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Limping in Dogs


Just like humans, dogs sometimes break bones, sprain muscles, slip discs or tear ligaments, all of which can lead to the sudden onset of limping or movement difficulties. Torn knee ligaments occur frequently. Muscle strains are less common, but even these can occur while dogs undertake something as simple as climbing stairs.


Arthritis (sometimes referred as osteoarthritis) can also present as a sudden onset of lameness, should a jarring or untoward movement occur. Of course, dogs may chronically suffer from illnesses of lameness as well. Diagnosis and management of these conditions, however, will not be addressed here.


What To Watch For


In most limping cases there will be no external sign of damage. However, limbs may dangle at an unnatural angle when fractured or dislocated. Bones may even pierce the skin. Sometimes bleeding as well as swelling may also occur.


Primary Cause


Accidents and other traumatic origins are the most common causes, though slow, chronic degeneration of a ligament or disc, for example, can sometimes lead to a sudden onset of orthopedic pain or lameness.

Comments  4

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  • Limping from torn ACL
    04/07/2016 08:50am

    When my dog started to limp last year after going for a run on the beach in the winter, we brought her straight to the weight who confirmed for us that she had torn her ACL. She told us about the different treatment options, including surgery, but ultimately we decided to try and avoid surgery and went with the conservative treatment. We had to fully restrict her activity in order to allow the tissue to repair itself. Also going on the advice of our vet, we found a dog knee brace from an online store called Ortocanis that helped to stabilize her knee during this process: http://www.ortocanis.com/en/technical-helps-for-dogs/90-knee-brace.html

    It's been a year now, and with the help of the dog knee brace, she's been able to regain muscle and is now more active than ever!

    A torn ACL is a pretty common injury so if your dog is limping... you might want to consider getting an xray done to be certain of the cause.

  • 05/04/2016 04:46am

    Hi Maya. Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm in a similar situation and will look into the Ortocanis knee brace, but will first ask my vet about it. My dog has arthritis in his knees so maybe this could help him with his pain!

  • 07/21/2016 02:39pm

    Hi Maya! Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm thrilled that your dog is recovering:) Also, I have a question. I was walking my dog and all of a sudden he starts liming. Do you know anything I could do to make him feel better?
    Thanks x

  • Limping, oh no!
    07/21/2016 02:55pm

    Hi everyone! I recently took my dog out for a walk. While I was walking him, he starts limping and whining! So I took him back to my house and let him rest. But 10-15 minutes later, he starts limping again. I don't know what's wrong and I'm really worried about my dog. If you have any ideas for what happened, please let me know. Thanks x