Causes of Limping in Dogs: Sam’s Mysterious Lameness. What Would You Do If It Was Your Dog?

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?

Sam's Mysterious Lameness

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.

Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: What is that Limp?
The Assumption Trap: Tosha’s Snake Bite

Further reading:
Lameness Exam: What Your Vet Might Be Missing?

Categories: DiagnosesDog health advocacyLamenessLimpingReal-life StoriesSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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