The muscular system of dog

The muscular system of dog

The muscular system of dog

Overlying the skeletal framework is a complex network of muscles that enables a dog’s movement, and also move substances such as food and blood through the body. Muscle tissue is made up of cells that can shorten and lengthen to produce a voluntary or involuntary action. There are three types of muscle – skeletal (also called striped (smooth or unstriated); and cardiac.

Skeletal muscles – these are mainly attached to limbs and other parts of the anatomy that are under the voluntary control of the dog, such as movement, and are also known as voluntary muscles. They form the flesh (meat) of the dog and are attached to bones in order to produce movement.

Key questions

How are muscles attached to bones and what keeps bones together?

Flexible but inelastic cords of fibrous tissue called tendons attach muscle to bone, while ligaments – short bands of tough, fibrous connective tissue – connect bones or cartilages and hold joints together. Ligaments also comprise membranous folds that support organs and keep them in position.

Visceral muscles – these automatically carry out muscular functions not under the dog’s voluntary control, such as muscles of the intestines and walls of blood vessels, so they are known as involuntary muscles. They are not as strong as skeletal muscles but their contractions last longer.

Can a dog pull a muscle?

Yes, in the way that humans can through undue exertion, especially when suddenly energetic before muscles have warmed up through gentle exercise first. Ask your vet as to the best way of treating the injury.

Cardiac muscle – this is confined to the heart and carries out powerful and rhythmic contractions to pump blood around the body.

Function categories – extensor muscles extend and straighten a limb. Flexor muscles flex and bend joints. Abductor muscles move limbs away from the body and adductor muscles move them back in again.

Movement – a muscle does not usually produce an action on its own, but works as part of a group of muscles, and can only action movement when it contracts. Muscles also work to check quick movement in order that the ligaments that reinforce joints are not damaged.