Knowing When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Care for a Limping Pet

In most cases, your pet’s limping can wait until the next business day for a visit to the veterinarian. However, there are certain circumstances when you should prioritize their well-being and head to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital without delay.

Signs of Lameness in Pets Requiring Emergency Care

If you observe any of the following signs in your furry companion, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention at the emergency room:

  • Dragging a limb
  • Not bearing weight on a limb
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Excessive swelling
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Sudden worsening of a limp

In situations where your pet experiences minor lameness alongside worrying symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, they may need emergency treatment for the underlying cause rather than solely focusing on the limp itself.

Causes of Lameness in Pets Requiring Emergency Care

Pets may become lame due to various reasons, and while certain cases can be concerning, they may not necessarily warrant an immediate trip to the emergency hospital. However, there are specific conditions that demand urgent care, including:

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

Although some of these situations may initially appear to result in minimal injuries, internal complications could arise that require prompt treatment. For example, if your pet has been hit by a car and only displays minor road rash and a slight limp, a comprehensive examination may reveal damage to vital organs such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder, necessitating intensive hospitalization.

Another common scenario requiring immediate attention is when a pet has been bitten by another animal. While puncture wounds may seem small, they can quickly become infected, and the force exerted by a pet grabbing and shaking can cause significant damage to underlying tissues, potentially leading to serious complications.

Determining whether your four-legged friend, now sporting three legs, requires emergency care can be challenging. Therefore, we encourage you to reach out to our team and discuss your pet’s condition. We will provide guidance and advise you on whether they require emergency treatment.