Knowing When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Care for a Limping Pet

Typically, when your pet is experiencing lameness, it can usually wait until regular veterinary hours. However, there are certain circumstances where you should immediately take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital.

Signs of lameness in pets that require emergency care:

1. Dragging a limb
2. Not putting weight on a limb
3. Excessive swelling
4. Excessive vocalization
5. Extreme lethargy
6. Uncontrollable bleeding
7. Sudden worsening of a limp

If your pet has a minor limp but also exhibits concerning symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, they may require emergency treatment for the underlying cause rather than just the limp itself.

Causes of lameness in pets that require emergency care:

There are various reasons why pets may become lame, and while some can wait for regular veterinary care, others demand immediate attention. Examples of conditions requiring urgent care include:

1. A fractured limb
2. Bites from venomous insects or snakes
3. Involvement in a car accident
4. Paresis or paralysis of one or more limbs
5. Deep or large wounds that won’t stop bleeding
6. Injuries from a dog fight

Even if these situations don’t initially appear severe, internal issues can develop that necessitate treatment. For instance, a pet hit by a car with only minor road rash and a slight limp may have underlying damage to organs such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder, which might require intensive hospitalization.

Another common scenario that calls for emergency treatment is when a pet gets bitten by another animal. Though puncture wounds may seem small, they can quickly become infected. Furthermore, if a pet forcefully grabs and shakes your pet, significant damage to underlying tissues can occur, potentially leading to serious complications.

Determining whether your pet, who went from being a four-legged companion to a three-legged one, needs immediate care can be challenging. Therefore, contacting our team to discuss your pet’s condition will enable us to provide guidance on whether emergency treatment is necessary.