Limping injuries in dogs

Like us, dogs are also prone to limping abnormalities. You can tell when you had developed the abnormality, when you encountered an accident or trauma, or when there is a change in your skeletal system functions. However, our furry friends are not able to speak up about their problems. We have to step forward to judge if they suffer from any abnormality.

The most valuable resource for judging the health status of your furry friend is your veterinarian. We always advise you to pay regular visits to your veterinarian for health status checkups. There is an edge to knowing the common problems of pets. You can identify that there is something wrong going on with your pet, and you will be able to take immediate action in that regard.

So, sit back! And carefully read the article to learn about the limping injuries in dogs.

What are limping injuries? Gradual Onset vs. Sudden Limping

Limping abnormalities are of several kinds. Your dog can be affected by any limping abnormality. Mainly these abnormalities are classified into two categories based on time of onset. Gradual limps are those abnormalities that develop over time. On the contrary, sudden limping abnormalities happen suddenly, as their name implies.

For your veterinarian, it is essential to know the time of onset of the disease. If you communicate it properly when the problem starts, it will be easy for your veterinarian to conclude whether the condition requires emergency treatment or not.

In most cases, limps are due to underlying causes that may be chronic. The most common of all chronic causes are osteoarthritis and dysplasia. However, sudden limps are caused mainly by trauma or injury.

What are the signs and symptoms?

It is better to play safe and contact your veterinarian as soon as you identify any abnormality in your furry friend. You also need to know what limping situation needs emergency treatment and when to wait. We are humans, and there are some limitations. Most of the time, you observe the abnormality out of the office hours. In that case, you need to know if the limping situation can or cant wait.

If your dog suffers from gradual limps or sudden limps, and the problem doesn't seem to bother your dog, you can wait for a few hours. In most cases, these mild problems are solved on their own during a period of wait.

However, if your dog suffers from a fracture or dislocated joint, it requires immediate treatment. Nerve damage, in this case, can be a sign of spinal injury or neurological injury. If you observe the following signs in your dog, you need to let your dog to the nearest emergency service immediately.

  • Joint dislocation (dangling limb)

  • Hot limb or any other sign of inflammation

  • Swelling

  • Severe abnormal gait or angle

How to treat a limping dog?

The treatment of a limping dog certainly depends on the cause. There are several procedures or ways of treating a limping dog. The severity of the problem decides the treatment protocol. Surgery is the best solution to treat skeletal disorders in most severe problems.

Suppose limping develops because of dysplasia, the surgical treatment aimed to cut and eliminate the overgrown part of the bone. In case of the dislocation of a joint, surgical intervention is carried out to orient all the joint bones in their proper orientation.

While many limping disorders are treated without surgical intervention, if the limping is caused by arthritis or sudden trauma, the patient is advised to rest properly and limit the body movement. In that case, proper management is essential.

Managemental therapy

Your veterinarian may advise you on managemental therapy in most cases if the problems are not severe to require surgical intervention. Your veterinarian may advise restricting the movement to allow only such movements that don't result in dislocation.

We at quincydogs have designed harnesses to achieve this goal. Our harness helps you restrict abnormal movements of joints and helps your pet recover from skeletal system disorders. We are offering three different designs of the harness. Your veterinarian can help you select the best-suited harness for your dog.

This harness aims to allow the smooth physical activities of your furry friend. The adequate pressure of the harness presses the pressure points of the body that helps in boosting the immune system. The harness keeps the major joint of the body in its proper orientation, which is the major goal of preventing and treating limp diseases.

What are the causes of limping disease in dogs?

Lameness in dogs is one of the frequent problems. However, there is a huge range of possible causes, from trauma to chronic conditions. Following are some of the major causes of limps in dogs.

Paw injury

The most common injury in dogs is a paw injury; your dog can accidentally step on a piece of glass or anything that is sharp and get hurt. Foreign bodies such as glass, thorns, nails, sharp rocks, plant matter, or sticks can injure your pet and result in limpness. The injury may get infected, and the condition becomes more severe.

Joint disease

Some progressive joint disorders and conditions cause continuous wear and tear of the joint. The cartilage and bone become damaged and subsequently lead to limp disorders. The most common joint diseases are osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, intervertebral disc disease, patellar luxation, and osteochondritis dissecans. The important thing is to diagnose these problems on time so that your dog can suffer less.

Bone disease

Some diseases severely affect the bones of limbs and result in limp abnormalities. Large breed dogs are more prone to bone diseases such as panosteitis and hypertrophic osteodystrophy. Certain cancerous diseases also become the cause of limp in dogs. Osteosarcoma is the most common cancer which affects bones.

Some diseases affect the bones in your dog's legs. Younger dogs, especially large breed puppies, can develop conditions such as hypertrophic osteodystrophy, making walking painful. Certain cancers, such as osteosarcoma, also affect bones and require a prompt diagnosis for the best prognosis.

Injury or Trauma

Injuries and trauma are the most apparent causes of limping in dogs. From car accidents to sports injuries, our dogs are exposed to almost as many types of injuries as we are. Broken bones, fractures, sprains, dislocations, ligament tears, joint trauma, and spinal injuries can all cause moderate to severe limping, and in some cases, the dog may not be able to put weight on the affected leg at all. Proper conditioning can help reduce the risk of some sports injuries, but a limping canine athlete should be given plenty of rest until the cause of the limp is identified and treated.

If your dog becomes acutely lame (especially if he's a puppy), wait for about 15 minutes and try to keep your pup quiet and still. They are like children and will likely yelp and cry for about five minutes. You may find them acting perfectly normal after that time and save yourself a trip to the emergency room.

If, however, they are still lame or non-weight bearing after 15 minutes, you should have their veterinarian see them.

written by: 

Dr Saba Afzal, DVM, RVMP

M.phil in Microbiology.