When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Care for a Limping Pet

Typically, your pet’s lameness can wait until the next business day for veterinary attention. However, there are certain situations where you should head to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital without delay.

Signs of lameness in pets that require emergency care:

If your four-legged companion exhibits any of the following signs, it is essential to go to the emergency room:

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

If your pet has minor lameness but also displays concerning symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, they may require emergency treatment for the underlying cause, not necessarily the limp itself.

Causes of lameness in pets that require emergency care:

Pets can experience lameness due to various reasons, some of which demand immediate treatment. While a muscle sprain or strain is a cause for concern, rushing to the nearest emergency hospital is not necessary. However, specific conditions do require urgent care, including:

  • A fractured limb
  • Paresis or paralysis of one or more limbs
  • A deep or large wound that won’t stop bleeding
  • Bites from venomous insects or snakes
  • Involvement in a car accident
  • Injuries from a dog fight

In some cases, these situations may not initially appear severe, but internal complications may develop, requiring treatment. For instance, your pet might seem fine after being hit by a car, showing only minor road rash and a slight limp. 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 when a pet is bitten by another animal. Puncture wounds may appear small, but they can quickly become infected. Additionally, if a pet grabs and shakes your furry friend, significant underlying tissue damage can occur, escalating into a serious problem rapidly.

Determining whether your four-legged friend, now limping on three legs, requires emergency care can be challenging. Therefore, we encourage you to contact our team to discuss your pet’s condition. We can provide guidance and advise you on whether emergency treatment is necessary.