When to Seek Urgent Veterinary Care for a Limping Pet

Typically, your pet’s lameness can wait until the next business day for a visit to the vet. However, certain conditions accompanied by limping necessitate an immediate trip to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital.

Indications of lameness in pets that require emergency care:

If your furry companion exhibits any of the following signs, it’s important to head to the emergency room:

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

In cases where your pet experiences minor lameness alongside concerning symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, they may require emergency treatment for the underlying cause, rather than solely addressing the limp.

Causes of lameness in pets that necessitate emergency care:

Pets can become lame for various reasons, some of which demand immediate attention. While a muscle sprain or strain is worrisome, it does not necessitate rushing to the nearest emergency hospital. However, certain conditions do require urgent care, including:

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

Although some of these situations may not appear to cause significant harm, internal complications may develop, requiring treatment. For instance, you might assume that your pet, who was hit by a car and only has minor road rash and a slight limp, is fine. However, a comprehensive examination may reveal damage to their 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 seem small, but they quickly become infected. Moreover, if one pet grabs and shakes another, substantial damage to underlying tissues can rapidly escalate into a serious problem.

Determining whether your four-legged friend, who has become a three-legged pet, requires emergency care can be challenging. Therefore, please reach out to our team to discuss your pet’s condition, and we can provide guidance on whether they need immediate treatment.