At Anasazi Animal Clinic, we’ve had lots of pet owners try to diagnose and treat their four-legged companions rather than seeking professional help. And many owners wait far too long to bring their pets in to see us for care and treatment. So if you’ve noticed your dog limping, don’t wait to bring in Fluffy or Fido. We recommend prompt treatment to alleviate pain and prevent possible further injury. Read the information below and then contact our offices.  

Lameness in Animals

First, we’ll define a term commonly used in the veterinary world when discussing a limp: lameness. When most of us hear the word lame, we might imagine that our beloved pet cannot move his body, or is possibly even paralyzed. While technically speaking, those things would fall under the category of lameness, medically speaking lameness in an animal simply means they have the inability to properly use one or more limbs. Therefore, a limp would qualify as lameness and you may hear your vet use this term.  

Two Types of Limps

If you notice your dog limping, you may wonder when it’s appropriate to contact a vet: we would suggest within the first 24 hours of noticing the limp; a call can never hurt. When you speak with your local vet, identifying whether the limp was gradual or sudden can be helpful in determining the next step of action.

Gradual Onset Limping 

What if you’ve been observing a slight limp in your pup that hasn’t really concerned you, but as time has gone on, it’s worsened? These kinds of limps are generally associated with an underlying chronic condition such as osteoarthritis, ligament disease or hip dysplasia. If you begin to notice the gradual onset of a limp in your canine friend, early detection and diagnosis of the cause can save a lot of pain and difficulty in the future. Speaking with one of our knowledgeable vets will give you an idea of how to proceed. In some cases, an orthopedic approach will be best.

Sudden Limping

Sudden limping, or acute onset limping, is commonly caused by trauma, sprains, or an injured paw. Particularly in Arizona, where cacti and scorpions abound, acute onset limping is quite common. Depending on the condition, this type of limping can be more easily diagnosed and treated. But it is still critical to see a vet as soon as possible.

At Anasazi Animal Clinic, your local Gilbert vets, we know your pets are like family to you and seeing them in pain can be agonizing. In a situation where your dog is limping, don’t stop at searching online or waiting to see if it gets worse. Let our skilled and compassionate veterinarians care for your pup. The sooner we can diagnose and treat, the sooner Fido will be back to his usual, peppy self!


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/21/2018) Dionnie Ray Jones (Flickr)