How to Treat Leg Injuries in Dogs

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Dogs are prone to injuries, and treating a leg injury in a dog is much like treating a leg injury in a person. Find out how to stabilize a broken bone in a dog's leg with help from a veterinarian in this free video on dog health and leg injuries.

Part of the Video Series: Dog Health
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Dr. Greg McDonald. I'm a veterinarian in southern California. I have a hospital in Santa Barbara. I want to talk a little bit about dog care today. One of the things that we do find with animals is they are prone to injuries the same as we are and so today we'd like to just concentrate on leg injuries and the dog's leg is much like our own. It is built out of muscle, ligaments, tendons, and bone, very very similar to ours as far as if you look at all the different parts and pieces and so when your dog has been injured one of the first things you want to recognize is whether it's actually a fracture if your animal has a broken leg, he's never going to be able to put any weight on it. Sometimes they could break a toe and then put some weight on it but be very very ouch-y but if they break any of their long bones they're not going to be able to put any weight on it. You may also notice that they are extremely painful and if you go towards them they may try and bite you because they are hurting so badly so go slowly after the injury. Also a break sometimes is pretty obvious because the animal's leg will be held at an odd angle or it could even be floppy because if there is a complete fracture. So it's obvious that if you have a broken bone in your dog you're going to want to stabilize the fracture and you can do that with just a piece of gauze and a stick or a twig or a yard stick to try and keep the bones from flopping and hurting themselves worse. One of the most important things about that is you know your animal is hurting, sometimes owners don't understand. Their little Fluffy, their little dog has been gentle his whole life and now he is trying to bite. Dogs the only way to protect themselves when they're hurting is to bite you and so first things first if you think you need to stabilize the leg you want to control the muzzle somehow and be sure the dog is not biting you. You could take your belt and wrap it around his nose. You could even take some gauze or something like that and fashion a little bit of a muzzle for him so that you don't get bitten. The less serious injuries are those that are ligaments or muscle tears. In the back leg it's very common to have a cruciate ligament. That's the ligament inside of the knee. With that you'll see your dog is usually running along fine and all of a sudden won't put weight on that leg. They can put some weight on it but even the next day they're not using it and again your veterinarian is going to need to be consulted to find out exactly why your dog is not using the limb. If it was a ligament injury like the cruciate ligament we talked about it would be right in this area here and your veterinarian is going to take and try and wobble it like that and see this is a good strong leg.


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