Injuries to a dog's hind legs can vary in severity, which will also vary their healing time and treatment. Fortunately, dogs know that there is an injury and can continue to sustain walking even with only three legs. Recognising the signs and symptoms of a leg injury can lead to early detection, which can help owners reduce the cost and time spent at the veterinarian.
Immediate lameness is one of the first signs of trauma to a dog's leg. Lameness can be caused by an injury such as blunt force trauma, a car accident and bite wounds. Lameness can also occur over time due to infections in old wounds or other issues. In some dogs, lameness is also a sign of more serious conditions such as hip dysplasia and osteosarcoma (bone cancer).
Your dog's foot pads endure a lot of daily contact and potential trauma. The pads can be injured due to glass or hot cement, for example. This can cause secondary issues such as bacterial, fungal or viral infections in open or old wounds. If your dog suffers an injury to one of her pads, clean the pad and have it examined by a veterinarian. Sterile gauze and protection as well as antibiotics may be necessary to prevent additional infections.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament
A ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most common knee injuries that occur in dogs. This occurs when the front ligament (anterior cruciate ligament) in the knee cap is injured such as a tear or due to trauma to the knee. In situations where the entire ligament is torn, surgery is often the best option to repair the knee and the torn ligament. In less severe cases, it is possible for the ligament to heal on its own. This is done through limiting the dog's activity until the leg is given a chance to heal.
Cranial Cruciate Ligament
The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injury is similar to the anterior cruciate ligament except in location. The CCL is located on the back of the knee and fortunately is not nearly as common as an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament. When the CCL is torn, treatment options are similar to those for a torn ACL. Surgery or medication and rest are the best options, depending on the severity of the injury.
As with humans, dogs can suffer from a variety of injuries such as sprains, pulled muscles and broken bones. Treatment for each condition will vary from medication to surgery, and some conditions can lead to more serious chronic injuries if left untreated. Your dog should see a veterinarian as soon as possible, especially if you suspect he has recently suffered from a traumatic injury. Allowing a dog's injury to go untreated can cause further damage and can also become extremely costly over time.