The tendons are built of very strong connective tissue, composed mostly of thickly stranded strings of collagen fiber. Tendons make the connection between muscles and bones. The Achilles tendon is formed by a set of five tendons. These are the gastrocnemius tendon, superficial digital flexor, and three minor tendons. The role of the Achilles tendon is to hold the knee raised from the ground. In animals, especially dogs, contact with glass or metal sharp objects can cause immediate injury to the tendon. This results in a partial or complete rupture of the tendon. A rupture can also be caused by extreme physical activity.
The rupture of the Achilles tendon can be partial and complete. Clinical signs of Achilles tendon tear are curled toes, lameness, or a completely dropped hock. Pain in the tendon can be present as well.
Diagnosis is based on physical examination, ultrasound, and X-ray.
Treatment in most cases is surgical. Most patients respond very well to surgery. It is very important that the operation is performed as soon as possible after the injury. In some cases when a long period of time has passed since the injury, the ends of the tendon are separated and cannot be reattached. After surgery, it is necessary to treat your pet according to the advice of the veterinarian. Restrict your pet’s activity for 3 months, keep it on a leash, administer antibiotics if prescribed. Physical therapy may be recommended.
Notify your vet if there is any change in your pet’s condition.