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Cruciate Ligament Injury In Dogs

By PetMassage | January 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

Full Title: Cruciate Ligament Injury In Dogs

Author: Shawney Geisinger

Date of Publication: January 30, 2013

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/Cruciate-Ligament-Injury-In-Dogs-by-Shawney-Geisinger-2013-01-30.pdf

Research Paper Text:

The cruciate ligament tear, also known as an ACL or CCL, is one of the most common injuries in a dog. The cruciate ligament is a major part of a canine knee. Although this injury is not life threatening it is very important that it be addressed by a veterinarian, since this injury is very painful and will almost always require repair.

A canine’s knee, or stifle, is an intricate joint comprised of the patella, cartilage called the menisci and a series of ligaments connecting the femur to the tibia. Because the stifle is such an intricate joint it can be easily injured by a canine with the simple movement of running, or twisting and slipping on a floor is often the cause of this injury. Labradors and Rottweilers are the most common breeds for acquiring a cruciate tear, although it is an injury that can happen to any breed. Any canine that is overweight or obese is more susceptible to a cruciate tear.

Symptoms of a canine ACL tear are decreased range of motion, hind leg extended straight when sitting down, exercise intolerance. Other symptoms may include stiffness and limping, knee joint is swollen and there is heat radiating from the joint. Also, when standing a dog might only distribute weight on the toes instead of using the entire foot.

The function of the cruciate ligament in dogs is to stop the femur and the tibia from rubbing against one another. When the cruciate ligament is torn or ruptured the leg losses stability because the bones are now free to move back and forth on top of each other. This will cause inflammation due to the friction caused by the rubbing. This can also lead to arthritis.

There are acute and chronic cruciate ligament injuries. A chronic cruciate ligament injury can be associated with age and age related degenerative issues. When a canine is overweight its chances of acquiring a cruciate tear are greatly increased. Also the conformation of the knee can lead to chronic cruciate injury. Some large breed dogs are more prone to these types of injuries simply because of the way the back legs are formed. Acute cruciate injury is due to a sudden trauma of the joint, such as jumping, slipping or any type of jerking motion.

There are several types of surgery for dogs with an ACL tear. For small dogs, weighing 20 pounds or less, a ‘Lateral Suture’ or ‘Extracapsular Repair’ may be recommended because with this procedure a small dog may regain normal use of their leg in 8-14 weeks without too much risk of complications. This procedure is also the most traditional repair. A figure eight pattern is used to suture a strong lead line around the knee to provide stability and to help keep the knee in position.

For larger dogs a procedure called ‘Tibial Tuberosity Advancement’ (TTA) is often recommended. With this surgery the all the focus is on changing the angles of the bones within the knee joint. With this surgery the tibia is cut and moved forward to create more stability in the joint. A bone plate is used to hold the joint in this position. The bone plate can be removed after the joint has healed.

Another procedure used is the ‘Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy’ (TPL). With this surgery the slope of the tibial plateau is adjusted by cutting and rotating the top of the tibia, this position is also kept in place with a bone plate.

A procedure called ‘Triple Tibial Osteotomy’ (TTO) is a combination of the TPLO and TTA techniques. It moves the tibial crest forward and also adjusts the tibial plateau to 90 degrees.

The ‘Tightrope Surgery’ is technique that uses lateral suture stabilization procedure in conjunction with a material called Fiber Tape to provide bone to bone stabilization.

With the ‘Fibular Head Transposition’ the fibular head utilizes another ligament in the knee, the lateral collateral ligament, to take the place of the CCL. The fibula is rotated so that the lateral collateral ligament can perform the function of the CCL.

After any cruciate tear ligament surgery the main concern is for the dog to have minimal use of the limb. The dog should be limited to a crate or small room when the owner is not with the dog. All outdoor time and potty time should be supervised and on a lead only. A cone collar is also useful during this healing process. A regular checkup at the vet will most likely be scheduled for 2 weeks, 4 week, 6 weeks and 8 weeks. The healing time for any ACL surgery will be 6 -14 weeks. It is also very important during the 3 months of healing that the home be post-surgery proofed, such as decreasing the chances of the dog slipping or jumping. Stairs can be especially dangerous for a dog healing from ACL surgery, and should be used with extreme caution or blocked off all together.

During the recovery time massage is an excellent idea. Massage would not be performed to the surgical area, but instead to all other areas of the dog’s body. Keeping good circulation during the healing process is important because the dog will be limited to the amount of activity it is able to perform.

In conclusion a crutiate tear can occur to any dog at almost any time. It is an injury that needs medical attention, but also an injury that can be very successfully treated, bringing the body back to a state of homeostasis.

Sources

  • The Animal Medical Clinic, cruciate-ligament-surgery -in-dogs, Dr. Vince and Dr. Jeff Dog Knee Injury , Dog Knee Injury.com/cruciate-ligament-injury
  • About.com, Dogs, By Jenna Stregowski, RVT, Cruciate Ligament Injury in Dogs
  • Top Dog, Top Dog Health and Rehabilitation LLC. – cruciateguide.com

The Tibia

By PetMassage | January 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

Full Title: The Tibia

Author: Dave Wilde

Date of Publication: January 1, 2017

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Tibia-by-Dave-Wilde-2013-01-30.pdf

Research Paper Text:

The tibia is a long, strong bone that lies on the medial part of the crus (or true leg), and consists of a shaft and two extremities. The tibia articulates proximally with the femur, distally with the tarsus, and on the lateral side both proximally and distally with the companion bone of the crus, the fibula.

The shaft of the tibia is large, triangular, and three sided, proximally becoming smaller and flatter in the middle section. The shaft of the tibia widens and becomes nearly cylindrical at the distal extremity.

The body of the tibia (corpus tibiae), is three sided throughout its proximal half, while the distal half is essentially quadrilateral or cylindrical.

There are three surfaces and borders recognized in the proximal half of the tibia.

The surfaces are medial, lateral, and caudal. The medial surface is broad and rough proximally and narrowing distally. The lateral surface is a smooth, spiral curve. It is wide and concave in its proximal portion, narrow and convex centrally, and wider and flatted distally. The caudal surface is flattened and divided into two parts by the popliteal line. Near the popliteal line is a nutrient foramen.

The three borders of the tibia are cranial, medial, and lateral. The cranial border bears a crest to the proximal end.

Extremities of the tibia are proximal and distal. The proximal extremity is large and triangular, bearing two condyles, medial and lateral, and a tuberosity. The medial condyle is larger and of a slight saddle shape. It is separated from the lateral codyle by the popliteal notch and the tibial spine. The lateral condyle has an overhanging margin below which is a facet for articulation of the fibula. The tuberosity is located on the proximal end of the crest.

The distal end of the tibia is quadrilateral and smaller than the proximal, but slightly more massive than the adjacent part of the body. It has an articular surface and two malleoli. The malleoli are bony promiences on the outer margin of the articular grooves. The medial malleolus is smaller than the lateral, which is the distal extremity of the fibula. The articular surface consists of two grooves, separated by a ridge. The two grooves face obliquely forward and laterally. The medial groove is narrower and deeper than the lateral groove.

There are several ligament connections to the tibia. From a medial view, the tibial tuberosity connects to the cranial edge asa n extention of the patellar ligament. The medial collateral ligament attaches to the side (from the femur).

Muscular attachments lie on the cranial, lateral, and caudal surfaces of the tibia, whereas the medial surface is essential muscle-free. Flexor and extensor groups are not separated on the crus as they are on the antebrachium. Cranally and laterally are found extensors of the digital joints and flexors of the tarsus; caudally lie flexors of the digital joints and extendors of the tarsus. These functional muscle groups are mixed on the crus because the tarsal joint is set at an angle opposite of that of the digital joints.

Muscles that are attached to the cranial aspect of the tibia are bicep femoris, quadricep femoris, sartoius, gracilis, cranial tibial, peroneus longus, lateral digital extensor, and semitendinosus.

Muscles that attach to the caudal aspect are the semimembranosus, popliteus, flexor digitorum longus, flexor hallucis longus, and the caudal tibial.

Medial aspect muscles attachments are the semimembranosus, quadriceps, Sartorius, gracilis, popliteus, and semitendinosus.

The general area of the tibia also is the sight of many acupressure points. Six of the thirteen meridian run through the hind legs, including the stomach, spleen, bladder, kidney, gall bladder, and liver meridians. Within those meridians in the proximity of the tibia are thirteen acupressure points; five of them accumulation points, eleven command points, five connection points, three influential points, two master points, two sedation points, two source points, and three tonification points.

Acute Moist Dermatitis

By PetMassage | January 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

Full Title: Acute Moist Dermatitis / Hot Spots in Canines

Author: Jennifer Williams

Date of Publication: January 30, 2013

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/Acute-Moist-Dermatitis-Hot-Spots-in-Canines-by-Jennifer-Williams-2013-01-30.pdf

Research Paper Text:

Acute moist dermatitis, also known as hot spots, is a warm, moist, painful, reddened bacterial infection that is a swollen patch of skin that is 1 to 4 inches across that secretes pus and gives off a foul odor. A hot spot starts because something has irritated the skin. The body’s response is to either itch or become inflamed. The itching causes the dog to continue to lick or chew the site which further damages the skin and creates a cycle of itching, scratching and chewing.

These circular patches appear suddenly and enlarge quickly, often within a matter of hours. The sore is generally hot to the touch, hence the term “hot spot”. Since the dog continues to lick the area which expands the sore, this can cause serious injury, infection and even death if left untreated.

Hot spots can be caused by anything that aggravates the skin and irritates an itch-scratch cycle, but the most common irritants are fleas, mites, other skin parasites, skin allergies, irritant skin diseases, ear and anal gland infections and neglected grooming are other factors that can initiate the itch-scratch-itch cycle.

Other causes are allergies, inhalant, food, parasitic disease, anal gland disease, poor grooming, tick and mosquito bites, burrs and summer heat. Hot spots are most common in long-haired and heavy-coated breeds and are more common during the summer months.

Hot spots can occur anywhere on the body, often in more than one spot. One very typical location is under the ear flaps in large breeds with heavy, hairy ears, such as Newfoundland’s and Golden Retrievers. Hot spots occur most often in breeds with heavy coats and tend to appear just before shedding when moist, dead hair is trapped next to the skin.

Typically, hot spots can be detected when dogs exhibit the following:

  • Areas of hair loss with very red skin that is moist and has discharge
  • The skin becomes crusty or scabbed over
  • Intense scratching; Hot spots are extremely itchy which causes dogs to continue to scratch without letting up

Treatment of hot spots is extremely painful. The dog usually will need to be sedated or anesthetized for the initial treatment. Your veterinarian will clip away hair to expose the hot spot, then gently cleanse the skin with a dilute povidone-iodine shampoo (Betadine) or a chlorhexidine shampoo (Nolvasan) and allow the skin to dry. An antibiotic steroid cream or powder (Panolog or Neocort) is then applied twice a day for 10 to 14 days. Oral antibiotics are usually prescribed. Predisposing skin problems must be treated as well.

Your veterinarian may also prescribe a short course of oral corticosteroids to control severe itching. Prevent the dog from traumatizing the area by using an Elizabethan collar or a BiteNot collar.

In hot, humid weather, always be sure to dry your heavy-coated dog thoroughly after bathing or after he / her swims. Otherwise, the conditions are a perfect storm for a hot spot to develop.

SEE PDF FOR IMAGES

Citations

Zygomaticus Muscle

By PetMassage | December 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

Full Title: Zygomaticus Muscle

Author: Marcia Tillotson

Date of Publication: December 12, 2012

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/Zygomaticus-Muscle-by-Marcia-Tillotson-2012-12-12.pdf

Research Paper Text:

The Zygomaticus Muscle is one of several canine facial muscles that assist in moving the lips. In addition, it is a major muscle that also affects animal facial expression. According to Donald R. Adams in his book, `Canine Anatomy: A Systemic Study` Fourth Edition, “The zygomaticus muscle extends cranioventrally from the scutiform cartilage of the ear to the caudal edge of the superior lip, where its fibers radiate into the obicularis oris muscle.” P. 125 The zygomaticus muscle is a small muscle that pulls the corners of the mouth upward and rearward. Drs. Howard E. Evans PhD and Alexander de Lahunta DVM PhD explain in their book `Guide to the dissection of the dog` 7th edition, that the zygomaticus, as well as, all of the deep muscles of the nose and lip “are innervated by the facial nerve and most all by the dorsal or ventral buccal branches of the facial nerve”. P. 191. Its actions are to raise and laterally move the commissure of the lips. It is considered by many as the basic “smile” muscle.

Longissimus Thoracis Muscle

By PetMassage | December 3, 2012 | 0 Comments

Full Title: Longissimus Thoracis Muscle

Author: Okada Takashi

Date of Publication: December 3, 2012

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/Longissimus-Thoracis-Muscle-by-Okada-Takashi-2012-12-03.pdf

Research Paper Text:

Sacrospinalis

Sacrospinalis is a lateral part of an epaxial (on the back panel) muscle and a very thick deep muscle which continues toward neck. The sacrospinalis emerges on the spine of the last four thoracic vertebrae and attaches to the first thoracic vertebrae and the cervical vertebrae. There are three muscles, namely 1) semispinalis, 2) longissimus, and 3) iliocostalis. The sacrospinalis is a critical muscle to extend the vertebrae column.

Longisimus

The longissimus muscles are located side by side with the spinal and semispinal muscles. The word ‘longissimus’ means the longest and the longissimus muscle is the longest muscle among the sacrospinalis. Also, the longissimus is the largest muscle among the sacrospinalis. The action of the longisimus muscle is to extend and bend the trunk, neck, and head. The origin is the transverse process at inferior vertebral levels and the insertion is the transverse process at superior vertebral levels and mastoid process.

Longissimus Thoracis Muscle

Longisimus muscle is subdivided into the thoracis, cervicis, and capitis portion. It is also called ‘longissimus dorsi.’ The longissimus thoracis muscle is located on the lumber region and it is categorized as a thoracis part of the longissimus muscle. The origin is the transverse processes of the lower thoracic vertebrae and the insertion is the lower ribs and the transverse processes of the upper lumbar vertebrae. The nerve supply is from the dorsal branches of the thoracic and the lumbar nerves.

References

Smile Muscle: The muscles involved in a genuine canine smile

By PetMassage | October 31, 2012 | 0 Comments

Full Title: Smile Muscle: The muscles involved in a genuine canine smile

Author: Margaret Szedenits

Date of Publication: October 31, 2012

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/Smile-Muscle-by-Margaret-Szedenits-2012-10-31.pdf

Research Paper Text:

As with humans the pulling back of the lips of the canine does not always mean friendly intentions. The pulling back of a dog’s lips with an open mouth should be taken in context. It is important to see how the dog’s eyes appear. For a smile they are soft with the eyelids relaxed and even partly closed. Often a dog’s tongue is hanging out when smiling. The muscles that open a dog’s mouth, pull back the lips, close the eyelid, and protrude the tongue are listed below .

Zygomaticus major and minor

  • Origin: Zygomatic bone, Insertion; angle of mouth
  • Action: To fix the angle of the mouth and draw it back (1)

Levator labii superioris

  • Arises on the lateral aspect of the face and runs dorsorostrally to form (with its opposite side) a common tendon that descends into the lip between the nostrils
  • Action: Elevates the medial part of the upper lip (1)

Levator nasolabialis

  • A flat muscle lying beneath the skin on the lateral surface of the maxillary bone. It arises from the maxillary bone, over the dorsum of the nose, courses rostroventrally, and attaches partly to the lateral part of the upper lip and partly to the wing of the nostril
  • Action: It is able to dilate the nostril and elevate and retract the upper lip (1)

Diagastricus

  • Arises from the paracondylar process of the occipital bone and is inserted on the body of the mandible. A tendinous intersection crosses its belly and divides it into rostral and caudal parts.
  • Action: It acts to open the jaws. When the mouth is closed, contraction raises the hyoid apparatus. The rostral portion is innervated by the mandibular nerve and the caudal belly is innervated by the facial nerve. (1)

Incisivus superioris

  • lies deep to the orbicularis oris. Not clearly defined from the obicularis and buccinator. It arises on the alveolar borders of the incisive bone and mandible as far as the corner of the incisor teeth and are situated immediately beneath the mucosa of the lips.
  • Action: raises the upper lip (2)

Orbicularis Oculi

  • A sphincter that surrounds the palpebral fissure, the opening between the lids. It is attached medial to the medial palpebral ligament and laterally blends with the retractor anguli oculi lateralis muscle. It narrows the opening to a horizontal slit when it contracts (blinking).Innervated by the auriculopalpebral branch of the facial nerve (1)

Genioglossus

  • Arises from the intermandibular articulation and adjacent surface of the body of the mandible. Joins its fellow at the median plane and is bounded medially by the geniohyoideus and laterally by the hyoglossus. It lies partly in the frenulum. It is a lingual muscle. Its caudal fibers protrude the tongue, and its rostral ones retract the apex. Innervated by the hypoglossal nerve (1)

WORKS CITED

  1. http://quizlet.com/12788645/muscles-and-soft-tissue-structures-of-the-canine-head-flashcards/
  2. Evans, Howard, Ph.D., 1993. Miller’s Anatomy of the Dog, 3rd Edition. Philadelphia. Saunders. pp. 266-271
  3. Picture of smiling canine (with snowy muzzle) courtesy of David Wilde, all rights reserved.

Medical Collateral Elbow Ligament

By PetMassage | October 24, 2012 | 0 Comments

Full Title: Medial Collateral Elbow Ligament

Author: Ashley Needles

Date of Publication: January 1, 2017

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/Medial-Collateral-Elbow-Ligament-by-Ashley-Needles-2012-10-24.pdf

Research Paper Text:

This is a ligament in the dogs elbow that helps maintain the stability of the elbow joint.

Its main function is to help prevent excessive or abnormal movement of the elbow.

The MCL insertions are made up of tissues that help facilitate movements between the bones in the dogs arm. (http://jms.org.br/PDF/v25n1-4a71.pdf).

The ligament helps attach and stabilize the upper and lower arm, connecting at the elbow where this ligament is located. (Dr. David W. Altchek, MD. http://www.hee.edu).

Therefore the ligament offers protection to the elbow joints by offering resistance to the tension in the dogs arm. (http://jms.org.br/PDF/v25n1-4a71.pdf).

Elbow of Canine

By PetMassage | October 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

Full Title: Elbow of Canine

Author: Lauren Hubach

Date of Publication: October 9, 2012

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/Elbow-of-Canine-by-Lauren-Hubach-2012-10-09.pdf

Research Paper Text:

The forelimb of a dog is comprised of many bones, joints and ligaments. Located just behind the chest on the back of the foreleg is the elbow. It is a major weight-bearing joint of the canine forelimb. -Cheryl Schwartz, DVM; Four Paws Five Directions; p. 344

The elbow is a joint, referred to as the cubital joint, formed between the distal end of the humerus and the proximal end of both the radius and ulna. The radius and ulna are separate, not fused together, in the canine elbow. This allows for joint movements such as flexion and extension, pronation and supination. Annette Vindenes; http://studentvet.wordpress.com/2010/07/25

You will find Hyaline cartilage on the surface of this joint. It is this cartilage that makes the surface of the elbow smoothe, and reduces friction in the joint. Hyaline cartilage is lubricated by the synovial fluid which is produced by the membrane of the same name, the synovial membrane. The elbow joint “pouches” between the radius and ulna, and are surrounded by the annular ligament as well as the collateral ligaments. The annular ligament of the radius attaches to the sides of the coronoid process of the ulna. A ring is formed when this annular ligament meets the collateral ligaments of the radius. It is this meeting point in the elbow that allows the radial head to turn during pronation and supination. -Robert A. Kainer, DVM, MS and Thomas O. McCracken, MS; Dog Anatomy, A Coloring Atlas; plate 15 -Vetstreet Pets Portal; https://www.vetsecure.com/abingtonvet.net/articles/56

Blood is provided to this joint by the subclavian artery. And the most predominant nerves in the elbow joint are the ulnar nerve, radial nerve and olecranon. Damage or trauma to these nerves can cause loss of functionality in the elbow. When the elbow joint isn’t functioning properly, or at all, it can result in instability, severe pain and even lameness in the forelimb. -Caroline Davis; Essential Dog; p.133

The Dewclaw

By PetMassage | October 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

Full Title: The Dewclaw

Author: Christina Lemnotis

Date of Publication: October 9, 2012

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Dewclaw-by-Christina-Lemnotis-2012-10-09.pdf

Research Paper Text:

The dewclaw is the rudimentary first digit of dogs and cats, found on the inner side of the front legs, above the weight-bearing digits. It is defined as an accessory appendage of the integumentary system (Colville et al. 2008, 147). They are also considered to be an accessory claw of the ruminant foot, analogous to a false hoof of a deer, hog, goat etc. In dogs, the dewclaw is the first digit, but actual bones are only found in the dewclaws of the forelimbs. Pigs, cattle, and sheep also have dewclaws but only in pigs are bones present. Both the metacarpal and phalangeal bones are present in the dewclaws of pigs, just as they are in weight-bearing digits (Colville et al. 2008, 178). There are no dewclaws present in aquatic mammals due to its definition of “a claw not touching the ground.”

In the dog, the dewclaw contains two bones; a proximal phalanx and a distal phalanx. This is a similar structure to the human thumb, which also only contains two phalanges as well. There are no sesamoid bones in the dewclaw of a dog. Each distal phalanx contains a pointed ungual process, which is surrounded by the claw (Colville et al. 2008, 489). An ungual process is the process on the distal end of the distal phalanx of dogs that is surrounded by the claw in the living animal (Colville et al. 2008, 147). Blood does reach the dewclaw of a dog and therefore, if torn, the dewclaw can become infected. Branches of the radial, median, and ulnar nerves transmit sensations from the digits to the brain. These nerves can be blocked with local anesthetic above the site of the dewclaw prior to surgery. This helps control pain in the immediate postoperative period.

The dewclaw is commonly removed from puppies at an early age due to the susceptibility to injury and infection throughout life. There are some breeds, which must have the dewclaw present in order to be recognized as the breed standard. These dogs include the Great Pyrenees dog and Briard. The Briard must have double rear dewclaws present (Zink). However, the removal of the dewclaw is debated amongst veterinarians and owners.

It is believed by some that it should be removed due to the possibility of injury in life. Other veterinarians say that such injuries are actually not very common at all and it is far better to deal with an injury than to cut the dewclaws off all dogs as a precaution (Zink). In canine athletes it is believed that the dewclaw still does have a function and is not just the remains of a digit that has regressed in the course of evolution (Zink). According to the Miller’s Guide to the Anatomy of Dogs, there are five tendons attached to the dewclaw, which would atrophy if the dewclaw were removed. The muscles attached to the dewclaw indicated that the dewclaws actually do have a function, which is to prevent torque on the leg (Zink). When the dog is cantering or galloping the dewclaw comes in contact with the ground. If the dog needs to turn, the dewclaw digs into the ground to provide support to the lower leg and prevent torque. It is thought if the dewclaws were absent, the dog’s leg would twist each time. After a lifetime of twisting, it could cause carpal arthritis, or injury to other joints such as the elbow, shoulder and toes (Zink).

References

  • Colville, Thomas, and Joanna M. Bassert. Clinical Anatomy and Physiology. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier, 2008. (accessed May 27, 2012).
  • Zink, M. Christine. “Do the Dew(claws)?.” Canine Sports Productions. http://www.caninesports.com/DewClawExplanation.pdf (accessed May 25, 2012).

Pads of the Paw

By PetMassage | October 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

Full Title: Pads of the Paw

Author: Cathy Bickerstaff

Date of Publication: October 9, 2012

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/Pads-of-the-Paw-by-Cathy-Bickerstaff-2012-10-09.pdf

Research Paper Text:

Pause for the Paw Pads

While humans can change out their footwear, dogs cannot. The pads of the paw provide cushion on walks. The pads also give support and serve as a protective layer. Even though the pads are tough they are not indestructible.

Injuries can occur while walking on rough surfaces, stepping on sharp objects, extreme temperatures, chemicals, or over-walking. The most common injury is an abrasion that progresses to a cut. Sharp rocks, uneven surfaces, thorns, sticks, broken glass, all pose hazards for the pads of paws.

A responsible dog owner will examine the pads periodically to check for injuries. If the dog licks the pads over and over there is a good chance there is some type of injury. Limping can also indicate something is wrong with the pads. When checking the pads, be sure and check between the pads as well. Excessive licking or biting of feet and pads can also indicate allergies especially when combined with scratching ears. The vet will need to determine if there are allergies and what the treatment plan should be.

Obviously, if there is something stuck in the pad remove it. Disinfect any area appearing abnormal – bloody, raw, etc. Open cuts should be cleansed and triple antibiotic applied. If the cut is deep, large, or will not stop bleeding, the vet will need to determine if stitches are necessary. Injuries appearing simple can become worse. Continue to check the injury every few to make sure the injury is improving or if that trip to the vet is needed. Do not be surprised if the dog licks off the antibiotic ointment.

Paw pad conditioners are available especially for hunting dogs or dogs that spend a large amount of time outside. Commercial chemical and herbal treatments help protect the paws, keep them softer, stronger, gives them a better grip. These conditioners’ antiseptic properties aide in healing minor cuts and scrapes. Conditioners generally contain some or all of the following ingredients: aloe, Shea butter, vitamins, linseed oil, beeswax, lavender, avocado oil, and peppermint.

In addition to paw pad conditioners, prevention is important in paw pad preservation. Evaluate the route, the length of the walk, the various surfaces. Avoid small gravel or other surfaces where foreign objects can be picked up between the pads. Also pay attention to the weather. If it is hot enough to fry an egg on the concrete, it is hot enough to burn the paw pads. When walking on the beach, make it along the water’s edge so the pads can be cooled by the water. In addition to inspection, paw pad massage should be a regular part of the dog’s routine. Massage increases circulation – brings nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and removes waste products.

Wash the paws frequently especially after walking on salted surfaces. Washing the paws after returning inside is important for dogs with allergies. For convenience, baby wipes will do the job of washing the dog’s paws and pads.

Pause for the paw pads: regularly inspect, clean, remove debris, condition, massage, and treat if necessary.

When a dog is hot, he will pant. Dogs do not sweat through their skin like a horse. However, one sign a dog is stressed is sweating through their pads. If a dog is pacing and leaving wet paw prints, the dog is stressed. From Wikipedia

The paw is characterized by thin, pigmented, keratinized, hairless epidermis covering subcutaneous, collagenous, and adipose tissue, which make up the pads. These pads act as a cushion for the load-bearing limbs of the animal. The paw consists of the large, heart-shaped metacarpal or palmer pad (forelimb) or metatarsal or plantar pad (rear limb), and generally four load-bearing digital pads, although there can be five or six toes in the case of bears and the Giant Panda. A carpal pad is also found on the forelimb which is used for additional traction when stopping or descending a slope in digitigrades species. Additional dewclaws can also be present.

The paw also includes a horny, beak shaped claw on each digit. Although usually hairless, certain animals do have fur on the soles of their paws. An example is the Red Panda, whose furry soles help insulate them in their snowy habitat.

References