Your dog is trotting along and all seems fine, then, all of a sudden, you notice that he is not using his back leg. When he walks, he may carry the one leg up high, only putting it down for a second before lifting it up again. Your dog may show signs of pain when you touch certain parts of his leg, and he won't lie on the side of the bad leg. There could be several reasons for this, some of which may need emergency veterinary attention. Here are a few reasons why your dog is limping.
Injury to the foot and leg:
One serious reason as to why a dog won't use its leg is due to a broken leg or foot bone. You may also see some unusual swelling in the broken-bone area. However, not all broken bones, especially hairline fractures, are easy to see without an x-ray. Your dog may also be limping because he has cuts or abrasions to his feet caused by running over rough ground or sharp objects. Broken toenails can also cause enough pain to cause your dog to limp.
Like humans, dogs can overdo it when it comes to too much activity. Strains can happen when you start taking your dog out for long walks after a long period of inactivity. Playing with a strong dog-friend may also cause soreness. Sore back muscles can also affect the locomotion of one or more legs. In these cases, the pain and strain should go away quickly with enough rest. After being rested, build up the exercise regimen slowly. However, if there is no noticeable improvement with rest or the dog is obviously in a lot of pain, take the dog to the veterinarian immediately.
Arthritis or dysplasia:
Dogs can get arthritis, especially as they get older. Your dog may want to lie down more than usual or move more slowly in addition to limping. Sometimes, there will be noticeable swelling along with the stiffness and pain. If your dog is young, but is also a large breed, then you may want to have him checked for hip dysplasia, or abnormal hip function. Certain breeds, such as German shepherds, rottweilers, and golden retrievers, are especially prone to this problem, and early intervention is the key to making sure they will remain mobile as long as possible.
In any case, if your dog is obviously showing a lot of pain and discomfort, then you should take him to a veterinarian for an examination. If you dog is showing any signs of a broken bone, puncture, or cuts, then you will need emergency medical attention to prevent further pain and infection. Keeping on top of any injuries, strains, and diseases will give your dog the best quality of life possible.
For more information, contact local professionals like Animal House Veterinary Hospital.