What is the first thing that comes to your mind when your dog starts limping? What potential causes of lameness can you think of off the top of your head?
Why is my dog limping sounds like a simple question.
What you figure it might be and what it is are not always the same. Sometimes it might even be challenging to figure out which is the affected leg.
Can you list at least five different potential causes of limping in dogs?
Do you know the list of possible reasons is much longer than five? Even with my dogs, I have dealt with most but not all of them. I bet you won’t guess what was behind Sam’s lameness.
Sam was a 12-year=old Terrier mix. He was still a very active and happy dog.
After one of his outdoor adventures, as he jumped out of the car, Sam yelped and refused to put weight on one of his front legs. What happened? Did Sam strained or twisted his leg as he landed?
His mom checked the leg for any injuries but there was nothing visibly wrong. They decided to wait and see whether things improve by morning.
The next morning, Sam was still not putting any weight on the leg, though.
Since Sam wouldn’t even touch the toe to the ground, his mom took him to a veterinarian.
The veterinarian examined Sam thoroughly. He checked all Sam’s joints, but joints didn’t seem to be the problem. The only time Sam reacted was when they touched his foot. Sam’s foot was the source of the pain and resulting lameness. But what was wrong with it?
There was no wounds, no damaged nails, no swelling or anything else visibly wrong with the foot.
However, because it was a source of substantial pain, the cause of Sam’s lameness could be something serious but not easy to see. The veterinarian decided to x-ray the foot, but the images didn’t provide any clues. Sam did have some arthritis in his ankle, but that wouldn’t cause such acute lameness.
With Sam already sedated, the veterinarian could now take a closer look at the foot.
What do you think the veterinarian discovered? Can you guess the cause of Sam’s lameness? What would you do if it was your dog?
Read Sam’s story here.
Lameness Exam: What Your Vet Might Be Missing?