Dogs are playful and active by nature. they love to run, explore and jump every time they go outside. a dog’s playful nature is one of the many things we love about this precious creature. but it can also make canines prone to injuries, including injuries to their hind legs.
In this article, we present some of the most common hind leg injuries to help you understand what your dog might have experienced.
Reading: Back leg injuries in dogs
what are the symptoms of hind leg injuries in dogs?
You can find out if your pet has hind leg injuries in many ways. Start by watching your dog move, or listen for audible cues, paying attention if he whimpers or cries. Your pet may have injured its hind leg if:
- looks and acts weaker than usual
- loses interest in favorite activities
- has bruising or swelling of the leg
- whimpers and whimpers in pain
- limps or staggers when walking
- has decreased range of motion
- moves with clicking or crunching bones
what are the most common injuries to the hind legs of dogs?
Some breeds of dogs can suffer certain injuries due to their size and body build. For example, the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and Saint Bernard are the breeds most susceptible to a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injury. These larger breeds tend to gain excess weight, which puts extra stress on the hips and joints.
In addition, less physical activity and an unbalanced diet can increase a canine’s risk of injury. To help reduce that risk, make sure your pet gets regular exercise and eats healthy foods.
If you need help identifying a specific hind leg injury, we’ve listed the most common ones below. We’ve also categorized these dog hind leg injuries by location: ankles, knees, and hips.
Achilles tendon injury
The canine Achilles tendon is also known as the common calcaneal tendon. it is made up of multiple tendons from different muscles in the hind limb to form the Achilles tendon.
Achilles tendon injuries can be:
- traumatic: injuries caused by lacerations, blunt force trauma, or excessive stretching of the tendon.
- atraumatic: chronic and degenerative injuries . Among dog breeds, the Labrador Retriever and the Doberman Pinscher are the most prone to atraumatic Achilles tendon injuries.
Dogs may typically limp and have mild or excessive swelling around the injured area. but you may also see a canine walking “flat-footed” or “droopy,” with the toes curled downward (known as a crab-claw stance). Your pet can curl their toes when every part of the Achilles tendon has been torn except the superficial digital flexor tendon.
sprains & strains
While leg sprains and strains in dogs may look similar, they are completely different injuries. But before we dive into what makes sprains and strains different, let’s talk about ligaments and tendons.
Dog ligaments connect bones to a joint, while tendons connect bones and muscles. therefore, if your pet overstretches or tears any of his ligaments, a sprain will occur. but if this injury occurs to a tendon, your canine may suffer a strain.
Also, slipping, falling, or jumping can strain dogs and injure their hips and thighs. As for sprains, they can lead to joint damage, often involving the ankles and knees.
If you see your pet limping, they may have sprained or sprained their back leg. recurrent or prolonged lameness will require immediate veterinary attention, as it may be a sign of a more serious condition.
These consist of fracturing the tarsal bones of the dog’s leg. Causes can range from normal wear and tear from repetitive actions to sudden impact and compression. this condition can cause pain and swelling in the affected foot, and your dog will have difficulty putting weight on it. tarsal fractures can be microfractures or stress fractures, or complete fractures.
You will find a dog’s tarsal bones between the lower leg and the metatarsal (metatarsal bones). If your pet experiences acute trauma or repeatedly twists the tarsal joints, it can eventually fracture.
tarsal fractures can occur when your pet:
- overextends a joint
- experiences internal or external injuries to your extremity
- has weakened ligaments
- is diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or another mediated condition
Symptoms of these fractures may include a slumped posture while your pet walks, pain, swelling, and clicking, clicking, or cracking sounds in the injured leg.
A dog’s hock is equivalent to a human ankle. it is located on the rear leg, below your pet’s knee. The hock connects the tibia and fibula (shin bones) to the talus and calcaneus (the canine leg bones).
If your pet always runs or jumps frequently and lands incorrectly, his hocks may be injured or damaged. A slipped hock is an injury that can affect the function of the joint. It happens when the hock flexes incorrectly by hyperextending or collapsing forward as you move. in turn, a slipped hock can cause fractures or become dislocated, affecting your pet’s balance and mobility.
cranial cruciate ligament disease (crcld) or ccl injury
The cranial cruciate ligament helps stabilize the inside of your dog’s knee. When this ligament tears, your canine may limp and feel pain, or eventually develop arthritis in the knee.
ccl injuries may involve a partially or completely torn cruciate. torn ligaments shrink and weaken, or cannot be fully rehabilitated and need special medical attention. If left untreated, a torn CCL can worsen and lead to arthritis and other conditions.
Furthermore, 40-60% of dogs with crcld in one knee will experience the same condition in the other knee, as they will often compensate for the injured knee by putting more weight on the other healthy leg.
The meniscus is the c-shaped cartilage in a canine knee that distributes force and friction within the joint. the meniscus can eventually wear down due to constant stress. If your canine is always on the go and jerking around a lot, you may have a torn meniscus. Meniscus injuries can also occur when your pet falls and twists his legs.
Canines with a torn ccl may have an injured meniscus, increasing pain and lameness. after ccl tears, your pet can move as if it hadn’t limped. but when the affected joint becomes unstable, the canine limps again. You may also hear clicking noises coming from a free section of the torn meniscus as your pet moves.
A dislocated patella is essentially a dislocated patella. the patella comes out of the groove of the femur. smaller breeds like the Maltese, Chihuahua, French Poodle, and Bichon Frize tend to experience a dislocated patella.
Patellar dislocations can be mild, moderate, or severe. If your pet moves his knee and the patella dislocates, minor dislocations will occur. The patella can also slip out of place every time your canine uses his knee, leading to a moderate to severe dislocation.
Genetics, excessive growth, types of exercise, improper weight, and unbalanced nutrition can all cause this hind leg injury. hip dysplasia can affect canines as young as four months or develop in dogs with osteoarthritis. Some symptoms to watch out for include:
- reduced activity and range of motion
- rocking and “bunny hopping”
- enlarged shoulder muscles, if the canine is using instead of his hind legs
Large dogs, such as Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds, are more likely to have hip dysplasia.
Hip dislocation occurs when your pet dislocates one of the hip joints. this can be caused by severe trauma, rigorous physical activity, or repetitive stress. dogs with hip dysplasia are also more likely to have a hip dislocation.
If your pet has a dislocated hip, they won’t bear any weight on the injured limb. the affected leg may also look crooked and be at an odd angle. Additionally, your canine may limp and cry in pain due to this injury.
Pelvic fractures are cracks in your dog’s pelvic bones. they make up 25% of fractures treated by veterinarians and surgeons.
Most pelvic fractures are due to major trauma. A fall from a high place, car accident, or other accident can break your pet’s pelvic bones. lameness usually follows pelvic fractures.
what should you do if your dog’s back leg hurts?
If you feel that your dog has injured a hind leg, we recommend that you visit a veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian will perform several physical exams on your pet to check its general condition and determine appropriate treatment options.
at home, limit your pet’s mobility and prevent re-injury. you should confine them to a small space and prevent them from jumping or playing with other dogs. prevent your dog from going outside, except for bathroom breaks. and the use of a sling may be recommended to aid its movement. Massaging the injured area can also help relieve your pet’s stress. Depending on the injury, you can apply cold, dry compresses and ensure your dog gets plenty of rest for a speedy recovery. Joint supplements such as fish oil can be incredibly effective in your pet’s long-term preventative care.
Diet can be incredibly important as excess weight alone can also cause hind leg injuries. Put your dog on a diet and help control his weight to prevent future injuries.
Lastly, if in doubt, consult your local veterinarian. if you leave an injury untreated, it can worsen over time and develop into various complications or diseases.
speed up your dog’s recovery with the licking sleeve
A dog’s playfulness can hurt any part of its body, including its hind legs. Knowing the most common hind leg injuries and their accompanying symptoms ensures your pet makes a smooth recovery.
After veterinary treatment, your dog may lick the injury or surgery site to relieve pain and discomfort. this can also worsen her condition. The lick cover has the most comfortable, waterproof, durable and breathable cover on the market, to prevent harmful licking and help your pet recover better.
These steps will help prevent possible complications if your pet licks his injured paw. make sure your canine stays healthy and happy. Learn more about how to prevent common dog injuries and recover better on the licking sleeves blog today.
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