Limping (or lameness) can be caused by damage to muscle, bone or the central nervous system. The altered movement of the limbs may be in response to pain, altered nerve function or structural disruptions (such as not being able to fully bend a joint that has severe arthritis).
There can be a number of different causes for lameness which may relate to development, trauma, degeneration, inflammation, infection, nutrition and cancer.
Pain can be severe and result in little or no weight being taken by the limb (non-weight bearing, the leg is held off of the ground and the pet resists touching or movement of the painful region). If your pet is showing signs of severe pain, it should be examined without delay. Milder pain may result in reduced contact time of the foot with the ground or an adjustment to movement to avoid a painful position of the leg.
If you are unsure whether your pet needs to be seen today, telephone our staff for advice.
Whatever the time of day, our 24 hour pet emergency clinics are able to examine your pet and make recommendations for treatment. Pain relief will be given and investigation may also be recommended. This is likely to be by means of an x-ray although some cases may require advanced imaging such as CT or MRI.
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