what to do if my dog is limping? When a dog has difficulty walking and moving normally, it is called lameness. The lameness can be more or less important. When the animal can briefly put its paw on the ground, it is considered moderate, but when the limb cannot touch the ground, it is classified as severe. Sudden or progressive, lameness can have multiple origins and affect one or more limbs. Let’s take a look at what to do in this type of situation.
Lameness in dogs: what are the possible causes?
Depending on its location – that is, on the front legs or the hind legs – a lameness can have several origins in dogs . It should also be noted that it can have different causes that affect dogs of all ages, the youngest as well as the oldest, from small, medium, large or giant breeds.
Lameness of traumatic origin
Lameness can be of traumatic origin in the following cases:
- following a superficial or deep injury to the pads , toes of the paw or claws;
- due to a foreign body stuck in the dog’s paw;
- in the event of ligament sprain;
- in case of dislocation of the joint, hip or hock;
- in the event of rupture of a cruciate ligament at the level of the patella;
- in the event of dislocation or rupture of the Achilles tendon;
- in case of fracture .
Lameness of non-traumatic origin
We speak of non-traumatic lameness when it manifests itself in the following cases:
- in the event of a disorder in the foot of the animal (infection in a claw, pododermatitis, etc.);
- in the case of elbow or hip dysplasia, a joint disorder which can particularly affect young medium and large dogs;
- in case of osteoarthritis ;
- in case of inflammatory arthritis;
- in case of neurological disorder;
- in the event of functional insufficiency of the cranial cruciate ligament, a degeneration which mainly affects young large and giant breed dogs, medium-sized adults and small older doggies;
- in case of tendonitis of the shoulder;
- in case of dislocation of the patella;
- in the case of osteochondrosis of the shoulder or knee, an anomaly in the development of the cartilage of this joint which mainly affects young dogs of medium and large size;
- in case of bone infection (panosteitis, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, etc.);
- bone cancer.
Lameness in dogs: what to do if my dog is limping?
If you notice that your dog is limping, you must act immediately, because a limp is always abnormal. It is imperative to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible so that he can examine the animal and establish a diagnosis before providing an appropriate response. Indeed, as we have seen previously, a lameness can have many causes. While some are mild, others can be truly serious, including in a young pooch or an adult dog in apparent good health.
However, while waiting for the consultation, you can act and take care of your little companion. Let’s see together the actions you can take to relieve or help your pet.
Put your dog to rest
First of all, put him to rest so as not to aggravate the situation and to allow the affected member(s) not to become fragile. Limit outings to times when your pet needs to relieve itself and keep it on a leash to prevent it from walking too much.
Examine the affected limb
You can try to examine the affected limb to try to identify the cause of the lameness, especially if it is external and clearly visible. Nevertheless, take your precautions, because even the gentlest dog can be aggressive and seek to bite his master when he is in pain. Avoid taking unnecessary risks. If your pet refuses to be approached or handled, wait for veterinary consultation. Be aware that it is also possible, even recommended, to place a muzzle on the dog’s muzzle to avoid an aggressive reaction during treatment.
If he accepts your touch, carefully examine the lame leg. You may be able to detect a stuck foreign body, a broken and/or infected claw, or a wound. If the foreign body can be removed by you without difficulty or risk and your pet allows it, you can remove it and carefully disinfect the area with a disinfectant that does not sting.
If you notice the presence of a wound, clean it with clean, clear water, dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth or a sterile compress and disinfect it with a non-stinging disinfectant . If possible, cover it with a loose bandage while waiting to consult the veterinarian to avoid infection.
Even if your dog is in pain, avoid any form of self-medication, as you may end up making the situation worse. Never give your dog paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin, as these human medications are toxic to the dog.
If the pain is intense and of traumatic origin, you can possibly offer your doggie Arnica 5ch, at the rate of 2 homeopathic granules every 15 minutes for the first hour then every 30 minutes.
Take your pooch to the vet
When the time for the veterinary consultation approaches, try to install your dog in your vehicle as comfortably as possible. If the lameness is severe and the pain intense, limit handling to the strict minimum so as not to hurt your doggie. Of course, drive as slowly as possible to avoid additional suffering.
If you can and he lets it go, you can wrap your pooch in a blanket and carry him in your arms.
Lameness in dogs: when should you consult the veterinarian?
As we mentioned earlier, it is imperative to consult the veterinarian as soon as you notice that your dog is limping. If it is a wound or a foreign body, the practitioner can administer the appropriate care to the animal and monitor the area to avoid infection.
When the origin of the lameness is invisible, it is essential to carry out appropriate examinations. The veterinarian will start by observing the general condition of the dog and have him walk in his office or a hallway to observe the lameness and gait of the doggie. A precise location is necessary.
Depending on this first phase of observation, the veterinarian can then carry out several additional examinations according to his suspicions. X-rays, ultrasounds, arthroscopies, myelographies or even blood tests can help him make a clear and precise diagnosis in order to set up an appropriate treatment.