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Dog Limping Problems

What can make a dog limp?

Dogs may become injured just as humans, in such a way that limping could occur. In some cases a dog may endure a slip disc, torn ligaments, sprained muscles or even broken bones. Typically, all of these conditions could result in mild to severe limping. One of the most common causes of limping is a torn knee ligament; something less likely to occur may be a strained muscle. An older dog may suffer from arthritis or what is also known as osteoarthritis may cause limping when the dog makes a quick movement.

How is a limping dog diagnosed?

Usually the determination of a limp may be diagnosed from a normal physical examination. On the other hand in a more serious case, a veterinarian may need to run some more advanced procedures such as an X-ray, Computed Tomography (CT scan) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). These may be needed to see exactly what is causing the limp such as a fracture or a break in the bone. Below are answers provided by Experts to some of the commonly asked questions about dogs limping.

What could cause a dog to limp on the right leg and have a lack of appetite?

Case Details: The dog does not seem to be in any pain.

These symptoms would suggest a joint infection. This may be a bacterium that is in the bloodstream, that could have entered through the dog’s mouth. This may also have caused a gastrointestinal infection and a joint infection. The dog may have an autoimmune condition that may be making the dog’s body attack its joints. This could make it quite painful for a dog to open its mouth and may cause the dog to limp. The limp alone could be caused by a number of different things such as a sprained leg, fractured toe or a foreign object stuck in the pad of the foot.

Why would a dog refuse to put weight on hind leg?

Case Details: The scrotum has become much darker, but X-rays show no fracture or breaks in the leg.

When a dog becomes older it's common for the scrotum to also become darker and this may not be something to worry about by itself. This is however as long as the change in color happens gradually and not in just a few days or months.

The dog not wanting to put any weight on the hind leg and the x-ray not showing any defects in the joints or bones could indicate a soft tissue injury. This injury may include a muscle, ligament or tendon. A soft tissue injury is common in the hind legs of a dog and can cause limping in a mild or severe condition. In some cases a dog may need surgery to correct the issues. This will also help with the limping that the dog is suffering from.

What could cause a large dog to start limping on the hind leg, with no known injury or contact with other animals?

In large dogs, one of the more common reasons for limping on the hind legs is a torn cruciate ligament. The cruciate ligament is better known as the dog version of the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). For a diagnosis, a veterinarian would need to do a physical exam. Typically, the way to repair this type of limp would be surgery.

When a dog limps it can be frightening for a dog owner. Different questions can arise when you see your dog limp. For the answers to your questions it is best to contact an Expert.

Ask a Dog Veterinarian

Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4084
Experience:  Over 12 years of clinical veterinary experience
11664588
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
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6 Dog Veterinarians are Online Now

How JustAnswer Works:

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  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
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Dog Veterinarians are online & ready to help you now

Dr. Debbie
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Satisfied Customers: 902
Companion animal veterinarian practicing for over 10 years.
Dr. Andy
Medical Director
Satisfied Customers: 13796
UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management
Dr. Scott
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Satisfied Customers: 9550
12 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet medicine and surgery.

Recent Limping Questions

  • My 80 pound lab is limping, I will get her to the vet after

    My 80 pound lab is limping, I will get her to the vet after today but want to give her something for the pain today. I only have human medications in the house, advice, aleve and tylenol.
  • Hi. My Maltese is limping for no apparent reason. She's 8

    Hi.
    My Maltese is limping for no apparent reason.
    She's 8 years old.
    She's very active and seems not to be in pain.
    Thanks,
    NIna
  • I have a 13 year old black and tan mut, named Clyde. For the

    I have a 13 year old black and tan mut, named Clyde. For the past week he has been limping on his front left paw. he is a total outdoor farm dog, and I thought it was improving, until yesterday morning. His left front shoulder is a huge hard ball about baseball size. I think he has dislocated his shoulder. My partner grew up on this farm and says a 50 cent rescue dog is not worth a couple of thousand dollars at a vets office. I have three choices, one put him down, two try to pull it forward to reset the socket, or just leave it alone. I have put topically aspercream on it, and given him a 1/2 of motrin. He is resting, he is eating like normal. I have no idea how to reset this, so is there some advice or a picture of a dislocated shoulder socket?
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