Dogs are known for their playful and active nature, but just like humans, they can experience orthopedic injuries that may limit their mobility and cause discomfort. Whether it’s a sprained joint, a torn ligament, or a fracture, recognizing the signs of an orthopedic injury in your canine companion is crucial for their well-being. Once you recognize signs or symptoms of a potential orthopedic injury, it’s time to begin taking the first steps to get your companion the help they need.
Observe Your Dog’s Behavior
The first sign that your dog may be suffering from an orthopedic injury is a noticeable change in their behavior. Pay close attention to the following:
- Limping or favoring a particular limb.
- Reluctance to put weight on a specific leg.
- Whimpering or yelping when touched in a particular area.
- Difficulty standing up or lying down.
- Stiffness or decreased mobility.
These behavioral changes can be indicators of an orthopedic issue, so take them seriously and move to the next step.
When you suspect your dog has an orthopedic injury, it’s essential to reduce their physical activity to prevent further harm. Avoid strenuous play, jumping, or running. If necessary, confine them to a smaller, safe space to limit their movement.
Contact Your Veterinarian
One of the most critical steps you can take is to reach out to your veterinarian. Describe your dog’s behavior and any observed symptoms in detail. Your vet will be able to provide you with guidance on whether an orthopedic injury is likely and will likely recommend a physical examination to confirm the diagnosis.
Follow the Vet’s Advice
Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination, which may include palpation, range of motion tests, and, in some cases, imaging such as X-rays or MRI scans to pinpoint the injury’s location and severity. Following the veterinarian’s advice is crucial as it will determine the most appropriate treatment plan.
Rest and Isolation
In many cases, your vet will recommend rest and isolation for your dog to allow the injury to heal. This means limiting exercise, outdoor activities, and even access to stairs or furniture. Create a comfortable space for your dog to rest, and consider a soft, supportive bed to relieve any pressure on their joints.
Pain and inflammation are common with orthopedic injuries, and your vet may prescribe medication to alleviate your dog’s discomfort. Ensure you follow the dosing instructions and monitor your dog’s response to the medication.
Depending on the severity of the injury, your vet might suggest physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises. These can help improve your dog’s mobility and reduce recovery time. Physical therapy should be performed under the guidance of a professional.
In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair orthopedic injuries like torn ligaments or fractures. Your vet will discuss the options with you, including the potential benefits and risks. Be prepared for post-surgery care, which may include restricted movement and a longer recovery period.
Regularly check in with your veterinarian to assess your dog’s progress. The healing process can be gradual, and monitoring your dog’s recovery is vital to ensure they are on the right track. Be sure to follow up with regular veterinarian visits as recommended so that you can keep a close eye on the progress of your pup’s healing.
Trust Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services With Your Companion’s Health
Your companion’s health is important, and the team at MVSS is ready to provide the best care possible for your furry family. We are dedicated to combining comprehensive exams and assessments with informative and honest discussions of your companion’s care. Once we have worked with you to decide on the best course of action for your dog, our professionals will use their surgical expertise to work towards the goal of giving your companion an active and pain-free life. We are proud to serve loyal companions in Catonsville and Baltimore. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-788-4088 or visit us online. For more information and tips for pet health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.