Summertime injuries found in your Vail Valley Pets
As Covid restrictions begin to lessen, more and more folks are visiting the mountains with their pets. Pets who have been in quarantine with their owners for months, are now out and about! Many pets are not accustomed to off leash running, long distance hikes, and activities such as frisbie throwing and ball catching . Pets like their humans have been inactive too long and maybe unprepared for their new found freedom of exercise! The most common injuries our Vail Valley Emergency Pet service is seeing include:
Anterior Cruciate ligament Tears
All pets, including cats, have two small ligaments located in their stifle joint (known as your pet’s knee). With running and jumping activity, chasing balls, catching frisbies, going on long steep hikes or even jumping down out of a high vehicle, your pet can be prone to an immediate soft tissue injury called a torn ACL. We see this injury in both dogs and cats and the pets present with an acute onset of lameness in one of the two hind limbs. Inactive and overweight pets are most likely going to sustain this injury.
This cruciate tear in the stifle joints of pets creates immediate instability in the joint of your pet, resulting in pain and swelling in the immediate future and damage to articular cartilage resulting in long term arthritic change. Surgical intervention is typically needed to assure your pet can resume an active lifestyle. For prevention, keeping your pet’s weight on target, and slowly working up to a high level of exercise to help reduce the incidence of ACL tears.
With that increase in “off leash” activity, and general outdoor wandering, pet’s are very prone to accidents. We still see many pets hit by cars, falling out of the back of trucks, kicked by livestock, etc all which can result in life altering limb fractures. The sooner these fractures are repaired, the better the success rate of the repair. Be wise about letting your pet off leash unattended, especially in high traffic areas. Fractures can be “simple and not distracted” and easily corrected with casting, while other fractures can be “communited” and require costly surgical intervention.
Have you seen that decorative lawn edging that makes our lawns look so wonderful in the summer? How about that one sharp stick sticking out of the woods as your pet starts out on your first summer hike? We commonly see pets running across lawns off leash or dashing thru the woods and returning with lacerated tendons, large perforating puncture wounds, or even abrasions from old barbed wire fencing, so often found in the west. All of these injuries happen quickly but can result in your pet being down another few months as they recover!
Burned or Torn Pads
It is not uncommon for folks who have been inside all winter with their pets to be ready to hit the bike paths and sidewalks, but in no time at all, pads can be worn down with the heat from harder surfaces and be very painful for your pet. In addition, pet’s can be exposed to sharp objects such as rocks, glass, trash, metal etc which can cause instant lacerations in pads. Pads are the protective areas for your pet’s paws so having them repaired immediately is critical for a quick recovery!
Torn Toe Nails
Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed and feeding a good quality diet is essential for the overall health of your pet’s toenails. We commonly see nails that are too long or too brittle, torn back to the nail bed. This is very painful and most often requires the nails to be cut and cauterized and the paw to be bandaged. IF you see your pet has a torn toe nail, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian!
In conclusion, have a safe and happy summer out their with your furry friends. We hope we have increased pet owner’s awareness of common types of injuries we see and how to prevent them.