The muscular system produces movement and is one of the largest systems in the canine body. Muscle structure function and the location of the muscles are an important part of the muscle skeletal system. The muscular system also is responsible for organ movement such as the intestines, heart and stomach. At times, dogs may develop muscle-related disorders such as muscular dystrophy.
Location of Muscles
Skeletal muscles are attached to skin, bones and other muscles located throughout the entire body of the dog. Bones, joints and muscles are part of a dog's musculoskeletal system, which includes the knee, elbow, rear leg and shoulder.
Skeletal muscles are attached to the skeleton in certain areas. These muscles are voluntary muscles, meaning the dog can choose to move them at will, such as wagging his tail, walking, moving his eyes from side to side and chewing while he is eating. Skeletal muscles are connected to bones with strong, elastic, tissue tendons.
Muscles provide a main function by allowing movement throughout the entire body. The cardiac muscle is an involuntary muscle and acts on its own as it pumps blood in and out of the heart, distributing it throughout the body. Muscles located in the bladder, intestines and stomach are referred to as smooth muscles, which help in the digestion of food in the stomach, process waste through the intestines and process, and hold and release urine from the bladder.
Common Muscle Diseases
Inflammatory disorders of the muscles are polymyositis, myositis and eosinophilic myositis. A common disorder is myasthenia gravis, which is a condition that causes interference with the transmission between the nerves and muscles. A muscle disease that affects a large variety of dog breeds is muscular dystrophy. Congenital myotonia, which is an involuntary active muscle contraction also is found in dogs. Muscle fiber deficiency is a disorder, which is inherited through the parents of the dog. Inherited congenital disorders are seen in purebred dogs, however they are rare.