Possible muscle strain - Help!

Discussion in 'Dog Health' started by bellapup, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. bellapup Well-Known Member

    Bella was playing in the dog park as normal, simply chasing balls. Suddenly, as she went to run after a ball, she screeched loudly and started howling in pain. She lifted her right hind leg, and her toes curled up a little. I thought maybe something like a small rock had hit a tender part of her pad or between her toes...but there was nothing. I've since laid her down and gently massaged around her leg, but she hasn't cried, yelped, or really done anything when I stretch and poke around at the leg. I can't seem to find the location of the problem, although I kind of suspect it's her hamstring, since she seems to lick at the area a bit.

    This happened last night and it seemed when she woke this morning, her leg was a little stiff...but she will walk on it. I can see that she is gentle with the leg when walking, but she can put her weight on both rear legs when standing with no problem.

    She's eating like normal, going to the bathroom like normal, drinking like normal, and otherwise acts like her normal self. I've been having a hard time making her keep still. I've noticed that when she hasn't walked on her leg for a bit (she took a nap this afternoon as well) she limps a bit more for awhile.

    She'll whimper a bit if she tries to go up steps, but doesn't really complain of pain other than that.

    Is this simply just a little muscle strain that can be cured with several days of rest, or should I be more concerned?

    Should I allow her to walk on her leg to help stretch the muscle?

    I know enough that we won't be going on any walks or to the park until this gets resolved...and I've been trying to hold her down gently but firmly if she gets a hankering to chase one of the cats.

    I'm worried but I don't want to over-react. What should I do? :dogsad:

  2. maggies mom Well-Known Member

    You might try rubbing liniment on her to help ease the pain if it's a sprained muscle and rest for a few days. Also possibly soaking her foot in epsom salt twice a day for several days in case she stepped on something. One on my shelties woke up limping one morning and I rushed her to the Vet only to find out she had a sore paw.

    Hope she gets better!!!:dogtongue2:
  3. snooks Experienced Member

    Oh no, sorry to hear about this. Stairs are usually a no-no after an injury esp if she's vocalizing about it. Unless you just can't carry her up and down. I slept on the couch on the main floor when my dogs were stair restricted so I could keep and eye on them. Remember some dogs instinctively hide the fact that they are injured. Depending on your dog it could be possibly more painful that she's letting on. I might call the vet if you don't want to rush in and have very carefully inspected the paw for cuts. Ask how long to wait for resolution or if you should wait given the location of the pain. They may also have suggestions for heat or cold compress. I wouldn't help stretch anything since you can't feel what hurts and your dog may not tell you.

    Otherwise you already know, no walks, jumping etc until she's no longer limping. If it doesn't resolve in 4-5 days I would def go to the vet. I usually go just to be assured it's nothing more serious but then I tend to be a doggie worry wart. :dogwacko: Hope things resolve quickly. Sometimes anti-anflammatories for dogs (human ones are poisonous) do work wonders and speed the healing if you do go to the vet.
  4. bellapup Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the advice...what kind of liniments or anti inflammatories should I be looking for that are safe for Bella? She seems to be better this morning, but I don't know if it's because she's exercising the muscle or if it's actually getting better.

    I didn't realize that dogs don't really reflect the pain they're in. I'll definitely keep a close watch and take her to the vet in the next few days if she doesn't show improvement. I just wish I knew how long it would take to heal a muscle/tendon injury for dogs.
  5. snooks Experienced Member

    Ask the vet. Ibuprophen and Motrin are poisonous to dogs. The most common dog NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflam.) are Rimadyl and Deramaxx but they are prescription. I don't know that there are any OTC NSAIDs for dogs without asking. At the very least call and ask and explain u don't want to spend $200 for a sore paw. Maybe they can suggest an animal liniment that won't be bad to eat if she licks or burn like human liniments. Since it's' the weekend you could call the doggie ER and ask advice or some vets are open Sunday like mine. To heat or ice I would also ask. If you ice no more than 20 minutes at a shot or you impede healing blood flow to the injury site. Be sure to always put a thick hand towel or towel between skin and ice. The safest thing with no advice is no activity including stairs. :dogsad: Maybe tomorrow morning will look better.

    The answer is with treatment for a severe strain months. Minor 4-5 days is the max I would go if the vet thought that would be ok given a description of the pain. I friend on another forum has been treating her dog for 6 weeks for a muscular injury and it's finally resolving with meds. If a dog limps for long you get muscle wasting and months more of rehab or possible permanent damage. If you very gently at the ankle fold that paw forward while she's standing so the top is on the floor does she right it straight away? If not that could indicate nerve damage and I would go to the ER ASAP. Also if the paw is every warm or cold or there is any swelling I would go.
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    As already advised, I wouldn't worry much unless it persists. Mud has strained muscles before and we simply did lots of massaging and no jogs. Light walks if she felt like it, but otherwise just tons of massage. Massage before walk, after walk, and even in the middle of it if needed. My dogs get massages all the time just because they love it and it's a good way to keep them relaxed and loose. We always massage before and after jogs, and when I used to have lambs the dogs got massages before and after running them.

    Rusty pulled a muscle once running the lambs, and I just gave him a thorough massage of that leg(which put him to sleep,lol) and let him rest. I didn't let him run them for about 4 days but I kept up with the extra massaging. I let him play as he wanted, so long as he wasn't showing signs of pain. If he wanted to jog around the yard, that was fine--he was moving normally and it wasn't bothering him. He'd probably hate me if I made him end his fun, lol. ^^ We took walks at whatever length he could take, but again no jogging. He was just fine after a few days. No biggie.

    The walks I would say depend largely on the injury and the dog. If Mud seemed to be really hurting, I wouldn't do any walks at all--she's a BC, and BCs would rather do whatever's fun than rest, no matter what the injury. If she's really showing pain, something's wrong. Normally you can tell if there's something really wrong. If there's any swelling, there's a problem. If the muscles are tense, just massage. If she's limping some but no swelling and still herself, just take it easy and massage. If it's broke she's not going to want to do anything. So most likely just a minor muscle strain--no worries.

    Also--I would highly recommend looking into TTouch. Google Linda Tellington-Jones. It's wonderful...basically just teaching different massage methods and how/when to use them. She uses it on animals of all species--I learned about it with horses but started using it with the dogs as well, then found a bunch of dog books by her too. ^^ The Petsmart in my area carries two of her books--you might check yours. It's really good for everyday use, injuries, and your dog will just eat it up. :)
  7. bellapup Well-Known Member

    I LOVE giving doggie massages! I always try to give some to the bigger dogs at the park...which like you said, makes them drowsy and causes the owners to laugh. :) Well I'm glad to say I took the advice and have been massaging her leg every day. I found out that pure emu oil is ingestible to dogs and easily penetrates skin. It's supposed to be good for muscle strains.

    I just got some oil last night and I can't say it's necessarily the oil, but the massages oil or oil-less have definitely helped Bella. She's almost 100% back to normal, which is a relief because keeping the silly girl from jumping and running has been really hard! I've been seeing improvement every day, and I know a lot of it has to be due to her young age.

    The herbalist recommended some sort of supplement for Bella to take in case she's prone to these muscle injuries, but I wanted to do more research on it before actually buying it, not to mention I really don't think Bella's prone to the injuries..I feel like it was just a freak accident. She's only maybe 40 lbs now, so I'm sure it's not her size and weight.

    I'll definitely look into some more massaging techniques, I like how the T touch sounds.

    Bella and I are very grateful for all the advice. :) I know she's itching to go back to the park...but we'll be doing some smaller walks before going full fledged.
  8. maggies mom Well-Known Member

    Glad to hear she's feeling better. I was looking for your original post last night to ask how she was....but couldn't find it.
  9. snooks Experienced Member

    Thank goodness, I was checking back in to see how she was doing. It's very good to hear she's back to near perfect. YAY! :dogcool:
  10. bellapup Well-Known Member

    Thanks again for the concern. :) I love being able to come here for anything from the silly to the serious! I've been lifting Bella's left leg today and seeing if there was any flinching from putting full weight on the right, but there wasn't anything. She's decided herself that she wants to run a bit, so instead of tackling and holding her down, I've let her do a bit so that I can watch how she runs. She's actually compensating for the leg when she tries to run a little faster. Smart girl! I can see her right leg lifting and hovering just a little as she runs, only touching the ground every other time her left leg does. When she runs slower, I see her using both legs fully.

    I let her do a couple of very small runs and then took her back inside for a massage. She hasn't whimpered at all today when she's tried to take some naughty jumps at me. I think she knew I was eeking every time she tried to jump because after a few, she started planting her butt firmly to the floor and wait for the petting. *LOL* Gotta love em.
  11. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol. ^^ Glad to hear she's doing well. Massaging before park time or a light walk to loosen things, or even stretching will help avoid strains. You would probably be pretty likely to hurt something too if you ran a marathon and didn't stretch enough. :) You can actually kind of teach her to do these things herself--I've heard it's popular with agility competitors to have their dogs do various stretches on their own. If you put these on command it'd be good for them and entertaining for you. :doglaugh: Bowing, stretching the rear legs back, etc. Extra tricks for your repetoire. ;)
  12. kossack New Member

    I'm glad she's doing better, too. I wonder about diet in addition to these physical therapy sorts of approaches. In human beings after all, muscle spasms are often attributed to nutritional deficiencies!

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