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What are Dog Hock Injuries?

What are Dog Hock Injuries?

Your dog might be limping on their back leg due to hock swelling, arthritis, an Achilles Tendon rupture, a pulled or torn hock ligament. Your dog might not be able to fully weight bear, limp or walk unsteadily. We recommend you fully support your dog’s hock with a brace, this will reduce pain and prevents reinjury.

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Dog Hock Injuries

What is a Dog Hock Injury?

Dog hock injuries are injuries that affect the hock joint of a dog, which is equivalent to the human ankle joint. The hock joint is located on the back leg of a dog and is composed of several smaller joints and bones.

Common types of dog hock injuries include:

  • Sprains and Strains: Dogs can sprain or strain the ligaments, tendons, and muscles around the hock joint due to sudden twisting, jumping or landing awkwardly

  • Dislocations: Hock joint dislocations occur when the bones of the joint are forced out of their normal position. This can be caused by trauma, such as a fall or a collision

  • Tendonitis: Tendonitis refers to the inflammation of the tendons around the hock joint. It can be caused by repetitive strain, overuse, or direct trauma

  • Osteoarthritis: Over time, wear and tear on the hock joint can lead to osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition characterized by the breakdown of cartilage and the development of bony growths

  • Fractures: Trauma or excessive force can lead to fractures in the bones of the hock joint. Fractures may be partial or complete, and they can range from hairline cracks to severe breaks

Signs and Symptoms of Dog Hock Injuries:

Symptoms of a dog hock injury may include limping, swelling, pain, reluctance to bear weight on the affected leg, stiffness and difficulty walking or running. Often your dog will become more careful with everyday activities such as going down stairs. Another sign of hock join injuries in dogs is changing positions often while sitting, as well as even extending out their leg when trying to sit. It is always important to seek a diagnosis from your vet if you suspect your dog having a hock joint injury however once diagnosed, a brace can be really helpful in the recovery process.

What age can a dog get a hock injury?

Any age of dog can be affected by a hock joint injury. Typically younger and more active dogs tend to incur hock injuries through strains, sprains or tares, while running or jumping and generally being active. In contrast, older dogs tend to sustain hock injuries due to chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis.

How to help at home?

  • Limit activity to aid healing.
  • Consider a snuffle mat if your dog is used to being active and finding it difficult to cope with limited activity.
  • Apply brace
  • If there is obvious swelling, you can ‘cold hose’ your dog’s hock joint. You can do this by running cold water from a tap or shower over the affected hock joint, this can help reduce swelling and pain.

Treatment of Hock Injuries

Depending on what has caused your dog’s hock injury, will influence what treatment is most appropriate. Often applying a brace will give your dog the required support needed, to help them heal. In severe cases such as fractures or severe tears surgery may be needed. Chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis can only be managed, not fully treated, due to it being incurable. Supplements can greatly assist in managing conditions that cause chronic hock instability, as well as an appropriate supportive brace.

"Our dog ruptured a ligament near his hock bone."

"Our dog ruptured a ligament near his hock bone."

He had to have an operation to insert a metal plate and have a bone graft. Sadly, this failed due to an infection. This has really helped with our dog. It obviously won't cure this but allows him not to have one small walk in the morning to our nearby park."

Balto Hock Splint

Hock Injury Braces

Have questions about your dog and their hock injury?

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