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When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Care for a Limping Pet

by | May 17, 2023

When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Care for a Limping Pet

In most cases, your pet’s limping can be addressed during regular veterinary hours. However, certain conditions, combined with limping, necessitate an immediate visit to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital.

Signs of lameness in pets that require emergency care

If your furry companion displays any of the following signs, it is crucial to head to the emergency room:

  • Dragging a limb
  • Inability to bear weight on a limb
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Excessive swelling
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Sudden worsening of the limp

If your pet experiences minor lameness along with concerning symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, they may require emergency treatment for the underlying cause rather than solely addressing the limp.

Causes of lameness in pets that require emergency care

Pets can suffer from various reasons for lameness, some of which demand immediate attention. While a muscle sprain or strain can be concerning, it typically does not require an immediate visit to the emergency hospital. However, certain conditions do necessitate urgent care, including:

  • A fractured limb
  • Paresis or paralysis of one or more limbs
  • A deep or large wound that does not stop bleeding
  • A bite from a venomous insect or snake
  • Involvement in a car accident
  • Injuries from a dog fight

Some of these situations may not initially appear severe, but internal issues can develop that require prompt treatment. For instance, you might assume that your pet, who was struck by a car and only has minor road rash and a slight limp, is fine. However, a comprehensive examination could reveal damage to vital organs such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder, necessitating intensive hospitalization.

Another common scenario that demands emergency treatment is a pet bitten by another animal. Puncture wounds may appear small, but they can quickly become infected. Additionally, if a pet grabs and shakes your companion, significant damage to underlying tissues can occur, potentially leading to serious complications.

Determining whether your four-legged friend, who has become a three-legged pet, requires emergency care can be challenging. Therefore, we recommend contacting our team to discuss your pet’s condition, and we can provide guidance on whether immediate treatment is necessary.