Avoiding, diagnosing, and treating dog injuries.
Dog Injuries: Soft Tissue Trauma
Dogs are active, rough-and-tumble animals, always up for a game or chase, so its inevitable that accidents will happen. When they do, injuries are often to the soft tissue – the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the joints and bones.
These can be injured in a number of ways – through strains to the muscles, running into objects or being hit by moving objects like cars or bicycles. The severity of the soft tissue damage will determine how intense the treatment needs to be. In some instances, surgery may even be required.
Dog Injuries: Diagnosis
Soft tissue damage is difficult to diagnose because dogs have a high pain threshold and will sometimes even “hide” the fact that they are hurting. So if your dog is limping and whining or yelping when putting weight on a leg you can take it for granted that something is wrong.
On closer inspection you’ll probably notice swelling and/or bruising in the affected area. You’ll need to visit the vet and have X-rays taken to determine the source of the pain, and the extent of the damage.
The X-ray will most likely indicate soft tissue trauma (or, more rarely, bone damage). Quite often, anti-inflammatory medicine and rest is all that is needed for the injury to heal.
Dog Injuries: Treatment
The actual treatment will depend on a number of factors including the size of the dog, and the location and severity of the injury.
Usually, mild bruising treated with anti-inflammatories like aspirin and carprofen will improve in as little as 3-5 days. If the damage is moderate, a splint may applied. In the case of serious injury, for example a ruptured ligament, surgery is generally needed.
Usually, the vet will want to see the dog again after 3-5 days to check on his recovery, and make a recommendation about further treatment.
Dog Injuries: Avoiding Injuries
Dogs are boisterous and excitable. They often seem to act first and worry about the consequences later, and this is a trait that often gets them into trouble.
It may sound obvious, but the easiest way to avoid injuries is to keep your dog under control, both in your home, and outdoors.
Make sure that your perimeter fencing is secure, so there is no chance of escape. And when you are outdoors, don’t allow him off the leash unless you are in a secure fenced location.
You should also ensure that your dog has, at least, basic obedience training so that you can keep him under control in potentially dangerous situations and avoid dog injuries.