JustAnswer Blog: Pets

You are here

Clues that help reveal severity of a dog's limp

Golden Lab resting on pillows near a TV remote.

Time for some rest, and maybe TV. (Photo: Flickr/Franca Piccione)

Clues that help reveal severity of a dog's limp

May 08, 2013

Q: My 3-year-old Lab is limping. I am trying to determine if it is a bone break, muscular or other. Can you please assist?

A: If he has a fracture, he will not bear any weight on the leg. He will hold it up in the air as he walks. With severe fractures, or nerve injury, the foot drags across the ground. There is also moderate to severe swelling with a fracture.

A joint infection, or bone infection, is also painful and can cause swelling and non-weight bearing lameness.

With a sprain, they usually will put some weight on the leg as they walk. Or they may walk with weight a few steps, then limp without weight a few steps, and maybe hold the leg up for a minute. But they continue to put weight on the leg.

Muscular injuries do take some specialized examination skills. You can palpate all over the leg and if there is a muscle injury, the site of the injury is usually sore. Muscle injuries do not usually cause non-weight bearing lameness.

As long as he does not have any other health problems, and he is not on any medications, he can have a dose, or two, of aspirin. The dose is 5 mg of aspirin per pound of dog, every 12 hours. Give it with food to help prevent gastrointestinal upset.

-- Answer from Dr. Gabby, veterinarian on JustAnswer.

Daily Answer is excerpted from the JustAnswer archives and features information provided by a Expert on JustAnswer.

Follow JustAnswer on Twitter or like us on Facebook to get useful daily updates.