Soft tissue disorders account for many of the painful conditions in which clients bring their pets to the veterinarian's office. Muscle, tendons, ligaments, fascia and periosteum are soft tissues that are often injured by trauma and/or the aging process. Tendon and ligaments are composed of collagen fibers which penetrate the periosteum as Sharpey's fibers. These fibers at the periosteum are vulnerable to repetitive stress and sudden tears from acute trauma. Skin infections, ulcerations and traumatic wounds are also common.

The inflammatory response involves noxious chemicals such as bradykinins, prostaglandins, histamine, substance P and serotonin which irritate free nerve endings causing pain. Part of the inflammatory reaction and pain response results in splinting, muscle and vasospasm which trap the irritating inflammatory substances in the tissue resulting in delayed healing and prolonged pain.

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