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One of the most frequent trauma consultations in the small animal clinic is the sprain in dogs. Due to the restless and active nature of the dogs, the joints of any of its four limbs are frequently twisted. It is essential to take the dog to the vet when a sprain is detected, it can be anything from a simple strain to a ruptured ligament and even bones.
If you want to learn about their Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Dog Sprains, continue reading this AnimalWised article in which we will delve into the subject.You may also be interested in: Dog Paw Fractures - Symptoms and Treatment Index
- Causes of sprain in dogs
- Diagnosis of sprain in dogs
- Symptoms of sprain in dogs
- Treatment of sprain in dogs
Causes of sprain in dogs
In veterinary medicine, the term sprain is not usually used, but strain. It is a severe strain of a joint in which the ligaments can be affected. The causes that cause these strains are usually those in which there is a acute trauma, for example:
- Sudden jumps from high areas.
- Strong games with other dogs.
- Intense racing through the field or park.
- Agility or competition dogs.
They can also occur in animals of old age having weaker ligaments (degenerative disease).
¿What are ligaments?
Ligaments are fibrous connective tissue structures that are responsible for joining the bones together in the joints. They allow these joints to move and at the same time be stable. They are usually very resistant, but when an overextension occurs due to a traumatic cause, it is when sprains are generated.
Examples of most common joints where sprains occur are:
- Carpal joint.
- Tarsal joint.
Types of sprain in dogs
Virtually any area with a ligament can cause a sprain, such as the following:
- Whiplash in dogs.
- Neck sprain in dogs.
- Knee sprain in dogs.
- Ankle sprain in dogs.
- Leg sprain in dogs.
- Hip sprain in dogs.
Diagnosis of sprain in dogs
To reach a definitive diagnosis, the veterinarian will explore our dog through a general and a complete orthopedic examination. Sometimes it is necessary to sedate the dog because the examination is not possible due to the intensity of the pain. In addition, it will require the completion of imaging tests (usually x-rays in various positions) to rule out that other structures such as bones are not injured. Through arthroscopies, the inside of the joint can be visualized and also be part of the treatment.
¿How long does a dog sprain last??
Depending on the degree of ligament injury, it will be a mild problem, which with conservative medical treatment of about 15-20 days it will roughly resolve, or a moderate / severe injury, which will require surgery. In addition, these more serious injuries (partial or total rupture of the ligament) usually lead to subluxations or dislocations, that is, the bones that are part of the joint are not in their normal position, as we see in this other article about Patella luxation. in dogs.
The surgeries indicated for ligament injuries usually have good results if the postoperative period is properly respected. Among them is ligament reconstruction, if possible, modification of the biomechanics of the joint or arthrodesis (total immobilization of the joint by fixing the bones that form it).
In this case, we are talking about a slight sprain or strain, so the symptoms suffered by the dog and the treatment to be carried out are described below.
Symptoms of sprain in dogs
The main symptoms of sprain in dogs are:
- Accused pain.
- Joint swelling (red, hot, and inflamed).
- Lameness of the affected limb.
- Walking difficulties.
- Excessive licking in the area.
- The dog refuses to get up.
- Loss of appetite.
- Abnormal behavior in the dog.
At this point, you may also be interested in this other article about ¿Why Does My Dog Limp On One Hind Leg?
Treatment of sprain in dogs
Treatment of sprain in dogs should be both symptomatic and preventive, including the guidelines that will be indicated below:
- Analgesics: The use of painkillers in dogs is essential to relieve pain in your dog. You should only administer it if the vet prescribes it. If you prefer to opt for something more natural, you can consult this other article on Natural painkillers for dogs.
- Anti-inflammatories: for the same reason as the previous one, your vet may advise you to use anti-inflammatories. If his pain is very strong and you want to help him with something more natural, try one of these natural anti-inflammatories for dogs.
- Weightloss: if the sprain is caused by the animal being overweight, it will be essential to reduce its weight, since otherwise it will be more likely to suffer from joint and tendon problems due to the overload of the limb.
- Use of a protector: sometimes the vet may also advise the use of a protector for the affected joint.
- Physiotherapy and rehabilitation: whenever the veterinarian advises it, some physiotherapy and rehabilitation sessions may be necessary to improve the quality of life of your pet, such as massages, laser, hydrotherapy and currents.
- Repose: rest is essential for the speedy recovery of our dog. It is recommended that the rest be in a soft but firm bed.
¿How to cure a sprain in dogs? Other tips
So that our dog's recovery is quick and good, you can also follow these other veterinary tips:
- Walks tied to urinate and defecate to avoid supporting the affected area too much.
- Avoid ramps and slippery floors.
- Application of local cold to soothe pain.
- Commercial diet formulated to protect joints.
- Use of nutritional supplements that protect cartilage, as they contain chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, etc. It is also shown that Omega-3 fatty acids They help in inflammatory processes and, therefore, in these pathologies. Here we leave you a list with Foods rich in omega 3 in dogs.
The revision of the evolution of the sprain is essential, since with the treatment they usually resolve, but in some cases it is complicated.
This article is merely informative, at AnimalWised.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.