The musculoskeletal system includes the bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons, and other connective tissue. It supports the body, permits movement, and protects the vital organs. Because many other body systems (including the nervous system, blood vessels, and skin) are interrelated, disorders of one of these systems may also affect the musculoskeletal system.
Diseases of the musculoskeletal system most often affect the body's ability to move. How severely movement is impaired depends on the type and severity of the problem. Skeletal and joint disorders are the most common, but problems in the musculoskeletal system can also indicate diseases of the muscles, neurologic problems, toxins in the body, hormonal abnormalities, metabolic disorders, infectious diseases, blood and vascular disorders, poor nutrition, and birth defects. (For a more detailed discussion of the musculoskeletal system, see Bone, Joint, and Muscle Disorders of Dogs: Introduction to Bone, Joint, and Muscle Disorders of Dogs.)
Last full review/revision July 2011 by Russel R. Hanson, DVM, DACVS, DACVECC; Joerg A. Auer, DrMedVet, Dr h c, MS, DACVS, DECVS; Joseph Harari, MS, DVM, DACVS; Dale A. Moore, MS, DVM, MPVM, PhD; Sheldon Padgett, DVM, MS, DACVS