization. In order to understand the severity of leg injury present it's important to know the type of common leg injuries dogs are susceptible to.

Common Dog Leg Injuries

  • Muscular sprains
  • Ligament injury
  • Bone dislocation and fractures
  • Paw injury

Muscular Sprains in Dogs

Muscular sprains develop due to activities that cause accidental damage to the joints or cartilage. It may occur if the dog accidentally slips or plays rough outdoor games. The most common sign of muscular sprain is swelling at the affected site. The vet should examine swelling that doesn't subside within 48 hours.

Ligament Injury

Ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a common type of ligament injury in pets. It's characterized by sudden lameness and swelling of the knee joint. This condition develops if the pet exerts excess pressure on the knee joint, which in turn causes ligament tear. A ruptured anterior cruciate ligament has to be treated surgically to prevent the onset of arthritis. Breeds such as Rottweiler's and Labrador retrievers are at greater risk of developing ACL.

Bone Dislocation and Fractures

Dogs that have a fractured leg bone don't exert any pressure on the leg. They may also be in severe pain, unable to stand. Pet owners should apply steady pressure to fractures bleeding profusely. However, it's best to seek emergency vet help to avoid contamination of open wounds. The severity and type of fracture will be diagnosed through X-rays. Pets will be surgically treated and broken bones may be sutured together or aligned with plates and screws. The symptoms of bone dislocation are similar to those of fractures. Pets suffering from dislocation may also have swelling at the affected site. Dislocation mostly occurs when a dog is hit by a car.

Paw Injury

Dog paw injuries are evident if the pet lifts the paw off the ground and refuses to exert pressure on it. The pet may also cry in pain due to any foreign object lodged in the paw. In addition paw injury may be caused by nail tear or bleeding. Pet owners should examine the paw for any visible symptoms and seek early medical help to reduce discomfort.

Treatment of Dog Leg Injuries

Some leg injuries can be treated surgically. If the injury is chronic in nature or caused by arthritis or bone degeneration, long term medication and supportive care is essential. Minor injuries are treated with rest and antibiotic medication, prescribed according to the severity.

Follow up vet checks may be required to check response to treatment. Pet owners should also learn techniques to splint the foot during emergency situations that involve leg fractures or accidents.