Ligament Strains and Injury

Dogs and cats use a lot of muscles and joints for every day movement. Running and jumping require even more effort and put a lot of strain on muscles and joints. Because of this ligament strains and injuries are common when they overdo things.

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Learn More About Tendon and Ligament Injuries

Strains, Sprains and Tears

Strains are when the muscles are pulled too far and the tendons connecting muscle to bone are injured. If your dog is competitive or extremely active they are more prone to strains. However, normal play can also cause ligament strain. Strains are most common in a dog’s and cat’s hips and thighs.

Sprains affect the ligaments that connect muscle to bone. Wrists and knees are the most common sites for sprains. Active dogs that compete or are used for hunting are more likely to sprain because of their increased movement, however even household pets can injure themselves jumping on or off something or tripping. Sprains, if gone untreated can cause further damage to the joints.


Ligament tears occur when the ligaments connecting bones are partially or completely ruptured. This is a difficult injury for owner’s to deal with because it sometimes, but not always, requires surgery. The most common ligament injury occurs to the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) – commonly referred to as the ACL in humans.


When surgery is required for a torn CCL, tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery is performed. Animals that undergo this procedure often develop post-traumatic arthritic symptoms later in life. More simply, because there is trauma to the joint, they are more likely to develop arthritis.

How do I know if my dog or cat has strained or sprained something?

If your pet is running and jumping and you hear a sudden yelp, that’s a good indication that they have hurt themselves. Even if it doesn’t appear too serious – they are still walking around – it’s a good idea to take precautions and take notice of their ongoing movements.

Another obvious indicator is that they are not putting any weight onto a particular leg or even have a sudden lameness in one leg. If the limping persists more than a day, or the limping reoccurs, it’s best to take them to the vet for a full evaluation.

How do I prevent strains and sprains?

Just like with humans, strains and sprains can happen to anyone, regardless of the precautions taken. However, taking care of your pets joints are a great way to prevent unnecessary strains and sprains due to improper joint movement. This can include age-appropriate exercise, weight management, proper nutrition and dietary supplementation.

Pet Supplements for Ligament Strains and Injury
Pet Supplements for Strains and Injury
Pet Supplements for Ligament Strains and Injury
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