Vet Tips: Canine Orthopaedic Injuries and Disease
The vast majority of broken bones, ligament damage and spinal problems can be prevented through following a few basic tips:
• Keep your dog leashed when going out especially when walking in built up, high traffic areas and getting in and out of cars-taxis.
• Only allow off leash in a well enclosed dog park or an area away from traffic.
• Ask your vet about breed specific orthopaedic problems your dog may be predisposed to.
• Allow adequate exercise as a puppy to help build strong bones and muscles.
• Feed a high quality, nutritionally balanced diet suitable for your dog’s age, activity level and breed.
• Keep your dog at a healthy weight to lessen stress on joints and bones, especially old dogs.
• Prevent dogs (especially small dogs) from jumping on and off heights (e.g. sofas, walls, fences, beds and car boots). Stairs or ramps tailored for dogs are great for dogs getting out of car boots etc.
Some examples: Best Portable Dog Car Ramps 2021 Reviews
In case of a limb fracture:
• Prevent further use by applying a splint.
• Place small dogs in a cardboard box or confine in a carrier.
• If you cannot place a splint or place in a box-carrier try to move the dog as little as possible whilst going to the closest clinic for veterinary examination.
In case of a joint sprain or ligament damage:
• Apply a cold compress (ice pack) or warm compress to the injured area four times daily, for 5-15 minutes each time. Alternate between warm and cold. Place a towel between the compresses and the skin to avoid ice burns or scalding.
• Confine the animal in a small area and place on a leash when taking outside to urinate and defaecate.
• If no improvement within 24 hours, or worsening of signs, seek veterinary attention.
In case of a suspected spinal fracture:
• Do not pick the dog up but gently maneuver sideways onto a wooden board, flattened cardboard box or if not available a tight blanket and take the dog to the closest veterinary clinic for examination.
For more information and advice consider enrolling on a Canine First Aid course, to be prepared is key but prevention is always best!
By Dr. Anne Chow, Veterinary Surgeon
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