20 Sep

STRAINS, SPRAINS & LAMENESS

kSoft Tissue Injuries
Many pets are presented for evaluation of a mild lameness or limp which usually shows
up after rough play, or activity on ice, snow, mud, or other slippery surfaces. Most of
these cases involve damage to the soft tissues structures of the lame leg including
muscle, tendon, ligament, & joint capsule injuries. Types of injuries include partial
tears, strains (stretching but not tearing of fibers), and full ruptures of tendons and
ligaments. In most instances, pets will usually walk and bear some weight on the leg,
but will have a noticeable limp. Occasionally, animals will bear a little weight when
moving, but hold the injured leg up when standing still or sitting. Other times a pet may
weight bear only when stationary, but refuse to bear weight when ambulatory (moving).
Strains and sprains are generally not considered emergencies, however some pets will
initially be non-weight bearing on the affected leg thus mimicking a fracture. It is
always best to have a severe lameness evaluated by a veterinarian, but you may wish to
give the pet with a mild lameness 24 – 48 hours to see if the lameness resolves. Often
with strict rest and short leash walks, a minor lameness will resolve in a few days.
One of the most common soft tissue injuries seen in dogs results from damage to the
cranial cruciate ligament in the stifle or knee joint- similar to the injury seen in human
athletes (basketball, skiing, football etc.). Meniscal damages are common as well.
Cruciate ligament ruptures result in an acute non (or limited) weight bearing hind end
lameness which many owners can mistake for a fracture. If there is any doubt in the
owners mind, the dog should be evaluated as soon as possible to eliminate the
possibility of a fracture. Obese cats can also have cruciate tears.
Symptoms
• History of trauma or rough play
• Limping or non-weight bearing on a leg
• Holding up a hind end (cruciate knee injury)
• Swollen painful area on leg
• Crepitus in area (bone grinding on bone)
• Joint laxity
• Trembling swollen muscles
Diagnosis
The veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of the dog, including the bones
and joints if the dog will permit. When a dog is mildly lame, the dog should be
observed walking to evaluate the location and severity of the lameness (limp). Careful
limb and muscle palpation is used to identify thickened, warm, loose, or painful areas.
All joints should be flexed and extended and checked for laxity indicating strain and
joint effusion or swelling within the joint capsule. In many cases, the doctor will take
radiographs of the suspected area to rule out the possibility of small fractures or joint
luxations (dislocation). Occasionally, ultrasound can be used to image the soft tissue
structures and look for tears within the body of the tendons and ligaments.
Therapy
Physical therapy- In most cases, minor strains and sprains resolve on their own with a
matter of time, and strict exercise restriction. Sprains should be treated similar to how
you would treat a twisted ankle on yourself. Ice compresses can be used for the first 24
hours followed by warm compresses on the affected area after 24 hours.
Medical therapy- If the dog has been evaluated by the veterinarian and the lameness
has been determined not to be serious, your veterinarian may prescribe antiinflammatory
medication such as Rimadyl® or Etogesic®, both of which are safe aspirin-like drugs
for dogs. Never give Tylenol®, Advil®, or any other human medication to dogs, for
even at low doses, these drugs can be toxic to dogs and cause death.
Surgical therapy- In the case of cranial cruciate ligament ruptures, or severe
ligament or tendon tears, surgery may be required to repair the damage and reattach
structures. Patients are often in bandages and splints for a period of time after surgery
and their exercise restricted for several months. Many of these patients benefit from
physical therapy which owners can be taught to do at home.
Prognosis
Generally good to excellent depending on severity of the injury. Cruciate ruptures
almost always require surgery for the most favorable long term outcome. Joints that
suffer repeated trauma are likely to develop arthritis as the dog ages.
Prevention
The number one risk factor associated with sprains and strains is being overweight or
obese. Obesity in the canine and feline population is growing problem should be
corrected as soon as possible. There are a number of high quality balanced dog foods
formulated specifically to promote weight loss available on the market. Tissue Injuries
Many pets are presented for evaluation of a mild lameness or limp which usually shows
up after rough play, or activity on ice, snow, mud, or other slippery surfaces. Most of
these cases involve damage to the soft tissues structures of the lame leg including
muscle, tendon, ligament, & joint capsule injuries. Types of injuries include partial
tears, strains (stretching but not tearing of fibers), and full ruptures of tendons and
ligaments. In most instances, pets will usually walk and bear some weight on the leg,
but will have a noticeable limp. Occasionally, animals will bear a little weight when
moving, but hold the injured leg up when standing still or sitting. Other times a pet may
weight bear only when stationary, but refuse to bear weight when ambulatory (moving).
Strains and sprains are generally not considered emergencies, however some pets will
initially be non-weight bearing on the affected leg thus mimicking a fracture. It is
always best to have a severe lameness evaluated by a veterinarian, but you may wish to
give the pet with a mild lameness 24 – 48 hours to see if the lameness resolves. Often
with strict rest and short leash walks, a minor lameness will resolve in a few days.
One of the most common soft tissue injuries seen in dogs results from damage to the
cranial cruciate ligament in the stifle or knee joint- similar to the injury seen in human
athletes (basketball, skiing, football etc.). Meniscal damages are common as well.
Cruciate ligament ruptures result in an acute non (or limited) weight bearing hind end
lameness which many owners can mistake for a fracture. If there is any doubt in the
owners mind, the dog should be evaluated as soon as possible to eliminate the
possibility of a fracture. Obese cats can also have cruciate tears.
Symptoms
• History of trauma or rough play
• Limping or non-weight bearing on a leg
• Holding up a hind end (cruciate knee injury)
• Swollen painful area on leg
• Crepitus in area (bone grinding on bone)
• Joint laxity
• Trembling swollen muscles
Diagnosis
The veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of the dog, including the bones
and joints if the dog will permit. When a dog is mildly lame, the dog should be
observed walking to evaluate the location and severity of the lameness (limp). Careful
limb and muscle palpation is used to identify thickened, warm, loose, or painful areas.
All joints should be flexed and extended and checked for laxity indicating strain and
joint effusion or swelling within the joint capsule. In many cases, the doctor will take
radiographs of the suspected area to rule out the possibility of small fractures or joint
luxations (dislocation). Occasionally, ultrasound can be used to image the soft tissue
structures and look for tears within the body of the tendons and ligaments.
Therapy
Physical therapy- In most cases, minor strains and sprains resolve on their own with a
matter of time, and strict exercise restriction. Sprains should be treated similar to how
you would treat a twisted ankle on yourself. Ice compresses can be used for the first 24
hours followed by warm compresses on the affected area after 24 hours.
Medical therapy- If the dog has been evaluated by the veterinarian and the lameness
has been determined not to be serious, your veterinarian may prescribe antiinflammatory
medication such as Rimadyl® or Etogesic®, both of which are safe aspirin-like drugs
for dogs. Never give Tylenol®, Advil®, or any other human medication to dogs, for
even at low doses, these drugs can be toxic to dogs and cause death.
Surgical therapy- In the case of cranial cruciate ligament ruptures, or severe
ligament or tendon tears, surgery may be required to repair the damage and reattach
structures. Patients are often in bandages and splints for a period of time after surgery
and their exercise restricted for several months. Many of these patients benefit from
physical therapy which owners can be taught to do at home.
Prognosis
Generally good to excellent depending on severity of the injury. Cruciate ruptures
almost always require surgery for the most favorable long term outcome. Joints that
suffer repeated trauma are likely to develop arthritis as the dog ages.
Prevention
The number one risk factor associated with sprains and strains is being overweight or
obese. Obesity in the canine and feline population is growing problem should be
corrected as soon as possible. There are a number of high quality balanced dog foods
formulated specifically to promote weight loss available on the market. Tissue Injuries
Many pets are presented for evaluation of a mild lameness or limp which usually shows
up after rough play, or activity on ice, snow, mud, or other slippery surfaces. Most of
these cases involve damage to the soft tissues structures of the lame leg including
muscle, tendon, ligament, & joint capsule injuries. Types of injuries include partial
tears, strains (stretching but not tearing of fibers), and full ruptures of tendons and
ligaments. In most instances, pets will usually walk and bear some weight on the leg,
but will have a noticeable limp. Occasionally, animals will bear a little weight when
moving, but hold the injured leg up when standing still or sitting. Other times a pet may
weight bear only when stationary, but refuse to bear weight when ambulatory (moving).
Strains and sprains are generally not considered emergencies, however some pets will
initially be non-weight bearing on the affected leg thus mimicking a fracture. It is
always best to have a severe lameness evaluated by a veterinarian, but you may wish to
give the pet with a mild lameness 24 – 48 hours to see if the lameness resolves. Often
with strict rest and short leash walks, a minor lameness will resolve in a few days.
One of the most common soft tissue injuries seen in dogs results from damage to the
cranial cruciate ligament in the stifle or knee joint- similar to the injury seen in human
athletes (basketball, skiing, football etc.). Meniscal damages are common as well.
Cruciate ligament ruptures result in an acute non (or limited) weight bearing hind end
lameness which many owners can mistake for a fracture. If there is any doubt in the
owners mind, the dog should be evaluated as soon as possible to eliminate the
possibility of a fracture. Obese cats can also have cruciate tears.
Symptoms
• History of trauma or rough play
• Limping or non-weight bearing on a leg
• Holding up a hind end (cruciate knee injury)
• Swollen painful area on leg
• Crepitus in area (bone grinding on bone)
• Joint laxity
• Trembling swollen muscles
Diagnosis
The veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of the dog, including the bones
and joints if the dog will permit. When a dog is mildly lame, the dog should be
observed walking to evaluate the location and severity of the lameness (limp). Careful
limb and muscle palpation is used to identify thickened, warm, loose, or painful areas.
All joints should be flexed and extended and checked for laxity indicating strain and
joint effusion or swelling within the joint capsule. In many cases, the doctor will take
radiographs of the suspected area to rule out the possibility of small fractures or joint
luxations (dislocation). Occasionally, ultrasound can be used to image the soft tissue
structures and look for tears within the body of the tendons and ligaments.
Therapy
Physical therapy- In most cases, minor strains and sprains resolve on their own with a
matter of time, and strict exercise restriction. Sprains should be treated similar to how
you would treat a twisted ankle on yourself. Ice compresses can be used for the first 24
hours followed by warm compresses on the affected area after 24 hours.
Medical therapy- If the dog has been evaluated by the veterinarian and the lameness
has been determined not to be serious, your veterinarian may prescribe antiinflammatory
medication such as Rimadyl® or Etogesic®, both of which are safe aspirin-like drugs
for dogs. Never give Tylenol®, Advil®, or any other human medication to dogs, for
even at low doses, these drugs can be toxic to dogs and cause death.
Surgical therapy- In the case of cranial cruciate ligament ruptures, or severe
ligament or tendon tears, surgery may be required to repair the damage and reattach
structures. Patients are often in bandages and splints for a period of time after surgery
and their exercise restricted for several months. Many of these patients benefit from
physical therapy which owners can be taught to do at home.
Prognosis
Generally good to excellent depending on severity of the injury. Cruciate ruptures
almost always require surgery for the most favorable long term outcome. Joints that
suffer repeated trauma are likely to develop arthritis as the dog ages.
Prevention
The number one risk factor associated with sprains and strains is being overweight or
obese. Obesity in the canine and feline population is growing problem should be
corrected as soon as possible. There are a number of high quality balanced dog foods
formulated specifically to promote weight loss available on the market. Tissue Injuries
Many pets are presented for evaluation of a mild lameness or limp which usually shows
up after rough play, or activity on ice, snow, mud, or other slippery surfaces. Most of
these cases involve damage to the soft tissues structures of the lame leg including
muscle, tendon, ligament, & joint capsule injuries. Types of injuries include partial
tears, strains (stretching but not tearing of fibers), and full ruptures of tendons and
ligaments. In most instances, pets will usually walk and bear some weight on the leg,
but will have a noticeable limp. Occasionally, animals will bear a little weight when
moving, but hold the injured leg up when standing still or sitting. Other times a pet may
weight bear only when stationary, but refuse to bear weight when ambulatory (moving).
Strains and sprains are generally not considered emergencies, however some pets will
initially be non-weight bearing on the affected leg thus mimicking a fracture. It is
always best to have a severe lameness evaluated by a veterinarian, but you may wish to
give the pet with a mild lameness 24 – 48 hours to see if the lameness resolves. Often
with strict rest and short leash walks, a minor lameness will resolve in a few days.
One of the most common soft tissue injuries seen in dogs results from damage to the
cranial cruciate ligament in the stifle or knee joint- similar to the injury seen in human
athletes (basketball, skiing, football etc.). Meniscal damages are common as well.
Cruciate ligament ruptures result in an acute non (or limited) weight bearing hind end
lameness which many owners can mistake for a fracture. If there is any doubt in the
owners mind, the dog should be evaluated as soon as possible to eliminate the
possibility of a fracture. Obese cats can also have cruciate tears.
Symptoms
• History of trauma or rough play
• Limping or non-weight bearing on a leg
• Holding up a hind end (cruciate knee injury)
• Swollen painful area on leg
• Crepitus in area (bone grinding on bone)
• Joint laxity
• Trembling swollen muscles
Diagnosis
The veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of the dog, including the bones
and joints if the dog will permit. When a dog is mildly lame, the dog should be
observed walking to evaluate the location and severity of the lameness (limp). Careful
limb and muscle palpation is used to identify thickened, warm, loose, or painful areas.
All joints should be flexed and extended and checked for laxity indicating strain and
joint effusion or swelling within the joint capsule. In many cases, the doctor will take
radiographs of the suspected area to rule out the possibility of small fractures or joint
luxations (dislocation). Occasionally, ultrasound can be used to image the soft tissue
structures and look for tears within the body of the tendons and ligaments.
Therapy
Physical therapy- In most cases, minor strains and sprains resolve on their own with a
matter of time, and strict exercise restriction. Sprains should be treated similar to how
you would treat a twisted ankle on yourself. Ice compresses can be used for the first 24
hours followed by warm compresses on the affected area after 24 hours.
Medical therapy- If the dog has been evaluated by the veterinarian and the lameness
has been determined not to be serious, your veterinarian may prescribe antiinflammatory
medication such as Rimadyl® or Etogesic®, both of which are safe aspirin-like drugs
for dogs. Never give Tylenol®, Advil®, or any other human medication to dogs, for
even at low doses, these drugs can be toxic to dogs and cause death.
Surgical therapy- In the case of cranial cruciate ligament ruptures, or severe
ligament or tendon tears, surgery may be required to repair the damage and reattach
structures. Patients are often in bandages and splints for a period of time after surgery
and their exercise restricted for several months. Many of these patients benefit from
physical therapy which owners can be taught to do at home.
Prognosis
Generally good to excellent depending on severity of the injury. Cruciate ruptures
almost always require surgery for the most favorable long term outcome. Joints that
suffer repeated trauma are likely to develop arthritis as the dog ages.
Prevention
The number one risk factor associated with sprains and strains is being overweight or
obese. Obesity in the canine and feline population is growing problem should be
corrected as soon as possible. There are a number of high quality balanced dog foods
formulated specifically to promote weight loss available on the marketSoft Tissue Injuries
Many pets are presented for evaluation of a mild lameness or limp which usually shows
up after rough play, or activity on ice, snow, mud, or other slippery surfaces. Most of
these cases involve damage to the soft tissues structures of the lame leg including
muscle, tendon, ligament, & joint capsule injuries. Types of injuries include partial
tears, strains (stretching but not tearing of fibers), and full ruptures of tendons and
ligaments. In most instances, pets will usually walk and bear some weight on the leg,
but will have a noticeable limp. Occasionally, animals will bear a little weight when
moving, but hold the injured leg up when standing still or sitting. Other times a pet may
weight bear only when stationary, but refuse to bear weight when ambulatory (moving).
Strains and sprains are generally not considered emergencies, however some pets will
initially be non-weight bearing on the affected leg thus mimicking a fracture. It is
always best to have a severe lameness evaluated by a veterinarian, but you may wish to
give the pet with a mild lameness 24 – 48 hours to see if the lameness resolves. Often
with strict rest and short leash walks, a minor lameness will resolve in a few days.
One of the most common soft tissue injuries seen in dogs results from damage to the
cranial cruciate ligament in the stifle or knee joint- similar to the injury seen in human
athletes (basketball, skiing, football etc.). Meniscal damages are common as well.
Cruciate ligament ruptures result in an acute non (or limited) weight bearing hind end
lameness which many owners can mistake for a fracture. If there is any doubt in the
owners mind, the dog should be evaluated as soon as possible to eliminate the
possibility of a fracture. Obese cats can also have cruciate tears.
Symptoms
• History of trauma or rough play
• Limping or non-weight bearing on a leg
• Holding up a hind end (cruciate knee injury)
• Swollen painful area on leg
• Crepitus in area (bone grinding on bone)
• Joint laxity
• Trembling swollen muscles
Diagnosis
The veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of the dog, including the bones
and joints if the dog will permit. When a dog is mildly lame, the dog should be
observed walking to evaluate the location and severity of the lameness (limp). Careful
limb and muscle palpation is used to identify thickened, warm, loose, or painful areas.
All joints should be flexed and extended and checked for laxity indicating strain and
joint effusion or swelling within the joint capsule. In many cases, the doctor will take
radiographs of the suspected area to rule out the possibility of small fractures or joint
luxations (dislocation). Occasionally, ultrasound can be used to image the soft tissue
structures and look for tears within the body of the tendons and ligaments.
Therapy
Physical therapy- In most cases, minor strains and sprains resolve on their own with a
matter of time, and strict exercise restriction. Sprains should be treated similar to how
you would treat a twisted ankle on yourself. Ice compresses can be used for the first 24
hours followed by warm compresses on the affected area after 24 hours.
Medical therapy- If the dog has been evaluated by the veterinarian and the lameness
has been determined not to be serious, your veterinarian may prescribe antiinflammatory
medication such as Rimadyl® or Etogesic®, both of which are safe aspirin-like drugs
for dogs. Never give Tylenol®, Advil®, or any other human medication to dogs, for
even at low doses, these drugs can be toxic to dogs and cause death.
Surgical therapy- In the case of cranial cruciate ligament ruptures, or severe
ligament or tendon tears, surgery may be required to repair the damage and reattach
structures. Patients are often in bandages and splints for a period of time after surgery
and their exercise restricted for several months. Many of these patients benefit from
physical therapy which owners can be taught to do at home.
Prognosis
Generally good to excellent depending on severity of the injury. Cruciate ruptures
almost always require surgery for the most favorable long term outcome. Joints that
suffer repeated trauma are likely to develop arthritis as the dog ages.
Prevention
The number one risk factor associated with sprains and strains is being overweight or
obese. Obesity in the canine and feline population is growing problem should be
corrected as soon as possible. There are a number of high quality balanced dog foods
formulated specifically to promote weight loss available on the market.

Soft Tissue Injuries in dogs

Many pets are presented for evaluation of a mild lameness or limp which usually shows

up after rough play, or activity on ice, snow, mud, or other slippery surfaces. Most of

these cases involve damage to the soft tissues structures of the lame leg including

muscle, tendon, ligament, & joint capsule injuries. Types of injuries include partial

tears, strains (stretching but not tearing of fibers), and full ruptures of tendons and

ligaments. In most instances, pets will usually walk and bear some weight on the leg,

but will have a noticeable limp. Occasionally, animals will bear a little weight when

moving, but hold the injured leg up when standing still or sitting. Other times a pet may

weight bear only when stationary, but refuse to bear weight when ambulatory (moving).

Strains and sprains are generally not considered emergencies, however some pets will

initially be non-weight bearing on the affected leg thus mimicking a fracture. It is

always best to have a severe lameness evaluated by a veterinarian, but you may wish to

give the pet with a mild lameness 24 – 48 hours to see if the lameness resolves. Often

with strict rest and short leash walks, a minor lameness will resolve in a few days.

One of the most common soft tissue injuries seen in dogs results from damage to the

cranial cruciate ligament in the stifle or knee joint- similar to the injury seen in human

athletes (basketball, skiing, football etc.). Meniscal damages are common as well.

Cruciate ligament ruptures result in an acute non (or limited) weight bearing hind end

lameness which many owners can mistake for a fracture. If there is any doubt in the

owners mind, the dog should be evaluated as soon as possible to eliminate the

possibility of a fracture. Obese cats can also have cruciate tears.

Symptoms

• History of trauma or rough play

• Limping or non-weight bearing on a leg

• Holding up a hind end (cruciate knee injury)

• Swollen painful area on leg

• Crepitus in area (bone grinding on bone)

• Joint laxity

• Trembling swollen muscles

Diagnosis

The veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of the dog, including the bones

and joints if the dog will permit. When a dog is mildly lame, the dog should be

observed walking to evaluate the location and severity of the lameness (limp). Careful

limb and muscle palpation is used to identify thickened, warm, loose, or painful areas.

All joints should be flexed and extended and checked for laxity indicating strain and

joint effusion or swelling within the joint capsule. In many cases, the doctor will take

radiographs of the suspected area to rule out the possibility of small fractures or joint

luxations (dislocation). Occasionally, ultrasound can be used to image the soft tissue

structures and look for tears within the body of the tendons and ligaments.

Therapy

Physical therapy- In most cases, minor strains and sprains resolve on their own with a

matter of time, and strict exercise restriction. Sprains should be treated similar to how

you would treat a twisted ankle on yourself. Ice compresses can be used for the first 24

hours followed by warm compresses on the affected area after 24 hours.

Medical therapy- If the dog has been evaluated by the veterinarian and the lameness

has been determined not to be serious, your veterinarian may prescribe antiinflammatory

medication such as Rimadyl® or Etogesic®, both of which are safe aspirin-like drugs

for dogs. Never give Tylenol®, Advil®, or any other human medication to dogs, for

even at low doses, these drugs can be toxic to dogs and cause death.

Surgical therapy- In the case of cranial cruciate ligament ruptures, or severe

ligament or tendon tears, surgery may be required to repair the damage and reattach

structures. Patients are often in bandages and splints for a period of time after surgery

and their exercise restricted for several months. Many of these patients benefit from

physical therapy which owners can be taught to do at home.

Prognosis

Generally good to excellent depending on severity of the injury. Cruciate ruptures

almost always require surgery for the most favorable long term outcome. Joints that

suffer repeated trauma are likely to develop arthritis as the dog ages.

Prevention

The number one risk factor associated with sprains and strains is being overweight or

obese. Obesity in the canine and feline population is growing problem should be

corrected as soon as possible. There are a number of high quality balanced dog foods

formulated specifically to promote weight loss available on the market.

thanks to NEAMC

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