Recognizing the Need for Emergency Care in a Limping Pet

Typically, your pet’s lameness can wait until the next business day for veterinary attention. However, there are certain conditions, coupled with limping, that require an immediate visit to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital.

Signs of lameness in pets that necessitate emergency care

If your four-legged companion displays any of the following signs, it is crucial to head to the emergency room:

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

In cases where your pet experiences minor lameness alongside concerning symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, emergency treatment may be required for the underlying cause rather than just addressing the limp itself.

Causes of lameness in pets that require emergency care

Pets may experience lameness due to various reasons, some of which demand immediate treatment. While a muscle sprain or strain is worrisome, rushing to the nearest emergency hospital is unnecessary. However, certain conditions call for urgent care, including:

  • A fractured limb
  • Paresis or paralysis of one or more limbs
  • A deep or large wound that won’t cease bleeding
  • A venomous insect or snake bite
  • A car accident
  • A dog fight

In some instances, these situations may not appear to cause significant injury, but internal complications can arise, necessitating treatment. For instance, you may assume that your pet, who was hit by a car and only sustained road rash on their legs and a minor limp, is fine. However, a thorough examination could reveal damage to their liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder, requiring intensive hospitalization.

Another common scenario requiring emergency care is when a pet is bitten by another animal. Puncture wounds may seem insignificant, but they can quickly become infected. Additionally, if a pet grabs and shakes your companion, it can lead to severe underlying tissue damage that rapidly escalates into a serious problem.

Determining whether your four-legged friend, now a three-legged pet, necessitates emergency care can be challenging. Therefore, please contact our team to discuss your pet’s condition, and we can provide guidance on whether emergency treatment is necessary.