Anytime your dog starts limping is scary. There are several simple things you can check for to ease your mind and perhaps prevent expensive veterinary emergency visits.
First assess the pain. If your dog is putting partial or full weight on the leg, chances are that it is not broken or critical. The most common injury I see on a daily basis are strains and sprains. Aspirin and a few days rest work wonders for these. However if there is a large wound, intense pain, or a lot of blood , err on the safe side and visit your vet or ER.
Be careful when you examine any dog in pain! Even a trusted pet will bite when you squeeze or pull on a sore spot. Never trust or examine any dog in pain without help or a muzzle!
Check each nail for breaks and redness and swelling where it joins the toe. These are common places where the nail gets caught or pulled. However painful these can be treated with aspirin, Neosporin, and bandaged till the next day.
Check between the toes and pads for other wounds, splinters , mud, clods, rocks, and rashes.Sometimes soapy water and cortisone ointment work wonders! Swollen toes could be a sign of infection, sprains, wounds, or breaks.It is very helpful to wash and wet down the foot and leg to make things show up easier! Put Neosporin and cortisone ointment on irritated areas. Check my free home remedy download for other treatments. Often broken toes are left uncasted and unbandaged to heal naturally. Dogs like to eat casts and don’t keep bandages on…or clean!!
Feel all four legs for pain, wounds, and swellings. Flex each joint separately and feel for heat. If the dog is putting some weight on the limb, they could have just strained it. If they are holding it up, and it looks out of whack…get it checked. If mildly painful, use my home remedy download dosages for aspirin.
Pain in the back, hips, and neck ,may also cause limping. Dogs older than 5 years can commonly have a bit of arthritis in any of these places.If the location of the pain is not obvious, it may be from arthritis in the vertebrae of the neck, back, or hips. Again aspirin will help, till you can get xrays for a diagnosis.
Pain in the stifle or knee can be due to a luxating patella in a small breed or a torn ACL in a large breed. A poodle or Yorkie that has a hitch in the get along, but doesn’t seem painful often has a luxating patella. Luxating patella cause dogs to hike their legs for several steps, then put it down, without pain. On the other hand, a lab or Rottweiler carrying their rear leg may often have ruptured on of the major ligaments in the knee, the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. Your vet often needs to feel these joints and take xrays to reach a diagnosis. Aspirin is helpful for any problem joints. Don’t use ibuprofen and Tylenol for pain in dogs.
Check out the following video.
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