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Spasms - Muscular Injury Series Part 5

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

What is a spasm?

A muscle spasm is a sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles which fails to release. Injury is the most common cause of muscle spasms. They usually occur in the limbs or back and offer protection to the sight to prevent further injury.

Breeds with long backs, such as a Dachshund are more prone to back spasms than other breeds!

Why does the muscle go into spasm?

Muscle or group of muscle often go into spasm because the muscle has been,

· Injured - due to strenuous physical activity or a sudden movement

· Overworked – overexertion or muscle fatigue

· Overloaded – prolonged uncomfortable activity

· Weakened – previous strain

· Under stress

· Dehydrated

Spasms can also be caused due to,

· Allergies

· Neurological damage

· Reaction to medications

Refer to Part 2B in the series where I discuss measures that you can put into place to help prevent your dog developing an injury.

What are the symptoms of a spasm?

· Localised twitching

· Tremors beneath the skin

· The muscle may twitch as your dog stretches or bows

· Pain in the area

· Sometimes a sudden onset of pain

· Muscle feels tight and tender to touch

· Your dog will be unable to move in their normal way

· Lameness

Are spasms painful?

Spasms can be mild or extremely painful depending on the cause. Less severe spams will usually subside if you allow your dog to ‘walk it off.’However, if the spam causes pain and persists, then a more severe injury may be present such as a muscle strain, pinched nerve, slipped disc or muscle damage.

What is the best form of treatment?

Most spams will clear up with rest and fluids. However, if the spam persists/ keeps reoccurring and lameness and pain are also present then a trip to your vet will be required to identify the cause of the spasm and provide the correct cause of treatment.

A serious muscle spasm which does not release on its own will require massage to help stretch, relax and lengthen the contracted muscle and treat the primary cause (injured muscle).

If the initial injury is not treated, the spasm forms knots of muscle fibres, which are painful and go on to become part of an ongoing problem for your dog.

If you suspect that your dog may have an injury or is suffering from spasms. Please get in touch to arrange an appointment.

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