Leg sprains are particularly common among dog breeds that are large bodied, but with frail legs, like Great Danes. The problem however is that it’s hard for a lay person and at times even for a vet to tell the difference between a sprain or fracture, without recourse to investigative medical procedures, so never assume it to be a sprain, and self treat it. Make sure you get the animal to a vet for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
A dog sprained leg would be characterized with lameness, pain and inflammation in the region. These symptoms would however be common to almost any other dog leg injuries, a fracture included. In case of a sprain the main treatment would involve giving the leg adequate rest and anti-inflammatory medications. A dog leg sprain can be pretty painful, but with the right care, and adequate rehabilitation the dog should recover swiftly. Make sure that you do take measures to prevent such a problem from recurring in the future, if avoidable. Some of the common causes for dog leg sprains that can be controlled include obesity, over exercising, and accidents. Obesity puts major stress on the joints and ligaments, increasing susceptibility to such injuries. Over exercising a dog that is obese or usually sedentary is another common cause that can be easily averted. Rough and vigorous play on an icy path or slippery floor can also often cause such an accident, and you need to take care and pay attention to the environment in which your dog spends its time.
If your dog does have a sprain or if you suspect it to be a sprain then you need to keep it inactive and take it indoors as soon as possible. Apply an ice pack to the affected region, but don’t apply ice directly. An elastic bandage can hold it in place. Do this for the first 24 hours, after which you can use a heating pad for another 24 hours. Make sure that your dog gets as much rest as possible for the next week.
During the recuperation and rehabilitation period your vet would most likely recommend a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug to minimize or control the intense pain. Joint pain in dogs causes their body to produce and release a chemical called prostaglandin, which causes inflammation. The vet recommends medications to restrict or prevent the formation of prostaglandins itself, thereby reducing the symptoms of inflammation.