What is the difference between lameness and limping?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – My vet used the word that my dog was lame. I don’t what that term means for sure and how it varies from limping? I hope you don’t think this is a stupid question.


Susan B. Detroit


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote asking what is the difference between lameness and limping. By the way, there is never a stupid question! There is ] no difference between lameness and limping. The terms are used inter-changeably. I’ve seen both terms used on humans, dogs, cats and larger animals.

However, for some reason, it seems that I hear the term “lame” or “lameness” more commonly used on horses and larger animals than small animals.

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

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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