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Pet Injury and Prevention

Jun 30, 2022

Photo Credit: pxhere.com

Kids will be kids and that applies to our fur-kids too.  So, when it comes to injuries and doing our best to prevent them, is there really anything you can do?  Well, no… and yes.  Read on to find out.

Lameness

Lameness, whether mild or severe, is one of the first signs that something is not right with your pet. 

Even if your pet is only experiencing very mild lameness, it’s important to get them checked out with us. A diagnosis will ensure the right treatment plan for your dog and, if we get on to it early, you’ll see much better results. 

Top 10 reasons for lameness include:  

  • Osteoarthritis  and other forms of inflammatory arthritis
  • Soft tissue injuries (muscles, tendons etc.)
  • Patella luxation  
  • Cruciate ligament disease
  • Joint Dysplasia  (hip, elbow)
  • Nail problems 
  • Pad Problems 
  • Neck or back pain
  • Fracture 
  • Angular joint deformity  

Find out more about osteoarthritis and joint health in your senior pet.

Cruciate Ligament Injuries

Most commonly found in dogs, this injury affects the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – one of the most important stabilisers in the knee (also called the ‘stifle’) joint.  Its rupture is an orthopaedic injury seen very commonly in veterinary practice. This is painful and can lead to a reduction in the function of the joint and debilitating arthritis. It can greatly affect your dog’s quality of life if not treated correctly.

Types of Canine Cruciate Injury 

There are two types of of the canine cruciate ligament disease. One can occur slowly over time and is known as a chronic or degenerative form of the disease. The other form is an acute or sudden traumatic rupture of the ligament. 

You should contact us if your dog shows obvious lameness that persists for longer than a day or is in obvious pain. If a cruciate rupture in a dog is suspected, examination under sedation or general anaesthetic may be necessary to enable correct diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Cruciate Ligament Injury

There are many treatment options for canine cruciate ligament disease, but the first major decision is between surgical treatment and non-surgical (or conservative) treatment/management. The best choice for your dog depends on factors such as your dog’s activity level, size, age and conformation as well as the degree of knee instability.

Detailed information on this specific injury can be found at Vets Choice Pet Care here.

A Note on Giant Breeds

Big dogs seem strong, bold, and robust. In reality, however, giant dog breeds are more fragile than medium sized dogs because of their phenomenal growth rate as puppies which puts them at a high risk of bone and joint problems. 

Giant breeds grow very rapidly, but they take until around 18 months to reach physical maturity. This means giant and large dog breeds are at greater risk of hip dysplasia and other joint, bone and ligament problems than medium size dogs. 

Injury Prevention

1/ Weight Management

A full guide on how to manage your pet’s weight can be found here.

Helping your pet maintain a healthy weight is one of the most effective ways that you can reduce your pet’s chance of experiencing joint injuries and subsequently arthritis. 

Providing your juvenile pets with a good quality, balanced diet is especially important to promote normal bone growth and development. 

Did you know you have more chance of over-nutrition issues than under-nutrition in large breed dogs. Please discuss your large breed dog’s diet with your vet very early on.

2/ Exercise

Owners can play an active role in preventing joint injuries and disease through regular activity. 

Exercising senior pets involves different strategies that can be found here

Too Much 

Too much exercise can lead to excessive wear and tear of the joints and muscle fatigue creating instability a young pet’s immature joints.

Protect your young pet by limiting jogging or running on hard surfaces; and jumping from any significant height such as your car, lounge or bed; and playing on slippery surfaces like tiles.

Do you know that for cats, excessive jumping from great heights is the most common exercises to induce joint trauma? 

Do not allow your pet to slip and slide on tiles or floor boards.  Consider using hall runners and floor rugs to ensure your little speed demon doesn’t hurt themselves.

Prevent fights. If a pet bite penetrates a joint, it can cause irreparable damage and may lead to arthritis in the affected joint.

Too Little

And too little exercise can also be detrimental to joint health and function.  Exercise is critical for developing ligament strength, joint flexibility and bone density – all of which protect against injury.

Just Right

Your pet’s exercise plan will change as your pet grows.  It will vary according to your pet’s breed, genetics and diet.

Let us know if you need help with getting this right – it’s a worthwhile investment in your time and planning to make sure your pet’s exercise plan is correct from day one.

Dogs:  An easy rule of thumb to remember is a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is fully grown.  If they struggle, bring the exercise back a little. Avoid long hikes, rough terrain, sharp or slippery surfaces and jumping up and down from objects. 

Cats:  If possible, give your cat access to an enclosed cat run or have an ‘indoor only’ policy. This protects your cat from motor vehicle accidents as well as other pets and stray cats and encourages regular exercise 

We’d be more than happy to discuss a personalised exercise plan for your puppy at your routine health check.

Always allow your pet plenty of time to rest after exercise.  

3/ Regular Health Checks 

The annual check-up is the perfect time for your pet to have a thorough physical examination and for us to help you ensure they are in their best possible health.

Sources

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