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VetTechErin, Licensed Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience:  Published author in veterinary medical journals and on the Veterinary Information Network with a focus in toxicology
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My 18 mo old cavalier came in from outside tonight with a left

Customer Question

My 18 mo old cavalier came in from outside tonight with a left hind leg limp. Indeed, he would not put any weight on that foot. Jumping into my recliner, he yelped, then yelped in pain a few minutes later without obvious cause. When my husband and I looked at him ( laying on his side on the floor) he didn't show any distress as we mode that leg, but pushing on the hip socket area made him uncomfortable. He has continued to limp all evening. Any thoughts? Thanks.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
Hi there!
My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help you with your question about your dog.
There are a lot of things that can cause leg pain in little dogs from lower spine troubles to knee issues to hip issues.
Smaller dogs tend to be more prone to developing things like luxating patellas (which is really common in cavaliers), where the knee slips out of place and causes them to hold their legs up or limp when they walk. In many cases, the slippage is minor, and it will eventually work itself back into place.
Crate rest is by far the best option in these cases. Personally, I advise against giving any OTC pain medication to pups at home before an x-ray has been performed to determine the exact source of the pain. Not only can human medications cause some severe side-effects in dogs (with most of them being outright toxic), there is a risk that if this is due to a muscle strain or torn ligament, that once Webster is free of pain, he will bounce around like normal and cause further injury to the area.
If you note any swelling in any area of the leg, you can use a cold compress on the area for 5 minutes on, 20 minutes off to help ease the swelling and discomfort, then keep Webster confined to his crate unless you have him out on a leash until you are able to get him in for an exam on Tuesday.
In a lot of cases, a torn/strained muscle or luxating patella can be managed at home with crate rest +/- pain medication from the vet if he is able to be completely confined. Surgery is an option in severe cases of luxating patellas or torn knee ligaments, but depending on how bad it is, that may not be necessary.