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Tendon Trauma: What Is It?

Tendons are made up of strong collagen fibrils, which are referred to as collagen fiber when they are grouped together. An epitenon is a thick connective tissue that surrounds these dense collagenous fibers.

Physiologically, tendons connect muscle and bone in a dog's body, allowing force to be generated and muscle and bone to sustain immense strain. However, if the pressure and force surpass a specific threshold, the supporting tendon may be injured.

A laceration, inflammation, or rupture of the tendon to the joint that causes considerable discomfort and lameness, especially in larger, heavier dogs, is known as tendon trauma.

 

 

Symptoms of Tendon Trauma in Dogs

- Lameness is described as the inability to move in a regular manner.

- Pain at a certain location

- The ability to bend or lengthen the associated joint is limited.

- It's possible that the affected limb will get inflamed.

- When it comes to Achilles tendon damage, The animal will place its paw flat on the ground and possibly drag its foot; this is known as flat-footedness.

 

Because tendons connect muscle to bone, tendon injuries can develop in a number of locations across the body.

 

There are two types of tendon trauma seen in dogs:

- The Achilles tendon is injured

- Tenosynovitis of the bicipital region

 

Injuries to the Achilles tendon

Traumatic (as a result of physical trauma) and atraumatic (as a consequence of no physical trauma) Achilles tendon injuries exist (chronic due to age). Larger breed dogs, such as Dobermans and Labradors, may be more prone to Achilles tendon damage.

 

Bicipital tenosynovitis

Bicipital tenosynovitis is an inflammation of the biceps brachii tendon and muscle that primarily affects older dogs. Tendon injury can take many forms, including inflammation of the biceps brachii tendon. This tendon can also be ruptured and hardened in dogs.

 

Tendon Trauma in Dogs: What Causes It?

Tendon trauma can be degenerative and chronic in older animals, or it can be caused by excessive physical exertion. The following are some possible causes:

- Overworking and straining muscles and joints causes tendons to stretch beyond their ideal lengths; for example, racing and working dogs are prone to overworking tendons.

- Tendon laceration can cause an increase in pressure between tendons, a decrease in blood flow, inflammation, and the risk of bacterial infection.

 

Diagnosis of Tendon Trauma in Dogs

In order to diagnose tendon injuries your veterinarian may conduct a physical exam and ask for the history, duration and onset of the particular injury. They may carefully palpate the area to determine if swelling or malformation of muscle is prominent.

X-rays can reveal whether bone fragments have made contact with a neighboring muscle. Ultrasonography may be used to assess the severity and/or probability of tendons rupture. However, studies suggest that arthroscopy could be utilized to assess joint function as well.

 

Tendon Trauma in Dogs: Treatment

When it comes to treating serious tendon injuries, especially ruptures, most veterinarians opt for surgical intervention. The goal of most tendon surgeries is to reattach the tendon to the bone, which can be accomplished via suturing and other scaffolding techniques. Suturing can be done using a loop pulley pattern or a locking loop pattern. These suturing techniques have been recommended as a way to increase mobility and speed up the recovery of related joints.

Veterinarians may employ casts or splints to support an injured area in minor cases involving tendons straining or spraining.

If the tendon is inflamed severely (bicipital tenosynovitis), your veterinarian may prescribe a long course of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and opium to help restore blood flow. Deracoxib, carprofen, etodolac, and ketoprofen are some of the NSAIDs that could be used.

 

Recovery of Tendon Trauma in Dogs

Depending on the severity of the situation and the owner's willingness to assist in rehabilitation, tendon trauma can take anywhere from 5 to 12 months to heal. 

Bio-scaffolding may be used as part of postoperative care to help the joint stabilize. Materials such as polypropylene mesh and bone plates may be used; however, the use of these implants may represent a risk due to the body's immune system reacting negatively to foreign items. As a result, your veterinarian may demand a 14-day follow-up to assess the graft's efficacy.

Your veterinarian will advise you to keep your dog from engaging in vigorous activities. To avoid heavy loading (such as sled dogs) and any physical activity that may overstretch the muscle and joints, owners should avoid letting the dog to gallop and jump.

It's vital to remember that restricting slow movement and exercise completely won't help your dog recover because he'll automatically rely on the scaffolding for support. As a result, the veterinarian will gradually reduce the amount of support supplied to the damaged joint over time.

A modest, progressive exercise program should be explored 8 weeks after surgery in order to repair muscle structure and improve healing. This could include a 6-week recovery period that includes:

- Hydrotherapy - this may include swimming in a controlled environment with owner

- Physiotherapy, with a special emphasis on joint flexion and extension

- Slow walking on leash for short periods of time

- Warm packs to stimulate blood flow to affected area

 

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