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What are common injuries to dogs and recommended protective gear?

Jan 05, 2024 5 0
What are common injuries to dogs and recommended protective gear?

A leg injury is debilitating for a dog. When a dog experiences joint pain and cannot walk normally, it impacts every facet of its life. Many of the most common leg injuries in dogs can be treated with custom braces or orthotics.
Here are a few of the most common injuries to a dog’s legs, knee, ankle, wrist, and elbow.

Stifle Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are among the most common injuries impacting dogs. A veterinarian may also refer to your dog’s knee joint as a stifle joint. A dog’s knee supports a lot of its weight, and as the dog moves, the knee joint takes a lot of impact over the years. Therefore, when a dog’s knee is injured, not only is it painful, but it also dramatically impacts a dog’s ability to move and stay active. Canine cruciate tears and patellar luxation are two of the most common dog knee injuries.

Torn CCL or ACL Injury

A torn cranial cruciate ligament or CCL tear is the most frequent cause of hind leg lameness in dogs. A CCL rupture is also the most common reason a veterinarian would recommend a dog knee brace or stifle brace for your pet. The cranial and caudal cruciate ligaments stabilize the knee joint and allow the knee to bend naturally. When a dog’s CCL tears, the dog has likely placed excessive force on the cruciate, causing excessive rotation, tearing the ligament, and leaving the dog to become suddenly lame.
Your veterinarian may recommend a stifle brace to stabilize the knee joint, reestablish a natural range of motion, and allow the pet to bear weight on the injured hind limb again. It’s quite common for a dog to need an ACL brace on both hind limbs.

Canine Luxating Patella

Patella luxation occurs when a dog’s kneecap slips out of alignment, this can cause a dog to limp or run on three legs until the kneecap returns to the correct position. A stifle brace keeps the femur and the tibia in alignment so that the patella can track properly. In extreme cases, surgery is recommended to keep the kneecap adequately positioned.
Tarsus or Ankle Injury
The tarsus or hock joint is in a dog’s hind leg below the knee. Signs a dog has injured it’s tarsal joint include sudden lameness, limping, and swelling at the hock joint. A hock brace can be used to treat tarsal injuries that require long-term tarsal support and stability. A custom tarsal brace is an excellent option for pets with a long recovery time who need their ankle supported for several months or more.

Hock Hyperextension

A hock becomes hyperextended when the tarsal joint is injured, causing the joint to destabilize and collapse. A hock hyperextension or ankle hyperextension can present in many ways. In some cases, a dog’s hind leg will appear very straight without the natural bend of the hock in the lower limb. In severe cases, the hock may even bend in the opposite direction. A collapsed hock occurs when a dog appears to be walking flat-footed with the hock or ankle almost touching the ground. A custom tarsal orthotic or hock brace will stabilize the hock joint, allowing the pet to move while preventing hyperextension.

Dog Achilles Tendon Injury

Achilles tendon injuries are most often caused by trauma, overstretching of the dog’s Achilles Tendon, chronic injury, or severe wound. The Achilles Tendon or calcaneal tendon is composed of five different muscles in the hind leg. When the Achilles Tendon ruptures, it can be a complete rupture or partial tears. A dog’s symptoms will range depending on the severity of the injury. A minor rupture can cause limping, pain, and swelling. If left untreated and the injury progresses, a dog’s heel may slowly drop towards the ground. In the most extreme Achilles ruptures, a dog may walk completely flat-footed with the hock and ankle touching the ground.

The carpal joint or wrist is located below a dog’s elbow on the lower front limb. A carpal joint injury will impact a dog’s ability to bear weight on its front leg, walking with a limp is common with wrist injuries, and the carpal joint may appear swollen. A carpal orthosis can help to stabili

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