The dog hock joint is the dog’s version of an ankle. It is the point of connection between the dog’s shinbone and the paw, where ligaments hold the bones in place. The hock is in the dog’s back leg, right below the stifle.
Besides dislocation, sprain, and Canine Osteochondritis Dissecans, which is a developmental condition, the most common cause of dog hock injuries is osteoarthritis of the hock joint.
An osteoarthritis is a form of dog arthritis where the protective cartilage wears away. The work of the cartilage is to lubricate the joint and absorb shock during joint movement. When it wears out, the bones rub together, causing stiffness in the joint and a dog swollen hock joint.
There is no cure for canine arthritis, but like dysplasia, the condition is manageable. Statistics state that roughly 76% of dogs with severe dysplasia and arthritis can still lead a comfortable life if properly managed.
You can tell your pooch is suffering from arthritis that affects the dog hock by observing its behavior. Stay alert for the following:
- Stiffness, especially upon waking up
- A limp in the hind legs
- Unwillingness or difficulty standing up after falling
- Difficulty standing for long periods
- A loss of interest in games and walks
- Loss of social interest
- Difficulty jumping into the car, going up the stairs, or running
- Licking over the hock
- Sensitivity or soreness when the hind legs are touched
- A dog swollen hock joint
If you notice any of these symptoms, a visit to your dog’s veterinarian is necessary. They will rule out a sprain, dislocation, or any other issue. They can confirm arthritis through radiographs and get a sense of its severity.
There are various ways to manage the condition.
Under the vet’s prescription, your dog can get medicine to help ease the symptoms. It can reduce stiffness and inflammation. Medication for canine arthritis includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids, analgesics or adequan injections. The dog could receive one or a combination of the medicines.
Medication, however, comes with risk. You can only give your dog medication under the doctor’s prescription. If your dog has other health conditions, the drugs may not be a suitable treatment. The vet will do some lab work on the dog to determine if it’s appropriate to administer the drugs or seek an alternative solution.
2. Joint Supplements
Joint supplements such as glucosamine and omega 3 can also ease the discomfort. They do not come with a high risk compared to the medications, but they are not as effective.
The supplements are classified as nutraceuticals and are thus not regulated by the FDA. It is always wise to consult with your vet on the best combination of treatments and which specific nutraceutical products to use.
3. Physical Therapy and Homecare
There are other measures you can take to give your dog some relief from the symptoms. They involve therapeutic solutions and lifestyle changes.
4. Invest in a Therapeutic Dog Bed
Give your dog some comfort by purchasing a therapy dog bed. It will provide plenty of the needed support and will be gentle on your pooch. A good night’s sleep will make them able to deal with their symptoms during the day.
5. Get a Dog Hock Brace
Just as you would get braces for your calves in the case of an athletic injury or joint problem, a dog arthritis brace will provide therapeutic benefits to your dog. It is designed to fit naturally on the hock of your dog and offer support. The brace will prevent the dog hock from hyperextending. It also enables the dog to move comfortably without straining.
It’s sad when you cannot play with your dog as you used to or when they can’t pounce on you with excitement after a day of being away at work. It’s worse if you can see the sadness in its eyes. But the good news is that dog hock arthritis is manageable.
You can get advice from a vet on the best medication or supplements. Invest in a therapeutic dog bed and a hock brace to provide your dog with some comfort. This measures may not heal arthritis, but they sure will offer some relief.