Jul. 07.2021 | Updated: September 16, 2021

Why Is My Dog Limping All of a Sudden, What Can I Do, and When Take It to the Vet

what to do when a dog is limping

If you notice limping in dogs, then do not panic. It is not a diagnosis but only a clinical sign. This may indicate a pathology from the musculoskeletal system or the nervous system. This is not a reason to isolate your pet from frequent walks on the street but a sign that it is worth asking for help to identify the reasons and help. In any case, an active image is essential for any breed of dog. Of course, the veterinarian will help you figure out the problem. However, you are probably asking yourself: “Why is my dog limping all of a sudden”? We will help you get the answer to this question and others. Let’s start.

What Causes a Dog to Limp?

There are two reasons for walking disorders in pets.

  • Congenital;
  • Acquired lameness.

The first reason includes animals with abnormalities of fetal development. Underdevelopment of the ligaments, in connection with which there are short-legged, congenital pathologies of the joints. At-risk chondrodystrophic dog breeds. Indeed, dysplasia is a genetically determined anatomical defect, but more often it develops only under the influence of other factors. What are the reasons for dog limping in this case? There is obesity, excessive physical activity for the puppy. Since it is almost impossible to trace the root cause of the anatomical defect of the hip joint, such pathologies are consciously attributed to hereditary diseases. What are the sudden causes of lameness in dogs? They can be provoked by:

  • Trauma (paw cut; bruise; muscle strain, ligament; joint dislocation; crack, bone fracture);
  • Burns (chemical, thermal);
  • Inflammatory processes (bursitis; arthritis; periostitis, osteomyelitis; neuritis; pododermatitis; other);
  • Dystrophic phenomena (osteoarthritis);
  • Neoplasms (osteosarcoma, osteoma; fibroids, sarcoma);
  • Iatrogenic (painful injection, needle into the vascular-nervous bundle, periosteum).
  • It can be one of the symptoms of ACL in dogs.

Why do dogs limp? It can be pathologies of various systems. It is often impossible to track the depth of the lesion and detect the primary focus without the use of special diagnostic methods. At the initial examination, the veterinarian pays attention to which paw is affected, as this also provides useful data for diagnosis.

My Dog Started Limping: Difference in the Legs

why do dogs limp
  • Front legs. Damage to the thoracic limb develops more often as a consequence of trauma. This fact determines the leading role of the front legs, especially when jumping. Landing, the paws bear the load of the whole body. Stretching, dislocations, in some cases cracks and fractures are noted. Animals with a strong constitution are less susceptible than representatives of a delicate constitution with light and thin bones.
  • Lameness in the hind legs occurs due to:
    • genetic pathologies of the joints (dysplasia of the hip joints, luxation of the knee joint);
    • diseases of the nervous system (infringement of the spinal cord, spinal nerve roots, sciatic nerve bruises);
    • performing intramuscular injections.

Dog Limping without Pain: What Are Other Symptoms

It is obvious that the dog is experiencing pain, which is expressed in loud barking, changes in behavior, etc. However, other symptoms can be with or without pain. Among them:

  • Bleeding;
  • Bloating;
  • Vomiting;
  • Labored breathing;
  • Obvious fracture or dislocation;
  • Disorientation;
  • Heat.

What to Do When a Dog Is Limping?

Even if it seems to you that nothing serious has happened and you can cope with the lameness of your dog on your own, an examination by a veterinarian will not hurt. However, here are a few steps you can take yourself:

  • Examine the affected limb carefully.
  • If you find a small wound, clean it with mild soap and warm water.
  • When to take a limping dog to the vet? If these are severe wounds, they should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • For mild swelling, you can use ice for 10-15 minutes. If the swelling does not subside within 24 hours, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Rest plays an important role in rehabilitation. Try to limit your pet’s activity during treatment. For example, do not allow going up or downstairs, jumping or running. Your dog will need a quiet rest.

How to Treat a Limping Dog?

reasons for dog limping

The tactics of treating dogs with identified lameness depend on the pathology that causes it. Diagnostics is the fundamental link to ineffective therapy. Diagnostics are based on non-invasive methods: X-ray diagnostics, ultrasound examination. Remember that dogs are natural predators and have a high pain tolerance. Common lameness can be a sign of serious illness. Therefore, it is better to turn to a specialist for help as soon as possible. Dog limping treatment can take a park of days, weeks, or even longer. However, any delay can have serious consequences.

When you know the symptoms and causes of limping, we hope you will react immediately. Don’t forget to check other articles in our Health section. Thank you for reading the article to the end. See you soon!

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