Noticing dog knee injuries can be difficult, since many Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg owners may not even be aware of where their pet’s knee is located. You may all of a sudden notice that Fido isn’t using his back leg, and seems to be in pain. At the Tampa Bay K9 Rehabilitation Center, within the Central Animal Hospital, we create individualized treatment plans for injured or post-surgical pets to help them recover. We offer the most up to date therapies including hydrotherapy, dry land exercises, and therapeutic massage.
Types of Dog Knee Injuries
There are a few different types of dog knee injuries that we see here at the Central Animal Hospital, serving Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg. If your pooch suddenly will not put any weight on one of their hind legs, they may have a torn ligament or floating kneecap.
Your pooch’s knee is called a stifle, and it is the joint that bridges the upper and lower bones in their leg. For increased stability, there are two ligaments that work together to allow for a steady, wide range of motion. When it comes to dog knee injuries, the most common ligament to be hurt is the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL).
The CCL can tear during either heavy exercise or an incorrect movement; this injury is most common in middle-aged, overweight canines. When the CCL tears, either completely or partially, it is extremely painful. When it has just partially torn, we offer a new procedure called Regenerative Stromal Stem Cells and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) as an alternative to surgery at The Central Animal Hospital. Located near Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg, we know that post-surgery animals need care, patience, and perseverance to restore their strength and range of motion.
While the stifle is a complicated joint, there are some clear cut risk factors that you should be aware of to prevent dog knee injuries such as a torn CCL:
- Irregular exercise. Don’t let your pooch lounge around all week, and then expect them to hike ten miles with you on Saturday. Keep up with walks throughout the week so you and your pooch can tackle that new hiking trail next weekend!
- Obesity. This goes hand in hand with exercise; overweight pets put more stress on their joints, leading to a higher chance of injury.
- Regular checkups. Your vet will be able to tell if Fido is at risk of tearing a ligament, and can give you specific preventative tips.
Also known as patellar luxation, this can happen when your pooch’s kneecap, or patella, becomes dislocated from its normal position. It can be returned to the correct position once the muscles surrounding it have relaxed. Typically, when this dog knee injury occurs, your pet will hold up their hind leg for a few minutes, refusing to put weight on it; once the patella returns to its correct position, your pup will act like nothing happened. This condition is most common in smaller breeds, like Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, or Boston Terriers. Larger breeds will have a deeper area for the patella to sit in, so it rarely becomes dislodged; however, it can occur if they suffer from hip dysplasia.
At The Central Animal Hospital, near Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg, we recognize four levels of severity of dog knee injuries:
- Grade 1: The patella pops out of place, but returns on its own in a few minutes.
- Grade 2: The out of place kneecap does not return on its own and requires manual adjustments.
- Grade 3: The patella stays out of place regularly, and when manually pushed into place, it will remain there briefly.
- Grade 4: This is the worst case scenario, where the patella stays out of place all of the time, and will not remain in place, even when manually adjusted.
No matter what grade patellar luxation your pup is experiencing, dog knee injuries such as this one can cause your pet pain. If you notice signs of this happening, it is important to keep your pup at a healthy weight and regularly exercising to ensure the condition does not worsen. Weight management and exercise puts less stress on joints and allows for the ligaments surrounding the area to strengthen. We can help your pup with our regular therapy and chiropractic treatments. If you pet is cannot walk without pain and is experiencing grade 3 or 4, a vet can perform surgery to deepen the groove where the patella sits.
Tampa Bay K9 Rehabilitation and Care
For help concerning all dog knee injuries, visit us today at the TBK9 Rehabilitation Center near Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg. With our state-of-the-art facility, we can create a personalized treatment plan. This way, we will help your injured or post-surgical pet live a life with less pain and more fun. We commit to providing our clients with the best care using the latest technological advances in veterinary medicine. For more information, contact us online or call us today at 727-521-3518.