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My Dog is Limping – What Should I Do?

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

Dr. Jon – my dog is limping. She is about 4-years old and it just started today. I woke up and she went out and when she came in my dog was limping! What should I do? It is her right rear leg.

Jill Y. , Portland


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email Jill. Another common term used to describe limping is "lameness". You will see this work in some of the articles below.

You wrote that your 4-year-old dog started limping today. There are lots of reasons that dogs will limp. They include a fracture (broken bone of either the femur or tibia/fibula when the rear leg is involved), ligament injury (common in the knee area especially), hip injury (such as a fracture), arthritis, soft tissue injury (such as bruises/sprains).

I'm not sure how severe her limping is based on the information that you sent. If it is severe or the leg is at an abnormal angle, then I'd recommend that you have her checked by your veterinarian or local emergency clinic as soon as possible. If it is mild and you are worried – also have her checked. If it is mild – you could wait a few hours and see how she does. Many dogs with mild soft tissue injuries will improve quickly.

An article that might be helpful to you is Lameness in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Jon




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