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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30035
Experience:  UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management
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My one year old lab seems to have sprained his front paw.

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My one year old lab seems to have sprained his front paw. the top is swollen and he is limping after out for a run. There is no sign of a thorn. etc
Welcome! My name isXXXXX am a 2003 graduate, and currently a Medical Director of a veterinary hospital.

I am sorry to hear about this concern.
Generally, we do not see prominent swelling with a mild or subtle soft tissue injury. also, usually, a penetrating trauma like from a foxtail (thorn), would cause some type of wound and/or swelling beneath the paw.

My primary concerns for a limp on a front leg/paw include:
1. Having stepped on something that no longer remains.
2. Hypersensitivity reaction (i.e. insect bite or sting)
3. Hyperextension injury (like bending your wrist back too far)
4. A soft tissue injury (like sprain or straining your wrist or ankle)
5. Fracture, especially in the digits of the paw
6. In older pets, I always think about exacerbating arthritis (common for the elbow)

Now, in this case, you are seeing a likely source of injury because the swelling is present. That does worry me about a fracture within the paw.

Sorry to hear about this injury. With obvious swelling, definitely, this is worth a vet visit to get some good anti-inflammatory medication and possibly an x-ray, if you and the vet agree its indicated.

The only over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory I recommend in dogs (NOT CATS) is aspirin. Due to potential toxicity issues if not dosed correctly, many veterinarians do not consider Tylenol, Ibuprofen (Advil), and Aleve safe.
You can give 10mg per pound of body weight up to every 12 hours. Just remember, there are different pill sizes for aspirin, so look to see if it is regular strength or maximum strength.
Aspirin can be upsetting to the stomach, so discontinue if any digestive upset and definitely consult a vet if not helpful. Sometimes giving some Pepcid A.C. antacid 1 hour beforehand can be helpful.
Pepcid A.C. (famotidine) comes in 10mg, 20mg, or 40mg tablets.
You can give it every 12 hours. You can give 0.5mg per pound of body weight. So, a 20 pound dog would get 10mg.

***Do not give aspirin or any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication if your pet is already on prednisone or any other anti-inflammatory medication***
Severe stomach and intestinal ulcers can result from giving a pet aspirin, tylenol or ibuprofen when they are also on medications like Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Prednisone, Metecam, Zubrin, and Previcox***

I wanted to mention aspirin for completeness of the answer, but I don't think its a good option in this situation. It is just not very good for swelling.

I hope that information has been helpful.
Please remember to select Reply to Expert, if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer. My goal is to try and provide you the best answer possible.
Dr. Andy

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for a great reply. I am hoping that the swelling goes down on its own but wanted to make him more comfortable until Monday when our vet is back in town. I am trying to avoid taking him in to their emergency as the on call vet is not among our first choice. If the swelling is not better (or gets worse) we will take him in before Monday. Is this a bad plan? Thanks again for you help!

Hi Jeanie,
I'm not sure because if it is fractured, continued walking on it could cause further trauma.

Make sure to keep him very restricted, and no running or jumping.

Sorry to hear what happened.
Hope that additional information helps. Definitely, reply to me if there is any other way I may assist you. I hope my responses have been satisfactory?
Dr. Andy
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