The old adage “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” definitely applies to mobility. Without a doubt, it’s natural to take for granted the privilege of going wherever you want to go. Until, that is, you can’t.
When they aren’t snuggling, dogs spend their whole lives up and on their feet. As a result, they are at risk of strain. If your dog has a limp and you’re not sure why or what happened, it’s a good idea to put on the old sleuth hat. Getting to the bottom of an illness or injury is what it’s all about, and we’re here to assist you.
Connecting the Dots
If your dog has a limp, it’s important to question whether it started gradually or suddenly. Your observations can help us zero-in on possible causes.
Slow and Steady
A dog can have a chronic or degenerative condition long before they start showing obvious symptoms like limping. Osteoarthritis is a common diagnosis among aging canines, and is responsible for affecting mobility, flexibility, and pain. Hip/elbow dysplasia, intervertebral disc disease, Lyme disease, or bone cancer may also be to blame for a gradual onset limp. If your dog is overweight or obese, pressure on their joints may cause pain, stuffness, and limping.
An injury or physical trauma are responsible for causing sudden onset limping. While a dog can recover on their own from a minor accident, it’s never something to ignore. We’d prefer that dog owners always err on the side of caution and rule out serious concerns. Play it safe and schedule an appointment for your dog to be examined. If possible, we will develop a treatment plan to reduce their pain and increase their activity level.
Don’t Wait, Fix the Gait
Emergency veterinary care is critical if your dog is bleeding, shows signs of swelling in the joints, has a hot-feeling limb, or appears to have a dislocated leg. Broken bones and separated joints signal the need for immediate action. Since you might not be able to see the extent of damage to the spine or nerves, it’s essential that your dog be seen without delay. Waiting can lead to long-term conditions.
What Am I Missing?
Foreign bodies, such as rocks, glass, nails, thorns, sticks, and other sharp objects can cause significant injury to their paw and exacerbate a limp.
Inspect your dog’s paw pads daily for evidence of injury, infection, insect stings/bites, broken nails, bruising, lacerations, or exposure to extreme heat or cold.
Dog owners can prevent accidental injury to the legs, feet, spine and joints by physically conditioning their dogs. If an active, athletic dog has a limp all of a sudden, they may be enduring a dislocation, fracture, ligament tear, or joint trauma. If they cannot recover after a solid rest period of 15 minutes or more, seek help for them.