Seeing a dog limp can break anyone’s heart, especially if it’s your best friend. Whether it comes on suddenly or gradually, lameness is something that should not be ignored. What Dr. Antje Joslin, DVM, vet for dogtopiasays, any lameness that lasts more than a few hours and doesn’t go away with rest, or is severe and the dog is visibly uncomfortable, should be seen by a veterinary as soon as possible. Even a limp that appears mild or intermittent should be checked out, as it could be an early sign of a major problem.
She adds that if you notice your dog limping at home, do a thorough inspection of his foot and affected limb, looking for any swelling, bleeding, or superficial injuries.
as long as there is Many Things that can cause a dog to “limp” as it is called, the following problems tend to be more common. But it’s important to work with your vet to confirm the underlying cause, because that will determine the best treatment.
Why is my dog limping?
Here are some of the possible reasons why your dog might be limping:
1. Hip dysplasia
“Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects growth dogscommonly larger breeds like Golden Retrievers or German Shepherds,” he explains. Dr Rebecca Greenstein, DVM, Veterinary Medical Advisor for Rover. “It’s a general term that refers to abnormal anatomy or laxity of the usual hip joint.”
For example, your dog’s hip joint may be too shallow, and over time this can create abnormal wear and tear on the joint, which can lead to discomfort, lameness and arthritis.
Although dogs in the early stages of hip dysplasia may not show any signs, along with lameness, it can eventually present as “bunny hopping” when runstiffness when standing up, or a clicking or clicking sound when walking or Playing.
As a degenerative disease that can cause loss of cartilage in the bones of a joint, arthritis can lead to pain and decreased range of motion, such as dr Stephanie Howe, DVM, vet in Tough, He says. This may appear as lameness.
“The most commonly affected joints are the hips and knees,” she says. “Arthritis tends to progress slowly, so most pet owners will notice a gradual slowdown in their dogs.”
3. Paw injury
Dr. Joslin says that a limp can be caused by a nail injury, such as a broken claw or laceration, or a burn or foreign body lodged in the footpad.
“Damage to the paw pad or nail is usually due to trauma, a long nail that gets stuck and splits or detaches from the nail bed, or a dog stepping on something sharp and damaging the pad,” says Dr. Howe. “These usually cause a sudden lameness and there may be bleeding or swelling in the damaged area.”
4. Bone fracture
“Broken bones usually cause sudden lameness, swelling or pain and may be accompanied by other injuries such as cuts or bruisessays Dr. Howe. “Depending on the type of fracture and where it is, your dog may still be able to put weight on that limb, but he will most likely refuse to use that leg.”
5. Lyme disease
Did you know that lameness can be caused by Lyme’s desease? This is one of several serious diseases that ticks can carry, notes Dr. Greenstein, and dogs with the disease may begin to limp and have swollen joints in one or more limbs. Other symptoms may include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, and lethargy.
Unfortunately, cancer it can be a potential cause of your pup’s lameness. Dr. Howe says that since cancer can affect the bones, connective tissue, muscles, and lymphatic system of the leg, masses that affect any of these areas can cause lameness, swelling, and pain.
“Bone cancer, or osteosarcoma, is most common in large breed dogs in the shoulder or knee, but it can occur in any bone,” explains Dr. Howe. “Swelling is usually the first symptom, but lameness, lack of appetite and lethargy can also be seen.”
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What are some medications that can provide relief?
First of all, Dr Leslie Gillette, vet in Toughsays that pet parents should never give their dogs any medication that is not specifically prescribed or recommended by a veterinarian.
“Over-the-counter drugs for the relief of human pain, such as aspirin or Tylenol, they should not be given to dogs because their bodies metabolize these drugs differently than humans do,” she says. “Exposure to even very small levels of these drugs can quickly cause long-lasting and sometimes fatal consequences for your dog.”
That said, it’s important to meet with your veterinarian to discuss your dog’s lameness in detail and learn what medications might be best for him. For example, prednisolone transdermal gel is often prescribed as a anti-inflammatory for use in joint pain. While it doesn’t necessarily treat pain specifically, as Dr. Howe points out, it can be helpful in a small number of causes of lameness, such as intervertebral disc disease or an immune-mediated polyarthropathy, which is an abnormal immune response with a focus on the joints.
In addition to prednisolone, Dr. Joslin says that depending on your dog’s age, underlying medical conditions, and the cause of the lameness, your vet may choose to recommend anti-inflammatory pain relievers. “These can include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, and drugs like gabapentin,” he says. “These drugs are widely used to control pain.”
Generally, there is no magic bullet when it comes to managing a dog’s lameness. Dr. Howe says that in a case like arthritisgenerally suggests a multimodal approach.
“These pets you can benefit from a joint supplement, an anti-inflammatory, and a pain reliever all at the same time, as these drugs often work better together,” he says (although Dr. Howe warns of the possible risk of stomach ulcers from using of multiple drugs). “In addition, changes such as weight loss in an overweight or obese pet can also be extremely helpful, as any additional weight on those joints will increase pain and symptoms.”
At home, you can also think about your pup as he tries to navigate slippery surfaces or hardwood floors. “Add a yoga mat or a small rug next to your bed is an easy and inexpensive way to add traction and help prevent slipping or spreading,” says Dr. Greenstein.
You can also limit the areas of the house your limping dog has access to, which can protect him from accidental falls or loss of balance that can worsen an existing injury or cause new trauma to another joint, as detailed by Dr. Gillette. .
“This may include placing gates throughout the main living area of the home to prohibit access to stairs or furniture that the dog may attempt to climb up or down, such as sofas, chairs, beds or seats next to the stairs. windows,” he says.
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How can a veterinarian help?
During your vet appointment, Dr. Greenstein says they’ll start by taking a careful history, asking about age and circumstances of onset, severity, and any injuries witnessed, as well as any past history. ticks either to travel and response to any previous medications.
“During your dog’s appointment, the veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam, including a variety of neurological and orthopedic tests to try to determine the cause of your dog’s lameness and isolate which specific leg(s) or joint(s)( s) is/are the most affected. probably affected,” says Dr. Gillette. “Once your veterinarian has completed their initial physical exam, they may recommend additional diagnostic testing to help determine if the lameness is due to soft tissue or skeletal abnormalities.”
Hopefully soon after, your dog will be on the road to recovery and feeling better in no time.