Dogs can have a number of problems with their joints. Sometimes the problems arise when the dog is very young and still growing as the bones, ligaments and muscles don't mature at the same speed. Often this will fix itself over time but may need some help in the interim. Ligament damage in and around joints is fairly common, cruciate ligaments in the knee can rupture (tear) and this will cause instability in the leg, normally surgery is then needed unless your dog is old and not fit for an anaesthetic. Shoulder ligaments, typically the medial glenohumeral ligament (in the dogs 'armpit'), are often sprained. Some dog's joints do not form fully and they may have hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.
How can physio help?
This will depend on the problem. If your dog has had surgery, the early intervention will be to help settle any swelling and decrease pain. Once recovery is a bit further down the line, graded exercise will be introduced to prevent muscle loss during the healing process. Conducting a reassessment each time to identify areas of tightness or pain will allow treatments to be adapted to whichever stage of recovery a post-operative dog is in. Once the operation is fully healed more intensive exercise can begin.
For non-surgical joint problems there will definitely be a need for some strengthening work to provide as much support for the joint as possible. A splint may be appropriate, this can either be made by me or bought online and fitted. Any pain or tightness in the muscle will be worked on with the aim to return your dog to full function.
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