Tendinitis is the rupturing and inflammation of a tendon, which is a band of fibrous connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone. This is a common problem in active dogs that engage in high impact exercise. Tendinitis can result in recurrent lameness in dogs that becomes more severe with re-injury and ageing.
Tendinitis in dogs is caused by a trauma or injury that results in the tendon rupturing. According to the Veterinary Holistic and Rehabilitation Center, tendinitis in dogs can be hard to diagnose and usually cannot be detected by X-rays. Recurrent lameness will result from the injury.
Lameness in dogs can be caused by any injury or condition causing the dog pain, and may or may not be associated with tendinitis. To determine if your dog has recurrent lameness, watch for signs such as an obvious difficulty with movement or cries of pain when trying to move. Also note reluctance in your dog to do something like walk up stairs or put weight on one foot. Only a veterinarian can determine if the lameness is being caused by tendinitis.
Lameness caused by tendinitis can be profound--causing total immobility--or it can be subtle and intermittent. Following the injury or trauma that damaged the tendon, your dog may clearly be in pain and unable to move. After a period of rest, he will begin to move as comfort allows. Unfortunately, dogs with tendinitis are prone to re-injury as they begin to heal and become active.
If your dog has lameness associated with tendinitis, you will need to keep the affected area immobile. Dogs do not understand the risk of re-injury, and are not capable of pacing their reintroduction to exercise. Take steps to keep your dog from fast running or high impact exercise if he has come up lame and is in recovery.
For chronic tendinitis, the only cure is surgery. However, dogs also respond to rest, pain relievers and restricted exercise. Other treatments that can reduce lameness include cold/heat applications, therapeutic ultrasound and massage.
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