Below is information about the structure and function of the canine joints and ligaments. We will tell you about the general structure of joints and ligaments, how they work in dogs, common diseases that affect joints and ligaments and common diagnostic tests performed in dogs to evaluate these areas.
What Are the Joints and Ligaments?
A joint is an articulation, the junction between two or more bones of the dog’s skeleton. Some joints have no movement, some allow only slight movement, and some are freely moveable.
A ligament is a tough band of white, fibrous, slightly elastic tissue. Ligaments are an essential part of the dog’s skeletal joints because they bind the ends of bones together to prevent dislocation and excessive movement that might cause breakage.
Where Are the Joints and Ligaments Located?
Joints are found throughout the body wherever two bones meet.
In the skeletal system, ligaments often stretch across the joints to connect different bones. Ligaments are also found in the abdomen where they support many internal organs, including the uterus, the bladder, the liver, and the diaphragm and help to hold these organs in position.
What Is the General Structure of the Canine Joints and Ligaments?
A joint consists of bones, muscles, ligaments, cartilage and a lubricating fluid all enclosed by a tough joint capsule. Bones are anchored by ligaments that permit a certain amount of movement in specific directions. Many joints are surrounded by a joint capsule, which contains the joint lubricant, synovial fluid. The ends of the bones are covered by cartilage, creating a smooth surface that helps the joint move easily and helps to absorb any concussion as body weight is placed on the joint.
There are three types of joints:
Joints receive blood from articular arteries that arise from vessels around the joint. Articular veins accompany the arteries and both are located in the joint capsule. Joints have a rich nerve supply, with many nerve endings in the articular capsule. The nerves within joints transmit a sense of position or proprioception information via the nerves back to the brain.
Ligaments are composed largely of long parallel or spiral collagenous fibers, but they also possess yellow elastic fibers. Ligaments may be intracapsular or extracapsular, depending on whether they are inside or outside the joint capsule, or part of the capsule itself.
What Are the Functions of the Joints and Ligaments in Dogs?
The primary functions of joints are to provide motion and flexibility to the skeletal frame and to act as shock absorbers.
Ligaments bind the bone ends together to prevent dislocation and excessive movement that might cause breakage. Ligaments also support many internal organs, including the uterus, the bladder, the liver, and the diaphragm.