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What is Muscle Tear?

The action of tearing a muscle is very painful for your dog. Muscles are very 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.

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
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 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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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pitbull

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 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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0 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

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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

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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3 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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Chow Chow mix

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

Hello! I have 3 year old 60 lbs pup that’s been on pain med for close to two weeks now. Vet believes it is a muscle pull, Although I seen some improvements, I’ve recently started noticing that she doesn’t put weight on her rear leg when she gets up. Then starts putting it down on the ground after she finds her balance and starts walking normally. I was thinking of putting her on vitamins for her joint.

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. With the severity that you are describing, I'm not sure that joint supplements will give her dramatic relief, although I can't see that they would hurt. I think at this point it would be best to have a recheck for her, and let your veterinarian know that the pain medications are not really resolving things. Sometimes things will change over a week or two, and there may be something that is obvious now but wasn't then. I hope that all goes well for her and she feels better soon!

Oct. 4, 2020

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Mastiff

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

Hello my mastiff mix has been limping x 3 days. It seems to be worse after she has been lying down and gets better the more she moves. Will this heal without treatment?

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Without knowing why she is limping, it is difficult for me to say whether she will get better on her own If she has a strain or sprain, and you are able to rest her enough to let it heal, then it may resolve. If she has a more serious injury, than it may not. If it is not getting better, it would be a good idea to have a veterinarian examine her to see what might be causing the problem - they will be able to give you a better idea as to what to expect once they have seen her. I hope that all goes well!

Oct. 4, 2020

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Poodle/terrier

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Pain In Back Right Leg

My dog woke up screaming on day while he was stretching & has a hard time putting weight on his foot. He can walk and jump easily but won’t stand on it. Help please

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Since I cannot see or examine him, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 14, 2020

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Arya

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Labrador Retriever

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Pain

After taking our pup Arya on a run three days ago, she now has trouble getting up from laying down. When she was running around chasing her ball, she stepped into a lower area of the hill and yelped a little bit. We checked her out, but she didn't seem to be in any pain and only wanted to chase her ball more. She is a very active lab mix and is fairly fit. It seems to only be her back left leg that is bothered, but her back right seems painful too. I have moved her legs around and it is only painful when her leg is extended backwards. We have massaged her legs and back and gave her a warm bath to hopefully help with the pain. She doesn't seem to be limping but looks like she isn't completely putting all her weight on her back left leg. She is acting completely normal otherwise; eat, drinking fine. Walks around the house and jumps on the couch (although we are trying to stop her from this) as she normally does without any pain. We have not taken her to run and have been limiting her activity inside as much as possible but it doesn't seem to be getting any better. The soonest appointment we could get with our veterinarian isn't for 5 days. Has anyone experienced anything similar to this with their pups? Or know of a possible diagnosis? I am thinking she might have a sprained or torn muscle but I am not sure. Any advice on pain remedies we can try to help her in the meantime? Thank you!

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Sam

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French Bulldog

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

My 2 yr old French Bulldog jumped off boat and was hit by it 3 weeks ago he had a cut on shoulder that was stitched up. He was taken to vet on a Sat afternoon they did not sew up wound until monday sent him home with meds I took him back after2 weeks to have stitches removed told vet he was limping bad, he then xrayed told us he had tear in shoulder and found broken bone in leg that was almost healed.He is stilling not putting weight on that leg vet has him on anti inflammatory and pain medsI was upset he was not xrayed when we took him in with the injury he is resting, sleeping and eating good but the limp is not improving

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Pretty Girl

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Basenji

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8 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling
Limping
Tenderness

My little but active basenji had a severe muscle tear of her inner thigh from hyper adduction & it improved over the 6 - 8 weeks with rest & Rimadyl. It doesn’t slow her down too much & she can guard it well when we keep her inside. It has recurred a few times - the vet says scar tissue at the original tear is to blame - leading to tearing of muscle at the muscle-scar boundary. I give her Rimadyl which seems to help- early on I give Tramodol until she stops screaming in the middle of the night. If there’s another therapy or appliance that would help we’d try it.

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Belly

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English Bulldog

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8 Months

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

Belly came in from out back and would not our any weight on her left back leg. Aftwr.moving it around, massaging it and checking to make sure she had stepped on anything, we waited until the ml orning to take her to the vet. The vet gave her a thorough exam and determined ahe had no breaks or torn tendons/ligaments and sent her home on anti-inflammatories for two weeks. Wee are halfway through her medicine and she is still limping and ut running and playing. She puts weight on the leg which is a definite improvement, but still has a fairly significant limp. Im notnaure if that it normal for recovery or of we should be headed back to the vet.

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Diego

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Staffordshire Bull Terrie

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Pain, Limping Also Breaths Loud

Hi! So my dog Diego was hurting all day today by his groin area. We’re taking him to the vet tomorrow but I’m really worried. He pants loudly which I know means he’s in pain. He pees and poops fun and walks but is limping a little. He isn’t getting much sleep because of the pain. I don’t know what is wrong with him.

Muscle Tear Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$1,400

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