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What is a sprain? How does it occur in dogs? How to recognize it and how to relieve it while waiting to go to see your vet?

What is a sprain?

A sprain is a stretch or rupture of the ligaments that hold the bones together within a joint. There are different degrees of severity of a sprain, ranging from a simply stretched ligament to a partial or complete tear of the ligament with, sometimes, a bone tear.

In dogs, all the joints of the paws can be the subject of a sprain so that one can meet sprains of the knee (or rupture of the cruciate ligament, the most common in dogs), sprains of the fingers, carpal sprains (wrist) or even tarsal sprains (ankle).

How does a sprain occur in dogs?

The occurrence of a sprain in dogs occurs under the same conditions as sprains in humans. They occur more frequently in sporting and hunting dogs, but also sometimes in less athletic dogs during less intense effort, when they jump off the sofa or play “crazy” with fellow-creatures, for example.

The dog’s sprain has a traumatic origin. The injury occurs when a limb gets stuck somewhere (paw in a hole, claw stuck in the ground …) in one direction, and the rest of the body continues to move in another direction.

What are the signs of a dog sprain?

The moment the dog injures himself, he feels a sharp pain which he can express by a cry. However, the precise moment when the sprain occurs can go completely unnoticed by the owner. This is particularly the case with a “& nbsp; simple & nbsp;” ligament elongation. A sporting dog caught in the heat of the moment and in the excitement of the moment can still run after tripping without expressing pain. However, when the excitement subsides, his pain and discomfort will manifest as lameness in the affected limb.

A sprain, whatever its the degree of severity, manifests itself in fact by permanent lameness of the limb concerned, cold or hot. This lameness appears suddenly as a result of the trauma. It may be accompanied by a hot and painful swelling of the affected joint. It is therefore advisable to consult your veterinarian without delay in order to set up an appropriate treatment. Depending on the severity of the sprain, treatment can range from simply immobilizing the joint with a splint to surgery.

Please note!

Lameness in dogs does not necessarily mean they have a sprain. There are many other causes of lameness in dogs! Only your veterinarian can determine the cause during a consultation.

Dog sprain: how to relieve your pet?

While waiting for the consultation with the vet, you can relieve your dog’s pain by:

applying an ice pack to your pet’s injured limb for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours for the first 24 hours after the trauma. The cold will limit inflammation and pain through its vasoconstrictor effect. Do not apply the ice to your dog’s skin at the risk of burning it, but place ice cubes in a closed freezer bag that you will place in another bag containing a little cold water before closing it in turn. You can also use a gel pouch in its cover or a bag of frozen peas to soothe your pet.

Avoiding walking your dog and putting him on forced rest. Limit his outings to hygienic outings only and keep your dog on a short leash,

giving him two homoeopathic granules of Arnica 5CH every quarter of an hour and then every half hour until his pain subsides a little,

applying a drop of peppermint essential oil to the sore area (in the absence of an open wound only).


Never give your dog painkillers for humans. Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Paracetamol are toxic to him!


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Caring for and understanding a dog is not instinctive! helps you see more clearly by offering you many tips to live better with your four-legged friend and to preserve his health … all, with a lot of positive education and natural care!

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