When Should You Seek Emergency Care for Your Limping Pet?

In most cases, your pet’s limp can wait until the next business day for veterinary care. However, there are certain circumstances where immediate action is necessary, along with the presence of limping, and you should head to your nearest emergency veterinary hospital right away.

Signs of lameness in pets that require emergency care:

If your furry companion displays any of the following signs, it’s crucial to go 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

If your pet has a minor limp but also exhibits concerning signs like vomiting or diarrhea, they may require emergency treatment for the underlying cause, rather than solely focusing on the limp.

Causes of lameness in pets that require emergency care:

Pets can experience lameness for various reasons, some of which necessitate immediate treatment. While a muscle sprain or strain is worrisome, rushing to the nearest emergency hospital may not be necessary. However, certain conditions do call for urgent care, including:

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

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

Another common scenario that warrants emergency treatment is when a pet is bitten by another animal. Although puncture marks may seem minor, these wounds can quickly become infected. Moreover, if a pet shakes and grabs your companion, it can cause severe damage to underlying tissues, which can rapidly escalate into a serious problem.

Determining whether your four-legged friend, who has become a three-legged pet, requires emergency care can be challenging. Therefore, we encourage you to give our team a call to discuss your pet’s condition. We can provide advice and guidance on whether emergency treatment is necessary.