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I have a a male Yorkie Poo. He is 6.5 years old. He is in good health, but this morning I woke up and he had a limp. It appears that he is putting less weight on his back right leg. I examined the leg and noticed that there were no cracks or cuts on his paw pads. There was also no noticeable swelling. It does not seem to be bothering him too much because he jumps up onto the couch and off of it still (the height he has to jump is about a foot and a half high. I imagine that if there were a fracture or a break then he would not be able to make this jump? Please correct me if I am wrong on this.

Anyway, I would like to avoid taking him to the vet if I can (but I will if it is a must). What is the best course of action now? I tried to ice his leg but he keeps moving and making it impossible.

  • My mother's dog has a permanent limp due to arthritis. Your dog's a little young, but what you are describing is similar to that. – Rabbit Guy May 24 '16 at 14:34
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I'm glad he's back to his usual self! A soft tissue injury (sprain/strain) is certainly possible, but those often tend to take longer than a couple hours to resolve. The sudden onset/sudden resolution could fit with patellar luxation (kneecap slipping out of the groove), which is very common in small breed dogs. It can pop in and out, making them suddenly lame and then suddenly not. A vet can help you diagnose this. Another alternative, depending upon where you live, would be Lyme disease, which causes a "shifting" lameness--one leg looks lame for a while, then it goes away, then another leg is affected, etc. Again, a vet can help you diagnose this. In general, cold compresses may be a good idea but only helps if 1) you can identify where on the leg the injury is, and 2) the dog tolerates it/holds still. For a minor lameness (lame but not in terrible pain), your best bet is to keep them quiet (no running/jumping/climbing, including the couch!) for a day or so, and bring them to the vet if it is not substantially better after 12-24 hours. For a severe lameness, just get them to the vet. If at all possible, do NOT use any pain medications unless prescribed by a vet--things like ibuprofen can actually be remarkably toxic to pets.

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Dogs don't always display outwards symptoms of being in pain. Wait and see if the limp doesn't disappear after an hour or so. If not, the best course of action may be to take him to the vet, despite your reservations.

I found this in a search for 'swollen dog leg': http://www.medicinenet.com/pets/dog-health/dog_has_swollen_leg.htm

  • He seems fine now. Hes running around and is back to normal. Do you think I should tske him to the vet just to be sure he is fine? – Jonathan Gafar May 24 '16 at 21:18
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    @JonathanGafar, he must've had a sprain or an ankle twist, that must've happened while he jumped on and off the couch. If this happens frequently, consult a vet and have his legs checked. – Varun Nair May 25 '16 at 9:46
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There's lots of reasons why a dog may start to limp and it's not always necessarily going to be something that's broken or fractured. If I were you, and you can, visit your vet or at least put in a call. A limp can be a sign of a disease or just a slight hint that something else is wrong beneath the surface. Dog's don't show pain the same way as humans do, so it can be hard to figure out when something's not right. I have a beagle who started to limp one day after going for a walk and even though the limp wasn't severe and wasn't always present, I took her to the vet and it ended up being a torn ACL. After paying for one TLPO surgery, and a dog knee brace for the recovery process, and some rehabilitation, she was back to her normal self.

Was it expensive? Yes. Was the whole process difficult for the both of us? Yes. But was it necessary? Absolutely. Don't take your dog's health for granted. It needs to be taken just as seriously as you would your own health. Get to the vet, that's my recommendation.

  • Remove spammy link, new editor has links to one vendor for several similar questions. – James Jenkins Jun 25 '16 at 9:50

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