Limping, or the inability to bear weight on a limb, is a fairly common problem in dogs. Although limping is typically always the result of some type of pain and it. He was an abandoned stray, who I met at the Andover Animal Jack lowered his large, square Pit Bull head and thumped it into my He had himself propped up on his front legs while his back legs were limp and lifeless. Your most valuable resource for determining the cause of your dog's limp is your veterinarian. Before calling to make an appointment, however.
Neurological disorders — A slipped or out of place disc in the spine could put pressure on nerves in the spinal cord, which may cause the dog to become lame. The vet will need to examine your dog carefully to determine if the cause of your dog's lameness is orthopedic or neurological. In the process, I would give priority, same-day appointment slots to dogs who wouldn't put weight on their injured leg.
The most urgent cases of limping are often those where the dog refuses to put any weight on the affected limb. Here are some steps you can follow to pinpoint the cause of limping in dogs and figure out if you need to take your dog to the vet. Inspect the Limb If your dog just began limping, start by carefully inspecting the affected limb. Don't forget to look in between the toes! Look for any evidence of injury such as the following: Cuts on your dog's paw Splinters Insect bite for example, if your dog stepped on some fire ants Foreign objects stuck between the toes Torn toenails Swollen or misshapen paw or leg If you see a thorn or other foreign object stuck in the paw pad, you may get some tweezers, go to a well-lit area, and try to carefully remove it.
Muzzle your dog for safety! If you suspect something is stuck, but it seems to be deep under the paw pad's skin, you can immerse the foot in a mixture of Epsom salts and water, and see if that helps the foreign object to work its way out.
Obviously, don't handle the limb if there are clear signs of fracture swelling, disfiguring of the limb, or protruding bonesor if you own an aggressive dog, or one that tends to bite when in pain many dogs will.
But otherwise, you want to gently feel the affected limb, while looking at the dog for any clue that he is feeling pain; this will help find the source of the problem. Each dog has its own way of manifesting pain: At this point, you should try to address your findings. If there is a thorn embedded in the paw, you should try to remove it; if there is a cut, you want to medicate it and keep it from getting infected.
If the source is not easy to identify, it is best to seek veterinary advice, including about whether you need x-rays. It's possible that the limping is not caused by any particular small problem, but by a disease affecting multiple limbs or the whole body.
Read on for more information about what may be causing your dog pain. Reasons Why Your Dog Might Be Limping Aside from evident cuts on your dog's paw, foreign objects, or torn nails, there is still a long list of possible causes of lameness. Injuries Due to Accidents One of the most common causes of lameness is accidents.
Your dog may have injured itself jumping out of your car or playing in the yard. If you witnessed the injury, then the cause of the limping will be obvious; but If you have been away and come home to a limping dog, the cause may need to be investigated. Sprains are injuries of the soft tissue, like muscles or ligaments.
Dogs get muscle sprains just as humans do. They can result from a sudden movement while playing. Sprains and limping are especially common in working-dog breeds. Most non-serious sprains usually resolve by themselves and show marked improvement within 48 hours. However, if the dog is in evident pain and appears uncomfortable, you should consult with the vet. They will identify the cause, and may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief.
Rest is key to a faster recovery. Do not attempt to exercise a dog that is limping.
Fractures are usually pretty obvious: The dog may have bleeding from such an injury that needs to be stopped. It will be obvious the dog needs prompt veterinary attention. On the way to the vet, the dog should be restrained from moving to what extent possible. It is helpful to carry the dog.
While a fracture is most often due to an accident, bone cancer discussed below can also cause fractures known as "pathological fractures. These disorders often have a genetic basis. Puppies of large breeds may develop a limp between two months and two years of age, often because they grow too fast, putting extra strain on the bones, cartilage and muscle.
Sometimes diet aggravates the problem the dog eats. Diet problems include too many calories, high protein intake, or the incorrect proportions of calcium and phosphorus.
Here are some common growth-related causes of limping. Typically this condition shows up in dogs six to nine months of age, though it may be found in dogs up to 18 months old. Pano can be thought of as "growing pains"; the marrow found in the long bones develops abnormally for a time. Typically the dog presents with sudden limping without any known injuries.
It is able to put weight on the leg, but will show obvious pain. The lameness may show up sporadically and may shift from leg to leg. Palpating the limb by pressing or squeezing the middle of the shaft of the long bone usually elicits a pain response from the dog.
Treatment consists mainly of pain management and diet change. While pano may last two to five months, the dog should recover fully. This condition occurs mainly in puppies two to eight months old.
It is the inflammation of the growth plates the cartilage at the end of a growing bone. Typically, palpating the distal lower end of the long bone will elicit a pain response from the dog.
The joints may feel hot and look swollen. The dog will appear lame, almost as if walking on egg shells. He also be lethargic, have a fever and lose weight. There is no cure — only management for the symptoms. This painful condition is caused by a defect in the cartilage surface of the joint. Cartilage may come detached and float around the area of the joint.
Causes of Limping in Dogs | PetHelpful
OCD commonly affects the shoulder, but may affect other parts of the limb, such as the elbow, knee, hocks, or stifle. The dog may experience lameness in the affected limb. The condition is best resolved by surgery to replace the defective cartilage.
Following are some non-growth-related causes of lameness, affecting the front legs and the rear legs. According to PetMD, this is one of the primary causes of forelimb lameness in large and giant-breed dogs and is characterized by a series of four developmental abnormalities that lead to malformation and degeneration of the elbow joint. In this condition, the top of the ulna is not properly fused to the rear point of the elbow.
The dog will appear lame and will respond to pain when its elbow is extended. Your vet will do a physical examination and diagnostic tests, such as an x-ray. Surgery may be required to treat. Injuries to muscles and tendons.
Strained tendons are common in dogs enrolled in agility trials and other sports but they may occur in any dog. The most common sites of injury involve the supraspinatus and biceps muscles in the dog's shoulder. Carpal hyperextension syndrome is often seen in young puppies and occurs due to low muscle tone or joint laxity.
This condition is mostly self-limiting, meaning that the puppy will gradually recover without treatment. This is a condition where the hip joints fail to develop normally. Hip dysplasia in dogs is a genetic disorder, and all breeding dogs should be screened before mating. In hip dysplasia, because of structural defects, the ball of the hip does not fit properly in its socket. Affected dogs will have trouble walking and in particular may have a hard time getting up from lying down.
Symptoms may have either sudden or gradual onset. Watch for gait irregularities or signs of hip pain in your dog when playing, jumping onto the couch or in the car, or when going up the stairs. Ruptured anterior cruciate or cranial ligament. This is often seen when the dog accidentally twists on his hind leg, causing the cruciate ligament to tear.
If you look as someone flexes their knee, you will see the patella moves only in this direction. However, if the knee dislocates you will see that the patella moves laterally or medially. This can happen for two main reasons: It is often one of the many congenital defects these breeds may be affected by, especially in terms of bone structure. You will likely notice a dislocation when the dog is jumping or if they hold the affected leg in the air when climbing steps, but then return to normal on level ground.
We may think this is just the awkward movement of a puppy, but it should be noted to a vet as the earlier the treatment the better the prognosis. The degrees of dislocation are variable.
Causes of Limping in Dogs
Minor dislocations may repair by limiting exercise and incorporating other elements of physiotherapy. Large breeds are not unaffected by dislocation and a variation of dislocation called patellar luxation can occur in giant breeds. This is why vets need to be consulted so that we can know the right treatment to undertake. What tests can be done? Tests to determine patellar dislocation and determine why your dog limps on its hind leg are usually: Radiograph detects signs of osteoarthritis or rupture to the trochleas of the femur.
Although the vet may make the diagnosis of a dislocated knee, the risk of osteoarthritis needs to be considered. This is because the dislocated kneecap can rub on the surface of the femur and lead to wear and tear which is essentially irreversible.
There are some surgical techniques which can range from a relatively simple procedure such as deepening the groove between the trochleas of the femur to more complicated endeavors like repositioning a piece of the anterior part of the tibia to relieve tension. The type of surgical treatment depends on the individual dog and the nature of their dislocation. Hip dysplasia Hip dysplasia is a common canine ailment which can be exacerbated by many different causes, but the root cause is genetic.
Why is My Dog Limping on their Back Leg? - Causes and Treatment
Essentially, the head of the femur does not fit into corresponding socket in the pelvis. It is a genetic condition, but may only be activated by some environmental or lifestyle factor. This is why it is particularly cruel to allow a dog with genetic hip dysplasia to give birth as it will inevitably cause them great pain. There are some breeds which are more affected than others such as the Labrador, Spanish Mastiff or Bordeux Mastiff. There are several degrees of dysplasia with mild cases often going unnoticed at first by their owners.
However, in moderate to severe cases, symptoms should be noticeable at around 5 to 6 months of age. The dog will walk with a wobble at the hips. Over time, the top of the femur will rub against the acetabulum the socket of the pelvis where the joint meets. This can lead to arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Why is My Dog Limping on their Back Leg?
This is why you may see a limp in your dog's hind legs and is often a lameness which can be seen on both sides. It can also lead to the complete breakage of the ligament connecting femur and pelvis, leading to a serious and debilitating condition if it occurs.
In addition to the oscillating gait we may detect as they walk, symptoms can include: Difficulty to commence walking after a state of rest Muscular stiffness Resistance to movement, especially down and up stairs When the degeneration is acute, complete lameness in the hind legs can occur, making walking impossible Treatment of hip dysplasia in dogs: The treatment can be complicated, but rehabilitation and physiotherapy is usually implemented in milder cases of hip dysplasia.
This will be coupled with a quality diet designed to improve joint and bone strength. Avoiding excess calcium is important, especially in giant dog breeds which undergo rapid growth. Anti-inflammatories and cartilage protectors, such as hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate, can help reduce its progression and improve symptons. In severe cases, hip dysplasia may only be corrected by surgery.
There are multiple techniques, all of which are complicated. These can include arthroplasty which involves excision of part of the head of the femur or a triple pelvic osteotomy. The former is only for small to medium sized dogs while the latter is an aggressive intervention which should only be used when there is no other way to help a dog walk again.
The latter in particular is expensive and should only be carried out when no other type of surgery will suffice. A titanium prosthesis which replaces the head of the femur is often very successful, but prohibitively expensive for most dog owners.
Pain is caused by the inflammation of the outermost layer which covers the bone periosteum and its cause is relatively unknown. Genetics seem to play some part, but can be exacerbated by other factors.
It is much more frequent in dogs which grow rapidly, usually large or giant breeds which undergo a lot of development between the ages of 5 and 14 months. They most commonly affect the long bones like the femur, hence why they may cause a limp in the hind leg of a dog.
It can appear in both acute and mild cases.
It is treated with the use of anti-inflammatories, a careful dieta regimen of light exercise and, above all, rest. It is sometimes confused with hip dysplasia. It occurs due to the head of the femur not receiving enough blood flow at a critical stage. Necrosis, or unplanned cell death, sets in and after 4 to 9 months we might see the following symptoms: Marked lameness Shortening of the affected leg due to muscle atrophy Crepitations rattling sound when moving Pain Is it hereditary?
Until recently, this disease being hereditary was the only explanation. However, it is now believed to be caused by microfractures in the area producing a drastic reduction in blood flow and leading to necrosis of the femoral head and neck. The small size of the breeds most commonly affected must surely predispose them to this disease.
Its treatment is surgical and involves the excision of the affected parts of the femoral head. Small dogs means recovery usually looks good and facilitates a relatively easy surgery. Other causes of limping in the hind leg There are dozens of possible causes of lameness or limping in a dog's hind leg.
If you still don't know why your dog is limping on their back leg, it could be one of the following: