Pet Lameness & Limping

Pets can easily develop injuries or illnesses that make walking difficult. Lameness or limping means that your pet is walking abnormally on one or more limbs. It will favor the limbs that aren't causing pain or weakness. At Valley Veterinary Hospital of Helena in Helena, MT, we can help if your pet is limping. Our veterinarian will diagnose your pet’s condition and provide treatment.


Do Lameness and Limping Require Emergency Vet Care?

The answer to this question depends on your pet's condition and its symptoms. There are a few issues that require urgent care from our vet, including:

  • The inability to get up or move
  • Extreme pain where your pet is trembling, crying, or showing signs of aggression
  • Severe bleeding from a wound
  • Excessive swelling in the affected limb
  • Showing signs of illness, such as severe vomiting and lethargy
  • Dragging the limb as if it is paralyzed

These issues require a visit to our animal hospital for immediate treatment. However, if your pet isn't showing any of these signs but it is limping, you can wait until our vet's next available appointment.

What Causes Lameness and Limping?

There are many reasons why your pet may be limping. The most common causes include:

  • Sprain or strain: Sprains and strains are common in active pets. In most cases, these injuries will heal on their own with time.
  • Broken bone: A broken bone will make it impossible for your pet to walk on the affected limb. Visit our vet immediately for treatment.
  • Dislocation: A dislocated hip or elbow can be very painful, making it difficult for your pet to walk.
  • Torn ligament or tendon: Active and older pets are at risk of developing torn ligaments and tendons, which can be very painful.
  • Arthritis: Like humans, pets can develop arthritis, which can make walking painful.
  • A cut on the foot or paw: If your pet has an open wound, it will make it difficult for it to walk.
  • Object stuck in the paw: Pets who spend time outdoors are at risk of getting an object stuck in the foot or paw, which should be removed by our vet.
  • Infection: An internal or external infection can make walking painful.
  • Tick-born disease: If your pet is bitten by an infected tick, it can get Lyme disease. In many cases, Lyme disease can cause pain in the joints, making it difficult for your pet to walk.
  • Cancer: A tumor can make it difficult for your pet to walk. Lung cancer can also make it difficult to walk on the front limbs.

Schedule an Appointment at Our Animal Hospital

If your pet is showing signs of limping or lameness, our veterinarian can help. At Valley Veterinary Hospital of Helena in Helena, MT, we will diagnose your pet’s condition and provide treatment to alleviate your pet’s pain. Call us today to schedule an appointment.