Iliopsoas? What on earth?
The Iliopsoas is one of your dog’s muscles.
Yes… and so…? why should I be interested in it?
The Iliopsoas muscle is made up of the psoas major muscle (pronounced: so – as) and iliacus muscles. (The “p” is silent: ilio – so-as). This muscle is found in the groin area of your dog and is responsible for flexing the hip. (Think male dog lifting leg a to pee on a post – though of course that is not the only time it’s used 😊 ). It’s used to rotate the hip joint, to stand up, to jump, to move the dog forward.
So – why is this relevant to us in our care for our dog?
Some of the common causes of strain of this muscle are repetitive activities in our dog. When you repetitively throw the ball or Frisbee for your dog and he is running, jumping and catching it over and over, because they are usually running at high speed and twisting their bodies, it can cause muscle strain or tears. Any similar activity which is repetitive without varying the activity runs the risk of straining this muscle. Sometimes repetitively running the fence at speed when people or dogs are passing by can be another cause. For dogs who do agility or competitive sports, proper warm up prior to competing can help avoid strain. Overtraining can be another cause of strain or tears for competitive dogs.
Another important factor is slippery floors in the home. This is a bit of a bugbear of mine, having a senior Scattle Dog (Staffie x Cattle) who suffers from arthritis. When a dog slips and splays on a floor e.g. polished timber or tiles with no grip, they are at risk of straining this muscle (and potentially others, but we are discussing the Iliopsoas at the moment ).
What can you do? Avoid repetitive activities as mentioned above, proper warm up for competitive dogs, and having runners and non-slip rugs in place in the home where you dog needs to pass are just a few suggestions.
If you notice your dog limping, withdrawing her leg away when you put your hand in that area, swelling or doesn’t bear weight etc. please see your veterinarian for a diagnosis. Of course there may be a whole range of other issues causing the problem, including cruciate ligament injury or other.
If it is diagnosed as an issue with the iliopsoas, the vet will best advise what course of action needs to be taken, usually depending on the severity. Massage might be one of the modalities suggested, often after some rehabilitation therapy and/or core strengthening exercises.
However, as with anything, prevention is better than cure – so – be a friend to your dog’s Iliopsoas muscles.😀😀
References: Online articles: bluepearlvet medical https://bluepearlvet.com/pet-library/medical-articles/and science direct topics https://www.sciencedirect.com/…/veterinary-scienc…/iliopsoas