Call: 518-519-3606

Knowing When to Seek Emergency Care for a Limping Pet

In most cases, if your pet is experiencing lameness, it can wait until the next business day for veterinary attention. However, there are certain situations where you should immediately head to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital.

Signs of lameness in pets that require emergency care:

If your furry companion displays any of the following signs, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention:

1. Dragging a limb
2. Not bearing weight on a limb
3. Extreme lethargy
4. Uncontrollable bleeding
5. Excessive swelling
6. Excessive vocalization
7. Sudden worsening of a limp

If your pet has a minor limp along with worrisome symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, they may require emergency treatment for the underlying cause, rather than solely for the limp itself.

Causes of lameness in pets that require emergency care:

Pets can experience lameness due to various reasons, but certain conditions demand urgent treatment. While a muscle sprain or strain is concerning, it does not necessitate an immediate trip to the emergency hospital. However, the following conditions do require urgent care:

1. A fractured limb
2. Paresis or paralysis of one or more limbs
3. A deep or large wound that won’t stop bleeding
4. Bites from venomous insects or snakes
5. Involvement in a car accident
6. Injuries resulting from a dog fight

Some of these situations may not appear severe at first, but they can lead to internal complications that require treatment. For instance, if your pet is hit by a car and only shows minor road rash on their legs and a slight limp, a comprehensive examination may uncover damage to their liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder, which could necessitate intensive hospitalization.

Another common scenario that calls for emergency treatment is when a pet is bitten by another animal. Although the puncture marks may seem small, the wounds can quickly become infected. Additionally, if your pet is grabbed and shaken forcefully by another animal, significant damage to underlying tissues can occur, leading to serious complications.

Determining whether your pet, who has gone from four legs to three, requires emergency care can be challenging. Reach out to our team to discuss your pet’s condition, and we will provide guidance on whether they need immediate treatment.