Types of dog paw injuries and how to intervene

The paws of dogs are very delicate areas of the body, especially the pads, which can be injured in many ways. Do you know what types of injuries can occur in your pet’s paws?

Dogs are very active animals. So, like humans, they can suffer from leg injuries. The most common types of dog paw injuries are: broken bones, muscle injuries or torn ligaments.

These injuries can cause movement difficulties or other disorders, such as fractures, dislocations or bleeding that must be diagnosed and stopped immediately. In this article, we will inform you about the most common types of dog paw injuries and how to intervene.

Types of dog paw injuries

1. Soft tissue injury

Soft tissues are the tendons, muscles and ligaments, many of which are found in the lower limbs. The most common soft tissue injuries are sprains and strains.

These injuries are very common and occur suddenly when the dog slips on snow or ice or when he steps on a hole while running. Movements such as bends, quick stops, or jumps can result in injury to the muscles, strain of a tendon, or tear a ligament.

It is good to know that simple actions such as jumping off the sofa or bed can cause injury. Dogs are often thought of as athletic and confident, but accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Whenever your dog runs into the yard and chases a ball or another dog or trains for a canine sport, there is a risk of a soft tissue injury.

Lameness, the most common sign

If you notice that the animal is limping, it is a sign that something is wrong. It could be a minor thing like a stone trapped between your fingers or pads, but it could also be a soft tissue injury.

If you have checked the paws thoroughly and found no visible injuries such as scratches or anything else that could cause your pet to lameness, it is best to take him to the vet. Many strains and sprains are minor and can be cured by limiting activity , but some can be serious and require medical attention as soon as possible.

Lameness can be caused by a variety of factors, such as injuries, infections, inflammation, anatomical defects, cancer, and degenerative diseases. The onset of lameness can be sudden – known as acute onset – or develop more slowly, such as a chronic illness .

2. Lacerations, abrasions and puncture wounds

A cut in the skin is called a laceration, while scratches are considered abrasions. Tears are caused by sharp objects such as broken glass, uneven metal edges, dog nails, or anything that can cut the skin.

Tears can have a neat and tidy perimeter or be jagged and uneven, depending on the cause of the injury. Abrasions occur when the dog slips on a rough surface such as concrete, rocks or even sand. Bite wounds are obviously caused by other dogs, cats, or wild animals.

3. Swelling, a sign of possible dog paw injury

Swollen paws are a common problem for dogs. While this condition is generally not dangerous, it can be very uncomfortable and even very painful , as their paws are very sensitive.

Swollen paws are often caused by a foreign object trapped between the dog’s pads or fingers. They also occur due to insect or spider bites, puncture wounds, broken fingers, or fractured claws.

The canine habit of constantly licking or biting paws is another common type of dog paw injury. Bearing burns from running on hot asphalt, on the other hand, are common during the summer.

4. Cruciate ligament rupture

The technical term for this injury is cranial cruciate ligament rupture . This ligament is essential for stabilizing the knee joint.

The cruciate ligament connects the back of the femur with the front of the tibia . The femur is the bone above the knee and the tibia is the one below the knee. Thus, the ligament stabilizes the joint and holds the tibia in place.

If your dog limps with his hind leg, he may have ruptured or torn his cruciate ligament. Some dog breeds are at a greater risk than others of suffering this type of injury. Among the most prone breeds are: Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, Mastiff, Akita, Staffordshire Terrier, St. Bernard, Poodle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Rottweiler and Bichon Frize.

What are the factors associated with cruciate ligament rupture in dogs?

A dog’s breed, age, activity level, and obesity are the main factors that influence cruciate ligament rupture. Dog weight control can be achieved with regular exercise and proper nutrition , so prevention is primarily up to you.

In cases of severe trauma, the limbs can take an unnatural angle when fractured or sprained, and the bones can even puncture the skin. Pets that drag a limb can also suffer nerve damage.

Dog paw injuries: how to intervene

  • Do not move the dog and hold him still if necessary . Lame dogs should be confined and their movement restricted for a few days.
  • Check for broken bones – including dislocations – by looking at the angle of the limb and its stability. As a general rule, limp that can bear weight is unlikely to be a fracture.

If the lameness persists for more than 24 hours, it could be a fracture. If, in addition to lameness, the dog has severe swelling, inability to stand or shivering in the limbs, immediate veterinary care should be provided.

It is recommended that you never administer medications without the guidance of a veterinarian. Ibuprofen, tylenol, and aspirin given in place of veterinary analgesics can cause significant side effects and require gastric lavage.

Finally, it is best not to exercise a lame dog under any circumstances. On the contrary, to promote complete rehabilitation , the dog must be allowed to rest for a few days, sometimes up to several weeks.

When the alert disappears, let it rest for at least another 24 or 48 hours. Only then is it recommended to reintroduce physical exercise, but in a fluid and progressive way.

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