As dogs are man’s best friends, it’s essential to learn everything about them, including dog leg anatomy. A dog’s legs are significant as they help it move around from place to place.
Understanding and knowing your dog’s leg anatomy will help learn the possible weaknesses, injuries, and the best ways how to treat them. The dog is carried around by the forelegs and the hind legs.
Much as the hind legs have got larger muscles which make them stronger, they only carry around one-third of its body weight. The forelegs or front legs carry two-thirds of its body weight.
These consist of the following:
- The upper arm is located below the shoulder.
- Numerous bone is the long bone of the upper arm which goes all the way to the elbow.
- The elbow is located below the chest at the back of the foreleg. This is the first joint in the leg.
- The forearm is the long bone that runs just after the elbow. It is made of the ulna and the radius.
- Ulna and the radius are two bones that sit next to each other. They ensure that the elbow functions perfectly. The ulna bone is not a weight-bearing bone but it’s still important to the elbow.
- The wrist is the lower joint below the elbow.
The Hind Legs
- The knee is located at the front of the hind leg.
- The upper thigh is situated just above the knee on the hind leg.
- Lower thigh is the one found beneath the knee and goes all the way to the hock.
- The hock is that joint that makes a sharp angle at the back of the legs.
There are some parts found on both the hind legs and the forelegs. These are the paw or the foot located on each leg. The paw has got nails at the end of each toe, paw pads. They are found under the foot and the dewclaws which are vestiges of thumbs.
Dog Leg Injuries
The chances are that your dog will get injured at least twice in his or her lifetime. That fact that dogs are naturally adventurous and in most cases, fearless, puts them at a greater risk of hurting their legs. As we all know that accidents do happen and when they do, you need to be prepared in advance.
First, let’s take a look at the common injuries that can affect your dog’s limbs.
Many things can injure your dog’s limbs, and the fastest way to know that your dog has a problem is limping. Degenerative disease, anatomic defect, inflammation, cancer, and infections can injure your dog’s legs.
There are also other very common causes of injuries in a dog’s legs, such as trauma, sprains, ligament disease, and osteoarthritis. Limping can start suddenly in cases of sudden injuries. Sometimes it may go on to develop with time slowly, and this is common with chronic diseases.
Commonly, you may not see any external sign of injury, rather you may spot your dog refusing to put any weight on the leg, or it may start taping the toe on the ground. In the case of luxating patellas, the dog may limp a little, and they seem to be ok.
When to tell that it’s an emergency:
- When your dog keeps dragging its legs.
- Severe swelling and non-stop bleeding.
- Once the leg has got a severe fracture or dislocation
In such cases, you will have to seek a vet for immediate treatment.
Treatment for Dog Leg Injuries
Because there are many ways how dogs can injure their legs, we will look at some of the treatments for these common injuries.
Dog Leg Treatment in Case of Trauma
- Make sure the dog stays in one place. Do not let it move around and put more weight on the limbs. If it doesn’t stop moving around, then you can decide to restrain it.
- Examine it to see if it has broken bones and dislocations. You can do it by checking is the angle of the limb is stable.
- If it has any of the two, then you will have to splint the leg and take it to see a vet for proper treatment. In case there is none, then there won’t be a need to splint the leg.
- If there is a minor dislocation, you will have to limit its movements or confine it for a few days until you see that your dog is feeling better.
- In case your dog has a fracture, is unable to stand, has severe swelling or the limping doesn’t stop after limited movements, then you will have to consult a vet for immediate treatment.
- In case the injury is severe and potentially handicapping, your vet may recommend a dog wheelchair. This will enable your dog to enjoy normal mobility while preventing further damage to the legs & spine.
How to Treat Minor Injuries
In case of minor injuries such as intermittent lameness or just weight-bearing, you can do the following:
- Get a cold compress and place it on the hurt joint to minimize inflammation.
- If the cold compress doesn’t work, then try a warm compress to see if it will reduce inflammation.
- If everything failed, then visit a vet immediately after 24 hours of applying the compress.
- Note that you should never give your dog over the counter medication without consulting your vet first. This can cause very serious side effects on your dog.
In case of severe pain and swelling, you only have to take your dog to a vet for proper treatment. You can help it move around by carrying it so as it doesn’t endure a lot of pain.
Everything, you need to know about dog-leg anatomy is the different leg parts, the most common injuries that can affect the legs of your dog and the signs of injuries that have all been listed for you. The treatment or relief of pain you can give to your dog is essential before you take it to a vet.
Furthermore, the fact that you know something about your dog’s limbs doesn’t mean that you can now handle all the necessary treatments once it’s injured on your own. You always have to consult a vet as they are vital for the well-being and health of your dog.
You have to provide the best diagnosis and treatment to your dog’s legs immediately after you sense or see a problem with them as it may be something affecting another part of its body and it can only be shown by limping.