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Lameness (Limping) in Dogs

By: Dr. Nicholas Trout

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When lameness is due to a fracture, most fractures occur secondary to severe traumatic events and can therefore be prevented by keeping your dog on a leash. Spaying or neutering your pet will reduce the tendency to wander that can lead to trauma and fractures. Careful containment with fencing can also be helpful.

Sometimes lameness is secondary to nutritional problems. Dogs should be fed a carefully balanced diet to ensure a strong and healthy skeleton. In the case of "homemade recipes," consult with your veterinarian so that vital minerals and vitamins for good bone development and maintenance are adequately provided.

Monitor your puppy's growth, checking on limb length and straightness. If any bowing or abnormal curvature seems to be developing, consult with your veterinarian.

The number one nutritional disorder in small animals is obesity, a problem that can lead to, and exacerbate many causes of frontleg and hindleg lameness. Be sure to avoid obesity in your pet.

When selecting a pedigree dog, ask the breeder about the OFA hip scores, elbow dysplasia and PennHIP scores for the dam and sire, if they are available.

Finally, consult with your veterinarian at the earliest sign of a sudden onset of limb lameness.


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