Common Dog Leg Pain Causes

Leg pain causes can be varied in dogs and if your pet shows signs of this, you should conduct a vet check so that the correct diagnosis can be made and proper treatment administered accordingly. Some breeds are predisposed to leg or hip problems, and while leg pain in young dogs is transient in nature and resolves within a few days, some causes of pain are more severe and need proper treatment.

Symptoms of Leg Pain in Dogs:

  • If your pet is favoring one leg or limping while walking or running, it indicates that he is suffering from severe pain in that leg.
  • Dog is reluctant to move about, play or climb stairs.
  • A dog with leg pain will groom his leg excessively.
  • Upon examination the leg will appear to be swollen and your pet will whimper with pain when you touch the limb. 
  • Your pet might appear depressed, display sudden changes in mood and prefer to hide in a corner.

Causes of Leg Pain in Dogs

If your dog suddenly starts limping, you should examine the limb for any cuts, insect bites, torn toenails or foreign objects such as thorns or splinters in the paw pad or between his toes.

Leg Pain Related to Accidents

Your pet might suffer a sprain while jumping or playing. Sprains usually resolve within a couple of days and anti-inflammatory medication can provide relief from such pain. Rest is necessary for a speedy recovery. Your pet may also fracture his limb accidentally and this can be easily identified as the limb appears deformed and the bones might even protrude in severe cases. The dog should be taken to the vet immediately and shouldn't be allowed to move on its own.

Leg Pain Related to Growth

Large breed dogs are genetically prone to growing pains and these can affect them till they are two years of age. One condition that's related to growth is known as Panosteitis. This can last for two to five months and can be managed by pain relievers and a change in diet. The symptoms are sporadic lameness that shifts from one leg to another. Hypertrophic osteodystrophy also occurs in young pets. It is the inflammation of growth plates and affects puppies between the ages of two to eight months.

Front Leg Pain Related to Growth

This condition is also known as elbow dysplasia, and occurs due to the improper fusion of the ulna to the elbow.

Rear Leg Pain Related to Growth

Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket parts of the joint are not fitted properly. This is a genetic disorder that can hamper the movements of affected dogs. Affected dogs shouldn't be allowed to breed in order to control hip dysplasia.

Leg Pain Associated with Tumors

Bone cancer is common among large breeds and is a serious condition that may involve amputation of the limb to prevent the cancer from spreading.

Leg Pain Due to Arthritis

Older dogs are prone to inflammation of the joints or osteoarthritis. Arthritic dogs are reluctant to walk fast or climb stairs and can obtain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs and arthritis supplements.

Leg Pain Due to Luxating Patella

Small breeds are prone to this condition in which the patella or the kneecap dislocates. This is a genetic condition and can be treated with surgery.

A dog with leg pain should be administered medications as prescribed by the vet. The dog should also be regularly exercised and offered a nutritious diet in order to strengthen his bones.