If you are anything like us you want to learn everything possible about your pet. This includes the leg anatomy of a dog. In this article we will talk about the dogs legs. Our pups legs present the bulk of issues either by genetics or injury.
A proper understanding of the anatomy of a dog’s leg help us understand potential injuries and weaknesses.
The weight of a dog is primarily supported by his front legs despite the larger muscles of the hind legs. While the hind legs carry 1/3 of body weight, the forelegs carry up to 2/3 of your dogs bodyweight.
The Front legs
Below, let’s briefly outline what makes up the forelegs of any dog.
- The upper arm is located just below the shoulder
- The HUMERUS bone is a long bone that starts at the upper arm and meets at the elbow
- The ELBOW is located at the back of the foreleg, inches below the chest. This is the first leg joint
- The bones that are below the elbow (aka the forearm or foreleg) consists of the RADIUS and ULNA. The radius and ulna bones parallel to each other connected by a ligament. They work together to ensure the proper functioning of the elbow.
- The lower joint below the elbow is referred to as the wrist
The Rear Legs
A brief outline of the anatomy of the hind legs of a dog.
- The location of the knees is at the front of the hind leg
- The part located above the knee on the hind leg is the upper tie.
- The lower tie, on the other hand, is located just beneath the knee. It runs all the way to the hock.
- The dog equivalent of the ankle is called the hock. The hock is part of a dog’s hind leg anatomy and connects the shin bones to the paw bones.
Common Conditions Why a Dog Would Need a Knee Brace
Here, let’s review some prevalent conditions that the knee brace can help in.
ACL/CCL (Cranial Cruciate Ligament)
Ligament injuries are fairly common in both humans and dogs. Dog’s technically do not have an ACL, which stands for the anterior cruciate ligament in humans. Instead, dog’s have a CCL, which stands for Cranial Cruciate Ligament. The CCL is a knee (or stifle) ligament. Torn CCLs are a common rear leg dog injury.
Some dog breeds that are most prone to CCL injuries include Labs, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Newfoundland’s, and Golden Retrievers. An CCL injury can be addressed with a knee brace, allowing your pup to get back to life without pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of an CCL (ACL) Tear
If you notice that your dog has suddenly sits to one side, or is limping or lame, there is a possibility that he/she has a CCL tear. This condition could last for weeks and is painful experience for your dog..
Luxating Patella Injury (Kneecap Dislocation)
A Luxating Patella Injury occurs when the kneecap of a dog dislocates from its natural position, within the thigh bone. Addressing this situation requires that you shift the patella back into its normal position. There’s also a need for the muscle in the hind legs to be able to lengthen and relax. This is the reason why a dislocated knee causes your dog to hold up their hind legs also called ‘toe touch’..
Dogs likely to encounter this type of injury include Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Pekingese, Pomeranian, and Yorkshire Terrier.
Limping, Lameness, or unable to move their hind legs.
Surgery vs No-Surgery
We’ve often had concerned dog owners asking if their dogs can recover from an CCL Tear without undergoing surgery.
Once your veterinarian diagnoses your dog, they can recommend a treatment based on the available options. Treatment options might be surgery or conservative treatment, such as a dog brace to help bring stability to the knee joint.