Call: 802-424-1234

When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Care for a Limping Pet

In most cases, your pet’s limp can typically wait until the next day for veterinary care. However, certain conditions accompanied by limping require immediate attention at the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. Here are some signs and causes of lameness that indicate the need for emergency care:

Signs of lameness requiring emergency care:

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

If your pet has minor lameness but also exhibits concerning symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, they may require emergency treatment for the underlying cause rather than just the limp itself.

Causes of lameness requiring emergency care:

Pets can experience lameness due to various reasons, but some conditions require immediate treatment. While muscle sprains or strains are worrisome, rushing to the emergency hospital may not be necessary. However, the following situations demand urgent care:

  • A fractured limb
  • Paresis or paralysis of one or more limbs
  • Deep or profusely bleeding wounds
  • Venomous insect or snake bites
  • Involvement in a car accident
  • Injuries from a dog fight

Even if these situations initially seem minor, there could be internal complications that necessitate treatment. For example, a pet hit by a car with seemingly minor road rash and a slight limp may have underlying damage to organs like the liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder, which might require intensive hospitalization.

Bites from other pets also require prompt attention as puncture wounds can quickly become infected. Furthermore, aggressive shaking by another animal can cause significant damage to underlying tissues, leading to serious complications.

Determining whether your pet, who has transitioned from four legs to three due to lameness, requires emergency care can be challenging. Feel free to contact our team to discuss your pet’s condition, and we can provide guidance on whether emergency treatment is necessary.