Swollen Leg Causes in Dogs

A swollen leg in your dog could indicate a number of possible causes. It is important to quickly treat a swollen leg, as the legs are an essential part to your dog's mobility. If you notice a swollen leg on your pet, examine it as soon as possible to try to identify the possible cause of the swelling. If the cause is serious, it will need to be treated by a veterinarian to prevent any further damage to your pet's leg. Here are several possible causes for a swollen leg in dogs.

Trauma to the Leg

If your pet has recently had any type of accident or fall, the traumatic injury could cause your pet's leg to swell. When you examine the leg, it should be relatively easy to find the location of the trauma. While checking your dog's leg, if she begins to moan, cry, struggle or snap at you, stop what you're doing and visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Infection on the Leg

If you notice any blood, discharge or fluid on the swollen leg, this may indicate your pet has an infection on the leg. Closely examine the swelling for pus or blood, as sometimes it may be hard to find. Infections usually do not cause your pet severe pain, but it is still important to visit a veterinarian promptly to treat the infection

Injury to the Toes

If you notice any swelling, pain or discomfort on one or more toes of your pet, this may be causing the dog's leg to swell. Injury to the toes can be rather painful and bothersome for your pet, but they usually heal on their own, even if they are fractured. Injured toes usually do not need a splint or cast because the pain will generally keep your pet from becoming too active or putting weight on them. A cast or splint my be more irritating to the toes than not having one at all, and may cause more damage than good. See a veterinarian if you notice an injured toe on your pet.

Injuries to the Joints

If there is swelling that is located with one of the major joints of the leg, this may indicate a more serious cause. Injuries there are often the result of tendon, nerve, vessel or ligament damage, and should be treated promptly. The joint instability will cause further damage if left untreated, and will not heal on its own. If you notice any joint swelling on your pet's leg, seek veterinarian assistance as soon as possible to treat the condition.

Pitting Edema

This is a very serious condition and your pet will need to receive emergency care. If you notice that the swelling feels spongy and it remains indented after examination, this could indicate pitting edema. It may mean that your pet is suffering from a lymphatic or vascular condition. Whatever the cause, see a vet immediately if you suspect pitting edema in your dog's leg.