My Lab was in our Yard and Is Now Limping – What should I do?

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Our question this week was:

My 8-year-old Lab mix was running in my yard and I believe he tripped in a hole covered by grass. He is now limping and not putting pressure on his hind left leg. He isn't crying in pain but is very quiet and can't jump up as usual. My question is should I wait a day or two to see if it gets any better? Or should I take him to our vet ASAP?

Leisa Stoudt

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. Sorry to hear about your lab. Lameness (limping) is a common symptom in dogs and can be caused by a variety of problems. The underlying cause for the limping could be anything from a cut on his foot, a torn nail, a foot pad injury, sprain or soft tissue injury, ligament tear or a fracture (broken bone). From your email, it is hard to tell which is which.

If he is acting "okay" and not in extreme pain - it is probably not life threatening and probably not a fracture. I'd give him a few minutes and see how he does. If it is something minor like a soft tissue injury or a sprain, he may "walk out of it" and be fine. If he acts painful or the lameness persists, then I would take him to the vet.

An article that might be helpful to you is Lameness in Dogs and Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Dogs.

Best of luck!


Dr. Debra




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debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for PetPlace.com, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.