Last Updated on July 23, 2022 by Dogs Vets
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Strains vs. Sprains
The terms are pronounced similarly yet have very distinct meanings. Strains injure tendons that link muscles and bones.
This may occur if your dog stretches for an excessive amount of time, distance, or frequency.
Strains are common among dogs that compete in dog sports, but a dog can also sustain this injury if it trips, falls, or jumps while just playing normally.
In dogs, the hips and thighs are the most prevalent areas to experience strains.
- Sprains injure the ligaments that link bones, which causes joint injury.
- Sprains can happen to hunting dogs that jump hurdles, as well as to the common dog who might harm himself taking a hard landing off the couch, or even by something as easy as stepping in a hole.
- Sprains can also arise when a dog is playing with another dog that has a sprain.
- The wrist and the knee are two joints that are frequently injured in dogs.
- A tear in the cranial cruciate ligament (also known as the CCL), which is responsible for connecting the bones in the knee, is one of the most devastating injuries.
Where Is the Pain Located?
Your dog may start to limp or become lame abruptly if they have a strain or sprain, which indicates that they are unable to utilize their limb. This is the first warning sign that you should look for.
If this continues for more than a day or so, or if it keeps happening again and again, you should take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Strains and sprains can both be acute (sudden) or chronic (long-lasting), and their severity can range anywhere from moderate to severe.
Your dog’s injury will be diagnosed by the veterinarian based on the information you provide, the findings of a physical exam, and the results of any tests that are performed.
They will inquire as to when you first observed a difference in the situation.
You need to explain why:
- What’s different about the way your dog is acting?
- When you observed the injury happen, what they were doing at the time
- Since the injury, what they have been doing or have not been doing. Do they seem to be sleeping longer? Limping? Sitting with their leg stretched out in front of them?
- Do you not look forward to going for a stroll? Stiff? Not going to eat? These are indications that they aren’t feeling well at all.
The Way Back to Health and Safety
The same kinds of things that would be required to get you back on two feet are also required to get your dog back on all fours.
The severity of your dog’s injury, as well as the diagnosis of either a strain or a sprain, can help your veterinarian determine the best course of treatment for your pet.
Unless a tendon or ligament is ruptured, they will probably make every effort to avoid surgery as the initial method of treatment.
Your veterinarian may recommend the following steps as part of a standard treatment strategy for muscle strains and ligament sprains:
- Give your dog nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease inflammation. Make sure to ask what is safe to give them. Some over-the-counter NSAIDs for people can cause serious illness and even death for a dog.
- Use either an ice pack or a heating pad on the area.
- Make sure your dog rests. They shouldn’t be allowed to jump or run. They may require confinement in a crate on occasion.
- Take your time and go slowly while walking your dog on a leash at first.
- To prevent the muscle or joint from moving, your dog will need a brace or support device.
- Experiment with different kinds of physical therapy, such as going for a walk on an underwater or land treadmill or practicing your balance on a ball or board.
- Give the region a massage.
- Put your dog on a diet.
Dogs that are otherwise healthy but don’t get better, continually injuring themselves, or have a tendon or ligament that has been ripped are candidates for surgical intervention.
In the event that your veterinarian did not perform an MRI or ultrasound the first time around, they would most likely request to view these images before operating.
Depending on the procedure, you may have to confine your dog to a quiet environment and restrict his activity for at least a week after the procedure.
To provide support for the joint, the veterinarian could use a brace or a bandage. It’s possible that your dog will re-injure himself if you allow him to walk around too much or too soon after his surgery.
They might benefit from receiving physical therapy in order to return to their previous level of activity more quickly.
It doesn’t matter if your dog has already hurt themself or if you just want to protect them from having a sprain or strain; what matters is that they maintain a healthy weight and get plenty of exercise on a regular basis.
These injuries are more likely to occur in people who are overweight and/or inactive.
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