Do Dogs With Mild Limps Require Immediate Veterinary Care?

 |  Nov 16th 2011  |   0 Contributions

Another limping dog question. When I went out shopping yesterday, my dog was fine. When I came home, he was limping. He isn't reacting in pain to my feeling his legs (both front legs feel the same, no apparent swelling) and only moderately to
my handling his paws (which also look okay to my unprofessional naked eye — no apparent injury).

He jumps on and off beds a lot and runs downstairs and missed one another time. I'm thinking he landed the wrong way and strained something and want to give him at least three days until I call his vet (if he's still limping). Is it okay to walk him? He did want to walk longer than yesterday/

Meriden, CT

The most common cause of mild limping (limping in which an animal favors a foot but still puts weight on it) is soft tissue trauma, meaning strains, sprains, and pulled muscles.

The treatment for soft tissue trauma is rest. Therefore, as long the limp is mild and your pet does not appear uncomfortable when he's not using the leg, it is not unreasonable to rest the affected leg until the limping is gone. This means no walks, except short ones on leash to go to the bathroom. Once the limping has gone away, activity should be gradually increased to normal (keyword: gradually).

Animals that are in pain or distress or suffering from severe limping in which they put no weight on the leg should see a vet immediately. This can be a sign of something more serious such as a fracture or a torn ligament, and it also is a sign of pain that should be treated.

When in doubt, the safest option always is to go to the vet. And remember: Don't give your dog human painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs.


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