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Common Puppy Injury – Muscle Sprains

A vet applies a splint, a type of bandage used to stabilize sprained joints. Photo courtesy of www.animalclinicofsantamaria.com.

 

Since puppies have bodies that aren’t as strong as adult dogs, they tend to overexert or injure themselves. Muscle sprains are one fairly common injury among young pets. Puppies’ muscles aren’t fully formed yet and can be easily hurt. Take steps to protect your puppy, but also watch for symptoms.

Causes of Injury

Puppies want to play with the big dogs, but their little bodies aren’t quite up to it! Overexertion of a muscle can cause a tear or stretch the muscle too far. Trauma is the main cause of most muscle sprains; things that can cause a trauma include:

Symptoms

There are three degrees of injury, depending on the severity of the sprain:

  1. The muscle may be slightly torn or simply overstretched, with minor swelling and pain. Some minor sprains may go away on their own with rest and ice, but if symptoms persist, see your vet.
  2. A more serious tear or stretching has occurred, as is evident by your dog’s limping, visible swelling, and pain. Contact your vet if your pet displays these symptoms.
  3. In the third case, the muscle has separated from the bone, causing completely inability to use the limb along with excruciating pain. Seek immediate veterinary attention.



 

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Treatment

An x-ray and physical examination will be done to determine if the pain is caused by a muscle sprain or a bone fracture – symptoms are very similar. Minor to moderate sprains require a combination of splinting the joint to inhibit movement and anti-inflammatory medications. Treatment of more serious injuries consists of surgery to repair the torn muscle along with splinting and medications to reduce inflammation and pain. In some cases, the joint may not return to its pre-injured state, but will stillbe relatively movable.

Prevention

Keep a close eye on your puppy when around unfamiliar dogs; never allow them to go unleashed outside, unless you are in your fenced backyard. Refrain from running or jogging with your puppy until he’s older than one year old – puppies need different exercise than adult dogs.

Muscle sprains can be a serious issue in young dogs, but with the right preventative measures, you can ensure your pet’s safety. By enrolling your little pup in pet insurance, you can avoid pre-existing conditions. Start by getting a free quote.

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