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Dr. Matt
Dr. Matt, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5797
Experience:  DVM - 13 years experience in canine medicine and surgery.
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My dog started limping all of a sudden. What could it be?

Customer Question

My dog all of a sudden started limping. She didn't fall or have an accident of any kind. What should I do?

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 5 years ago.

Which leg is she limping on? How old is she? What breed of dog is she?

JACUSTOMER-2k64nx48- :

She is a Havanese, almost 2 years old and her left paw

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Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 5 years ago.

Is this a front or back paw? Are you seeing any swelling? Is she putting any weight on her leg? How long ago did this start?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She is not putting weight on it and no swelling
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 5 years ago.
Is this her back leg or the front?
Is there any particular place that when you touch she seems painful?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
its her front paw. when i tried to touch it she didn't flinch but she cannot put weight on it
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for the additional information. Based on what you are describing, here are the most common problems that could be causing her to all of a sudden stop putting weight on her leg: - A muscle/tendon/ligament strain or soft tissue injury - this can occur with even normal walking or playing in some smaller breed dogs even if you did not see any accident occur. Swelling is also usually not seen in dogs as it is in people. - a foreign body or splinter type problem in one of the paw pads or on the skin itself in the paw. Sometimes bleeding can be seen, but not always. A good inspection of the paw and putting gentle pressure on each toe and pad will generally rule this out if nothing is found. - A fracture or broken bone either one of the toe bones or one of the larger bones. Typically this is very painful and can be quickly found due to pain when you get anywhere near the problem. - Tick borne diseases -such as Lyme disease or Ehrlichia - less common but can cause inflammation in the joint causing some dogs to not want to put weight in the leg - a dislocation or luxation of the elbow, shoulder or wrist joint. Again typically very painful but some dogs with mild luxations in the wrist will not yipe when it is touched. -A pinched nerve in the neck Overall the best way to get an exact answer would be to have her leg examined and possibly have an x-ray taken. Unless she cannot get comfortable tonight you can wait until tomorrow to have these done by your regular veterinarian. If she really seems bad tonight you could always take her to an emergency clinic. At this time you can give her some aspirin to help with the pain. The typical dose is 5 mg per pound every twelve hours. Therefore you can give her 81 mg of aspirin or one baby aspirin if she weighs about 16 pounds. I would definitely have your vet check her in the morning though. Hope this helps - please reply if you have any other questions

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the info. when i feel around her toes/pads i do not feel anything but she groans! could something be in there where i cannot feel it? also, if i don't have aspirin can i use motrin/tylenol?
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 5 years ago.
There may be something in there, though usually dogs will try to pull the foot away or turn toward you not necessarily to bite but to find out what is causing the pain. Groaning alone is not a definite sign, but do your best to find something in the paw. Most of the time I find that the pain is from one of the joints such as the toes or the wrist rather then the pads.
I would not use tylenol or motrin as these can be hard on the liver (tylenol) and very harmful to the stomach (motrin. I would suggest getting some baby aspirin at the local drug/grocery store if possible.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
ok, I will give her aspirin and bring her in tomorrow. Thank you for your help
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 5 years ago.
You are welcome!