home Dogs What to do if your dog breaks his leg

What to do if your dog breaks his leg

Diseases of the musculoskeletal system

The main orthopedic causes of lameness in dogs are:

  • dysplasia of the joints;
  • arthritis;
  • arthrosis;
  • Perthes syndrome;
  • dislocation of the patella;
  • discopathy.

Dysplasia in dogs affects the hip, knee, and elbow joints. With degenerative changes in the hip and hock joints, the animal limps on its hind legs, and the unsteadiness of the gait is observed. These symptoms often appear immediately after sleep. The pathological process can affect both one limb and two at once. Symptoms of lameness periodically come on and off. In the acute course of the disease, the animal refuses jumping, long walks, feels pain when moving.


If your dog limps on the front leg for no apparent reason, there is a chance of developing elbow dysplasia. The animal presses the sore paw and tries not to step on it. Dysplasia usually appears in pets at a young age. The owner may notice the first symptoms as early as 4 months. Large breeds are more susceptible to pathology.

Arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease. The dog limps on the leg or does not step on it at all due to severe pain syndrome. In the area of ​​the inflammatory process, swelling occurs. In pathology, large joints are affected: hip, hock, elbow and shoulder.

Arthrosis can be the result of untreated arthritis. Both pathologies have similar symptoms. Arthrosis is often chronic and develops in older pets. The dog limps on the right or left paw, in pain. Symptoms are pronounced after sleep. After the pet is physically warped, the pain syndrome subsides.

Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Toy Terriers, Miniature Poodles, Spitz and other miniature breeds are predisposed to Perthes syndrome. Pathology leads to necrosis of the femoral head. Symptoms are mild at first. After a walk, the pet begins to take care of the paw, trying not to step on it, or limps slightly. The pathology is characterized by intermittent claudication.

The above dwarf breeds are also prone to dislocation of the patella. Any uncomfortable movement can provoke an injury to the hock. The dog begins to limp, but at the same time continues to lean on the injured limb. In severe cases, the animal does not use a sore paw and keeps it constantly on weight.

Discopathy is a disease of pugs and French bulldogs. In other breeds, pathology is less common. The animal initially limps on one or both hind legs, tries to behave less actively. Pathology is dangerous with complete failure of the limbs as a result of paralysis.

Other pathologies

For other reasons why the dog is limping, while there is no visible damage, veterinarians attribute:

  • pathology of the genitourinary system;
  • violation of mineral metabolism;
  • diabetic neuropathy;
  • myositis;
  • malignant neoplasms;
  • infectious diseases.

With pathologies of the genitourinary system, the dog most often limps on its hind legs.

Disorders of mineral metabolism are observed in puppies and young dogs. The problem is typical for large breeds. May manifest as decreased appetite, apathy, fever, lameness, or complete refusal to move.

Diabetic neuropathy develops in the presence of diabetes. With pathology, atrophy of the muscles of the thigh and lower leg occurs, which leads to gait disorder. The main symptoms are: limping on one or two legs, restless behavior, stiffness of movements and decreased activity, sometimes. a lack of coordination.

Myositis is expressed by lesions of the muscles of the back and lower back. The dog has difficulty getting up on its hind legs, becomes nervous, does not eat well, does not allow touching the sore spot.

The reason for the development of lameness may lie in a breast tumor. The animal limps on the front or hind limb, depending on the location of the formation.

Violation of gait can be caused by infectious pathologies such as hepatitis, enteritis or piroplasmosis caused by a tick bite.

If the temperature rises, severe pain and unnatural behavior of the dog, you should immediately contact your veterinarian.

Mechanical damage

Injuries received while walking or at home are one of the reasons why the dog began to limp. The main types of mechanical damage to the musculoskeletal system:

  • bruises;
  • dislocations;
  • fractures;
  • claw injuries;
  • sprained or ruptured ligaments.
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In case of bruises, the dog tries to lean as little as possible on the sore paw, limping during movement. The symptoms of lameness after sleep are especially noticeable. A pet can injure a leg not only with any object, but also during a jump from a height.
Against the background of dislocations, limited mobility is observed in the area of ​​the injured joint. In some cases, there is unnatural mobility of the affected limb. The animal is in pain, may whine when palpating the affected area.

Fractures are expressed by the refusal of the dog to rest on the injured paw. With severe pain, the dog whines and behaves restlessly.

With a claw injury, the pet partially or completely does not step on the injured paw, keeping it suspended. Usually licks the damaged area.

Sprained ligaments are painful when moving quickly, jumping, or when probing a diseased area. The animal limps and very carefully stands on the leg where it pulled the ligaments. If the fibrous joints rupture, the dog keeps the injured limb in suspension.

The dog is lame: reasons for what to do

Lameness in a dog is usually a symptom of another pathology or injury to the limbs. Changes in gait can cause not only mechanical damage or diseases of the musculoskeletal system, but also disturbances in the work of other internal organs. If the dog is lame, the owner should contact the veterinary clinic to determine the cause.


Lameness in animals can manifest itself in different ways, therefore it is divided into several types:

How to Treat Leg Injuries in Dogs

The dog presses the sore paw, keeps it suspended when moving. This symptom is typical for mechanical injuries (sprains, ligament ruptures, fractures, bruises, cuts) and acute inflammatory processes of the musculoskeletal system (osteoarthritis).

The dog does not fully rest on the sore leg. Tries to quickly shift the center of gravity to a healthy paw, falling on it.

This type is characterized by the periodic occurrence of disturbances in the gait of the animal. It is a subspecies of leaning limb lameness. Occurs after sleep or after the dog has lain down. In large breeds, this can be a symptom of joint dysplasia, in small breeds. Perthes syndrome or dislocation of the patella.

The dog is limping: what to do?

At the first symptoms of gait disturbance, the owner should carefully examine the leg on which the dog is limping.

Pay attention to the crumb and interdigital spaces: they look for cuts, cracks, seals or tissue overgrowth, whether there are foreign objects (twigs, grass, spikelets).

If a foreign object is suspected, the hair is trimmed in the interdigital space.

They also pay attention to the claws: normally they are the same length, not overgrown, there are no swellings at the base, there is no deformation of the plates.

In the absence of visual damage to the paw, the owner palpates the entire limb to the armpit, if it is the front limb, or to the groin area, if it is the hind limb. It is necessary to find out if there is edema or swelling in some place, a localized increase in temperature.

Then the dog is laid so that the diseased limb is free. Flexion and extension of the limping paw are performed. If the joints are damaged, the animal reacts painfully, possibly crunching.

If the pet is limping, but at the same time active, eats well, does not whine, the owner reduces the active load of the animal and monitors its condition for several days. If lameness persists, you should contact a veterinary clinic to determine the cause. The doctor will conduct the necessary examination and decide what to do next. Treatment is carried out only on the basis of diagnostic results.

It is impossible to treat the animal on your own, as this will lead to a deterioration in the pet’s condition. Some owners give their dogs pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. In this case, the pain disappears, and the animal begins to walk normally again. However, drugs in this category only eliminate the symptoms, but do not affect the underlying cause in any way. Therefore, if the pet began to limp without visible damage, qualified assistance is needed.

What to do if you broke your leg?

Constant temperature drops, typical for Russian winters, lead to constant icing. It is not surprising that trauma centers at this time of the year see a huge number of patients with fractures of the legs, arms and even ribs every day. It is possible that on the street you will witness such an incident. For example, if a woman breaks her leg in front of your eyes, you can independently provide first aid to her, while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

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First aid

An acquaintance of yours or just a casual passer-by broke her leg, and you were nearby? Take action immediately. First of all, give the injured limb the correct position: gently grasp the heel with one hand and the fingers with the other, pull slightly towards you. After that, quickly remove the shoes from the victim. If you don’t do this right away, it will be much more difficult to get rid of the boot or boot afterwards due to the increased swelling. As you know, all fractures are divided into open and closed. If you see bones sticking out of the wound, in no case try to straighten them yourself. It is also strictly forbidden to remove foreign objects from the wound. Instead, try to stop the bleeding, treat your skin with disinfectant (or wipe it down with wet wipes as a last resort), and bandage the wound. Now you can proceed to the immobilization of the victim.


Better to put on splints right away. If this is not possible, use the means at hand, any even sticks, rods, boards will do. Place them on the inside and outside of the leg and secure with a scarf, jacket or any other clothing.


If a person broke his leg in front of you, what to do? First of all, make sure it really is a fracture. In this case, one should focus on such signs as rapidly growing edema, sharp pain, deformity of the limb (the latter is caused by the displacement of bone fragments). Ankle fractures tend to twist the foot at the wrong, unnatural angle.

The most common causes of injury

According to experts, older women most often turn to doctors during the off-season. Such complaints as “broken leg”, “bruised tailbone”, “dislocated wrist”, unfortunately, are almost as common as colds. If we talk directly about the lower limbs, then they suffer most often. The fact is that a person, especially if he is in poor physical shape, falls directly on his leg, and pushes on it with all his weight or turns it under him. In addition, damage can occur from a fall from a height and during a traffic accident. Also, any doctor can tell you many cases when a woman broke her leg in the gym, dropping a heavy barbell or dumbbell on herself.


A broken leg in a cast, of course, will cause a lot of inconvenience to a person. He will not be able to walk right away, and at first he will have to use crutches or a cane. After removing the bandage, doctors recommend wearing special shoes and not overloading the limbs.

What to do if your dog is limping?

Does your dog have a limp on the front or hind leg? What to do? First of all, you need to find out why the dog began to limp. This can happen for a variety of different reasons.

  • In the first place, lameness can be caused by injury: an unsuccessful jump, as a result of which ligaments are stretched, a joint is dislocated, or bones are broken. Perhaps it’s just muscle strain after walking too long (for example, behind a bike) or taking a long swim.
  • If the dog no longer has any symptoms, it does not whine in pain, does not refuse to eat, then after two to three days the lameness will go away by itself.
  • However, even so, lameness that does not go away for several days requires a veterinarian checkup. Long-term lameness can occur due to chronic diseases such as hip dysplasia or arthritis. They require timely treatment.
  • Your dog may also limp due to a broken claw or cut, cracked dry pads, a foreign object between the toes, or a burn.

Therefore, first of all, it is necessary to carefully examine the paws, observing the reaction of the animal. You should be careful when touching a sore paw so that the dog does not bite from pain.

Treating the causes of lameness

  • If, on examination, a small cut is found, it must be washed with disinfectants (hydrogen peroxide) and an antiseptic ointment applied. Wrap the paw with a bandage and put on the sock, carefully fixing it. Minor burns should also be treated. However, if a deep cut or severe burn occurs, the dog must be taken to the veterinarian.
  • When the muscle is stretched, swelling and inflammation occurs. You need to apply a cold compress for 15-20 minutes, which will narrow the blood vessels and reduce swelling. The compress can be applied three times a day for two days.
  • Did you find that the dog has a broken claw? It must be completely removed in a veterinary clinic. When bleeding from the nail, you need to cauterize with a styptic and apply a tight bandage. After the claw is removed, healing will begin and a new claw will grow in a few months.
  • A foreign object may be caught in the ball of the foot or between the toes. Usually it is a pebble, dry branch, or a shard of glass. It must be carefully removed with tweezers, and the wound must be disinfected. If excess hair between the toes gets in the way, it should be trimmed.
  • Dry and cracked dog’s paw pads need to be moisturized with cream, but not always, but only for a few days, so that they do not become too soft and vulnerable to injury.
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If the dog’s wound does not heal for a long time and constantly hurts, redness and inflammation appear around it, the dog’s appetite disappears and the temperature rises, you need to consult a veterinarian. over, if the dog is lame, and no external problems were found.

Prevention of lameness in dogs

Dog injuries and lameness can be prevented if properly cared for. It is necessary to inspect the dog’s paws weekly. If she often runs on very difficult surfaces: rocky, hard, hot or cold, then to prevent injury, you need to wear special boots.

To prevent the claws from breaking, they need to be cut regularly. Paw pads should be kept clean, removing pebbles, sand, dirt, and cut off excess hair between the toes.

What can I offer

Ask the owner to check the dog for rabies with a veterinarian and observe it for 10 days. If the animal is okay, you will receive fewer vaccinations.

What to do next

When and how to get tetanus shots

Tetanus pathogens enter the wound with dirt. 80% of cases die. Therefore, all of us are vaccinated against tetanus in childhood, and then repeated every 10 years. At least should.

How to Tell if Your Dog Has Broken It’s Leg

It is advisable to bring your medical documents to the emergency room or remember when and how many vaccinations you were given. The doctor’s decision to vaccinate will depend on the severity of the wounds, their contamination, the number of previous vaccinations.

When to go to the emergency room

Is always. And as soon as possible. Even if you have been bitten by your pet. Even if the dog attacked you, but did not bite, but only smeared with saliva.

If you don’t know where the nearest emergency room is, call an ambulance. The operator will explain everything.

In the emergency room, they are vaccinated against rabies and tetanus. These deadly diseases can be contracted through wounds, scratches and even mucous membranes if saliva gets on them.

In addition, the dog can damage internal organs, tendons, muscles or joints. Her teeth leave lacerations that then turn into rough scars. Dog and Cat Bites are placed on such wounds in the first 12 hours. If the face is damaged, the period is extended to 24 hours.

What to discuss with the dog owner

How to stop bleeding

Cover the bleeding wound with some kind of dressing, clean towel, or any tissue. If the bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes, call Cat and Dog Bites an ambulance.

If bleeding has stopped, thoroughly wash the wound with soap under running water and cover with a clean bandage.

Hold the bitten arm or leg above the level of the heart. This will help reduce swelling around the wound and the chances of infection spreading.

Watch the wounds

No need to touch wounds. Just watch for signs of inflammation. In the clinic, where you still have to go, they will make a dressing and process everything correctly.

  • severe redness around the wound;
  • the appearance of pus;
  • increased body temperature;
  • limitation of mobility of the joint next to which the wound is located.

Pus in the wound / wikimedia.org

People with impaired immunity should be especially careful. That is, those with diabetes, liver disease, malignant neoplasms, HIV, and those taking immunosuppressive medications. With such diseases, the wounds fester very quickly.