Dogs can get injured just as easily, if not more so than we do. They get wound up, they play around, and they ultimately get injured because of that excitement if you’re not careful. Soft tissue includes the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the joints and bones and can be injured in any number of ways – through tweaks to the legs, running into objects or being hit by moving objects like cars or bicycles. The severity of the soft tissue damage will determine how strong the treatment needs to be, though surgery may be required.
Learn about the essential:
It is hard to diagnose soft tissue damage in a dog, because again they cannot simply tell you “my ankle hurts”. You will need to visit your vet and have X-rays taken to determine the source of their pain. Usually limping, yipping and immobility will accompany swelling of the area where the damage occurred.
Even if there is no actual bone damage on an X-ray, soft tissue damage is usually a common diagnosis when swelling and pain occurs around a joint or in a muscle. Often, the use of medicine and rest are needed to keep the dog off the affected joint until it can heal.
The actual treatment your dog will need for soft tissue damage will vary based on your vet, the size of your dog, and the severity of the injury. Usually mild bruising will be treated with anti-inflammatories like aspirin and carprofen with improvement in as little as 3-5 days. If the damage is more moderate with stretching, a splint may be added and in the case of serious injury where the joint has been harmed or the ligament has ruptured, surgery is generally required.
Usually, after 3-5 days of evaluation with medication, the injury will be reassessed to determine if the dog needs to have surgery or a stronger medication.
The easiest way to avoid the common causes of soft tissue damage is to keep your dog under control. Don’t allow him to run free off a leash and make sure he stays within site at all times. Puppies especially should be limited in where they can go, both inside and outdoors.