Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.
Why Is My Dog Limping All of a Sudden?
There are many causes of limping in dogs, so it's important to carefully evaluate your situation. For instance, a dog may start limping out of the blue, following an injury you hadn't noticed. Or a limp may develop gradually over time, possibly due to the onset of arthritis.
Whatever the underlying cause, it needs to be addressed and understood, as it sometimes may be something much different than a simple sprain.
Many dog owners claim, "My dog is limping but doesn't seem to be in pain." Keep in mind that dogs do not limp without reason. Even though it may seem fine, your dog is experiencing pain if it is limping.
When to See the Vet the Same Day
You should try to see the vet immediately if your dog has any of the following symptoms:
- Dangling limb (dislocation)
- Hot limb
- Obvious break or unnatural angle
- Inability to put any weight on the leg
- Appears to be in significant pain
- The limping is accompanied by other symptoms
It is not always possible to determine the exact cause of a dog's limping without seeing the vet. There are often issues that cannot be seen or noticed by the naked eye or even by palpation.
For instance, in the case of a torn knee ligament, diagnosis often involves a positive drawer's test (the vet moves the leg in a certain way) and x-rays under sedation. In some cases, only an x-ray may reveal the underlying cause.
13 Possible Causes of Limping in Dogs
Here's a quick look at some common causes of lameness, where they happen, and some other risk factors.
Limping Due to Trauma or Injury
Aside from evident cuts on your dog's paw, foreign objects, or torn nails, there is a long list of possible causes of lameness.
- Strained Tendons
- Carpal Hyperextension Syndrome
Limping in Puppies and Growing Dogs
Large young dogs are prone to problems as they grow. These disorders often have a genetic basis. Puppies of large breeds may develop a limp between two months and two years of age, often because they grow too fast, putting extra strain on the bones, cartilage and muscle.
Sometimes diet aggravates the problem. Diet problems include too many calories, high protein intake, or the incorrect proportions of calcium and phosphorus. Here are some common growth-related causes of limping.
- Pano (Panosteitis)
- HOD (Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy)
- OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans)
Limping Affecting Only the Front Legs
While limping in a puppy or young dog may be related to growth, in older dogs there may be different causes. Following are some non-growth-related causes of lameness, affecting the front legs and the rear legs.
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Injuries to Muscles and Tendons
Limping Affecting Only the Rear Legs
- Hip Dysplasia
- Ruptured ACL or CCL
- Luxating Patella (Dislocated Kneecap)
Limping Caused by Diseases
- Bone Cancer
- Lyme Disease
- Valley Fever
- Neurological Disorders
I'll go into more detail about these causes and conditions below as well as help you understand how you can examine your dog to determine whether you need to see the vet immediately or if you can afford to wait a little bit.
1. Trauma or Injury
This could happen to any kind of dog on any of their legs and could include muscle sprain, cuts, insect bites, or—on the more serious end—fractures.
One of the most common causes of lameness is accidents. Your dog may have injured itself jumping out of your car or playing in the yard. If you witnessed the injury, then the cause of the limping will be obvious; but If you have been away and come home to a limping dog, the cause may need to be investigated.
Sprains are injuries to the soft tissue, like muscles or ligaments. Dogs get muscle sprains just as humans do. They can result from a sudden movement while playing. Sprains and limping are especially common in working-dog breeds.
Most non-serious sprains usually resolve by themselves and show marked improvement within 48 hours. However, if the dog is in evident pain and appears uncomfortable, you should consult with the vet. They will identify the cause and may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief.
If your dog has a fracture, they need prompt veterinary attention. Signs of a fracture are usually pretty obvious.
- The leg will not bear weight.
- The dog will be in obvious pain
- The leg may appear deformed or swollen.
- The bone may even be protruding out of the skin. The dog may have bleeding from such an injury that needs to be stopped.
On the way to the vet, the dog should be restrained from moving to what extent possible. It is helpful to carry the dog.
While a fracture is most often due to an accident, bone cancer (discussed below) can also cause fractures known as "pathological fractures."
Strained tendons are common in dogs enrolled in agility trials and other sports, but they may occur in any dog. The most common sites of injury involve the supraspinatus and biceps muscles in the dog's shoulder.
Carpal Hyperextension Syndrome
Carpal hyperextension syndrome is often seen in young puppies and occurs due to low muscle tone or joint laxity. This condition is mostly self-limiting, meaning that the puppy will gradually recover without treatment.
Be careful when working with an injured animal! Avoid moving them unnecessarily, and be aware that they may bite out of pain. See below for information on how to examine your dog to find out if you need to go to the vet.
2. Pano (Panosteitis)
This condition is caused by bone inflammation and usually affects puppies between six and nine months old, though it may be found in dogs up to 18 months old. It is more common in medium or large breeds.
Pano can be thought of as "growing pains"; the marrow found in the long bones develops abnormally for a time. Typically the dog presents with sudden limping without any known injuries. It is able to put weight on the leg but will show obvious pain.
The lameness may show up sporadically and may shift from leg to leg. Palpating the limb by pressing or squeezing the middle of the shaft of the long bone usually elicits a pain response from the dog.
There is no cure, but your vet can consult on managing the pain and changing the dog's diet to alleviate symptoms. Treatment consists mainly of pain management and diet change. While pano may last two to five months, the dog should recover fully.
3. HOD (Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy)
This bone disease mainly occurs in the front legs of young, rapidly growing, large-breed puppies two to eight months old. It is the inflammation of the growth plates (the cartilage at the end of a growing bone). The dog may have symmetrical lameness in the front legs, have a fever, be lethargic, and lose weight.
Typically, palpating the distal (lower) end of the long bone will elicit a pain response from the dog. The joints may feel hot and look swollen. The dog will appear lame, almost as if walking on eggshells. There is no cure—only management for the symptoms. See a vet to learn how to manage your dog's pain.
4. OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans)
This painful condition most often affects a dog's shoulder and is caused by a defect in the cartilage surface of the joint which may cause the cartilage to detach and float around the area of the joint. OCD may also affect other parts of the limb, such as the elbow, knee, hocks, or stifle.
The main symptom is lameness in the affected limb, which can vary from dog to dog in severity. Treatment is usually through surgery to replace the defective cartilage or symptom management and rest. Your veterinarian can advise.
5. Elbow Dysplasia
Usually, only the front legs are affected by this disorder, and its onset can either be sudden or gradual. The dog may also display symptoms intermittently. Other symptoms include mobility changes or irregularities in the affected limb.
According to PetMD, this is one of the primary causes of forelimb lameness in large- and giant-breed dogs and is characterized by a series of four developmental abnormalities that lead to malformation and degeneration of the elbow joint.
In this condition, the top of the ulna is not properly fused to the rear point of the elbow. The dog will appear lame and will respond to pain when its elbow is extended.
Your vet will do a physical examination and diagnostic tests, such as an x-ray. Your vet can consult on whether it needs to be treated through surgery, lifestyle changes, or a combination of both.
6. Hip Dysplasia
This condition only affects the rear legs and often begins when the dog is young. This is a condition where the hip joints fail to develop normally. Hip dysplasia in dogs is a genetic disorder, and all breeding dogs should be screened before mating. In hip dysplasia, because of structural defects, the ball of the hip does not fit properly in its socket. Symptoms may have an either sudden or gradual onset.
Look for signs that the dog is avoiding putting weight on its back legs or using its hips, such as:
- Gait abnormalities
- Trouble walking
- Trouble getting up from lying down
- Difficulty playing
- Difficulty jumping into the car
- A reluctance to run or go up stairs
There are a variety of treatment options depending on your dog, the severity of the condition, and its age. Your vet will be able to advise.
7. Ruptured Anterior (or Cranial) Cruciate Ligament
Roughly the equivalent of an ACL tear in a human, this injury affects the hind legs and often happens when the dog accidentally twists on its hind leg, causing the cruciate ligament to tear. This can happen on slippery surfaces, or when a dog is hit by a car. It's possible for the ligament to tear little by little over time as well.
Affected dogs will typically appear lame, holding the affected rear leg off the ground. The knee may become swollen. Breeds predisposed to this problem are Newfoundland, Labrador retriever, Rottweiler, and St. Bernard.
Diagnosing this condition requires the vet to move the knee a certain way (drawer's test) and x-rays often done with sedation. This condition may be treated with a kind of surgery called tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO), depending on the size of your dog.
8. Luxating Patella (Dislocated Kneecap)
Also known as patellar luxation, this condition only affects the rear legs, with pain evident in the stifle or knee-cap area (between the femur or thigh bone and the two lower leg bones). Affected dogs may skip or hop when they run or have sudden lameness. It often affects small breeds like Yorkies, toy poodles, and dachshunds.
This condition can be treated through surgery, though your vet may opt for non-surgical care. See your vet for diagnosis.
9. Bone Cancer
Large-breed dogs are particularly prone to bone cancer, though it can be found in any dog. Affected dogs may develop severe lameness and unexplainable fractures after even a slight injury. Bone cancer is a serious condition in dogs, often requiring amputation of the leg to reduce pain. Other symptoms include lethargy, tumors, or loss of appetite. See your vet for diagnosis.
Bone cancer is an aggressive illness—see your vet immediately if you suspect your dog is affected.
As in humans, this condition is more common in middle-aged to senior dogs. As dogs age, the continuous friction of the joints can cause inflammation and arthritis. The dog will walk more slowly and have pain in the mornings. They may also show a reluctance to jump out of the car or walk up stairs.
You may also notice weight gain, sleeping more, less interest in playing, and a change in attitude or alertness. Treatment includes weight loss, symptom management, and lifestyle changes.
Anti-inflammatory medication may work very well. Home remedies for arthritis in dogs are also worth trying.
11. Lyme Disease
This disease is carried by ticks. Affected dogs will usually develop an unexplainable limp a few months after the tick exposure. Commonly, the limp will be barely noticeable at first but then will progress up to a point where the dog may be unable to walk. Many dogs affected by Lyme disease are literally carried by the owner into the vet's office.
Dogs with Lyme disease may also have a fever, feel lethargic, have swollen joints and lymph nodes, and lose their appetite. Vets can treat this disease with antibiotics such as Doxycycline or Cephalexin.
12. Valley Fever
Valley fever is a fungal disease found in the Southwest that generally affects very young or very old dogs. Lameness is a symptom of the disseminated disease. Other symptoms may include fever, harsh cough, lethargy, or depression. Treatment involves anti-fungal medication given over a period of several months.
13. Neurological Disorders
A slipped or out-of-place disc in the spine could put pressure on nerves in the spinal cord, cutting off the messages from the brain to the legs that allow proper movement and potentially causing the dog to become lame. The vet will need to examine your dog carefully to determine if the cause of your dog's lameness is orthopedic or neurological.
What to Do If Your Dog Has a Limp (Lameness)
When I worked at a veterinary hospital, I was often responsible for making "triage" decisions about what to do about an injured dog. In the process, I would give priority, same-day appointment slots to dogs who wouldn't put weight on their injured leg. The most urgent cases of limping are often those where the dog refuses to put any weight on the affected limb.
Here are some steps you can follow to pinpoint the cause of limping in dogs and figure out if you need to take your dog to the vet.
1. Inspect the Limb
If your dog just began limping, start by carefully inspecting the affected limb. Don't forget to look in between the toes! Look for any evidence of injury such as the following:
- Cuts on your dog's paw
- Insect bite (for example, if your dog stepped on some fire ants)
- Foreign objects stuck between the toes
- Torn toenails
- Swollen or misshapen paw or leg
If you see a thorn or other foreign object stuck in the paw pad, you may get some tweezers, go to a well-lit area, and try to carefully remove it. Muzzle your dog for safety!
If you suspect something is stuck, but it seems to be deep under the paw pad's skin, you can immerse the foot in a mixture of Epsom salts and water, and see if that helps the foreign object to work its way out.
2. Palpate the Limb
Obviously, don't handle the limb if there are clear signs of fracture (swelling, disfiguring of the limb, or protruding bones), or if you own an aggressive dog or one that tends to bite when in pain (many dogs will).
But otherwise, you want to gently feel the affected limb, while looking at the dog for any clue that he is feeling pain; this will help find the source of the problem.
Each dog has its own way of manifesting pain: Some may startle, turn around, others may whimper, and others may even growl and even attempt to nip. Some dogs may not manifest pain clearly but in more subtle ways such as their pupils may dilate. Please use caution palpating the limb if your dog is in pain and avoid this step if your dog is prone to biting. Even good dogs may bite when in pain!
3. Decide Whether to Monitor the Situation or Seek Veterinary Advice
At this point, you should try to address your findings. If there is a thorn embedded in the paw, you should try to remove it (muzzle your dog for safety); if there is a cut, you want to medicate it and keep it from getting infected.
If the source is not easy to identify, it is best to seek veterinary advice. It's possible that the limping is not caused by any particular small problem, but by a disease affecting multiple limbs or the whole body.
- Burke, Anna. "Why Is My Dog Limping?" April 11, 2017. AKC. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- "Abnormal Development of the Elbow in Dogs." (n.d.) PetMD. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- "Bone Inflammation (Panosteitis) in Dogs." (n.d.) PetMD. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- "Bone Inflammation (Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy) in Puppies." (n.d.) PetMD. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- "Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) in Dogs." (n.d.) PetMD. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- Burke, Anna. "Hip Dysplasia in Dogs." May 31, 2017. AKC. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- "Torn Knee Ligament in Dogs." (n.d.) PetMD. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- "Kneecap Dislocation in Dogs." (n.d.) PetMD. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- "Bone Cancer (Osteosarcoma) in Dog." (n.d.) PetMD. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- "Arthritis: How to Recognize and Manage the Condition." (n.d.) PetMD. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- Foster and Smith. "Lyme Disease (Borreliosis) in Dogs." (n.d.) peteducation.com. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- Yuill, Cheryl, DVM, MSc, CVH. "Valley Fever in Dogs." 2010. VCA Hospitals. Accessed November 8, 2017.
- "Lameness in Dogs." (n.d.) PetMD. Accessed November 8, 2017.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: My (almost 9 years old) lab-collie mix started showing signs of back leg problems last night. Out of nowhere, she was walking around the house without putting her back left leg on the ground. The more she walks around she'll start to use the leg and limp on it. I've examined it thoroughly and there isn't a particular source of pain or wound. Could my lab-collie mix's limping be a sprain? She does love to play a competitive game of fetch with our other large dog on a daily basis.
Answer: It could be a sprain, but with her not putting weight on a back leg and then starting to use the leg and limping, it sounds more like an ACL tear, which is not uncommon. It is hard to pinpoint the source of the pain with ACL tears considering that the pain is in the knee area and vets diagnose it with a test known as 'drawer test' which must often be done with the dog sedated as a tense dog may stabilize the leg and make diagnosis more difficult. Of course, there may be other things going on as well such as arthritis, but the ACL tear seems to fit more the picture. Have your dog seen the vet to have it sorted out. Diagnosis is not always easy with leg issues because there may be several conditions to rule out.
Question: How do I stop my dog from licking his painful toenail?
Answer: This can be very painful, hence the repeated licking. If there is a fractured part of the nail that is barely attached and you can safely pull it off, add a bit of plain Neosporin, and you can then add a light wrap or cover with a sock and keep your dog quiet. Distracting him with a stuffed Kong may help keep his mind off it. But best to have this done by a vet to prevent pain (your vet likely knows how to do this quickly) and for safety due to your dog potentially biting (all dogs can bite when in pain, even the most docile ones). Monitor your dog to prevent him from messing with or potentially chewing/eating the wrap/sock.
Question: What do I do for an abscess on a dog's front paw?
Answer: For an abscess on a dog's paw you will need to see the vet to have it taken care of. This may entail having the area lanced open, drained, flushed and the dog will usually be treated with antibiotics and pain meds.
© 2009 Adrienne Farricelli
What did your dog's limping turn out to be? Share your stories in the comments section below.
theresa meyer on September 07, 2020:
my dog has been to the vet and had x rays everythink looks good but she still will not put weight on her right back leg what can it be
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 29, 2020:
This seems like a lot of pain for a boil that has healed.I would follow up with the vet who is treating your dog and explain what is happening. He or she is in the best position to decide what the next step may be. When vets prescribe something and don't hear from owners, they assume all is fine and the dog is recovering well.
Since you just saw the vet for this problem, you can call your vet to update and he/she should call you back and tell you what to do.
Chances are, you may need to take your dog in to do some more testing or may need a referral to a specialist to get to the bottom of this.
In the mean while, chances are your vet may prescribe some pain meds for you to pick up and to help your dog feel less pain.
Keep me posted on what's going on. I would be worried too! It's so hard to see our dogs in pain, especially when not knowing what may be going on! Hoping this gets sorted out soon, I send you best wishes.
Deepika on July 28, 2020:
Hi i have a 4 year old Staffordshire. He is unable to put weight on the front right hand leg. He is active otherwise. He is eating well too. A week ago he started licking his paw. Upon investigation i found that he had a small boil with little amount of puss in it. We showed him to the vet and started his treatment of applying an ointment and started giving him orls medication. His boil has healed but he still is unable to put weight on the hand. We got xray fone and there is no sign of fracture. At this point i dont know what to do. He keeps lifting his leg and limps while walking. He cries in pain in the middle of the night out of pain amd again and again lifts his front right hand and wants to place it on my my hand. M really worried. Knevthing that ive noticed that as compared to other paws his this hand paw is yellow in colour and is hard.
Please suggest as I cant see him in pain. Waiting for your advise.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 25, 2020:
Ce, so sorry your dog is going through this. I would suggest going back to the vet or trying another vet altogether. or maybe even an orthopedic specialist.It sounds like your dog is in pain and that's not good.
Ce on July 22, 2020:
My mini dobie terrier mix got into a fight with our doxine nix she was limping that night she was cryibg the next day i took her to the vet she had a bump on her upper hip and it was painful to walk they put her on antibiotics and pain meds which started making her vomit i took her back to the vet she was not eating or drinking they gave her an iv took an xray and he couldnt see anything ..she is still crying non stop she walks on both legs now and jumps on my bed i dont know what else to do
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 10, 2020:
Hi Sandy, the paw dragging may be suggestive of a neurological problem. Did you vet test your dog's proprioception? The most basic test would have your vet flip your dog's foot over so that your dog is standing on the knuckle and evaluate whether your dog flips the foot quickly back to a normal position. If the dog doesn't readjust quickly or leaves it that way, this often indicates a neurologic deficit that should be investigated further by a veterinary neurologist. Arthritis and pain can surely play a role and be a component and confounding fact, but I think it would be important evaluating whether there's a neurological component at play. It could be that the fall occurred because of some loss of sensation, rather than the other way around (the fall causing the problems you are seeing).
Sandy Franklin on June 09, 2020:
My dog fell off a step and hurt her front leg 3 days later she twisted it on an embankment Saw our Vet three times on Prednisone and gabapentin Xrays taken and 2nd opinions done nothing showed. She’s limping still going on 3 weeks no swelling and drags her paw on toenails no pain eats and drinks xrays did show arthritis
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 18, 2020:
If your dog is limping, something is for sure going on. Dog's don't limp for no reason. Listen to what your dog is telling you.
I would suggest seeing a different vet for a second opinion. What I heard once when working for a vet is that yes, dislocated hips are painful, but as time goes by, the dog's body lays down adhesions which help stabilize the leg causing less discomfort and the dog adapts to a new way of walking.
Nicola winstone on May 13, 2020:
My Shitzuu has been limping on her back leg for 2 weeks nearly, I've spoken to vet twice who said its not her hip out as she would be screaming in pain but it does look like to me that that's where the problem is... She has her 2 back knees done at vets when she was young as they kept popping out but this injury now seems to be higher up as the leg seems to be lower than the other leg and dangles outwards Abit, she's still quite happy, eating and drinking but nor putting pressure on it. I'll call the ver again soon but wanted other opinions, thanks for helping xxx
Amirah on March 22, 2020:
What is wrong with my dog she can still walk on her leg but she doesn't want to
D0vid on March 17, 2020:
I have a 4 year old Retriever/greyhound cross that will seem fine when walking or at the offleash dog park. But after when getting up from a rest will have no strength in one hind leg. Struggle to get up at all as if leg were asleep or something. He will limp a bit. But it will go away and he seems fine. I took him to vet but he showed no limp there and non-invassive exam showed no issues. No mood change, energy change, or appetide issue. Xray my best bet? Or what are possibilities with this?
Claire on January 25, 2020:
I have a 9 month old blue heeler who was limping on her right front leg and now seems to have a problem with her right back leg as well. There is no sign of anything in her paws and is slow to move. I have been resting her but wondered what else i should be doing to help her.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 04, 2020:
Melissa, is your dog limping from a front leg or back leg? Has your vet done any x-rays?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 04, 2020:
Michelle, it sounds like your vet didn't provide an actual diagnosis, so you don't know exactly what you are dealing with. If possible, it might be very insightful to do more testing and if cancer is suspected, see a veterinary oncologist who can provide answers and ideas on what can be done and what to expect in terms of prognosis. So sorry you are going through this.
Melissa on January 03, 2020:
My 9 year old terri-poo has been limping for about a year now. She will be acting like shes a two year old dog jumping around and chasing my kids then the next minute walking over to me limping then back to running around again like it doesn't bother her. Weve had the vet check her with no signs of any injury and we gave her anti-inflammatory meds and tried other things but nothing seems to change over time.
Any suggestions on how we can help her?
Michelle on January 01, 2020:
My Great Dane started limping and not wanting to use his front leg. Vet did x-rays nithing broken. Was in vetprofen fir a couple weeks still limping niw there us a lump on his throat abd shoulder area. This was tested and vet said only ciuld see bloid. They advised surgery can be done but husband wants to euthenise thinking the worse. They can nit say if cancerous at this point. Please help!!!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 05, 2019:
Kelli, did your vet do x-rays? With back legs, sometimes things can be challenging. For example, my Rottweiler wasn't putting any weight on her back leg, she was "toe-touching". The vet did a Drawer's Test and the ACL ligament appeared fine, only that, with ACL tears, things get tricky: dogs who are tense won't test positive for this test. So she had to sedate her, and the drawer's test was positive this time. So I think your dog's limping warrants more investigation-a second opinion may help sometimes. Dogs don't limp for no reason!
Kelli on December 05, 2019:
My dog won't put weight on his back leg. I took him to the vet and she found nothing wrong. Help!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 20, 2019:
Hi Michelle, most over the counter meds for humans are not very suitable to dogs and may interfere if the vet decides to prescribe NSAIDs. It sounds like your dog really needs to see the vet, especially considering that he is showing systemic signs (fever, not eating) which can be caused by things like tick-borne disease or fungal infections.
Michelle on October 15, 2019:
Hi i am just worried abt my dog as he was limping and his not eating much he nose is also dry and he was running up with fever so i dnt know what to do what can i give him for pain until he goes to see the vet
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 22, 2018:
Sara, thanks for sharing another cause for limping in dogs that is underlooked/undiagnosed. Vets typically go for the most common issues first and follow a hierarchical order that goes by exclusion. One of the most common saying in both medical and veterinary care is: "when you hear hoofbeats, think horses and not zebras."
Yet, zebras are always a possibility and diagnosis if often obtained by excluding the most common causes of limping first. Often, diagnosis, like in your case, is obtained through the help of a specialist. Generally, when multiple vet visits to the vet are not productive, that's often sign that it's time to go see a specialist.
Kudos to you for persisting and being an ambassador for your dog's health. Sometimes, we need to take matters in our hands, when things don't seem to get better.
Sara Tytor on July 26, 2018:
Another cause of lameness in hind legs is Fibrotic Myopathy, and it's vastly overlooked/under-diagnosed.
I took my border collie mix to a rehab place after a third bout of sudden onset lameness, seemingly once a year.
This time, it seemed to have an origin, as he jumped into a pond of *very* cold water in Feb. 2018, when he tried to get out, his front paws slid in the mud and he heaved himself out. Later that night he was toe-touching, and after a dose or two of Previcox, he was able to put weight on it and rest comfortably.
I took him to a well known, highly regarded rehab place in our town and during the consult it was said that he had a CCL tear, though mild.
He was weight bearing on that leg, but since I didn't know any better, I went along with the treatment plan.
6 weeks later, he was still carrying his leg when he walked off curbs, the last stair to go outside, his knee seemed to shift inward, and foot slapped while doing the underwater treadmill.
All of which was brought to the attention of the vet in charge, and was blown off as part of the CCL injury.
It took a surgical consult at Tufts to get the correct diagnosis, which was sorted out in less than 10 min.
Had we known that he tore his gracilis muscle 2 years ago, we'd have gotten him to rehab sooner, but alas, every vet focused on his CCL.
He had several consults done, one with a board certified orthopedic surgeon, and x-rays over the years, and no one thought to look for the lump from scar tissue near the head of the gracilis.
It's uncommon in mixed breed dogs and really common in barrel racing horses.
cold laser, swimming, massage, Range of Motion, and acupuncture are all helpful in remodeling the scar tissue, but won't fix it.
Keep this in mind as a diagnosis, because it happens, and *really* overlooked.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 14, 2018:
Kim, were the x-rays to be done under sedation? If so, that is perhaps why.
Kim on July 06, 2018:
Why do you need blood test before a vet can do x-rays of the rear legs
Joey on July 03, 2018:
Thank you for sharing this with me.
Klarissa on June 25, 2018:
My dog is a beagle and she just turned 5 last week. This morning which wasn't too long ago, she started whimpering. We noticed that she was sitting strangely and was dragging herself. She would try to get up to walk but she just seemed so weak. Then I noticed it's not really both hind legs but the left hind leg that she tries to avoid using. She's gotten up a couple times and has limped/walked but then sits back down. When she sits, it's bent at a weird angle than the other one. Almost as if she's sitting directly on the leg. He posture is like to the side that's why it appears she's sitting on the bent leg. She's not crying in pain, and when I've squeezed different areas of the leg, she doesn't really react to it. What can it Be? We've schedule an appointment at a pet clinic but they said their x-ray is broken but they can still take a look at her. I mean it doesn't seem broken, she's be crying and howling in pain right?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 01, 2018:
Diane, I wonder if the car ride to the vet may have caused him to become sore? The rabies vaccine may also cause some dogs to have pain in their rear leg, did your dog get a rabies vaccine? I doubt it's a side effect of the meds.
Diane Neal on May 29, 2018:
My dog went a few days ago got shots and was put on heart worm medicine and minocyline antibiotics He has all of a sudden started having trouble walking like he had pain limping and seem restless and hurting .Dont know if he hurt his leg or if could be meds.Drinking a lot of water.
aimee on May 09, 2018:
for the last week my dog refused to use her one back leg now all of sudden today she cant use either one she was fine then all of sudden one leg now second one she didn't seem to be in any pain before now today she just keeps whimpering I cant afford a vet if something I can doat home
Chris on April 12, 2018:
My dog got up and would not put pressure on back leg. The following day was fine. Then woke up on third day and not putting front leg down? Odd I don't understand what is happening?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 07, 2018:
Lisa , your dog may need x-rays if the limping persists as the source of limping is often not visible from the outside.There can be many causes of limping. The human flu is species-specific so it's very unlikely for a dog to catch a flu from a human. Dogs however can get there is a canine-specific influenza which can produce symptoms similar to the human flu with respiratory symptoms.
Lisa on March 07, 2018:
My 3 year old golden retriever is limping but after checking nails, paws, joints, mobility, muscles, spine, neck and tummy we can’t find the source of the pain.
She doesn’t lick anything in pain either. She only limps for a few steps after getting up and then is completely fine. We live in a small town and vet can’t see her for another couple days.
Side note: Everyone in my house has had the flu the last 3 weeks. Can dogs catch the flu?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 18, 2018:
Rashmi, depends on what is causing the limping in your dog. See your vet. Your vet will palpate the leg and maybe suggest x-rays.
Rashmi on February 18, 2018:
Can u tell me any solution of limp in legs
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 01, 2018:
G Kiran, please see the vet, it's concerning your dog cannot put the leg on the ground and there is swelling. May need x-rays.
G KIRAN KUMAR FROM INDIA on February 01, 2018:
MY DOG BACK LEG IS (BROKEN OR NOT) BUT IT DOES NOT KEEP THE LEG IN GROUND. BUT THERE IS SMALL SWELLING IN HIS BACK LEG HOW ID DONE I DONT KNOW PLEASE REPLY IT HAS HAPPEN 4 DAYS BEFORE
Debra on January 29, 2018:
I have a friend who has several sick dogs. One of her smaller dogs has front leg which is dangling from the middle leg to the paw. The dog can not walk and has to crawl. I cant stand to see this. What can this be? How can I tell her enough is enough!
Lori on January 10, 2018:
My 8 yr old dog alaska eskimo back leg limping gets tired easily when walking lies down a lot sleeps a lot , vet said athritis but why she gets all neds pain injection , oral pain meds glucosamine tabs still no imorovement seems getting worse
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 05, 2018:
AJ, thanks for sharing. The causes of limping for dogs can be many, too many often to list. When I worked for the vet, these were the most common. So sorry your dog is suffering from mitral valve problems. It sounds like your dog's legs may have weakened due to the underlying congenital condition causing decreased oxygen to the extremities, I guess.
A J on December 14, 2017:
Limping is also a sign of endocarditis in young dogs. This is not mentioned at all in this article and is often the first or early symptom. Please look this up and add this in. My 4 month old petite lab was misdiagnosed with HOD 3 months before she nearly died from this. She was found to have congenital mitral valve dysplasia.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 10, 2017:
Victor, please see your vet, dragging a leg is something that needs investigated as it sounds like something neurological is going on.
Victor on November 09, 2017:
My 2 months old boerboel started limping just after waking up from sleep. It drags its right hind leg for a while and eventually falls to the ground.
I have checked every nook of the leg and I can’t find anything.
What do you suggest?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 03, 2017:
What tick disease was your dog diagnosed with? The symptoms could be due to something unrelated or you may be dealing with a flare-up. Please consult with your vet for instructions. Your dog can be sedated for x-rays if moving him for the x-ray is too painful.
DR SHARMITESH TRIPATHI on August 28, 2017:
I HAVE 1 YEAR LAB AND HE IS LIMPING I HAVE COMPLETED COURSE OF DOXY AS INSTRUCTED.AND ANTI TICKS MEDICATION HAVE BEEN GIVEN STILL THE LIMPING PERSISTS. I CANNOT SHIFT THE DOG FOR RADIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS, WHAT DO U SUGGEST FOR TREATMENT.
Dave on August 25, 2017:
A major disappointment on the internet I experienced is if your dogs back legs are not working .Don't wait to read all these articles that are out there over internet!!Take you dog to a emergency Vet immediately . If your dog is in the beginnings of a slipped disk every minute counts. The faster you get your dog to surgery the better chances of ever walking again. I'm totally amazed that this fact is not broadcast loud and clear by every Vet that addresses sudden walking difficulties in a dog.
Dude on August 21, 2017:
Ruby Red, does your dog have issues with keeping food down? If so it sounds like you should do some research into MG and ME, and get to a vet.
Bev on August 16, 2017:
I am looking after a little dog whilst her owner is on holiday. Today she has started limping. I have tried looking underneath but she is resisting. I have felt the leg and there doesn't seem anything untoward. The owners are back on Saturday should I take her to a vet or wait till they come back ?
Ruby Red on August 05, 2017:
My lab pub Ruby Red 6month old is not gaining weight at 22 lbs and her back legs shake and it is hard for her to walk and struggles when squatting to pee and poop. Doesn't show any signs of pain, wants get up and walk around and try's to play all the time. Very happy and nice, roll over and rub my belly kind of girl? Any help on what might be going on?
mike on July 26, 2017:
my dog all of a sudden can't walk on one of his front legs. Nothing came up in X-ray and he doesn't cry if I move the leg. He is on pain med and anti inflammatory meds but doesn't seem to be improving. He is a 14 yr old cavalier king charles. '
Lili on July 18, 2017:
My dog was playing outside when he started whining and he put up his foot he walks for a little and sits back down and starts licking his paw what should i do
Nick on July 11, 2017:
My dog had successful surgery 2 weeks ago on a broken front humerus. She still will not put any pressure on it. Anything I can do to force her to put pressure on it? Or is this normal? The Dr said short walks were fine.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 09, 2017:
It could be a strain or sprain from the fall, please see your vet for accurate diagnosis.
Hannah on July 08, 2017:
My grandmas boxer she silped and fell and now she is limping I can't find out why can someone help and answer me thank you
Renee on June 11, 2017:
I have a full grown dog that was fine last night.but this morning she can't even stand up on her own.and if you help her stand up she will stand for a few short time and fall straight down and she won't even try to walk. what could have happened to her overnight? Please can someone tell what could be the problem
Noeleen currn on June 05, 2017:
I have a jack Russell he is ten years old all of a sudden his right back leg keeps going from under him.any information please
firstname.lastname@example.org on June 01, 2017:
my 5 year old boxer bitch had surgery on both cruciate ligaments a year ago now she is limping on one hind leg can she rupture it again even thought he put pins in liz
Kim on May 16, 2017:
I have a 1month 2week female chaweenie she had an episode where she was shaking eyes were dialated and very week she couldn't stand and if she did she would immediately fall to her side. Three days later she is better eating good She is walking and running but she still shakes a lot she walks like if she were drunk. What do I do??
Laura on May 02, 2017:
I have a dog that is 6 months old and he has times where he chooses not to walk or can't. I call him and he sits down and turns away from me; he indicates the problem is from his rear end by looking at it or reacting by a cry by trying to walk and sits down immediately. I checked his back paws, his butt, his back legs, and there is no sign of cuts, foreign object, or anything but does keep trying to itch or bite near his butt but I have no idea what it may be. He's done this for about 3 months now and every other day. In the morning we head outside and there was one time where he couldn't reach the door by walking or he would scream with pain. I'm guessing it may be limb problem or stomach. I saw blood in his poop twice the same day but since then no blood and pretty solid poop.
Rachel on April 06, 2017:
I have a 15 month old cavapoo. 2 months ago she started picking up her back left leg when she goes down the stairs. When out on walks she sort of hops on it.. I have taken her to the vet she has had an X-ray which showed nothing. The vet said she doesn't appear to be in pain but has recommended a CT whuch he said may not show anything. I asked if he could do blood tests but he said she doesn't show any signs of something a blood test could pick up. The CT scan is £1400 should I get it done or leave and see if she improves..?
Michelle on March 30, 2017:
I came home to find my dog crying he can barely walk...dont know if its his leg or thigh..when i Touch him he cries...weird that hes at the back door laying on the floor crying
John D. on March 30, 2017:
My 11 yr old rotti mix has a bad ear since he was a baby...prednisone etc. Nothing clears it..smells bad...dark brown in color..very liquid any tboughts.
Matt and Alfie on March 19, 2017:
I have a five year old cross bread and about 16 weeks ago he had a slight limp and it hasn't got worse or got any better it has just been a constant , it's now worrying me as a man over the park noticed it and said it could be bone cancer . We do walk miles in a week , I record that we sometimes do 75km on a week but I've cut that down , and he has put a bit of wait on that I'm now sorting . I'm just so so worried as he was a fit healthy young dog now he seems like an old one when we go walking .
Carol B on March 09, 2017:
My 12 yr-old soft coated wheaton's left front leg's weakness has progressed since we inheritied him 10 yrs. ago. That, plus allergies and foot/paw licking were examined over the years but meds, diet trials, xrays, etc. never diagnosed or "corrected" anything so we learned to live with each other's imperfections. The weakness became limping, clumsiness, etc. intensified to paw flipping backwards after a cramped small plane ride. Physical exam diagnosed as "lump" textbook report "nerve tumor" with dismal prospect of survival even with amputation, radiation. Digital radiological snaps show disc compression t C5--so, how do I learn if this is really turmor, or nerve compression?
John on February 09, 2017:
I have a 10 week old puppy likes to sneak in the bed at night well I accidentally rolled on him now he won't put his hind leg down I'm 100% disabled I only get paid once a month what should I do I'm so worried and I called all vets they won't let me write a post dated check it don't seem broken please help need advice what should I do
Donna Davis from Canyon LAKE, Tx on January 24, 2017:
My Chihuahua is approximately 12 to 14 years old, and 3 wks ago she stopped using her right/rear leggs. The vet did a xray and said she had soft tissue damage and put her on pain medication and said to keep her imobile as much as possible.
And it's 3 wks later and still not using the affected leg.
I really do not know what to do...
Jennifer on November 28, 2016:
My 7 month old pup woke up this morning with a limp in his back right leg. It gives out on him sometimes when he walks. Not sure why, he was perfectly fine before bed last night. He isn't acting like i's hurting him, he's playing like usual it's just causing him to be clumsy. It just worried me
Laura on November 12, 2016:
My Boxer/shepherd mix started limping right out of the blue.... quickly escalated to absolutely no weight bearing at all...... been to the vet got pain meds and anti-inflammetories..... she seemed to be getting a little better but after few days got worse... went back to vet got more meds ofr longer time period... now limb is swollen by ankle and knee.... wrapped her leg in an ace wrap for stability but she really cannot get her footing to stand or walk well... I'm having to hold her hind quarters so that she can get "a head start"..... any thoughts on what may be going on at this point?? I feel as though I should have some thought processes to present to the vet when I take her back this week.......
Meg on October 25, 2016:
So i noticed my min pin Hansel was limping a bit last night, while i was at work my BF investigated and found a dead tick between my dogs toes. My min pin still has an appetite, doesnt yelp in pain when i touch the area on his foot, but isn't his active self. He also wont put his full weight on the foot. Is it possible that the tick could have caused the discomfort, also I was told to check for lyme but can that be so sudden?
k-baby on September 04, 2016:
About 6 weeks ago I took my Doberman to the vet to get a sedated nail grind and he had a small sore on his front leg from licking...... He got the nail grind and I had the sore checked to be sure it was not cancer........ all came back as no cancer..... and just got antibiotics..... when we were leaving.... he had a hard time getting up in the car..... but I thought he was just still a little sedated... Got home about 15 minutes later..... and he could not lift his leg to pee........ his left hip was swollen about 3- times it size.......... called the vet and took him back in......could not pee without difficulty for 3 days....... doctor said he was looking to see if he had a mast cell........... been back and forth 12-14 times.... once to twice a week.... no change in swelling, but on week two he started to not be able to get up and down without his hips going out sort of like falling occasionally.... even now very difficult going up and down stairs........ as sometimes slips.... I think he fell at the vet, and feel it is a cover-up and I'm getting more worried as time goes on......... how can know if he fell?
Tammy on August 25, 2016:
We have a little "Porky" (Pom/Yorkie mix) and he got a small injury on his front leg about 2 years ago and during the time he was recovering my husband really babied him a lot. So now when he wants attention, he starts limping. I know he is faking it because I saw him coming down the hallway and as soon as he saw my husband, he started limping. he has varying degrees of this limp depending on how much attention he wants....we took him to the vert and the vet could not find anything wrong with him. The assistant vet said her dog does the same thing. Wierd huh?
Animals instinct is to hide injury, but my little guy found a way to exploit his. Too Funny
Bob on August 24, 2016:
My boxer dog poops really soft a smoothly and every time sh tries to get up she falls down but it looks like someone hit her so I touched her leg and she didn't mind I was wondering what's wrong with her?
Kelley on August 16, 2016:
I have a senior female toy yorkie who earlier today yelped in the back yard and ran to hide in the foliage on the other end of the yard. I managed to coax her out since she was well hidden. Now about 7 hours later she's limping and I don't know why. I had initially checked her over for any blood, bites, ticks, etc. She was walking just fine in the beginning. Now I don't know what to do. She's eating and drinking just fine. I did check her since she has been limping to see what the problem is and it seems to be slightly swollen on her right front leg. I'm not sure if I should at this point take her to the vet or let it ride out.
Juliette on July 11, 2016:
Hi, I have an almost 4 yr of English lab. This morning when we took her for her morning walk she wouldn't walk or stand up. When we tryed to get her to stand, her back was arched and her back left leg was shaking. She ate all her food, so we ruled out stomach problem which she sometimes has. She will only lye on her right side so her leg is it the air. Whenever we touch it to look at it it shakes and she looks in pain. There is no visible injury, but it is hard to know for sure because she won't stand up so we cannot compare her legs. She seemed fine yesterday, the only way she could have hurt it was the 5 hour car ride we have yesterday and last night. We are really worried about her and we can't take her in to the vet until tommorow. Any help of what might be wrong would be appreciated, or if it even sounds like it is her leg. Thank you
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 06, 2016:
Corri, any fire ants in your yard?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 06, 2016:
Corri, when you do not notice anything after an inspection of the area, it's often time for an x-ray to see what's going on internally.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 06, 2016:
Jim, please report it to the vet that prescribed the medication. Can also be a side effect.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 06, 2016:
Only the vet can really answer this, the pup should see the vet specifically for this problem. When dogs get their shots they are only visited quickly for any obvious problems (like a lump, growth in the mouth, swollen abdomen etc) and these more subtle problems that are seen when walking the dog or only seen at times can be missed.
corri on July 05, 2016:
my dog has a limp but i do not see any visuals from the list and she has licked her paw on multiple times and flinches from time to time what happened?
Holly on July 04, 2016:
I have a 12 yr old chihuahua Eddie limps on both front paws. Looking at his
paws I see a round dried hard something that herts him. he licks at it all the time. Now it is bloody and he doesn't want it touched.
Jim on July 03, 2016:
Hi. My 4 month old puppy is limping and constantly twitching his hind leg after I gave him medication for mange.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 01, 2016:
Becca, I hope your dog is feeling better now. It's very frustrating when an exact cause cannot be found.
Francel on June 23, 2016:
hi, i have two boerbulls not related at all they got 5 babies, the pups are now about five months old, one of the owners that took one pup complained to me today that the pup seems lame in her front legs and as if there is something wrong with her tongue muscles as well, she did not always have this problem it only started lately as she is growing? this is the only owner that has a problem like this? what can be the causes of this? the pup's where checked by the vet every time they received their injections and there where no problems with them? please let me know so that I can give an answer to the owner?
Becca on June 22, 2016:
I have a four year old English Mastiff who started out with a swollen knee.. I took him to the vet and they said they thought he tore a ligament, so gave him pain meds and anti-inflammatories... Four days later the knee was swollen and so was his leg... He was barely moving. Wouldn't put any weight on it. His leg and knee was three times the size it was suppose to be. I took him to another vet who said he did not have a torn ligament, no broken bones either. They ruled out heart disease, lime disease, heart worms, lung issues, and pretty much everything. They said they couldn't figure out what was wrong with him but they thought he had an infection of some sort. They put him on antibiotics, pain meds, and water pills. He is getting better, but still swollen. The swelling has went down some but he is still not putting any pressure on his foot/leg. I worry about what's wrong with him, because they said it could be a spider bite or a snake bite but they could not find an open wound to where the infection started. I am still worried about him and hoping he gets better soon. It is just hard not knowing what is wrong with him.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 23, 2016:
Any arthritis? I would see a specialist when the regular vets have a hard time coming to a diagnosis. Look for a veterinarian specializing in orthopedics like a board-certified veterinary surgeon.
Kym on May 21, 2016:
Our 7 year old birder collie which we recently inherited is limping and carrying his front left leg, Prior to getting the dog he had an operation on his paw as the first vet said there was something in the paw and there was nothing found. We have now taken him to a vet and had xrays done. There is no deformities to the bone structure and no apparent injury. The vet does not know what is wrong. Can anyone assist?
Nick on May 07, 2016:
I have a 90 female Labrador. She has had a slight persistent limp, front right, for the last 2 wks. I put her on "bed rest" and it did improve. A significant change, a major change and likely cause of the limp is I moved and my apartment is on the 3rd story. She appears to be apprehensive of going down the stairs. Yesterday she had a lot more exercise than normal and she won't put any weight on the leg. She's severely hobbling. I suspect it's an injury to her wrist or elbow. Her forearm muscle has been noticeably tense at times. I'm suspecting it could be a torn ligament.
I'm a little tight on money at the moment and an emergency vet is out of the question. I am going to take to her regular vet on Monday and have been carrying my 90 lbs dog up and down the stairs to do her business.
She clearly is in pain when she walks. Struggles to rotate her body to get off my bed, and I have never seen a limp as severe as this before.
So, my question is what can I do to help ease her pain and condition until I see the vet?
Please help, I cancelled my Saturday night plans due to this and would appreciate any advice.
Much appreciated in advance.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 03, 2016:
Maybe you can try doggie boots? This can prevent contact with allergens, also some socks can prevent licking.
Karen on May 01, 2016:
I have a 13 year old American Bulldog that weights around 107. Trooper is in such severe pain when he walks, especially trying to get up & Down the steps. His feet swell so bad and break open & bleed. I was told by his vet that he is extremely allergenic to the grass. Steroids help a little but he gains so muc weight. You can tell he is in so much pain. He licks his paws & this keeps them irritated & bleeding. I have tried so many different solutions with no relief. Please give me information to help him enjoy his senior years without so much pain & where he can walk the steps again. He has about 8 to 9 steap steeps which when he gets to the top he can't catch breath for a good 10 minutes. I built Trooper a ramp but he would not use it. It was to steep. I will do anything you feel will help him in his elderly years. Thank you.
Roslyn on April 25, 2016:
I have a 9 month Pembroke welsh corgi she has no limp but is not running around or following us she lays still unless she needs to go potty. Took her the vet on Saturday he prodded and push found no sign of pain we took X-rays and did blood work he couldn't see anything in the X-ray when she goes potty she stands for a while and has uncontoralble shakes in her hind end. I just picked up anti inflammatory this morning. I have felt her entire body I have moved her neck to the left and right there's a bit of resistance moving to the right while standing I mover her back legs one at a time stretching behind and forward did the same to her left front her right front she whimpered so I think it's in her right front although there's no limp her gate looks normal she is careful tho stepping off and on to the conceret Shes slow she hasn't reached a round to lick herself and hasn't laided on her back like she normally does. Any suggestions please.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 16, 2015:
Only a vet visit can really tell what this is, often by doing x-rays, if it gets better and goes away in 48 hours it may just be a sprain. If it continues, it can be anything from Lyme disease, to growing pains (pano), a ligament tear, to a dislocated joint. So many possibilities!, which is why your vet needs x-rays. Since she seems in pain, I would take her to the vet sooner than later, best wishes for a speedy recovery!
adam on January 15, 2015:
my 11 month old puppy woke up this morning and is walking with limp . its in her hips her hind legs are not close together and she is slightly hunched when she walks. . She cant run jump is reluctant to step up or down a single stair . What can this be?? Please any information will be greatly appreciated. Thankyou
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 23, 2014:
At your dog's age it could be arthritis or since it's more than one leg affected something like an immune-mediated polyarthropathy , but best to have x-rays and see what's going on.
Tonyab on November 23, 2014:
I have a 13 yr old border collie/Aussie mix. She all of a sudden started limping on her back right leg & then shortly after wouldn't put any weight on it. The next morning she is putting very little weight on it but is now limping on the front right leg as well. She shows no sign of pain on examination. She is on Tramadol for pain. Any thoughts? She did have surgery 1 month ago & had a 2lb fatty tumor removed from the middle of her right side. She is eating & drinking just fine but does not want to get up to go outside to potty. This is a first for her & she is otherwise still an active dog. Also not in any tick area. Thank you
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 29, 2014:
Poor Joey, can't blame him, he must love hunting so much! When my dog teared her ACL I had to find ways to keep her entertained and mentally stimulated during the day so I would put her kibble in Kongs and engage her in other foraging activities. Hunting for food was one of her favorite games, I would hide the kibble around the house and she would sniff her way to them.Tiring the mind can help tons in these cases. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
Sharon Berry from Michigan on October 29, 2014:
Thank you so much for your input. Joey is 6 years old and will be 7 in March 2015. It is pheasant season here in Michigan and Joey is sadly missing his very favorite thing. Hope we can figure this out soon. We don't want to hunt him and aggravate the matter but he is definitely not happy with us :)
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 28, 2014:
A torn cruciate ligament comes to mind, but only a positive drawer test or x-rays, possibly with sedation may tell. A soft tissue injury such as a sprain can be also possible, but normally you would see improvement with that. Dislocated joints are another possibility among the many orthopedic issues dogs may have. A pinched nerve or herniated disc in the neck or back may be an issue as well. An x-ray should be helpful since there are several abnormalities that cannot be detected by simple palpation. I don't know your dog;s age, but mild arthritis is also common in middle-aged pets and they often follow a pattern of pain upon getting up and less pain upon warming up. Just throwing out common findings I used to see at the vet. I hope your vet can pinpoint the problem so appropriate treatment can be started, best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Sharon Berry from Michigan on October 28, 2014:
Strange that I should come across this Hub. We have a German Wirehaired Pointer that started limping about 5 weeks ago. At first we thought he had pulled a muscle in his rear leg but it didn't seem to get any better. So, we took him to our Vet and after he examined him found there was inflammation in his knee and put him on some meds to take care of the inflammation. He has been on Rimadyl for 3 weeks with very little improvement. The only reason I write this is because the limping only happens after he is getting up from lying down. Once up he limps or won't put any weight on that leg for several steps but once he has taken a few steps he is off and running. He plays with the dog next door running and chasing each other, he chases a ball and you would never know there was a problem. Just as you think the problem is gone he lays down and a few minutes later he does the limp thing again. I guess our next step is to have x-rays. If you have any ideas about this please let me know. By the way, there is never any wincing or crying.
theBAT on March 17, 2014:
Thank you for this very informative hub. "Luxating Patella" is also a common defect in the Chihuahua breed. Can it be prevented? Will it naturally result to limping? Again thanks.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 05, 2014:
Hi Susan, if you have time, let us know what your vets' findings were, best wishes for a speedy recovery!
Susan on March 04, 2014:
My 4 y/o doxie started walking on both distal joints of her right front foot today which causes a limp. Doesn't seem to hurt her. Can't see anything wrong. Palpates same as left foot. I will be taking her to vet in the a.m.