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When your dog starts limping, there are many possible causes. Your dog may have pulled a muscle, ligament, or tendons. A slow-developing chronic disease such as arthritis can also cause your dog to limp. Arthritis can cause swelling and pain that come and go. The best way to tell if your dog is limping due to arthritis is to visit a vet to get an accurate diagnosis.


Osteosarcoma is a cancerous growth that can cause your dog to limp. This cancer typically develops in the long bones around the knees in the hind leg or away from the elbows in the front leg. Despite the fact that this cancer does not cross the joint spaces, it is important to have your dog examined by a veterinarian to rule out other causes of lameness.

Treatment for osteosarcoma usually involves amputation of the affected limb. While this is very upsetting for dog owners, it is the only way to relieve the unrelenting pain. The disease is so advanced and uncontrollable that pain medication alone is not enough to alleviate the discomfort and complication risks. As a result, 90% of dogs with osteosarcoma die within a year.

After treatment, dogs with osteosarcoma will need to be monitored regularly for recurrence and metastasis. The oncologist will develop a recheck schedule for your pet to monitor the progression of the disease. The median survival time for dogs with osteosarcoma is about one year, but up to 20 percent can live for two years.

Lyme disease

The first step in diagnosing Lyme disease is to determine if the dog has been exposed to a tick. Blood tests can identify antibodies to the bacteria in the tick. Antibodies are not present immediately after infection, but they will eventually appear in the bloodstream. In some dogs, the antibodies are present up to four weeks after the tick bite.

Fortunately, Lyme disease is treatable, especially when treated early. Antibiotics are the usual treatment. In most cases, a course of thirty days’ worth of antibiotics will cure the symptoms. However, the duration and type of antibiotics will depend on the severity of the symptoms. Some dogs may require a longer course of treatment or other therapies to address the underlying causes of the disease. If your dog has been exposed to the bacteria and has developed symptoms, she should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Dogs may experience lameness for several weeks or months. Sometimes the lameness is shifted from one leg to another. Symptoms include fever and lethargy. Some dogs may also develop swollen lymph nodes.

ACL ligament

A torn ACL ligament is one of the most common causes of sudden, acute pain in dogs. Although dogs can heal from a partial tear with rest and NSAID medications, most dogs will not fully recover use of their back legs without surgery. This is because the healing tissue is not made of the same fibers as the original ligament, and thus is prone to tear again.

While this injury can occur in any dog, dogs with larger limbs and long legs are more prone to the condition than dogs with small limbs. They also tend to develop discolagenosis, a progressive deterioration of joint collagen, which makes them more vulnerable to an ACL injury. Furthermore, strenuous physical activity may also cause ACL tears. Exercises that require a dog to jump onto a surface may also result in a tear. When this happens, the dog may develop a limp.

If your dog suffers from a torn ACL, you should seek treatment immediately. An untreated ACL injury will only worsen. A dog with a torn ACL will prefer the healthy leg and may have difficulty walking on the affected leg. This is due to overcompensation in the knee, which will only lead to further damage to the other knee.


Osteoarthritis in dogs is an inflammatory disease of the joints. The painful inflammation results in joint stiffness and lameness. This can lead to loss of muscle and change in gait. The disease can also affect the way your dog acts. They may display signs of agitation or even refuse to be petted.

Osteoarthritis in dogs can be detected early with certain signs. Initial signs include decreased activity and willingness to play. Slowness and lameness are other symptoms. Your dog may also walk with a ‘bunny hop’ gait, sit in an unnatural position or show other signs of weakness.

Osteoarthritis in dogs is usually treated through a surgical procedure. Surgical procedures vary in their effectiveness and cost. Generally, the goal of the procedure is to reduce pain and improve mobility.

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Anamile Guerra is a pet owner and entrepreneur with a passion for the well being of pets and animals. She believes in educating pet owners about natural and healthy alternatives to toxic chemicals in our dog's diets and nutrition. By following a natural lifestyle, we can prevent most common illnesses we see not only in our pet's health, but in our own well being, allowing us all to live long and happy lives.

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