Lameness & Limping

Lameness & Limping

Brisk walking, running, and other forms of exercise are not only healthy for you and your dog, but it also provides great mental stimulation for your pet to see and smell new areas.  It's always best to make sure your pet is healthy enough to begin and maintain an exercise program based on their health needs.

One of the more frequent ailments we see here at the Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Waterloo Region in Cambridge is lameness & limping in dogs, and often it's related to their outdoor adventures.

Dogs limp for a variety of reasons, and it's not always an emergency.  But it's important to see the veterinarian to determine the cause, and sometimes that means getting help straight away. 

Lameness & Limping

Gradual Lameness vs. Sudden Limping

Knowing whether your dog's limp is gradual or sudden can help our veterinarians narrow down the list of possible causes.

Gradual lameness & limping is typically caused by an underlying and sometimes chronic condition, such as osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia. Sudden limps, on the other hand, are usually caused by an injury or trauma, like a broken bone, dislocation, or cruciate ligament rupture.

Diagnosis can be greatly aided by the history owners can give us on their pet's problem, such as duration, which legs are affected and any notable incidents that may have contributed.

Overall, lameness in dogs is a frequent veterinary issue of which there is a wide range of possible causes.

When to Call the Vet

We tell dog owners that it's usually better to play it safe and come in and see the vet for a limp that fails to resolve quickly. Sudden limping that doesn't seem to be upsetting your dog too much can probably wait a few hours or may resolve overnight after a longer period of rest.  In other cases, however, your dog shouldn't wait to be seen.

If you believe your dog has suffered a broken bone or dislocation, those require immediate attention. Likewise, if you believe your dog is showing signs of nerve damage, this can be an indicator of a much more serious neurological condition or a spinal injury and requires an emergency consultation. Pet owners should always err on the side of caution if a dog's limb is swollen, hot to the touch, danging unnaturally, or they refuse to bear weight on the leg.

Treating a Limp or Lameness in Dogs

The treatment for your dog will vary and could be as easy as a few days of rest, or could mean pain management, further testing, and surgery. Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Waterloo Region is the top destination for emergency care in Waterloo, Cambridge, and surrounding areas. Call us today at (519) 650-1617.

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