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Dog Limping

Dog Limping

Dogs are energetic creatures that are constantly on the move. Inevitably, this can lead to many kinds of leg injuries that cause limping. Growth disorders are another potential cause for the same, and a veterinarian should be visited to solve any of these problems.
Rahul Thadani
There are many possible causes for why dogs limp, and the seriousness and extent of the injury is something that can only be accurately determined by a qualified and experienced veterinarian. Some injuries are just minor and pass by in a few days whereas some have the potential to cause permanent damage to the dog's health. Either way, it is crucial to get it looked at by a medical professional as soon as possible so as to avoid any complications in the future.

The reasons for limping depend on a lot of things like the breed, the pet's age, its level of physical activity, its diet, and other daily routines. The combination of all these factors contributes towards a specific injury and how it affects a certain animal, and an inexperienced owner may not be the best judge of the cause and severity of the problem.

Possible Causes

Limping can be caused by some deformity in the skeletal structure, damage sustained to some tendon, ligament, or muscle, or an inherent problem in the nervous system of the dog. Not all cases are caused by external trauma. Scrutiny of the most obvious symptoms can point to the real cause, and it must be appropriately treated as soon as possible.

The age of the dog is another crucial factor in this regard, as younger and older ones are more susceptible to limping. If the pup is younger than twelve months, then a growth deficiency or development disorder is very likely to be the cause of this problem. Younger dogs are more prone to nutritional deficiencies than adults, and this can lead to some serious growth defects down the line. For this reason, a proper nutritional regime must be followed since the younger days of the pet, and the owner must also ensure that it gets a healthy dose of exercise on a daily basis. One must also be on the lookout for arthritis.

Older dogs on the other hand, are very prone to be affected by bone cancer. This can cause a major problem, but there have been some cases of puppies contracting it as well. Limping on the hind leg or front leg could possibly be caused by damaged muscles, torn tendons or ligaments, or deterioration of joints in case of older pets. Certain trauma to the bone can end up causing this discomfort, but pain killers can be administered by your vet for relief. This kind of injury can heal over a period of time with proper rest and rehabilitation. Limping can also occasionally be caused by tearing of the animal's nail while running around. To avoid such a scenario, one must regularly cut the nails of their pet.

As a dog owner, you need to observe the movements and basic behavior of your pet. Look out for signs after your dog lays down, as this is the time that an injured animal would limp the most. As the day progresses further, it might reduce considerably as he/she becomes more active. Stiffness of the joints, and hence the extent of the damage, is most apparent right after they wake up. The paws are also very sensitive, so they could be a potential cause of this problem. Examine them to check if there is any serious damage, as this can greatly hamper the movement and mobility of a pet. Cuts and swelling are a common sight as dogs are very active creatures by nature.

Limping is a very real and potential danger, so one needs to be aware and alert at all times. You need to understand the signs and get to the cause as soon as possible. The sooner you get round to doing this, the faster your pet will be able to heal.