Skeletal and muscular disorders in dogs

Skeletal and muscular disorders in dogs

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from a wide range of different skeletal and muscular disorders, from mild ones that produces no or very insignificant symptoms to sever problems that require extensive treatment. Some skeletal and muscular disorders can be lethal, especially when left untreated.

In order to understand how skeletal and muscular disorders work, it is important to first understand the basics about the how the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems work in a normal, healthy dog. Since dogs are mammals just like us humans, we actually have a lot in common when it comes to basics such as skeletal configuration and how the muscles work.

The dog's skeletal system

 The rigid skeleton of a dog serves as protection for vital organs such as heart and lungs. The skeleton also supports the weight of the dog. Simultaneously, the fact that the skeleton is not completely rigid but actually rather flexible makes it possible for the dog to run, jump, climb and carry out all sorts of agile activities.

The bones inside your dog consist of collagen, a type of protein based fibres. Within these protein bases fibres, calcium salts and phosphorus will deposit to make the bone stronger and more rigid. Calcium and phosphorus are two of the most important minerals for your dog’s skeletal system, but this does NOT mean that you should force feed your puppy tons of food or supplements rich in calcium and phosphorus, because too much of a good thing can be just as bad as too little, or at least be completely useless.

In your dog, there are two different types of bones: cortical bone and trabecular bone. Cortical bone is a very compact type of bones and it make up 4/5 of the bones in the body. The remaining 1/5 is trabecular bone, which is also referred to as spongy bone. Trabecular bone is found inside the strong and protective cortical bone. 

Bone growth in young dogs

As your puppy grows older, it will also grow bigger, and this means that its bones must grow bigger. The long bones in the body of a dog are special compared to other bones, such as the skull, since they need to grow extremely fast during a relatively short period of time. This is especially true for large and giant dog breeds. When a long bone in your dog grows, it all begins with the formation of a cartilage base. Once the cartilage has been formed, ossification will set in, which is a process where minerals bind themselves to the cartilage in order to turn the cartilage into real bone. As long as the bones of your puppy are growing, the areas where bone growth occurs will be extra sensitive to injury.

Bone repair

When your dog has reached its full height its bones will stop growing longer, but this doesn’t mean that they turn into some sort of “dead” part of the dog. Throughout the life of a dog, its bones will constantly be replaced by newly formed bone. Old bone cells will be removed, and new bone cells will be formed.

Skeletal and muscular disorders in dogs: (click for more info)
Canine hip dysplasia
Congenital vertebral anomalies in dogs
Craniomandibular osteopathy in dogs
Elbow dysplasia in dogs
Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy in dogs
Hypertrophic Osteopathy in dogs
Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome in dogs
Luxating patella in dogs
Masticatory muscle myositis in dogs
Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM) and Extraocular Myositis (EOM) in dogs
Osteoarthritis in dogs
Osteochondritis Dissecans in dogs
Panosteitis in dogs
Spondylosis in dogs