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Helping your dog with
Muscle Injuries

Muscle injuries are very common in athletic dogs, and just like humans, they are susceptible to musculoskeletal trauma. Any muscle can be injured but common ones include Gracilis and Iliopsoas.

Muscle Injuries Overview

Signs of Muscle Injuries

With mild muscle injuries the signs may be so subtle you can't detect them. Chances are, you're here because you did! Common signs include;

  • Sore to touch

  • Hot and swollen

  • Bruising

  • Lameness 

  • Reluctance to exercise

Causes of Muscle Injuries

Unless associated with other trauma (such as displaced fractures) muscle trauma tends to happen during athletic output, with several risk factors, such as;

  • Overstretching when running

  • Collisions

  • Inadequate warm-up or cool-down

  • Inappropriate exercise on poorly conditioned muscles 

  • Obesity

Treatment of Muscle Injuries

In the first instance, treatment involves rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relief (such as Metacam) prescribed by your vet and cold compresses to the injured muscle. 

After a few days, we can start rehabilitating your dog, initially to reduce inflammation and prevent complications during the healing phases. We can direct you when the best time to apply warm compresses, passive stretching and basic massage to do at home to really boost recovery. We will then help you through a specific exercise programme to restore muscle function and get back to competitive fitness.

What can we do about it?

Plenty! We have numerous modalities in clinic that we have at our finger tips to help your dog. These include massage, soft tissue mobilisation, stretching, joint mobilisations, targeted exercises, laser therapy, hydrotherapy... shall we continue? These have all been shown to maintain muscle function, strength and coordination and get back to competitive fitness. With each session they undergo constant review of their clinical signs and progression in order to gain maximum recovery at a pace that's comfortable for them.

 

We have a comprehensive programme tailored for your dog's specific needs, depending on their recovery so far.  We will always assess their pain levels (if any), degree of mobility, muscle strength, amongst more, to enable us to create the most successful treatment plan for them. If they have co-morbidities such as Osteoarthritis we will rehabilitate these concurrently.

Alongside what we do with your beloved pooch, there are a number of things outside of the clinic that can help them manage their condition or rehabilitation. Please find information in the sections below!  

Home Modifications During Recovery

Flooring

Wooden floors and stairs are a big slip hazard for your dog. Try using non-slip mats along the main routes of your house. Alternatively, some dogs may benefit from paw pads (please speak to us before trying this option in case of contraindication).

Feeding Stations

Raising their water and food bowls may seem like a insignificant change to us, but it can really help your dog to be in a more neutral position.

Access to Furniture

Jumping up and down from heights if often a cause of additional pain / difficulty to your dog. If they enjoy a cuddle on the sofa or the bed, make it easier for them with dog-friendly steps or ramps onto furniture. This also applies to getting in / out of cars! You may find a sling to be useful.

Keeping Warm

Especially important in the colder months, your dog will benefit from staying warmer. Keep them in a jumper and walk them out with coats. Stay dry too!

Sleeping / Resting Areas

Great quality sleep is essential. Ensure their sleeping area is free from any drafts and in a warm spot. Their bedding should be supportive and not restrictive. Memory foam mattresses without rigid or tall sides are best. Make sure your dog can access the bed and can change position / stretch out easily.

Be Wary of Terrain

Different types of terrain in the garden and on walks can be hazardous, such as steep slopes, loose or uneven surfaces. Be mindful to where they are going.

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