Commonly referred to as a `pulled` muscle – painful, debilitating and can negatively affect a dogs quality of life.
A strain is an injury to the muscle and tendon that results from a quick twist, pull or sudden movement that the body is simply unprepared for and so is unable to cope. As the muscle is forced to over contract and over stretch the fibre in the muscle and the tendons they attach to the bones by come under immense pressure that they simply cannot cope with.
But don`t be fooled by the simplistic explanation; this is a debilitating and painful condition that commonly goes undiagnosed or is simply referred to as a soft tissue problem.
Imagine that you are holding an elastic band and you keep stretching and stretching it. At some point when it can stretch no further it will snap. This is basically what happens with your dogs muscle and tendon, and if you have ever experienced an acute strain yourself you will know how painful that can be.
When your dog pulls a muscle they will feel a sharp pain and may let out a yelp or cry and come back to you hobbling, limping or whimpering. This feeling is quickly followed by a wave of nausea. After the initial injury your dog will experience pain, bruising, inflammation, pain and weakness and will most likely show signs of depression with some also going off their food and simply not behaving like their normal selves.
NB: some dogs will not exhibit typical pain signals to you; this goes back to natural instincts as showing pain makes them a weak member of the pack. If you have a particularly stoic dog instead look out for a change in their behavior (resting/sleeping more, off food, not their usual selves on walks, change in character etc..)
Strains are not restricted to sporting and working dogs (although these dogs are more at risk especially if they work without being correctly warmed up) and signs to look out for are:
- Yelping/crying in pain
- Off Food
- Worse after rest
- Suddenly unable to walk
- Not Usual Self on Walks
- Intermittent or occasional lameness
- Not weight bearing normally on all four legs
- Not walking normally; abnormal gait
- Unable to jump
- Unable to go/up down stairs
Your vet will often suggest soft tissue damage but cant always put their finger on the actual area of injury. It is my job to quite literally put my finger on where the pain is so we can do something about it; ask your vet about massage download your referral form here.
Once a muscle has been strained (including tears/rips) scar tissue will begin to form as the muscle heals itself. Unfortunately as time goes by this scar tissue which once helped the body will begin to hinder the muscles natural movement so you may keep seeing recurring issues. A common comment I hear is “my dog has`nt been lame for months and all of a sudden they are again. I cant work it out, its the same leg it keeps on happening on and all my vet gives me is anti inflammatories but it just keeps on happening”
Massage is one of the only modalities to actually help in the restructuring of damaged fibres and torn tendons and I believe is the ultimate treatment for a strain. Having had a chronic strain (rupture) myself in the past resulting in a golf ball sized piece of scar tissue in my lower back it is only as a result of intensive and regular massage from my human therapists that I am able to do normal everyday activities (as well as a physical job!) so speaking from vast experience of this matter (which went undiagnosed by my doctor) I can honestly say that massage is the best treatment option possible for this debilitating and reoccuring injury.
Call today for your free consultation. It may just be the best thing you ever did to help your dog.
NB: The Canine Massage Therapy Centre does not diagnose. Canine Massage Therapy Centre acknowledges and respects the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 and Exemption Order 1962 by never working upon an animal without gaining prior veterinary approval
To find a therapist in your area, check out the “Find a Therapist” page