Common Orthopedic Problems in Dogs

Orthopedic problems are not only a human thing; pets, including dogs, also experience musculoskeletal related issues as well. Orthopedic issues affecting bones, joints, and muscles occur mostly due to injury or genetic predisposition to the condition. While most of these issues can be managed using medications, surgery is sometimes necessary to sufficiently relieve symptoms and improve the pet’s quality of life.

That said, only your vet can determine the best course of action to make your pet better. To discover more, here are some of the most common orthopedic problems in dogs.

Canine cruciate ligament tears

Simple activities such as jumping and running can cause cruciate ligament injury in many dog breeders.

The cruciate ligaments are fibrous bands connecting the femur to the tibia. The two-form a cross inside the joint that holds the bones together.

In dogs, the cranial cruciate ligament can break, and when it does, the knee becomes unstable, painful, and susceptible to arthritis. The vet accesses the level of damage that is then treated surgically or medially depending on instability and the dog’s weight.

Surgery for cranial cruciate ligament tear Boulder may include implantation surgery or changing the joint’s anatomy to stabilize the joint. Since joints quickly develop arthritis, getting immediate medical care is vital for your dog’s well-being.

Hip dysplasia

This is a genetic condition affecting your dog, especially the large breeds of dogs. Symptoms may include:

  • Lameness in the hind end
  • Difficulty running or jumping
  • Decreased movement and range motion
  • A swaying posture
  • A wider space between the dog’s legs
  • One of the legs may appear shorter than the other

Treatment for hip dysplasia usually involves the administration of anti-inflammatory medications or surgery to correct the condition.

Patellar luxation

The patella, also known as the kneecap, is made up of tendons and muscles located near the femur. This part shouldn’t move around in a healthy dog. In patellar luxation, the part into which the kneecap rids is absent or shallow in some dogs leading to knee joint dislocation.

Signs that your dog has a dislocated knee joint may include:

  • Limping
  • Unwillingness to walk
  • Bitting or licking the knee
  • Noticeable pain
  • Lifting the leg regularly


Arthritis is a common condition in adult dogs. This is a painful condition leading to gradual deterioration of the joint. Improper joint alignment or injury can cause inflammation leaving the joint in a terrible state. Arthritis gets worse with time, and it’s crucial to get immediate medical attention as soon as you notice the symptoms.

Symptoms may include:

  • Obvious pain
  • Limping
  • Difficulty climbing stairs, getting up and laying down

Elbow dysplasia

Many orthopedic conditions cause elbow dysplasia, which is an abnormal condition of the elbow. Dogs with this condition can show the following symptoms:

  • Obvious pain and discomfort
  • Holding the leg up or out
  • Lameness

As you can see, there are several types of orthopedic problems in dogs. Arranging an appointment with your vet once you notice any abnormal sign is the only way to diagnose and treat orthopedic issues on time.

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