Dog Limp Treatment with Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

A dog limp can be caused by many different scenarios. Injuries, inflammation, bites and infections can all be a potential cause of pain in one or more of the limbs. In some cases, a dog limp can be treated using anti-inflammatory drugs. In order to determine the presence of inflammation, which is also described as redness, warmth, swelling and pain in response to irritation or injury, there are many symptoms and signs that can lead to diagnosis.


Tendonitis in dogs is inflammation in the tendons from excessive running, jumping or any form of work. The most common area for this condition to affect is the top of the shoulder, or biceps tendon, and the dog will most likely display a limp. Tendonitis, which should respond well to anti-inflammatory medication, can usually be diagnosed by applying pressure and movement to the limb. The affected limb may not exhibit a full range of motion, and will be susceptible to pain when pressure is applied.


Pain from inflammation is one of the most prevalent characteristics in arthritis. Dogs may limp and experience severe lameness and difficulty moving around, climbing stairs or lying down. Arthritis becomes present when cartilage wears away from the bones, exposing live nerves which rub together and cause inflammation. Some dogs experience significant pain relief when taking anti-inflammatory drugs for osteoarthritis and other forms of degenerative joint disease.

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

If your dog has a limp due to inflammation or arthritis, it's likely you'll make a choice between corticosteroids and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Both of these drugs are used to block the chemicals in the body which cause pain and inflammation, and each has a history of being quite successful at treating these effects. There is increasing evidence that shows the use of readily available painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen may cause a toxicity in dogs, often leading to severe gastrointestinal side effects. For that reason, anti-inflammatory drugs given should be those created and designed especially for dogs.

Side Effects

Side effects are common when administering anti-inflammatory drugs for a dog limp or other pain caused from inflammation. One of the main side effects caused by these medications is gastrointestinal bleeding. Kidney disease, liver disease, anemia, skin diseases, seizures, paralysis, and behavioral problems may also be of concern. Anti-inflammatory medications, steroidal or non-steroidal, should never be mixed, as serious interaction side effects or even death may occur.

Complementary Therapies

Anti-inflammatory drugs should be given temporarily, and not for the long term. Complementary therapies will be helpful, and may even be necessary to continue improvement of the condition. All-natural therapies and alternative medicine can be incorporated with no side effects. Much success has been seen with using complementary therapies such as homeopathy, acupuncture, magnetic therapy, nutritional supplementation and dietary changes. Anti-inflammatory drugs can be given on a short term basis to alleviate significant pain, while natural and holistic therapies can sustain your dog's health and well being for the remainder of his life.