One of the most common reasons pet parents take their dog to the veterinarian is to answer the question, “Why is my dog limping?” The fine folks at petMD list some common causes for dog limping, but what about the off-the-beaten bath dog limping reasons no one talks about?
Like people, dogs can tear, break, strain, or damage any number of structures of the body and a limp results. As dog mom to two Cocker Spaniels with a history leg issues, I know all too well that hobble and paw lifting that accompanies a seemingly innocuous injury.
Most of us are not veterinarians, so any sort of limp or diversion from a dog’s normal gait should be examined by a trusted veterinarian. Sometimes, a limp is minor and other times it means something bigger is going on with the dog. Submitted for your consideration:
Imagine wearing a pair of high heels if you are accustomed to flats or wearing shoes: Now try running in those heels and wearing them 24/7: This is akin to what overgrown nails feel like on a dog. This can also create bone and leg pain, which in the long run, causes serious issues for a dog. Don’t chance cutting your dog’s nails if you are not 100 percent certain how to do it.
Paw Pad Injury
In hot weather, paw pads may be burned by hot pavement. In cold weather, pads can be harmed by frostbite or chemicals tossed on icy roads and sidewalks. Excessive or frequent walking or running can also wear a paw pad down. A common myth in among dog parents is that a dog’s paws need no protection; after all, they’ve been walking around without socks or shoes for thousands of years, right? True, but a dog’s paws do need protection. If your dog suddenly limps, gently check the paws and nails.
Hidden Lump In the Toes
In between each of your dog’s toes is an area of webbing. That area is also ripe for yeast to form (dark and moist), cyst or infection, or even a mass. Interdigital (between the toes) lumps and growths can form and cause a dog to limp. If growths or interdigital cysts are an ongoing issue with your dog, get to the root of the cause. Some causes of cyst formation in the toes include bacterial infections, ingrown hairs, mites, allergies, and even a dog being overweight.
Dogs with hypothyroidism (underactive) may limp due to the pain caused to the joints by the imbalance of thyroid hormone. In her book, The Canine Thyroid Epidemic, Dr. Jean Dodds explains that reduced thyroid function can produce a wide range of clinical signs. If your dog limps and displays other hypothyroid symptoms, such as hair loss, unexplained weight gain, or skin issues, ask your veterinarian to check the dog’s thyroid hormone level.
Although dogs may never display symptoms of Lyme disease, when symptoms do manifest, limping may be involved. The limping is caused by pain around the dog’s joints.
Sometimes involuntary urination, leaking urine, or dribbling of urine in dogs is associated with a limp. Like people, dogs develop arthritis and other orthopedic issues throughout their lives, especially as they age. Nerves that control the bladder and its emptying can be affected by things like tumors, infections, and even spinal cord injuries.
Spinal Cord or Disc Injury
IVDD, or intervertebral disc disease, affects the discs that cushion the spine: between the spinal column itself and the vertebrae. The discs bulge or herniated (burst) into the spinal cord space. Dragging the rear legs, a hobble gait, seeming off balance, or refusing to walk may indicate a spinal or disc injury. Our pal, Poppy the Cocker Spaniel, is affected by IVDD , which her mom manages with due diligence, attention to symptoms, and veterinary guidance.
CLICK THIS: Managing a Dog With IVDD
One of the most common tears in a dog’s leg is that of the cranial cruciate ligament, CCL, sometimes called ACL. We know this because we have dealt with two ACL tears and surgical repairs in our dog. Many times, a veterinarian will perform an in-office “drawer test” on the dog suspected of an ACL tear. It is a manual manipulation of the knee joint by a veterinarian. Here’s our Everything Guide to ACL Injuries that will help guide you and your dog if an ACL tear is suspected.
CLICK THIS: The Everything Guide to Dog ACL Injuries
Extraordinary Dog Who Overcame Limping…And Then Some
Some dogs are born to shine, and each of us has the Best Dog Ever, right? Baby Joey’s edges are shine just a bit brighter and a whole lot smoother thanks to some good Samaritans.
This little canine engine who could is an All American mixed breed. He was taken in by Second Chance Rescue, out of New York, after being found with partial limb amputations of his rear legs. Limping would be an understatement. He would drag what rear limbs he had, thus creating friction rubs and throwing off the alignment of his growing body.
When Merrick Pet Care learned of Baby Joey’s plight, they stepped in and worked to help him find balance, a new path in life, and hopefully his forever home. Get ready to celebrate and rejoice, as here’s the path of a dog who showed the world that good prevails with a little help from some friends:
If Your Dog Limps
Don’t take chances. There are gobs and gobs of reasons a dog will limp. Take your best friend to the veterinarian for a complete assessment and further care. If you liked this article, we encourage you to check out: