When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Care for a Limping Pet

Typically, your pet’s lameness can wait until the next day for a veterinary appointment. However, certain conditions, combined with limping, indicate the need for immediate attention at the nearest emergency veterinary hospital.

Signs of lameness in pets that require emergency care

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

  • Dragging a limb
  • Inability to bear weight on a limb
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Excessive swelling
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Sudden worsening of a limp

If 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 due to various reasons, some of which require immediate treatment. While a muscle sprain or strain is concerning, rushing to the nearest emergency hospital is not necessary. However, specific conditions demand urgent care, including:

  • Fractured limb
  • Paresis or paralysis of one or more limbs
  • Deep or large wounds that do not stop bleeding
  • Venomous insect or snake bites
  • Involvement in a car accident
  • Engaging in a dog fight

Some of these situations may not initially appear severe, but internal issues could develop, necessitating treatment. For instance, you might assume your pet, who was struck by a car and only has minor road rash and a slight limp, is fine. However, a comprehensive examination could reveal damage to their liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder, requiring intensive hospitalization.

Another common scenario that calls for emergency treatment is when a pet is bitten by another animal. Puncture wounds may appear small, but they quickly become infected. Additionally, if a pet grabs and shakes your pet, it can cause significant damage to underlying tissues that can rapidly escalate into a serious problem.

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