What do I do if my dog is limping?

Hello, My one-year, four-month-old German Shepherd, Appu, started limping in the rear legs the past few days. Please suggest me what has to be done...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Aug 17th 2006


What To Do If Your Pet Is Limping

Hello,

My one-year, four-month-old German Shepherd, Appu, started limping in the rear legs the past few days. Please suggest me what has to be done now.

Thanks and Regards

Prashanth

Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Limping is one of the most common problems I see in young, otherwise healthy dogs and cats. The reason is simple. Young animals are very rambunctious and active. They are likely to engage in rough or wild play that can lead to a joint or muscle that is twisted, strained, or pulled. Such injuries are called soft tissue trauma, and soft tissue trauma is the most frequent cause of limping in young pets.

Limping caused by soft tissue trauma usually is mild, and usually will resolve if the pet rests for several days. Therefore, if your pet is suffering from a mild limp, I recommend that you let him take it easy for a week or so. For dogs, avoid all running, jumping, climbing of stairs, and off-leash activity. Keep cats confined to a small area of the house. If the limp resolves, gradually increase your pet’s activity to a normal level over the next week.

If the limping doesn’t improve steadily, or if it returns when activity is increased, you should see your vet. As well, if your pet suffers severe limping in which he does not use his leg at all, or if there are other symptoms, such as lethargy or decreased appetite, your pet may have a more serious injury or syndrome. In that case, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.