Is your dog walking with an abnormal gait? Unfortunately, limping in dogs is very common.
The best thing to do if you notice limping in your dog is to take action, and for a good reason. A limp may mean your pup has a sick or injured leg, or it could also signify a more severe problem such as hip dysplasia or bone tumor.
If you’re worried about your limping dog, here’s a guide that details what to do about your pup’s lameness.
Reasons why your dog is limping
Limping or lameness in dogs is often due to various causes, including:
- Muscle strain
- Tears and ruptures
- Paw fungal or bacterial infection
- Embedded foreign object in the paw
- A cut on the paw or foot
- Torn nail
- An animal bite
- Bone tumor or cancer
How severe is your dog’s limp?
You can determine the severity of your dog’s lameness by watching how they walk.
Check if your dog can stand with the limping leg. If your pup isn’t willing to put any weight on the leg or has problems standing, the limp is severe, which calls for an immediate visit to the vet.
Also, consider the duration of the limp. How long has your dog had the lameness? Has the limp improved or worsened from the first day you noticed it?
For instance, sudden limping could be due to an injury or trauma. Lameness that gets worse with time may be due to a degenerative condition such as dysplasia or osteoarthritis.
If your dog isn’t in pain, you can also try to examine the leg. Check between the paw pads for signs of bleeding, discharge, swelling, or a wound. If you notice any swelling, wounds, or severe bruising, take your dog to the vet immediately.
If the limping accompanies other symptoms such as pain, fever, lethargy, diarrhea, or excessive panting, take your pet to the nearest vet immediately.
What it means when your dog is:
Limping on the front leg
A dog with a limp on the front leg will raise her head whenever they try to walk on the affected leg. The dog also will arch her back and take shorter strides with its hind legs.
Forelimb lameness is often caused by:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Shoulder instability
- Injury in the biceps
Limping on the hind leg
Hind leg lameness may be characterized by increased vertical motion on the affected hip and a raised tail when your pet’s lame leg touches the ground.
Common causes of hind leg lameness include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Achilles tendon rupture
- Patellar luxation
- Lumbosacral disease
- Ligament rupture
Limping after running
Limping after exercising could be a sign of muscle soreness. A dog who starts to limp after a walk may also have an injury, a torn nail, or a foreign object stuck in her paw.
Limping after rest or when it’s cold
Lameness that occurs after resting may be a sign of osteoarthritis. Also, this condition can get worse when the weather’s cold.
How can I help my dog before taking them to the vet?
If your dog isn’t in pain, there are some home remedies you can try before transporting them to the vet.
With a swollen paw, you can put ice packs on the leg. If you can’t get an ice pack, place the leg in a tub of water or spray it with cold water for at least ten minutes.
Another thing you can do is clean the foot if you notice a wound. Use antibacterial soap or an iodine-based solution to clean the affected area. If the foot has an abscess, soak it in a warm iodine solution or use a warm compressor. Be careful not to rupture the abscess.
Moreover, restrict your pet’s movement by using a leash when walking them. Make your dog comfortable and limit other activities. Use a dog e-collar to prevent your dog from licking or chewing on the wound.
CBD oil for arthritis symptoms
CBD oil is a natural, non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant. When used medicinally, CBD oils have been shown to be effective in relieving a wide range of ailments, including arthritis pain.
In fact, a recent study showed that CBD oil was able to significantly reduce inflammation and pain in dogs suffering from arthritis. The study’s results indicated that CBD oil is a safe and effective treatment for canine arthritis.
Moreover, using CBD oil did not result in any adverse side effects. This is good news for dog owners who are looking for a natural way to relieve their pet’s arthritis pain. If you’re considering using CBD oil to treat your dog’s arthritis, be sure to consult with your veterinarian first.
If arthritis causes your dog’s lameness, keep your dog at a healthy weight by giving them a balanced diet. Giving your pup anti-inflammatory foods from Timberwolf Organics can also help alleviate arthritis symptoms.
When transporting your dog to the vet, carry them to the car or use a sling if they can’t walk. If your pet can still walk, ensure you use a leash to protect the leg from further injury.
Don’t give your pup over-the-counter painkillers. OTC medications such as ibuprofen, Tylenol, and aspirin are dangerous for your dog.
What can you expect from the vet?
Be prepared to answer questions about your dog’s lameness at the vet.
Some questions they may ask you include:
- When did you notice the limping?
- Have you noticed any other symptoms besides lameness?
- Are there times when the limping gets worse?
- Have you given your pet any medication or first aid at home?
The vet will then perform a thorough physical examination. The veterinarian may also perform an x-ray, a CT scan, or blood work.
Depending on the diagnosis, your provider may recommend restricted activity. The vet may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory or a pain reliever for the pain.
If your pet’s limping is caused by joint health, the vet will most likely recommend the use of supplements. If your dog has a fracture, the veterinarian may put a splint or a cast on the leg. Surgery is also an option for dogs with serious tissue injury.
Understand why your dog’s limping
In closing, limping in dogs has many causes. It’s best to have your pet examined by a vet immediately after noticing any lameness.
Your vet will offer treatment to your pup, and they’re also the best person to provide advice on the best way to deal with your pet’s lameness.