Joint Dislocation in Dogs

Joint Dislocation in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Pain / Swelling

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Rated as serious conditon

55 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Pain / Swelling

Joint Dislocation in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Joint Dislocation?

A joint dislocation, or joint luxation, is a condition where the ends of your dog’s bones move out of their usual positions and separate. This can occur with any joint, typically following some form of trauma. If your dog suddenly exhibits lameness, or if you detect swelling around a joint, schedule a veterinarian consultation immediately. A dislocated joint must be treated as soon as possible to prevent aggravation and more severe damage.

When the ligaments that hold a joint in place break, the two bones may separate, resulting in a joint dislocation or luxation. The joint will need to be returned to its original position and held in place so the surrounding casing can heal. The earlier the injury is treated, the better the prognosis.

Symptoms of Joint Dislocation in Dogs

Symptoms vary depending on the location of the joint dislocation. Typically, dogs will exhibit lameness in the affected limb, which may progress over time. Your dog may be reluctant to walk because of pain, and you may see swelling around the joint. Other symptoms specific to a certain joint include:

  • Ankle

    — Foot hanging loose or moving in unusual directions

  • Elbow — Elbow carried flexed
  • Hip — Shortening of limb

Causes of Joint Dislocation in Dogs

A dislocation occurs when a joint separates from the socket and is usually caused by trauma, such as a fall or a car accident. Joints are held in place with thick ligaments, which may break when subjected to severe trauma. Though dogs of any breed may suffer a dislocation, some are genetically predisposed to conditions that may lead to luxation. An example of such a condition is hip dysplasia in German shepherds. Dogs under one year of age are less likely to experience a dislocation, as the immature bone is prone to fracturing instead.

Diagnosis of Joint Dislocation in Dogs

A physical examination and radiographs are the common tools for diagnosing a dislocated joint. If your dog is limping and unwilling to put weight on the affected limb, the veterinarian will request some information from you, such as the duration of symptoms and if your dog has been in a recent accident. Most cases of joint luxation present with a history of trauma or intense activity. The veterinarian may be able to tell the extent of the dislocation through a physical examination, though a radiograph is the most reliable method for inspecting a joint luxation and can reveal any fractures around the dislocated joint. CTs and MRIs may be used as well.

Though laboratory testing is not necessary for diagnosis, the veterinarian may recommend blood work or a urinalysis to determine your dog’s ability to withstand anesthesia as part of treatment.

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Treatment of Joint Dislocation in Dogs

There are two methods of treatment for a luxated joint.

Closed Reduction

In certain cases, the joint can be returned to its original location through closed reduction, which does not require surgically opening the area around the joint. This is a non-invasive procedure but requires general anesthesia to relax the muscles. Following reduction, a radiograph confirms that the joint is in the correct position.

Surgery

If the ligaments surrounding the joint are too damaged, surgery may be required to repair the joint. The veterinarian may be able to sew the joint capsule back together in order to support the joint once it has been manipulated back to its original position. Depending on the extent of the damage, screws, pins, or washers may be used to replicate the torn ligaments and to hold the joint in place.

In both closed and open reduction, the limb will be held in position with a bandage or wrap following treatment, which provides support to the joint while the surrounding joint capsule heals. The prognosis for a joint dislocation is typically good.

Recovery of Joint Dislocation in Dogs

Limit your dog’s activity following reduction. The sling or splint will need to remain in place for one to two weeks while the joint capsule heals, and you will need to visit your veterinarian for a follow-up examination prior to its removal to ensure that the joint is still in position. Keep the supportive bandage clean and dry during this time, and monitor your dog for signs of discomfort or swelling.

After the supportive devices have been removed, your dog will most likely remain reluctant to place weight on the affected limb. Continue to restrict your dog’s physical activity for several weeks to avoid placing additional trauma on the joint. Make sure that your dog has access to fresh food and clean water during the healing process, and provide a safe, quiet place where he or she can recover comfortably.

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Joint Dislocation Average Cost

From 37 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,500

Average Cost

$2,100

Joint Dislocation Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

Mitch

dog-breed-icon

Yorkie

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Dislocation

Took my 8 year old Yorkie (Male) in for a routine nail trim to my vets office on Thursday. The groomer brought him to me in her arms after the trim, and he tends to mis behave at the vets office , so I took him out to my car , as I always do, to return and settle my bill for the service and supplies that I purchased. I carried him to the car, and when i sat him down I noticed that he was holding his left rear leg up off the ground. The groomer informed me when she handed him to me that she trimmed several nails to short and they bleed. I assumed when he was craddling his leg that his foot was just sore from the trim, I went in and paid my bill and left. Got home sat him down on the floor in my bedroom when I noticed he was still not walking on his foot, I was trying not to panic, so I waited a little bit( Maybe an hour or hour and a half), and something just didn't seem right with him. He wasn't crying out in pain, but was shivering like he was in pain, so I called my vets office. I told them that his leg just didn't seem right to me and I wanted someone to look at it ASAP. They told me to bring him in the next day at 2 pm which I did. When we arrived, I had a tech and a doctor check him out The doctor examined him physically -palpating and feeling his leg and hip. She seemed concerned, just as I had. I demanded that they take an exray of his leg to see what was going on, they did, and 20 minutes later the Head Doctor and they other doctor came in and informed me that his leg had been dislocated form his hip due to trauma they said. I was horrified and furious at this point! I told them that It happened during his "Nail trim" because when i brought him in he was walking, running around and being his normal silly self and he was fine when I gave him to her to take him back for his trim. I am at wits end with this situation. I feel that the groomer should be reprimanded for her actions against my dog, and for the pain and suffering she caused him, she should lose her job! They did rest his leg and he is now staying at the vets office over night to make sure he is doing okay! I am worried sick about my dog! I have cried so hard my head hurts, and I am just anger that my dog was abused by this person or persons. I feel so bad and almost guilty myself for even taking him in for a routine nail trim yesterday! My question for you Doctor is what can I expect now for his recouping at home and what should I do to prevent him from possibly re injuring himself? I am a professional chef and I work a ton of hours and won't be home to watch after him a lot, it it is truly worrying me. Should I hire a service for him to stay at or should I get a cage??? He is my baby boy and my best friend, and I only want him to be safe and comfortable throughout his healing process. Please advise. Thank you all for listening/reading this. PJ, Mitch's Mum

Aug. 11, 2018

Mitch's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

As far as blame or mistreatment, this is something I don’t want to get into from a legal point of view as I am not aware of all the facts and you should consult with a legal professional if you wish to pursue that. As far as the dislocated hip goes, the Veterinarian or Vet Tech on discharge will (or should) give you instructions on care as well as any follow up appointments which may be needed: also you should think about getting a small crate just enough for Mitch to turn around, have an area to lay down and another to eat/drink whilst your gone out the house; you should also walk him outside (carry down steps) to do his business. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 11, 2018

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Bear

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German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Lame
Loss Of Muscle

My 5yr old gsd male ive noticed is limping onbhis left back leg. There is no swelling, but he has lost a bit of muscle mass in it. He will walk on it, lay on it and use it to scratch, plus can sit normally. But when standing still he will hold it up. I had a feel around his hip area, it did feel more exposed than the other, and it didnt hurt him (keep in mind he has lost abit off mass in that side), but when i felt the muscle/tendon on the front of his leg and put pressure he shook and winged and went to pull away. He is doing everything else normal, and his limp has gotten less over 3 days.

July 29, 2018

Bear's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If Bear's limp has been limping enough to allow a decrease in muscle mass, he should probably be seen by a veterinarian, as they will be able to examine him, take x-rays if needed, and figure out what is happening with him and how to treat it.

July 29, 2018

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Cujo

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Pit bull

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Limping

Have a very young blue pit lab with a dislocated front left paw (ankle I guess) can I just splint it and it go back.? How do I help its pain we have absolutely zero finances can barely care for us and five kids

July 15, 2018

Cujo's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

It is not a good idea to splint the foot, as more damage can happen from the splint than by leaving it alone. If he is putting weight on the foot, you may be fine to monitor him and see if it improves. Most OTC pain medications are toxic to dogs, so he may need prescription pain medication. If it is broken or dislocated, it will likely not heal on its own. Many clinics do offer free or discounted first exams, and that may allow you to have him seen so that you at least know more what is going on and what to expect. There may be a lost cost clinic in your area as well.

July 15, 2018

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Kato

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Lhasapoo

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Limping

My dog is a Lhasapoo just turning 8 and weight 18lbs. He is not overweight and is very active. He has always jumped off of and onto high beds and couches without issue. Just recently while jumping UP to the couch I noticed him holding his left front leg off of the couch and close to his body. I touched it and it was "stuck" in the position. I gently pulled on his front paw and heard a little pop and it went back to normal. He immediately acted like nothing ever happened. This has now happened 3 times all when he is jumping UP on the bed or couch and I was able to simply pop it back into place with little force. He can still jump down with full force and it does not harm him. I just ordered him Cosequin which contains Glucosamine and other joint supplements. Should I take him to the vet or wait to see how he reacts to the Cosequin?

July 2, 2018

Kato's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

The Cosequin (chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine and manganese ascorbate) will help with general movement of joints, but if there is dislocation of a joint it is not going to help; in these cases rest is best as well as preventing Kato from jumping up onto furniture (may need to restrict to a crate). It would be good to visit your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side to ensure that there isn’t anything more serious going on. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 2, 2018

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Shay

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

13 Years

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Leg Dangles But Not In Pain

Her leg doesn't seem dislocated but wont put weight on leg. I can touch and move her leg without her caring at all. She uses leg to steady herself when using the bathroom. No trauma. ..

May 27, 2018

Shay's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Without examining Shay it is difficult to say whether there is a dislocation, nerve injury, spinal issue or another cause; you should restrict her movements for the time being and visit your Veterinarian if there is no improvement by Monday morning. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 28, 2018

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Mia

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Pitbull mix

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8 Months

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Moderate condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Limping

Hello, my 9-month-old pitbull mix got hit by a car a couple of nights ago and we took her to the vet and found out she has a hairline fracture on the right side shoulder area and a dislocated elbow. They offered to amputate or do surgery to put pins on there. I am not amputating and can't afford the surgery. My question is if we put a cast or leg brace will her elbow go back in place properly? Is it even recommended? I really don't have too many options that I can afford. She is showing signs already of healing by going outside to use the bathroom, eating, drinking, and she evens sleeps on the side of her injury without crying as she did the first night. I'm thinking she should recover pretty well. I rather her have all 4 legs with a slight limp versus no leg at all. Can you please advise if either a cast or brace would be recommended?

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Memphis

dog-breed-icon

Springerdoodle

dog-age-icon

4 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Limping

Our 4 week old puppy's front right leg is not being used much since Friday (1 1/2 days ago). He whimpers and cries, but is using it a little bit now, which is better than when we first noticed the injury Friday night. We think he caught his leg in something and pulled too hard to get it out. Should we take him in? There is no swelling, but it seems the pain is coming from the shoulder area. Like I said, he's using it a bit more each day. We want to do the right thing for him. Regular vet opens tomorrow at 9:00 am

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YumYum

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papipoo

dog-age-icon

10

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Pain
Limping

My small 8lbs dog was run over by my giant 90lbs dog. Blu (cane corso) stepped on YumYum (papipoo) and now her ankle (small bones part) is dislocated. I took her to the only veterinarian that was opened and they are suggesting amputation of the leg. I am taking her to another vet for a second opinion. And while finances are tight, I don't know if amputation is the right call. Has anyone else had this experience. Their explanation for amputation was that her bones are to small to put back in place and that with her age it probably still would not heal right.

dog-name-icon

Bud

dog-breed-icon

German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Limping
Lameness
Dislocation
Dysplasia

Hi there. I would really like some input here. My dog has hip dysphasia and is currently 7 year old GSD. He had his hip replacement 4 weeks ago and unfortunately overnight at the hospital he dislocated it. Surgical reduction was carried out and was found that he shredded his gluteus muscle. Everything was repaired to vets best ability and an ehmar sling was placed for 10 days. For first 2 weeks he was admitted to a hospital and kept under observation. He lost a lot of muscle mass during this phase and will not place his leg on the ground (non weight bearing). When I picked him up after two weeks post surgery, it was decided to take him for rehab. After examination with the rehab expert, it was decided to admit him at the rehab clinic for 5 to 6 weeks. During this period, he would undergo ultrasonic treatment, laser therapy, electro acupuncture, swim and various physical exercise. After first week of therapy, there some minor changes. Second week he was placed in a toe up sling to stop scoffing on his paw and to get his foot in right position. Today I visited him after 2 weeks of rehab and 4 weeks post surgery. He seems to be placing his foot correctly while standing still but still not weight baring. He still drags his foot while walking and for me it is very painful to watch. At this stage plan is to continue with with his rehab until he is weight bearing. Once that happened he will start with hydrotherapy. My observation: When lying down he is moving his leg and stretches it. When touch in area where he has scoffed his paw, he will retract his foot back indicating some sensation. This is hard to explain but I will try. His leg seems to be rotated inwards like his knee is pointing inwards and I can feel resistance when I try to move it outwards. He is otherwise very happy and friendly. Loves licking and food. My biggest concern is is there some nerve damage? Or is it just because of the ehmar sling he is sort of constricted in that position. Could it be possible that the muscle attachment has not happened. How long before he will be weight bearing? Like I understand no one can give an exact answer but just from your experience, how long does it usually takes, 3/4/5 weeks? Also any suggestion on how the hip would have dislocated in the first place specially when he was under observation in a cage? My understanding is that his leg has to be in full extension like when running or lateral like when his back legs slip out side ways? Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

dog-name-icon

Phoenix

dog-breed-icon

Lab retriever mix

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Dislocated Hip

My 1 year old dog dislocated her hip and we took her into the bet he said he could try and pop it back into place which he did but when we took her back after 2 weeks they said it's popped back out and he wants to do surgery I wanted a second opinion he won't try to pop back in again he wants to take part of ball in her hip off and put in back it and says she will have limp and one leg will be longer than the other she's only one and just didn't want to jump straight into cutting her up I feel so bad for her she's home today and surgery is scheduled for next week but I've been calling around trying find a 2nd opinion.

Joint Dislocation Average Cost

From 37 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,500

Average Cost

$2,100

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