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Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 601
Experience:  full time veterinarian at Tender Touch Veterinary Hospital
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How do i know if my dog has torn a ligament or just sprained

Customer Question

How do i know if my dog has torn a ligament or just sprained it?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 1 year ago.

Hi, this is Dr. Hill. It can be very difficult to differentiate between the two, unless the ligament is completely torn. Ligaments have thousands of little strands and can rupture only a few at a time. If only a few are torn, then the pain and inflammation go away in a few days. Over time with repeated small tears, you have instability in the joint and the body tries to stabilize by forming scar tissue, so this buildup can be a sign of chronic disease. I would rest your dog, meaning no running, no jumping, no playing for two weeks. If the dog is showing significant pain, I would not wait two weeks, but if it is a mild lameness it is okay. If the dog goes back to normal, then likely a sprain/strain. If the lameness starts up again, then a ligament injury is more likely. A veterinarian would be able to palpate the limb for instability and pain and typically would be able to tell you quickly. Wait and watch or set up appointment with local veterinarian. Both are reasonable if dog is comfortable. feel free to ask additional questions. Take care