Recognizing and Treating Stifle Injuries in Dogs

Oct 09

Many Americans feel incomplete without canines in their midst, and some go as far as far as treating their dogs as full and complete members of the family. Because dogs are such an important part of the familial structure, it goes without saying that they must receive quality healthcare to live a long and healthy life. Stifle injuries are common among certain dog breeds, and recognizing them is a vital step in ensuring that the pup can maintain a happy, active lifestyle.

Signs and Symptoms

One of the first signs of a stifle joint injury in a dog is weakness in one of the rear legs; this could result in limping, whimpering or hesitancy to jump, run or engage in other physical activities. Similar to a torn ACL in humans, a stifle joint injury is a tear in the CCL in a dog. Owners will also notice swelling, and the dog may seem well after a period of rest, only to experience pain again after walking, running or playing actively.

Causes of Stifle Joint Injuries

Because the CCL provides a great deal of the support for the stifle joint, which in turn provides the strength for the back legs, it is not surprising that torn ligaments in this area are common. Similar to the activities that lead to a torn ACL in humans, dogs often become hurt when they are running, playing or roughhousing with their owners or other canines. When a dog suffers an acute injury of this nature, the animal should immediately be taken to a veterinarian.

Common Treatments

After seeing a veterinarian, the injured dog will likely be given pain medication designed to reduce inflammation, and the next goals will be to increase strength and stability in the leg. However, proper healing may require a dog leg brace or even surgery.

Seek Proper Care After Stifle Injuries

Ensuring that a dog receives the proper care after a stifle injury is imperative. Should the animal fail to receive treatment, the dog may end up with a degenerative joint condition that will limit future physical activity. Similarly, if the dog favors its other leg, it could end up with the same injury on the other side, which will further decrease the animal’s ability to function normally. Immediate treatment and careful management of the injury are the best ways to prevent future issues.

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