Like us, limping is a problem for both the young and the old and can occur for a variety of reasons. However, unlike us, our pets cannot tell us what happened or where it hurts. Your best resource for determining the route of the problem is scheduling an appointment with a veterinarian. Limping is not an easy problem to get to the bottom of in most cases, which is why getting a trained professional on the case is the best solution.
Limping does not always stem from the foot or leg; some pets may limp as a result of a spine or neck problem, infections (like Lyme disease), abdominal pain or even skin issues. There are two types of limps you can identify on your pet, gradual onset and sudden onset. As their names suggest, a gradual onset limp occurs slowly over time where as a sudden onset limp usually results after an accident or trauma. Distinguishing the type of limp your pet may be experiencing can help your veterinarian narrow down the possible causes of the limp.
A gradual onset limp is usually caused by a chronic condition such as dysplasia or osteoarthritis. It is crucial for the health of your pet that you make an appointment with one of out vets immediately if they are experiencing a gradual limp. The cause of the limp, such as hip dysplasia or bone cancer, can be treated more effectively the sooner it is caught.
The first thing any limping cat or dog needs to undergo is a thorough Physical Examination to rule out any issues that are not obvious. In some cases, a broken nail may be the underlying issue to the limp- something which can be easily overlooked. Broken bones or joint dislocations require immediate examination requiring careful, specific intervention by a veterinarian.
Dogs and cats with sprains, strains, tears, avulsions, and even simple fractures need care in order to get better in the vast majority of cases. Not only can we offer stabilization and relief from pain, but we can help your pet recover quickly, smoothly, and to the same or higher level of functioning than before.
The treatment for your pet’s limp will vary depending on the source. Your pet’s treatment plan can be as simple as few days of rest if they suffered from a sprain or strain; or for injuries such as fractures or Ligament Damage, treatment may require surgery with a surgical specialist. In some cases rehabilitation such as massages, therapy and specially designed exercises can greatly improve mobility.
Limping is always a serious issue that requires veterinary attention. The sooner you get your pet in to see one of our veterinarians, the better the prognosis.