Just like us humans, dogs of all ages are susceptible to broken bones or ligament tears due to accidental trauma or simple activity like jumping off the bed, plain the park, running, etc. For dogs who are more active and enjoy intense running or jumping, the hock joints can be particularly vulnerable to injury. Fortunately, there are many options to help treat canine hock issues so your dog has the best chance to make a full recovery or even in preventing one.
What is Hock on a Dog?
The hock joint in the canine is located on a dog’s leg just below the stifle or knee, the hock joint in dog’s corresponds to the ankle joint for us humans. The sharp angle that you see at the back of the dog’s rear legs is created because of the hock. The joints are comparable with human heels in function and basic structure.
The hock joint connects the shin bones - fibula and tibia, to the bones of the paw - calcaneus and talus bones. In case of a sudden traumatic in nature incident; like getting hit by a car or merely by snagging their paws on a hole in the ground, your pet may tear all or any four of these main ligaments on the inner and outer sides of the joint, or a fracture of the fibula or tibia bone might occur.
If and when your pet injures their hock joint, there usually are very clear visible indications, which are swelling in the affected limbs or they become suddenly lame.
Let’s see some common canine hock injuries
Is your dog limping on their hind leg ? Have you noticed any swelling on the hock joint or abnormality while moving? There are quite a few dog ligament injuries that could be the reason your furry friend has pain in their ankle or achilles tendon.
1. Hock dislocation - A dislocation is generally caused by an accident, such as your dog getting hit by a speeding car or the moving car stepping on their leg, which can tear the ligament or even fracture the bones in the ankle.
2. Muscle pull or Sprained hock - a sprain or muscle pull can be caused when your pet is at play or running and their paws gets stuck in a hole, this can cause a sudden jerk and they may sprain their hock. This symptom is clearly visible as shortly after this they might limp or refrain to do any simple physical activity.
3. OCD or Canine Osteochondritis Dissecans - An abnormal cartilage development or a cartilage damage might cause this condition to arise. A piece of cartilage or the bone gets separated from the cartilage surface, this condition or disease is more commonly seen in young and large breed dogs. OCD usually affects the shoulder but it can also affect the knee, elbow or hock.
4. Arthritis of the hock or Osteoarthritis - Most common form of arthritis in the canine is osteoarthritis in the hock, which occurs when bone rubs together in the absence of the cartilage or when the protective cartilage wears away. This degenerative joint problem occurs more commonly in older dogs.
Hock treatments with hock brace
If you notice or suspect your furry friend with a hock injury, the first step is to consult your local veterinarian who may perform a physical examination or may even suggest a specialist veterinary doctor. Examination may include X-rays and blood tests to see if there is a bone fracture.
Incase of a very broad fracture, an invasive surgery may be suggested which would require wires, screws and pins for the fracture or just screws for a ligament tear. If the fracture is not very serious then a conservative treatment like oral medication to reduce swelling, chiropractic care, acupuncture and an orthopaedic hock brace is suggested.
Hock Brace and its functionality
Surgery may not always be the first option any veterinarian or a pet parent might want to go ahead with. More and more pet parents opt in to first go with more conservative treatments; oral medicines,hock braces, etc. The Hock brace can help heal the joints faster and may even eliminate any need for the surgery altogether. These hock braces can also help prevent injuries and sprains and assist your dog in moving about easily and without pain. Just like the natural angle at the joints in a dog, the hock braces are also designed with these angles so as to fit snugly and perfectly without being much of an hindrance in their daily activities. The hock braces made of neoprene fabric with being waterproof are also sweat proof with natural ability to stretch and provide warmth to the joint where wrapped. The hock brace also provides assistance and stability in case of mobility issues or old age. While a surgery of the hock joint is very rare, these hock braces are also recommended as post surgical protectors.
A first in its segment in India, our line ofMedical Assistance Aids, also has theA+A Pets’ Hock Joint Protective WrapFor Dogs, which is most recommended by the Veterinarian in case of ligament tear of hock joint or fracture and has been a relief for pet parents due to its easy availability on our website.