Prepare for unexpected vet bills
Muscles and tendons make up a vital part a dog’s anatomy and overall well-being. Tendons are fibrous tissue which connects the muscles to the bone. When tendon ruptures, it separates from the bone, causing immense pain and immobility. Musculotendons can partially rupture or completely rupture. When musculotendon ruptures occur, your dog will need surgery for full tendon repair because these tendons do not reattach and heal on their own time. Because ruptures can differ, the surgery your dog requires for repair may vary as well. Some ruptures detach the tendon from the bone, and some ruptures tear from the tendon itself.
Repairing musculotendon ruptures require surgery. Your veterinarian surgeon will cut into the affected area, cut the damaged tendons, then pull the two ends and suture them back together. If the tendons are separated from the bone, minuscule tunnels might be drilled into the bone so the tendon can be sutured back to the bone. This is an invasive surgery, so it will require a trained veterinary surgeon and anesthesia for your dog’s comfort during the operation.
Once the musculotendon repair is complete, your veterinarian will need to stabilize the area. To keep the dog’s weight off the leg or other affected areas, your veterinarian may cast the area or stabilize it with pins or screws. Though this surgery should only require one trip to the operating room, recovery can be intense and take several months of rest and recovery to be successful.
The quicker you and your veterinarian act on the injury, the better the results of this repair will be. If scar tissue forms with a prolonged wait for treatment, the surgery may be more complicated and far less successful. If your dog shows signs of hock walking or walks flat footed instead of with their hock in the air and toe-walking, or favoring the ruptured area for a prolonged time as a result of a musculotendon injury, more damage may occur. The prognosis for dogs who have had a musculotendon repaired is good. Once the repair is done, the next steps of healing, rest, and recovery will be just as important to retain a normal gait and a comfortable future.
Recovery after a repair for musculotendon rupture is imperative and crucial to full healing. Your veterinarian will give you full instructions after the surgical repair. Following these instructions will help the repair to be successful. Your dog will be restricted from activity for two to three months. When you need to walk your dog, keep him on a leash and walk only for elimination purposes. Depending on where the rupture and repair are located, your dog may be in a cast or the area set with metal pins or screws to keep the dog’s weight off the injury and surgical site. This should remain in place for eight to ten weeks. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions on caring for the cast or pin and screws stabilizer. You will need to watch your dog carefully for external pressure sores or foul odors coming from the area. This could be a result of the cast or from the incision point. Be sure to follow up with your veterinarian and go to checkups as your dog is healing. Your veterinarian will also have medications prescribed for pain, inflammation, and infections during this time. Once the cast is removed, your dog will still need complete rest for an additional two to three weeks. The success of this surgery will depend on how well your dog can recover in the three months post-surgery.
The surgery to repair musculotendons in dogs can cost between $1,000 and $4,000 depending on several factors. The location of the rupture will make a difference, but if surgery is done for repair, the cost difference will not be excessive. How many tendons have ruptured and how they are repaired may matter more. The Achilles tendon, for example, has five tendons in that one area, and they are connected to several areas along the foot. These could partially rupture, or they could fully rupture. One could rupture or more than one could tear. Your veterinarian may require X-rays for a better view of the affected area during diagnosis. X-rays can cost from $45-$200 depending on the size of your dog and how many radiographs your veterinarian requires. The cost of the surgery should include the cast and post-op care, possibly with the exception of regular office visits to follow-up on recovery care in the months after the surgery. Office visits vary by veterinarian but usually, run about $50.
Rupturing a musculotendon is a painful injury. Repair might be costly, but repair might also make your dog more comfortable after such a severe injury. Recovery is just as important as the surgery repair itself. If the dog is not allowed time and rest to heal for the months it will take during recovery, the repair may be unsuccessful. The repair needs to be protected from weight and re-injury as the tendons heal and reconnect. If your dog does not get the rest required for total healing, the musculotendon can rupture again.
Unfortunately, this type of injury is usually caused by trauma from a typical run or jump or a severe fall. This kind of injury is called a traumatic injury. These injuries include lacerations, pulled or stretched musculotendons, or blunt force trauma. In most cases, these injuries are a result of an accident or the dog landing incorrectly. To prevent these kinds of injuries, keep your small dogs safe by keeping them away from furniture which requires them jumping down from a high surface. A small dog staircase can assist smaller breeds in climbing on top of and getting off of beds and couches. Watch your small dog and puppy carefully, and do not leave them alone on a large or high piece of furniture. Also, watch your small breeds around larger breeds to keep them safe from stretching or injuries while playing.
An atraumatic injury is an injury which is degenerative in nature. These chronic injuries may be a result of a previous injury or from genetics and poor breeding. In these cases, regular visits with your veterinarian for care is crucial. Your veterinarian may be able to prescribe anti-inflammatories or recommend activities to prevent a more severe injury.
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