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Pulled Stifle Muscle in Dogs

Stifle injuries are common in dogs, particularly breeds such as Labradors. The stifle is the joint in the hind leg that is most similar to a human knee. The stifle joint is manipulated by a variety of muscles, ligaments, tendons that can be subject to injury.


Pulled Stifle Muscle


Symptoms of a stifle injury include swelling, pain and lameness. It may be moderate and barely perceptible at first and worsen over time, or it may be immediate and severe after an injurious event.


Immediate Treatment

If you see your dog injure himself or notice that he isn’t putting full weight on his leg, suspend activity immediately and begin icing the injury. You can also try an anti-inflammatory such as aspirin, but check with your vet before administering and don’t give to dogs under 10 lbs.


Activity Limitation

A dog with an injury should have his activity limited so the stifle can recoup; however, it is important to reintroduce regular low-impact exercise. Avoid letting the dog run and jump in favor of regular short walks and water therapy, which a physical therapist can assist you in starting.


Diagnosis and Surgery

Pulled muscle and ligament injuries cannot be seen on X-rays. A vet diagnoses these through manipulation. If a vet suspects a ligament tear, he may suggest surgery; however, non-surgical rehabilitation is also an option.


Other Potential Culprits

Other issues that can masquerade as a stifle injury include lameness caused by Lyme Disease, bone cancer and paw injuries. Consult with your vet to rule these out.


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