What is a Carpal Hyperextension?
Hyperextension of the carpal is a joint condition that involves the supportive ligaments, or soft tissue in the wrist of the dog. Hyperextension is excessive movement of the joint where the angle formed by the bones of a particular joint is opened, or straightened, beyond its normal, healthy, range of motion.
There are 3 main causes of carpal hyperextension:
A congenital carpal hyperextension is what happens when the ligaments in your puppy's carpal (wrist) joint don't develop their full strength as you puppy grows. Typically the dog will have the malformation of the ligaments in both carpal joints.
Hyperextension can be cause by excessive force on the carpal, which leads to the tearing of the ligaments and fibrocartilage and collapse of the carpal joint. This occur after falls and injuries while exercising and playing.
While it is less common, carpal hyperextension can occur in dogs with immune-mediated joint disease or degenerative conditions of the ligaments.
What are the Symptoms of a Hyperextended Carpal?
Generally, hyperextension injuries are seen in large active dogs but that doesn't mean small breeds can't suffer from a hyperextension injury. If your dog starts to exhibit limping and refusing to put weight on the injured wrist, swelling of the carpal, and the sinking of their paw to the ground while moving around you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss a carpal hyperextension injury.
How is Carpal Hyperextension Treated?
Depending on the severity of the hyperextension there are two ways it can be treated. For more severe cases surgery will be preformed. Pancarpal arthrodesis is a surgical procedure that fuzes the carpal joints to the paw with plates and screws.
For less severe cases, physical therapy can return your pup to a happy, active lifestyle. Walkin' Pets has a number of splints and leg wraps that can provide support to the wrist joint while your dog undergoes rehabilitation whether that be through hydrotherapy, on land physical therapy, or just their everyday walks and play!