There are many reasons why your dog could be limping out of the blue. just like us, it could be as simple as something bothering them or it could be a more complicated health issue. the purpose of limping is to relieve some kind of pain that your dog is feeling. It can be difficult to see your four-legged friend in apparent pain, but as long as you stay calm and seek the professional opinion of your vet, you and your pup will be back up and running in no time.
categories of lameness in dogs
Veterinarians classify lameness into two general categories. they are of gradual onset and sudden lameness.
gradual onset lameness
Gradual onset is the type of lameness that develops slowly over a long period of time. If you see your dog gradually starting to limp, you should see a vet because letting a gradual limp become infected can lead to further complications.
Sudden lameness is the type of lameness that develops instantly. It is usually due to some kind of injury or trauma. If you notice that your dog has suddenly started to limp, you should take him to the vet immediately to find out the cause and what can be done to solve it.
reasons for sudden limping in dogs
Dogs don’t start limping for no reason, and it’s important to find out why they started limping.
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Some common reasons a dog suddenly limps include:
One of the reasons dogs suddenly limp could be a paw or leg injury.
Superficial injuries can include a cut or scratch caused by a sharp object, such as stepping on glass, getting stuck by a thorn, walking on a nail, or running on hot pavement. Other leg injuries that can cause lameness include bites or stings, infections, broken nails, or burns.
all of these cause pain which, as stated above, is the main reason dogs limp. to ease the pain you may also notice your dog licking the area non-stop. it is another sign of an injury. If your dog starts limping out of the blue, the first thing you should do is check his feet and paws for abnormalities or signs of injury.
deeper injury or trauma
Does your dog think of himself as an athlete but is actually incredibly clumsy? Or is he a true athlete but didn’t see the sharp rock buried in the grass? If either sounds fine and you’ve noticed a sudden limp, it could be due to trauma.
Dogs often ignore their bodily limits to jump from heights, run fast and stop suddenly, or make a quick turn. this can lead to torn ligaments, bone fractures (broken bones), joint trauma, or sprains. the trauma could also be something like being attacked by another animal, having a leg caught in a fence, or being hit by a car. Some of these injuries are more serious than others, so be sure to take your dog to the emergency vet if he sustains a serious injury or trauma.
As a preventative measure, avoid situations with dogs where you could get hurt. For example, when playing fetch, make sure the play area has smooth, safe ground and there are no opportunities to escape into the street. If your dog has a history of being a relentless escape artist in your yard, take steps to keep him safe, such as guarding the yard, training the behavior, or never leaving your pet outdoors unattended.
Another situation that can cause your dog to suddenly start limping is if he suffers from joint disease. this is generally considered gradual onset lameness; however, perhaps your dog has been good at hiding it or there is a flare-up of inflammation.
Joint diseases include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, ligament disease, osteoarthritis, osteochondritis dissecans, or intervertebral disc disease. I know, it’s a lot to take in. Your vet will be key to diagnosing exactly what’s going on and the best way to ease the pain to get rid of the lameness.
Some of these joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis, are more common in older dogs. others, such as osteochondritis dissecans, occur in younger puppies during growth spurts.
There are still other reasons why your dog is limping. it could be a side effect of an infection like lyme disease or a cancer like osteosarcoma that affects the bones.
If you have a large breed puppy like a Great Dane, they may be limping due to conditions like hypertrophic osteodystrophy or panosteitis.
To decide exactly what’s going on, your vet will run a variety of tests. X-rays, biopsies, and blood tests are all possible options your vet can use to decide exactly why your pup started limping.
possible treatment options for a dog suddenly limping
treatment will depend on the physical examination and diagnosis.
In some cases, rest and relaxation are all it takes to get your friend back in top shape. others may need treatment such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, or surgery.
In any event, your primary veterinarian is your number one resource for diagnosing and treating your dog’s lameness. Vegetarian doctors will inform your veterinarian about every detail so that he can continue to care for your pet for successful treatment.
seek help if your dog suddenly limps
Dogs can suddenly start limping for a number of reasons, and some of these reasons may be more serious than others. Regardless of the cause of your dog’s lameness, it’s important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. If your pet begins to limp due to a serious situation and your primary veterinarian is unavailable, you should seek emergency veterinary care immediately.
at veg, we’re ready to help you assess and alleviate any pain that’s caused your dog to suddenly start limping. Emergency vets at all of our convenient veg locations are here to care for your pet when they need us most. Since many of our locations are open 24/7 and all are open after hours, your pet will never have to wait for the immediate care they need.