Understanding the Basics of Canine Limping on Front Leg

If your dog is limping on the front leg, it could be a result of an injury to the foot, ankle or even knee. If your pet has injured one of these areas, it will take time for it to heal. Therefore, unless you notice an improvement in its condition, get it checked by a vet as soon as possible.

Understanding the Basics of Canine Limping on Front Leg


Although dog limping can occur in many situations, most commonly because it is injured, there could be other potential causes. For instance, a tumor in the neck or back leg could be the culprit. In this situation, treatment will vary depending on the size of the tumor and on your pet’s age and health. Medications and surgery are the usual treatments for dog limping on the front leg. However, it’s always best to take your pet to a vet for proper diagnosis before proceeding.


The most common form of dog limping is due to trauma or injury to the back limbs. Because it’s the largest organ in the body, it can understandably sustain a great deal of damage when your dog gets injured. Even a slight injury can cause inflammation that can result in pain, swelling and a compromised ability to function. If your dog limps, you should take him to the vet for a thorough checkup.


X-rays will help identify the type of injury your dog is suffering from. Your vet will then be able to advise you on how to treat the injury, if necessary. He may prescribe pain relievers to make your dog limber up and give him some much needed rest. Injuries to the legs can sometimes require surgery to provide long-term relief.


A severe injury could also lead to gangrene. In this case, your dog would have to be amputated. Although this sounds like the end of your dog’s life, it isn’t too late to prevent it from happening. Talk to your vet about pain relievers and other treatment options available to treat your dog if you find he is limping as a result of a severe injury.


Even though dogs have a muscular system similar to humans, they still have soft tissue in addition to bones. Because of this, they are more prone to injuries to their backs. They are also at greater risk of limping if they overextend themselves during exercise or get caught up in a large object.


When your dog limps on the front leg, this usually means he has a fracture of one of his vertebrae. The most common fracture of the spine for dogs is a tibia fracture. This injury usually occurs from an accident because the dog is forced to stand up after getting injured. Most of these injuries are mild and heal up quite quickly. Limping can lead to more serious injuries if the bones don’t heal correctly.


If your dog limps on the back leg, he probably has an ankle sprain. Again, this type of injury usually happens from an accident or is caused by improper exercise. As with the other types of injuries, your vet will likely want to give your dog pain relief medicine as well as x-rays to look at the extent of the injury. If there is an MRI or CT scan results, these will be given to you to help with deciding the severity of the pain. If there is more severe pain than what is shown on the scans, your vet may want to run more tests to determine the source of the pain.


Hip dysplasia in dogs is usually caused by being over exerted from excessive walking or running. There is no cure for dysplasia. Instead, your vet will most likely recommend special shoes or leggings to be worn during exercise so your dog can keep its joints in proper shape. The pain and discomfort from this condition are usually minimal and can be treated with pain medications. Your vet may also suggest dietary changes or possibly even surgery to correct the problem. There are many different breeds of dog with this disorder, but German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are prone to this condition more than any other dog.


If your dog limps on the right leg, it could mean he has a bunion. This type of injury typically involves a bone that has put pressure on the nerves and causes the animal to limp on its right leg. Your vet may suggest treating this injury with physical therapy or even surgery to correct the problem. If your dog limps on the left leg because of a fracture, it could mean your canine has a stress fracture of the paw or tibia. Again, treatment for this injury involves physical therapy or possibly a bone graft.


Other disorders that can cause your dog to limp include spinal cord injuries, luxating patella and a wide variety of digestive problems. Any combination of these disorders could result in your canine having lameness or limping. It is vital that you seek veterinary medical care immediately if your pet is limping, has loss of appetite, is not urinating or has blood in the urine. A complete physical examination should be carried out by a vet, and the exact cause of the lameness or limp must be identified. Treatment can range from medication to surgical correction, depending upon the severity of the condition.

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