Dogs can limp just like humans for various reasons but unlike humans, they can not tell us what they are facing, where they are having pain and all about their struggles with whatever disease they are dealing with. If you are noticing your dog limping, the ideal way is to take him to a vet so that you can know the reason behind the limping.
However, many of us like to know what to expect from the vet visit and if the situation is serious, etc. before we actually make a visit to the vet.
Here in this article, you will know some of the reasons behind your dog’s limping and if you can do something about it.
Types of Limping
There can be two possibilities, either your dog has started limping gradually or suddenly.
- Gradual onset of limping– In the gradual onset of limping, your dog will start limping over a period of time, it won’t be sudden.
- Sudden onset of limping– In the sudden onset of limping, as the name suggests, suddenly you will notice that your dog is limping, maybe after some accident or injury.
You need to know if the dog’s limping is gradual or sudden as it will help the vet in figuring out the possibilities behind the dog’s limping.
Once the vet knows if the limping is gradual or sudden, they will narrow down the possible reasons behind the same and diagnosis would be a little fast and easy.
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Why Do Dogs Limp?
In the case of gradual onset of limping, the reason can be some underlying health conditions like chronic or degenerative osteoarthritis or dysplasia.
In case of sudden onset of limping, the reason can be some sort of injury, accident, trauma, or surgery.
When to See the Vet?
It’s always helpful and necessary to take notice of any health situation as soon as one can, no matter if it’s a human or a dog, this is the way to do it ideally.
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Should You Go for an Emergency Appointment?
When the limping, no matter if it’s gradual or sudden, is not impacting your dog much, you don’t need to go for an emergency and your dog can wait for his scheduled appointment.
Sometimes, the limping can resolve itself during the waiting; however, this should not stop you from visiting a vet. If you have seen your dog limping even for once, the least you can do is visit the vet.
When the limping is because of some injury or accident, you need to take your dog to an emergency. This can be because of some serious issues like broken bones, and nerve damage. Situations like these need immediate care.
A few symptoms of sudden limping can be noticed, if you notice either of them, know this is because of some sort of injury.
- Unnatural angle
- Hot limb
No matter if the limping is gradual or sudden, you can not take it lightly. Even in the case of gradual onset of limping, you always need to visit a vet as the reason can be some serious underlying health situations.
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Possible Reasons Behind Dog Limping
A Few to Mention Are Down Below-
1. Joint Problems
Some situations can result in the gradual weakening of joints and muscles. Problems like Hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, ligament diseases, and elbow dysplasia can cause limping. Some infections like Lyme disease that impact the joints can indirectly result in limping in dogs.
2. Bone Disease
Bone diseases can make the legs of dogs weak which in turn can result in limping. This can be common in the case of huge breeds of dogs as their legs, if not strong, can not carry their body weight.
This can make walking painful for the dog. Sometimes, a few cancers which weaken the bones can be the reason behind the limping of your dog. If that is the case, worry not, the vet has the solution to almost everything.
3. Paw Injury
Many times, the limping can be because of some very basic reason like an injury in the paw. You might be wondering and getting all tense about the possible reasons for your dog limping but to your solace, it can be just because your dog stepped on a piece of glass, or may have hit his paw on a rock or a stone.
Our dogs walk around without shoes and there are sometimes some harmful things lying on the floor and the road like broken glasses and dishes, nails, thorns, rocks, sharp stones, etc. and if they end up hurting your dog’s paw, your dog will limp as he would face pain while walking. The dogs with paw injuries try to find a comfortable position to walk which might end up in them limping.
Trauma and injury can be the most basic reason and the common reason behind your dog limping. Some car accidents or injuries while playing can expose our dogs to excruciating pain in multiple ways.
Injuries can result in moderate to extreme limping depending upon the extent of the injury. Injuries, especially spinal injuries, broken ligaments, fractures, bone fractures, and joint features can all result in limping.
Slight like these can make your dog’s legs weak and sometimes your dog won’t be able to walk properly as their legs won’t be strong enough to handle their body weight.
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What Does the Diagnosis Include?
While diagnosing the limping of your dog, the vet will try to find the cause behind the limping. This is the time when you need to tell the vet if the limping was gradual or sudden.
What to Expect from the Vet?
- A few tests like radiographs to identify joint problems and broken bones.
- Biopsies and fluid collection tests to find the possibility of cancers and infections.
- Physical examination to identify the level of pain and movability of limbs.
- Examination of any sort of swelling etc.
What Is the Treatment Like?
Treatment will be dependent upon the diagnosis. Your vet will first figure out the reason behind your dog’s limping and the treatment would be solely dependent upon that.
Depending upon the reasons, the treatment can be as simple as a few days of rest to plaster, some sort of minor surgery to as complicated as prolonged testing, and treatment.
While the whole diagnosis and treatment phase can be a little intimidating for you and your dog, the better way is to approach the vet as soon as you notice the first signs of limping.
The Best Way to Go Until You Have an Appointment
- Abstain from any sort of exercise.
- No playing and walking.
- Only rest in the bed.
Conclusion of Dog Limping
Limping dogs can be a little overwhelming for dog parents as they might not be aware of what is coming next but these are the times that require utmost patience from you and immense love and affection for your dog.
Contact your vet, ask him/her for immediate care and actions, and don’t try to treat it on your own by giving pain killers, etc as they can be fatal and toxic for your dogs. Consulting a vet is the way to go forward.