What are the treatments for canine front leg joint swelling?

Written by tami parrington
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What are the treatments for canine front leg joint swelling?
Front leg joint pain can sideline the most active canine. (dog image by Michal Tudek from Fotolia.com)

The type of treatment necessary for joint swelling and pain in canine front legs depends greatly on the cause of the pain and swelling. Some injuries heal themselves over time, and others injuries require various levels of veterinary and owner intervention to resolve. Other injuries are chronic, lifetime problems, such as arthritis and the best a loving dog owner can do is make sure their dog has what it needs to live comfortably.

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Rest

In the cases of strains, or growth-related injuries, sometimes all that's needed is a little rest. The main size-related joint illness according to "Dog World" is panosteitis, seen most often in dogs over 18.1 Kilogram. Panosteitis is caused by rapid growth and causes lameness in all four leg joints. Rest is the primary treatment along with pain medication as needed.

Immobilisation

Severe sprains, breaks, dislocations or other front leg injuries causing swelling and lameness may require a splint or cast to keep the leg still so it can heal. In many cases the dog will need a special collar shaped like a cone so it cannot reach the injured leg and rip the wrapping off.

Surgery

Depending on the severity and cause of the swelling of the front leg joint surgery may be the only option. In the case of diseases like patellar luxation, shifting of the front knee joints, or general dislocation, the veterinarian surgically stabilises the joint and then immobilises it until it heals enough to have proper function. The most severe of luxating patella cases can require joint replacement in order to ever be a weight-bearing limb again. Surgery often is combined with anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication for complete control of the situation.

Medication

Pain relievers are often prescribed for all types of front leg joint swelling. The type of pain reliever used is very important. Dogs cannot metabolise human medications like aspirin. It damages the kidneys and stomach lining. Use only veterinary-prescribed medications created for dogs. The veterinarian will likely also prescribe NSAIDS, anti-inflammatory medication to help relieve the swelling as well as relieve the pain.

Physiotherapy

Once the joint is rested enough to resume some function, physiotherapy is often used to restore strength and flexibility. During treatment, dog owners must follow the advice of their dog's veterinarian and therapist. The dog must remain confined when not supervised in exercise during therapy sessions---even at home so they do not re-injure the limb.

Supplements

Dog owners with animals that suffer with arthritis have other alternatives besides NSAIDS and aspirin to help their dog live without pain. Glucosamine (glucosamine hydrochloride or glucosamine sulphate) is a natural supplement that occurs in the joints. Taking replacement supplements to boost the body's supply relieves some of the pain by promoting healthy cartilage growth, increase joint movement and relieve pain. Orthopaedic beds and a diet high in calcium, omega 3 oil, and other necessary vitamins and minerals helps develop a strong foundation for healing.

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