One of the most common health problems that dogs usually suffer from are knee problems. Because dogs are naturally very active, this health problem can greatly limit their daily activities. The pain and discomfort from their knee problems can also affect the way they eat and sleep, leading to malnourishment and sleep deprivation.
Below are some of the most common dog knee problems, its signs and symptoms, and their treatment options.
Knee Ligament Injuries
Larger breeds and overweight dogs are more susceptible to cruciate ligament injuries because of the heavier weight that they have to carry. It could also be caused by certain activities such as landing awkwardly on its legs. Injury to this ligament often causes lameness as well as limping, and you will also notice some tenderness and joint swelling. If left untreated, it then becomes the leading cause of degenerative joint disease or arthritis.
To confirm the diagnosis, an x-ray is usually taken. Now, depending upon what the x-ray revealed and the severity of the injury, a surgery may be required to repair the damage. If the injury is minimal, the dog will need to rest and avoid putting too much pressure on the knee.
Knee Meniscus Injuries
The menisci can be found between the joint bones. These pads not only help in the stability of the joint but it also absorb shock as well as help in lubricating the joint to prevent painful joint movements.
You may see some swelling on the affected knee, and when your dog attempts to stand up, you will notice that he is having some difficulty putting weight on the affected knee. Now, the best way to treat meniscus injuries is to prevent your dog from putting any weight on the knee. You also have to limit his activities, especially running as well as jumping. The injured medial meniscus needs time to fully re-stabilize, recover, and heal.
Patella or Knee Cap Problems
If your dog is having difficulty putting his leg down and hopping instead of walking or running, then he might be suffering from a dislocated patella. This is commonly caused by aging wherein the patella has slipped out of the tibial groove, causing it to lock up and stiffen and preventing it from being straightened out. Now, the most common way to treat patellar dislocation is to perform surgery on it. Medical treatment offers very little benefit to the condition though.
Another knee cap problem in dogs is the trick knee cap, which is oftentimes caused by knees are that are unevenly aligned. You can easily detect a trick knee cap because the bone shapes of the knee is distorted, and this causes the muscle groups around the knee to shift their positions. The dog may also skip, instead of run or walk. For mild cases, surgery is not required; however, for the severe cases, surgery is very much recommended.
Luxated patella is another knee problem common in dogs. This is also caused by malformation, although trauma can also cause this knee problem. One sign that your dog is suffering from this condition is if he is holding his leg up. If the knee problem was caused by trauma, your dog will also yelp in pain and exhibit limping. No medical treatment for this condition, except for symptomatic relief. The best form of treatment is surgery.
Jennifer Danek is a veterinarian specializing in dog knee surgery. In her spare time, she devotes her time to a dog shelter where she helps abandoned dogs recover from trauma and prepare them for adoption. Jennifer is also the owner of a pet blog that advocates responsible pet ownership.
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