Ten Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Is Limping

beagle pictureSuddenly your dog is limping for no apparent reason…what happened? Here are 10 possible reasons…

Wounded paws-Check to see if your dog has any cuts, scrapes or puncture wounds on his paws. Most of the time, these problems can be treated with a topical antibiotic ointment.

Overgrown toenails- Too long of toenails can cause dogs to limp.  This is more common in older dogs. If your dog’s toenails have gotten too long they will break and then get infected.  The nails need to be cut properly and kept clean. Breaks in your dog’s nails may require minor surgery to fix the nail and remove the infection.

An minor accident-Accidents or trauma may cause your dog to limp. Often the injury seems minimal,but over time there can be degeneration of the ligament or disc that could lead to limping or lameness.  If your dog is in an accident, be sure to get it checked out by your veterinarian. Your vet will do an x-ray to check for broken bones.

Sprained muscles or damaged ligaments-Your vet can diagnosis a sprain or damaged ligament in your dog. He or she might prescribe limited exercise for your dog as well as some anti-inflammatory medications to help ease the pain. Never give your dog human anti-inflammatory medications; they could be deadly for your pet.   

Arthritis-Your dog can develop arthritis, often referred to as osteoarthritis, as she ages. Activities such as climbing stairs or walking on a leash can be painful for your dog.

Hip dysplasia-Dogs often get hip dysplasia especially as they age. Typically the limping is worse on one side. This is an inherited problem that is because of abnormal looseness between the ball and socket of the hip. The structure does not fit tightly, causing pain or arthritis.

vet cares for dog

Bone tumor-Another serious reason for limping is due to a tumor in the bone. The first sign of a tumor is sometimes limping. These tumors can be hard to diagnose. They are usually near a leg joint.  They are found by x-raying the area. Sometimes surgery and even amputation is required.

Myositis-Myositis is a chronic muscle inflammation. It’s an autoimmune disease in which a dog’s immune system attacks its own muscles and connective tissues. This disease usually attacks your pet’s leg muscles. It often has flare-ups, getting better and then worse at random times. Your vet will need to put your dog on anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the pain and swelling.

Parasite borne diseases-Dogs can get Lyme disease from tick bites. One of the first symptoms of this disease in a dog is limping or lameness. Your vet will do a blood test to determine if your dog has a parasite borne disease.

Bites and stings-A bite on your dog’s paw from a spider, snake, or bee sting can become infected causing your dog to limp. If your dog has been outside and suddenly starts limping, check his paws carefully for any signs of a bite.  Also, check for stingers or other imbedded objects that might have gotten into your dog’s paw.

Limping can be a serious problem for your dog. Don’t delay to get your dog the help she needs if this occurs.
“Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well.”  – Bonnie Wilcox

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