Limping Puppy: What Should I Do If My Dog Is Limping?Last updated: April 21, 2021
There are many reasons a puppy may show signs of lameness or limping. Maybe the reason is obvious, or maybe you find yourself asking why is my puppy limping all of a sudden? A visit to your vet is likely in your near future to determine the exact cause. But before you are able to get to the vet, it's important to know what to do if your dog is limping. Here are my tips on what you should and should NOT do:
- Assess the severity of the problem. If there is severe trauma, leading to a dangling leg or exposed bone, your puppy needs immediate veterinary intervention. If your puppy is not bearing any weight on one or more legs, this is also serious and demands immediate veterinary attention. If your puppy is putting even partial weight on the leg and there is no major long bone fracture, you should seek veterinary attention in the near future, but not necessarily immediately.
- Assess the possible causes. Assess the situation in which you found the puppy was limping. Was he just outside playing? Did she get stepped on by one of the kids or run over by one of their toys? Was there more serious trauma? Did she seem normal before her nap, but she woke up limping? Do you see any wounds or other clues? These are all important bits of information for you to share with your veterinarian to determine the possible causes, what diagnostics should be undertaken, or what treatment should be started.
- Contact your veterinarian for the next possible appointment. Do NOT administer aspirin, Tylenol, or ibuprofen. Many human medications are not safe for our pets. Do NOT administer medications from your other pets without your veterinarian's advice. Some medications will interfere with possible treatments or diagnostics your veterinary team may want to administer.
- Keep the puppy resting, maybe even crated, until your appointment. Do not attempt to bandage the puppy unless there is an open wound.
- If the puppy needs to go out to relieve herself, take video of her movement with your cell phone for your veterinarian to view. Taking the video in the slow-motion mode may help your veterinary team to see which leg is affected. Do NOT encourage her to be overly active.
- Plan on the veterinary appointment including a comprehensive physical examination, possible X-rays, possible blood work, appropriate pain medications, antibiotics for trauma or an infection, and possible bandaging or splinting if there is trauma or a fracture.
- Contact your breeder to see if they are aware of any lameness or orthopedic concerns in your puppy's relatives that could be important for the veterinarian to be aware of. Some inherited or congenital causes include panosteitis, valgus or varus deviations, OCD (osteocondritis dissecans), UAP (ununited anconeal process), FCP (fragmented coronoid process), patellar luxation, and hip dysplasia.
If you have other questions about puppy health, call our Pet Care Pros at 800.786.4751.
Marty Greer, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.