What should I do if my dog goes lame?

Lameness – it is a term used to describe the absence or alteration of one’s normal gait in either humans or animals who are either running or walking. It is a word used to describe any gait from one that is simply hard to recognize to one that is much easier to note, such as a three legged walking gait. There can be varied reasons for lameness among dogs. Because of such, it is difficult to tackle each and every exact reason for such condition, though it is more feasible to discuss the main classifications or groups that can cause lameness in a dog.

Fractures or bone breakages is one such cause. Your pet may have an open fracture or closed fracture. The former is a type of fracture in which the bone sticks out
right through the pet's skin. A closed fracture, on the other hand, happens within the confines of the muscle or skin but can result in total lameness of the affected limb. These fractures often cause a lot of swelling, not to mention excruciating pain. These are technically identified as abnormal angulations of the affected limb. Because fractures can be caused by situations as harsh as road traffic accidents (RTA), any bone in the dog’s body can be affected. Often, it is only through X-rays that one can clearly identify the presence, extent and location of fractures. Establishing this diagnosis can also lead to lost of options suitable to alleviate the condition.

Other reasons for dog’s lameness can also include bone dislocations. These incidents, although quite rare, lead to various degrees of lameness. Oftentimes, the limb becomes abnormally positioned and is rendered unuseable. Bone dislocations are common after being involved in RTAs.

Moreover degenerative joint disease, otherwise known as arthritis is another factor that may lead to lameness. This is rampant among older dogs because of either pure old age or the existence of another joint disease like trauma and infectious arthritis. If a similar case happens in humans then it is also possible among dogs. Nevertheless, real rheumatism happens rarely.

Bone tumours can also lead to lameness. They usually grow in longer bones like those involving the legs. Unfortunately, tumours often reflect malignancies in dogs. These growths can cause severe to excruciating pain, as well as, swelling around the tumour area.

In all the abovementioned cases, lameness often gives great discomfort and or pain to the dog. It would always be best to consult your local veterinarian as to what the cause for your pet's lameness is and whether there can be any available remedy to the problem. With regard to pain manifestation, it is important to note that dogs don’t exactly show the same warning signs as in humans. In this connection, it is necessary to observe you pet carefully to spot out for behavioral signs of pain both those that are readily observable and those that are almost covert in nature. Remember, you are his first hand caregiver so you must know how to tend to his needs especially during these distressing instances.


This pet health article is for reference only.

If your pet is showing any symptoms or distress, and you suspect your pet is ill CONTACT YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY.