It pains to see a dog, man’s best friend, in agony. No matter their playfulness, naughtiness, dogs are loved unconditionally. Yet, there cries and wails leave us humans nervous.
Although there is a misconception, if a dog is not crying or whining, it is not in pain. On the contrary, when the dog is silent, avoiding physical activity, or staying aloof, there are chances the dog is uncomfortable. Dogs cannot tell what they are suffering from or where it is hurting, leaving us to find it out ourselves.
Besides other lifestyle and health reasons, the most critical issue behind a dog’s aloofness is limp in either of its legs. A limp is a sign of pain, indicating the dog does not want to stress the injured leg or put weight on it.
The most reliable resource for determining the cause of the dog’s limp is a veterinarian doctor. However, it is essential to know a bit about the causes of limping before booking an appointment.
Before knowing the causes, let’s understand the types of limps. There are two types of limps: gradual and sudden. Gradual limps occur slowly over time, and underlying chronic or degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis or dysplasia, can cause a gradual limp. Sudden limps occur after an injury or trauma.
Remember, causes of gradual limping, such as bone cancer, can be treated more effectively if detected sooner.
When to meet the vet?
It is better to play safe and book an appointment with the veterinarian for a limp that lasts more than a few minutes. Gradual or sudden limps that do not bother the dog can wait a few hours.
Broken bones, dislocated joints need urgent care, and nerve damage signifies a severe neurological condition or spinal injury. The dog requires immediate attention if it shows any of the following signs:
- Dangling limb
- Hot limb
- Visible break or abnormal angle
Here are common causes.
Paw Injury: Lodging of foreign bodies such as glass, nails, sticks, thorns, plant matter can hurt. They make it uncomfortable to walk and can lead to infection. Insect stings or animal bites can cause tenderness and limp, as can lacerations, broken toenails, burns, frostbite, and bruising. Incessant licking of the paw is a good indicator.
Joint Disease: Caused by gradual wear and tear of joints and the musculoskeletal system leading to limping. Osteoarthritis, Lyme disease, hip dysplasia, ligament disease, and intervertebral disk, and other diseases cause joint pain and limp. It is vital to have your dog on tick preventative medicine.
Bone Disease: Some diseases affect the bones of the dog’s legs. Younger dogs may develop conditions such as hypertrophic osteodystrophy and panosteitis that make walking painful. Osteosarcoma affects bones and requires prompt diagnosis and preventive care.
Here are ways to treat a limping dog.
- For sudden of obvious limps, check paw pads for the presence of foreign bodies and remove them.
- For injuries or trauma, avoid manipulating the dog’s leg. Visit the vet immediately.
- If any of the legs is injured, touch the leg gently and check for swelling, cuts, or bruises.
- The vet will check the dog for tenderness, pain, and range of motion in limbs.
- The vet may run a few tests to determine the cause of the dog’s limp.
- X-rays can help the vet to identify a broken bone, joint disease, and other skeletal abnormalities.
- Biopsies and joint fluid collection help the vet in diagnosing cancer.
- The vet may get blood tests done for detecting diseases such as Lyme or immune-related diseases.
Keeping the dog healthy, happy is vital, but it is essential NOT ignoring the limps.