A DOG LIMPING IS, INDEED, A DOG IN NEED OF MEDICAL TREATMENT.
DOG LIMPING – dogs are man’s best friend. They seize to exist as animals when you fall in love with them. They become part of your family, and we all have loved a pet like we have loved a fellow human. If you’re a dog lover, which obviously you are, (since nobody who does not love a canine would even bother read this article) you ought to know something about your four legged best buddies.
It is the fact that when a dog limping back leg or a dog limping front leg, more often than not, for he/she is hurting. Just like humans, dogs too, go through their fair share of injuries that would keep him or her away from her usual cheery self to say the least. Let us explore all the possible causes and what should be done in case of this happen to your best friend.
WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?
There are two types of limping that can occur to your dog, namely; onset and gradual. Let’s first see what gradual limping is all about. As the name itself obviously suggests the limping happens and worsens over time. This being the rarer case of the two, it could be something that would blow over in few days, but it could be something really serious too. Arthritis is the best example of a chronic disease that is highly common between dogs that would cause a limp or a lameness.
Now let’s move on to the more probable of the two types of limps we get to see in dogs; onset limping. This usually happens due to some sort of physical trauma that causes some sort of damage; be it a strain, a torn muscle, a fractured bone or a broken one for that matter, a damaged ligament, or be it paws or pillows that have been wounded. These are just a few of the long list of causes that can inflict a limp from outside through external forces.
However, the tricky part is that even some chronic diseases can come in the guise of onset lameness. If I were you, and found that my dog is limping but does not seem to be in pain all of a sudden, I would be concerned, because there is a good chance that it is something in the nature of a chronic disease that has taken you and your pet both by surprise. For example, Cruciate Ligament Disease is regarded as a common chronic disease that is common in dogs, but it shows up as onset lameness, due to the fact that it weakens the ligament that would ultimately result in even the slightest of traumas being able to cause pain, thus a limp that occurs suddenly. However, there is another reason that could cause a dog limping back leg or a dog limping front leg that we all tend to overlook. This often neglected or ignored reason is the overgrown or overly short toenails of these pets. We will be talking about this quite extensively later in this article.
HOW TO FIND OUT THE CAUSE
However, when it is an external trauma that has caused a dog limping, there is quite a few visual cues for you to understand the situation. When you dog has a limb dangling off, a swelling or an obviously unnatural angle, it does not even take a qualified professional to determine or diagnose the limp.
However things are not always easy and plain obvious. Sometimes it I hard to determine which limb is injured and whatnot. So we came with this procedure to determine the situation.
- If the dog limping front leg shoulder, or even the front paws for that matter, he or she would walk in a way that their head and shoulder find themselves in a much upward position as the leg with the wounded shoulder touches the ground. The hips will fall down in an abnormal manner if the dog is limping back leg. If it is both back legs that are damaged, he or she will push he body wait to front limbs, while basically dragging back legs as they walk.
- After recognizing the faulty limb it is best to check him thoroughly for any other damages in the body.
- It is important that you have a general idea as to what part of the limb is causing the damage. You could start checking it from the bottom most part of the leg, the paws. More often than not, sudden lameness in dogs happens due to some sort of a wound or a laceration that has taken place in the paw. A thorn or a nail struck between feet pads are a major cause for limps that dogs suffer. If this is the case, it is nothing a little bit of home medicine such as butadiene or hydrogen peroxide can take care of.
- If the paws are not the issue, proceed further upwards, this is where things get a bit tricky. Assuming the above mentioned physical cues are not present, squeeze the hand with slight pressure to determine which part of the leg hurts, be it a muscle, bone or a joint.
- If this does not do the trick, further inspections on joints is required. Just like any other being with bones, dogs too have a plethora of joints. In order to determine the issue, take each joint and gently turn, twist and extend those joints in their natural directions. If the dog is in pain, you have found the issue.
While some of these trivial issues can be remedied in house. If it is not a small cut, laceration or a puncture in the feet pad, you are highly advised to get the help of a veterinary, since anything graver than that, we, the laymen are not equipped with to treat.
However, depended on the circumstances, it could be difficult to take your pet to the vet right away, in that case, knowing how to give first aid can be the difference between your pet being saved or him or her losing a limb. Followed here are a few steps or measures you can take in order to make sure that the damage happened is restricted and kept to minimum extent, for a limping dog
Apply a cold compress of some sorts to the limb. Something like a pack of ice, so the cold will reduce the inflammation. If there is a visible wound, restrain the dog from poking around and by doing so, prevent it from getting worsened or getting infected. Restrain him so he would not walk and move around, further damaging the leg.
FIRST AIDES, FAUX PAS’s AND CONSULTING A VETERANARIAN
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT give your dog pills and syrup as you please, because some of the most common pain killers and antibiotics that we humans tend to take, and thus decide that it is a grand idea to just unload some of it on your pet, could actually be poisonous and could be really lethal for your four legged best friend. There have been many cases reported in which an aspirin pill has been deadly for dogs. Without crying over the figurative spilled milk, it is better you take him or her to a veterinary who knows better than you for proper types and dosages of medication. Just know that, if you find your dog limping, and if the pain seems to be serious for you to seek for pain-killers, it is certainly enough to consider subject him for professional health care.
If the dog is of a lightweight that you could hold, it is best to make sure that you carry him to a medical professional. If he is not so light, try to make him walk on other three legs and possibly for a distance as small as possible. Even the smallest, seemingly most trivial step could go a long way.
Another thing which is quite important to remember, if this is your first time with a pet with sharp nails and fangs alike. A dog limping, more often than not, a creature in pain and a dog in pain can be violent, even towards his most beloved master. Therefore, it is better to handle him or her with caution.
WHAT WILL THE VETERINARIAN DO?
The veterinarian will first conduct a physical examination as well as an orthopedic exam in order to get a sense of what is causing this lameness. Most of the times he will be able to diagnose the situation and medication that is required. However, just to be on the safe side, X-Rays will be taken to determine the condition of the bones and joints, because, even though a major break of a bone or a joint may be visible, as small fracture surely be ignored or missed by even the professionals. As far as the soft tissues, such as cartilages and muscles are concerned, the veterinarian may require either or both CT scan and a MRI scan.
Overly long toenails are usually a problem which is really common and recognizable among old pets who are less active in comparison. When these nails break off (and they more often than not, do) they put the most sensitive parts of the nail toes, which are called the quick, in danger. In little to no time do they render infected thanks to constant licking and saliva and it will be excruciatingly painful for the dog. Not only this, overgrown nails can be a reason for the joins to be twisted, that would, at a later time, be the cause of arthritis, pain and a serious case of gradual limping.
It is required that these nails be detached properly from the toe and should be cauterized, if it were to heal in a proper manner. This process is not the most comfortable to say the least therefore it should be done under mild sedatives, in the hands of an individual with professional medical training.
Overly short or worn nails are also a constant cause of irritation, pain and suffering for dogs. Comparatively active dogs especially whose habituate is built on hard surfaces such as concrete or tar, will wear their toenails off. This will expose the sensitive quick and it will wear off causing immense pain. However, by removing the nail in a way that it will not bear further weight, this can be neutralized.
TAKING CARE OF HIM OR HER
Last but not least, it is extremely important to have a clear idea about how your pet should be handled after the treatments. Be it a surgery or just medication, there are certain measures one can take to ensure that your pet heals and that those medications were not in vain.
Your dog must be made to rest for at least few days. Restrain him or keep him occupied if necessary, but it is vital that he does not overuse the limb and further damages it. Do not take him or her out to exercise until he is fully recovered. If it is surgery or a wound that the dog is recovering from, make sure that he or she cannot lick it, because it can get infected. Finally, keep a close eye on him until he is fully recovered.
A dog limping is a dog in pain and none of us wants our best friends to be in agony. It is up to us to be vigilant and make sure our beloved pets get the best treatment possible. Because, at the end of the day, he may be just another pet to you, but his whole life is depended on your care and love.