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What is Muscle Tear?

The action of tearing a muscle is very painful for your dog. Muscles are susceptible to injury during an eccentric contraction, which is when the normal workings of a muscle shortening are interrupted and strained. An iliopsoas muscle tear usually occurs at the weakest point of the muscle-tendon, and lameness or gait abnormality can be the first sign of injury you will see in your dog.

A muscle tear occurs by virtue of a stretch-induced injury. Acute muscular tears most often occur as a result of high energy activity, such as during agility movements, times of roughhousing with other dogs, or when chasing after a ball. The iliopsoas muscle, which consists of the fusion of the iliacus and psoas muscles, is a common location for a muscle tear, yet is infrequently diagnosed.


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Muscle Tear Average Cost

From 29 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,400

Symptoms of Muscle Tear in Dogs

Many dog owners do not recognize the extent of trauma that an injury to the muscle can produce. If you notice the signs below in your pet, schedule a visit with the veterinarian right away:

  • Varying degrees of lameness (iliopsoas muscle tear presents with lameness in the hind legs)
  • Pain in legs
  • Pain in lower back
  • Swelling
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Tendency to avoid weight bearing on one side or the other
  • Muscle wasting
Types of Muscle Tear in Dogs
In veterinary medicine, muscle injuries are classified three ways:
  • Stage I: This is a mild injury with inflammation and bruising, but the muscle is intact.
  • Stage II: A more moderate trauma to the muscle, with inflammation and some tearing of fibrous tissue.
  • Stage III: Classified as a severe tear, there is extensive disruption to the fibrous tissue and hematoma formation takes place.
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Causes of Muscle Tear in Dogs

It has been recorded that sporting and working dogs are at an increased risk for acute tissue injury. There can be several reasons for muscle tear in dogs as listed below:

  • An underlying neurological condition that causes your dog to continually tighten his groin muscles in an effort to protect himself from pain
  • A concurrent orthopedic problem such as hip dysplasia
  • Recent surgery for an injury like cranial cruciate ligament rupture
  • Repetitive training without a variation in movement
  • Constant eccentric contraction (muscle movement during stretch)
  • Lack of warm up before exercising
  • Excessive force on the iliopsoas muscle
  • Intensive agility training
  • Traumatic occurrence such as slipping into a splayed leg position

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Diagnosis of Muscle Tear in Dogs

It must be noted that dogs who have experienced muscle injury sometimes do not get the required care for recovery as a result of lack of knowledge of the owner. Often, rest and a break in activity are the course of action when in reality, a full examination by a veterinarian is essential for adequate treatment.

The veterinarian will ask for history on your pet’s range of movement of late, and will find it helpful to get your opinion on how your dog is functioning in his day to day life. The veterinarian will then look for pain and spasm upon palpitation or stretching of the limb. She will also check for neurological dysfunction.

A radiograph may show a concurrent orthopedic condition, which can lead to a compensation injury like the muscle tear. Other facets of the injury will not be visible on the x-ray unless the injury is in the chronic stage, whereby mineralization of the tendon may be evident. Use of MRI and CT scan may show an iliopsoas tear.

An ultrasound is the most common tool for diagnosis because it can clearly show lesions on the muscle or tendon, and give a view of swelling and hemorrhaging. It is also an inexpensive, noninvasive means of diagnosis.Repeat imaging, to check on the recovery process, can easily be done during follow-up visits.

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Treatment of Muscle Tear in Dogs

Conservative treatment is the favored course of action in the case of an iliopsoas muscle tear. Ultimately, the extent of the injury will determine how extensive the treatment must be. Skeletal muscle relaxants will be prescribed, and therapies such as cryotherapy (localized low temperature or ice), or massage therapy will be administered.

Acupuncture may be used to control pain and promote healing. Laser treatment is often included because it increases circulation and promotes the removal of waste products. Passive range of motion and strengthening exercises may be used as part of the healing process. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be given though they are not used in chronic cases of muscle tear as this can inhibit the inflammatory process that is part of the normal healing action.

Surgical treatment is required for those dogs who do not respond to the conservative approach. Surgical intervention is also considered for pets who have a recurring instance of muscle tear. It should be noted that dogs can normally function, even when the muscle or tendon is unattached in an iliopsoas tear. Because of this finding, surgery will be the option when there is irreversible damage to the muscle or tendon.

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Recovery of Muscle Tear in Dogs

Be prepared for a minimum recovery time frame of four to six weeks. The road to recovery for your pet must be a slow one. The prognosis is good, though sporting or working dogs may not recover to the level of ability present before the injury.

There will be many variables in determining the damage, including the type, extent, severity, and location of the damage caused by the injury, follow up ultrasound heat treatments may be recommended by the veterinarian. The focus of the recovery, once the pain is under control, and your pet has regained comfortable mobility, will be to strengthen the gluteals and hamstrings.

You will be instructed on how to perform ten minutes of massage a day. Stretching your dog’s limbs will be part of the recovery and management, but great care must be taken to not re-injure your pet. As your pet improves, you may be instructed to bring him to the clinic for underwater treadmill sessions. Your dog will also require hill work (slow walking up and down a hill).

Your dog will not be allowed to swim (because of the position of the body while in the water), jump, run on slippery floors, or be off leash during outdoor activity.

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Muscle Tear Average Cost

From 29 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,400

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Muscle Tear Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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pitbull

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Pain On Front Paw/ Leg

He is limping and won't walk far. He's been whining and whimpering. He won't let me touch it. I can't see anything in his pads of feet. His nails are long but I don't see a tear or break. No bleeding or swelling

Oct. 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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3 Recommendations

I'm sorry to hear your dog has this issue. When a dog is affected to the point where they are exercise intolerant, there is a real issue. Often, the problem is not visible. You don't emotion which limb it is, but we could consider arthritis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, a torn knee ligament etc. You need to have a vet examine the dog. They may order xrays. Treatment will depend on the diagnosis but is likely to include rest, anti inflammatories and pain relief.

Oct. 30, 2020

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German Shepherd

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Six Years

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

Unknown severity

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8 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Occasional Limp In Hind Leg

occasionally limps on the right leg.can rum about

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is possible that your dog has an injury that is becoming chronic, a strain or a sprain, or a ligament injury. Those can take a long time to heal, and if they are not left to rest, they can become chronic. If this is something that is not improving, it would probably be a good idea to have a veterinarian take a look at your dog and examine the leg. They will be able to let you know more what might be going on, and any treatments that might help. I hope that everything goes well for your dog.

Sept. 30, 2020

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Muscle Tear Average Cost

From 29 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,400

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

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