Pet Limping FAQ

Pet Limp FAQs from our Los Angeles Veterinarian 

When dogs and cats limp, it means something is causing them pain. Most pet owners check their pet's paw to see if a pebble or thorn is stuck between paw pads or if paw pads have been cut or scraped. Sometimes, your dog or cat may limp if a claw is damaged or a previously unseen wound is infected and seeping. Limping could also indicate a musculoskeletal problem with your pet's joints, muscles or extremity ligaments. Even if your pet is trying to use the leg on which they are limping and doesn't seem in pain, your veterinarian in Los Angeles urges you to bring your pet to our veterinary clinic for a professional examination to avoid worsening of the injury or disorder.


What Causes Pet Limping?

In addition to injured paw pads or claw, pets may limp due to dislocations, fractures, insect/snake bites, arthritis, hip dysplasia or neurological disorders such as sciatica or "pinched nerve". In rare cases, pets may limp or exhibit lameness because of severe nutritional disorders involving lack of minerals essential for musculoskeletal and neurological health. Also, pets with skin allergies may start limping because they lick their paws so frequently that painful abscesses or infections develop between their toes.

How is Limping Diagnosed if Nothing is Found Externally?

If your Los Angeles veterinarian does not find wounds or infections on your pet, he will begin palpating joints and bones to determine where areas of pain, instability or swelling may exist. Laboratory tests including radiographs, complete blood counts and urine testing can further help your vet develop an accurate diagnosis if he suspects limping is due to a systemic disease.

What are Treatments for Pet Limping?

Your veterinarian typically applies standard wound care (antibiotic ointment and/or shots) to cuts, ripped claws and insect/animal bites. If arthritis, hip dysplasia or other joint and muscle problems are causing limping or lameness, veterinary procedures include but are not limited to surgery, medications and reducing physical activity. Corticosteroids like Prednisone may significantly reduce the inflammation and swelling of arthritis joints in pets. If a fracture is discovered through an x-ray, your Los Angeles veterinarian may need to apply a cast or splint to the affected limb.

Be aware that sudden, severe limping and lameness should be considered an emergency. Your pet may be suffering a serious disease or seizure that requires immediate veterinary attention.

Schedule an Appointment with our Los Angeles Veterinarian

Call your Los Angeles Animal Emergency Centre today to schedule an appointment if your pet is limping: (818) 760-3882 We are open 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday in case you have an emergency with your pet.


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Open 24 hr


Open 24 hr


Open 24 hr


Open 24 hr


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Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Sammers is an 11 year old, Black, Domestic Short Hair Cat. His owner noticed that Sammers was pacing, walking around in circles at home and crying out in pain.

    "I would like to thank all of the staff who helped with Sammer's UTI. He was miserable, and you guys made him better. I cannot thank you enough for helping him. It is great to have a place to go when all the other vet clinics are closed.""
    Roxanne & "Sammers"- June 2012
  • "Kahlua is a very special service dog. He was brought in by his owner when she noticed that Kahlua was acting very painful and didn't want to jump. After a thorough exam Kahlua went home with some pain meds. Kahlua's mom stopped by our Facebook page to send us a note on his progress.

    "Just wanted to thank Dr. Cavanaugh, straight from the heart for seeing our Kahlua and putting our worries to rest. It was hilarious trying to get him to take his Tramadol.... cheese would not work but the Chunky Skippy did the trick. WE THINK YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!!!!! So thank you, straight from the heart.""
    Michelle & "Kahula" - July 2012