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When your pet is limping that indicates pain, weakness, and/or a structural problem affecting the leg’s range of motion. Limping is a common sign of bone and joint disease, but it also occurs with muscle and nerve injuries making it a nonspecific sign for orthopedic and neurologic conditions.
DETERMINING IF THERE IS LAMENESS
History is important: When did it begin? Is it getting worse or better? Did the lameness appear suddenly or was there an event that caused the injury?
Which leg is involved? A dog often holds up the paw or places less weight on a painful leg, especially one that has recently been injured.
The dog’s head bobs up on the painful side and down on the side with the good leg.
A dog usually takes shorter steps on a painful or weak leg.
With chronic lameness, the dog may take very short strides with no noticeable limp. This is also true if more than one leg hurts.
With neurologic conditions, patients often take short, choppy steps or long and lopey strides that can appear as if their legs are drunk.
We are happy to help you assess whether your pet needs to be seen by a veterinarian. Please keep in mind that a pet in pain can react by lashing out so please take precautions when examining any pet in discomfort or pain.