Dog Lameness – Causes and Treatment

If you notice that your dog is limping, it can be a scary and distressing experience for both you and them. It’s important not to panic though. There are many different causes of dog lameness, some of which will clear up without treatment, but some which will require veterinarian attention. Read on to learn more about the possible causes of lameness in dogs, what signs to look out for, how the condition is diagnosed and treated by veterinarians, and how your dog recovers from limping.

Possible signs of dog lameness

  • Behavior. If your dog is not walking normally, he may be in pain. Your dog may limp or favor one leg over the other when walking. If this is the case, you should contact your vet immediately for a check-up and possible treatment plan.
  • Posture and gait. Take note of the way your dog walks when he’s healthy and determine if there’s anything different about his movement now compared to before lameness set in—for example, does he seem more stiff or awkward than before? Does he prefer one leg over another? Has he lost coordination? These are things to look out for while determining whether or not your pup has bad knees!
  • Weight gain/loss/age/breed/health history/. Puppies tend to get injured more often than older dogs because their bones are still growing; thus they’re more prone to fractures and breaks that can lead to lameness if not treated correctly by a professional veterinarian (and sometimes even so). So keep an eye on how much weight your puppy gains between visits with his vet; this will help determine whether or not there may be underlying conditions causing him pain such as arthritis which could result in chronic lameness requiring medication or surgery down the road!

Causes of dog lameness

In most cases, lameness in dogs is caused by one of the following:

  • Infection. An infection can cause lameness in a dog’s leg and make it difficult for your dog to move around. Usually, this is caused by a bone infection (osteomyelitis) or an infection that affects the tissues surrounding bones (myositis). The bone infection may be brought on by another disease or injury to your dog’s leg. An injury to the bone can also lead to osteomyelitis if bacteria get into the wound during healing time. If left untreated, osteomyelitis can spread throughout your dog’s body and lead to kidney failure and even death (1).
  • Injury. Bruises or small fractures are common causes of lameness in dogs; however, some severe injuries such as broken bones may require surgery if they aren’t treated properly right away

What to do if you think your dog is lame

If you are concerned that your dog might be lame, there are a few things you can do to rule out or diagnose the problem. The first step is to check their paws for cuts, sores or swelling. If they have any of these conditions it may be affecting their gait and causing them pain while walking.

Next, look at their feet for foreign objects like glass shards or rocks that may have gotten trapped between their pads and caused damage when walking on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt. If you don’t see anything immediately visible when looking at the paw pads themselves but notice more bleeding after inspecting more closely then it’s possible something has been lodged inside one of them recently so this warrants further investigation before going forward with any treatment plan.

Finally examine hips by using gentle pressure with both hands applied evenly across either side of pelvis just behind front legs (where thighs meet torso) until relief occurs indicating no pain present here either which could indicate hip dysplasia causing lameness issues due how dogs walk normally without such problems being present; if soreness persists despite gentle palpation try rotating hips around until feeling returns indicating normal range-of-motion without discomfort!

Diagnosing the cause of your dog’s lameness

The first step in diagnosing lameness is to perform a physical examination. Your vet may check your dog’s gait and be able to tell if the problem is due to injury or disease by examining the way your pet walks. The vet will also feel for areas of pain and swelling, as well as how much movement or muscle tone is present in the injured limb.

X-rays are often needed to see bone injuries such as broken bones or arthritis that can cause lameness. Blood tests that measure blood sugar levels can help identify problems with diabetes, which can cause sudden lameness when it affects nerves leading into your pet’s legs.

Treatment for dog lameness

  • Rest the dog. If your dog is limping, it’s best to limit their activity. This can help reduce inflammation and pain in the affected area.
  • Ice the affected area for 15 minutes every two hours for up to 48 hours after lameness begins. This will help control swelling and decrease pain levels in the injured limb.
  • Give them painkillers if necessary; however, do not give aspirin or other salicylates (including buffered aspirin) as these can cause stomach ulcers in dogs with pre-existing conditions like kidney disease or liver disease. Pain relief medications such as tramadol are recommended instead if your dog requires medication to ease discomfort while they recover from lameness

Recovery from dog lameness

The length of time is dependent on the cause of the lameness and what’s required for treatment. If your pet has been diagnosed with a disease or condition that requires medication, this could slow down recovery time. Sometimes, the amount of damage done by an injury (such as a torn cruciate ligament) may make recovery impossible without surgery.

On the other hand, if there are no underlying conditions and your dog can walk normally after resting for several weeks following an injury, he should be able to return to full activity within several months with proper exercise and conditioning during his recovery period.

If you think your dog is limping, take them to a vet as soon as possible.

If you think your dog is limping, take them to a vet as soon as possible. It’s important to diagnose the cause of lameness so that proper treatment can be given. If a vet doesn’t find anything wrong, take your dog back again and see if the problem persists. Many times when the problem isn’t immediately obvious, it will manifest itself later on—for example, if your dog develops muscle atrophy in his leg due to an injury or disease.

If your vet is able to pinpoint what’s causing the limping and prescribe appropriate treatment, then you may be able to avoid amputation surgery!


If your dog is limping, it could be because of a number of reasons. Fortunately, most causes are treatable and won’t require drastic changes to your dog’s lifestyle. If you notice that your furry friend is moving around with an abnormal amount of difficulty, take them to a vet as quickly as possible.