Lameness is a common concern for pet owners. If you notice your pet limping or having difficulty walking, you'll need to visit your veterinarian. At Aloha Animal Hospital in Vista, we treat common causes of lameness.
Lameness may begin suddenly, or occur over time, depending on the underlying cause. Limping is the most common symptom of lameness. They may refuse to put any weight on one or multiple legs. You may notice that they can't walk or run as they normally do. They may avoid certain activities, like jumping or climbing stairs. You may also notice swelling in the affected area. Lastly, your pet may seem to be in pain. They may whine, cry, or seem agitated.
Common Causes of Lameness
One cause of lameness is trauma to one of the legs. This includes fractures, sprains, torn ligaments, and dislocations. Hip or elbow dysplasia causes the hip or elbow joint to slip out of place, which can cause pain and lameness as well. Arthritis or joint pain is another common cause, particularly if you have a senior pet. Injuries to the foot pad, including cuts, and objects stuck in the pad, can also trigger lameness. Genetic conditions, malformations, inflammatory diseases, and cancers are other potential causes.
Because there are so many potential causes of lameness, a proper diagnosis is essential. Your vet may discover lameness as part of a pet wellness exam, or you may bring them in because your furry friend is limping or in pain.
Your pet can't talk, but your vet is skilled at listening to their body. They will perform a physical exam, and observe them walking. They may also perform blood tests, x-rays, or an MRI to help determine the cause of your pet's lameness.
How lameness is treated will depend on the underlying cause. Once your vet has diagnosed the cause of your pet's lameness, they will develop a treatment plan.
Medication is sometimes needed to treat lameness. Anti-inflammatory medications can reduce inflammation and pain due to injury or arthritis. Pain medication may be needed if your pet is in severe pain.
Your veterinarian may recommend exercise restrictions in some cases. If your pet has lameness due to an injury or overexertion, they will need plenty of rest. This can be combined with medication.
If your pet has a broken bone, torn ligament, or other serious injury, they may need orthopedic surgery. Your vet will discuss the procedure, including the prognosis and risks.
Treating the Cause
If your pet has a condition like an infection, broken bone, or cancer, treatment will focus on the cause of the lameness. Medication, surgery, a cast, or chemotherapy may be required.
Get Lameness Treatment at Aloha Animal Hospital
If your pet is experiencing lameness in Vista, contact Aloha Animal Hospital at (760) 724-8313. We offer the services your pet needs, including preventative care, illness treatment, and lameness treatment.