A dog that limps is not harmless, it is the consequence of pain that makes it difficult for the animal to move. Unless the pain is sharp, dogs often do not complain and it will be up to you to notice that your dog is limping. Several causes can explain a dog’s lameness: wrong movement, age, fall, injury, bite from another animal…
My dog is limping, what can I do? Why does my dog limp? What are the causes of lameness in dogs? What are the remedies?
The dog that limps: causes and origins
There are several reasons why a dog may begin to limp. In some cases lameness can be totally benign, it is the case of a false movement or a numb limb because he has slept too long on it for example. But lameness can be the cause of more serious things, which is why it is recommended not to take it lightly if you notice that your dog starts to limp.
Injuries and accidents
Very often, it is small accidents that cause your dog to limp. It can be a small gash in the paws or the presence of a foreign body between the pads that hinders your dog and causes him to limp. An ingrown or broken nail is painful and can also cause your pet to limp. This is not serious and does not require a visit to the veterinarian unless the symptom persists for several days after the discomfort is removed.
However, your dog’s activity is likely to lead to more serious accidents. If while playing your dog falls, gets caught in an obstacle, or simply makes a false movement and ends up limping, it is possible that he has suffered a traumatic injury: muscle tear, elongation, tendonitis, sprain, or even a fracture…
Hereditary disease or malformation are conditions that can cause your dog to laminate. Larger breeds are likely to be affected by bone deformities because they are hereditary diseases, fortunately, some are detectable such as hip and/or elbow dysplasia for example. The latter is characterized by motor difficulties in standing up, taking stairs, or even walking that are visible on the animal’s rear end. Treatments exist to relieve the life of the dog suffering from dysplasia.
Other growth diseases mainly affect young dogs of large breeds that are still growing: enostosis, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, or osteochondritis dissecans… The first two usually resolve themselves once growth is over, however, if in doubt that the symptoms hide another pathology it is important to have your dog followed by a veterinarian.
Diseases causing lameness
Older dogs as well as overweight dogs are likely to develop osteoarthritis, a pathology that leads to the degradation of joint cartilage, forcing the suffering dog to have difficulty moving around.
More seriously, leishmaniasis or Lyme disease caused by the bite of a tick can cause your dog to limp. Among the fever, weakness, loss of appetite, and difficulty in breathing, muscle aches, and pains may appear and cause the animal to limp.
It should be noted that the disease may not appear until several weeks or months after the contagion. To avoid any contamination, it is important that your dog is treated against parasites and wears an anti-leishmaniasis collar.
My dog has a limp: how do I diagnose it?
As soon as you notice that your dog is limping, before running to your vet, you should find out how it could have happened. Palpating the limb will allow you to know the seriousness of the injury. Begin by examining the pads before going back up on the paw to look for an abnormality. If you notice a foreign body between the pads or a small wound it is nothing to be alarmed about, you can heal it by yourself by removing the discomfort or by treating the wound with antiseptic and resting for 48 hours.
However, if your dog reacts to pain when you palpate it, it becomes more serious, it may have a sprain, tendonitis, or even a fracture! The causes are multiple. Generally, in this case, your dog will be swollen in the place where he is injured, if a bone is broken or displaced you can feel it too. In any case, you should not wait to go to the vet.
Dog with a limp: the solutions
To relieve a dog that is limping there is only rest. It is important to limit the movements of the animal at all costs so that it recovers as quickly as possible. You can immobilize the affected area with a bandage to prevent your dog from leaning on it too much. Do not hesitate to apply a soothing solution if your veterinarian has recommended one.
If the lameness is due to a more serious reason, especially if it is due to a more serious reason, follow your veterinarian’s advice. He or she will probably have given you recommendations and appropriate treatment. It is important to follow his advice for a quick and optimal recovery of your pet.