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10 Reasons Why My Dog Might Be Limping In Their Rear Leg or Paw

10 Reasons Why My Dog Might Be Limping In Their Rear Leg or Paw

My Dog Is Limping On Their Rear Leg. What Could It Be? 

Your dog might have started to limp, and there can be several reasons. Start by looking at each part of your dogs rear leg. 

In their paws:

1. Corns in Greyhounds

Do you have a greyhound? Corns on your dog's paw are circular blister-like spots of hardened skin. Corns are painful and uncomfortable, making your dog limp or unable to put weight on the particular paw. Corns make even short walks difficult. Corns are very specific to greyhounds and are rarely found in other breeds, corns are the most common skin condition from which sighthounds suffer.

Read more about corns in greyhounds here

2. Paw Injury Including Cuts

Have a thorough look at your dog's paw. This includes clearing the paw gently with clean warm water to see if you can see any bleeding which might indicate a thorn or similar.

3. Paw Knuckling

You might have noticed your dog’s paw curling over - knuckling - and your dog can no longer walk flat on their paw pad. They will likely step on the top of their paw rather than the paw pad, and as a result, the skin on the paw can get scraped and bleed while the nails can get much shorter. Your dog might weave, look unsteady, limp, or drag this knuckling paw. This is all dog knuckling.

Read more Dog Paw Knuckling: Prevention, Treatments and How to Help

On their rear leg:

4. Dog Cruciate Ligament Knee Injury / ACL

A dog cruciate ligament injury might start with a dog limp, bunny hop, or not weight bearing on their back leg - these are all common signs of a cruciate ligament knee injury. We strongly recommend you support your dog's cruciate ligament whether they have surgery or not. This will increase recovery time and reduce risk of re-injury.

Read about Cruciate Ligaments: Prevention, Treatments and How to Help

5. Achilles Tendon injury

Achilles Tendon injuries occur in your dog’s back legs and can make your dog limp, unable to weight-bear or completely change the angle of your dog’s back leg, often called a ‘dropped’ hock. A dropped hock is a complete Achilles Tendon rupture, causing your dog to walk flat-footed. When this happens, it is important that you give your dog as much support as possible.

Read about Achilles Tendons: Prevention, Treatments and How to Help

6. Hock injuries

Your dog might be limping on their back leg due to hock swelling, arthritis, an Achilles Tendon rupture, or a pulled or torn hock ligament. Your dog might not be able to fully weight bear, limp or walk unsteadily. We recommend you fully support your dog’s hock with a brace, this will reduce pain and prevent re-injury.

Read about Hock Injuries: Prevention, Treatments and how to Help

7. Luxating Patella

Patella Luxation is when your dog's kneecap no longer slides up and down smoothly in its groove (trochlear groove). When your dog has luxating patella, they are likely to limp occasionally or consistently, depending on how severe their condition is.

They'll also show signs of stiffness, for example not being able to get out of their bed easily or only able to walk short distances. You need to give your dog's knee joint support to reduce the chance of severe injury due to the luxating patella.

Read about Luxating Patella: Prevention, Treatments and How to Help

Above their rear leg:

8. Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a painful condition that causes the hip joint to develop abnormally. It's an inherited condition. Some dogs respond very well to non-surgical management through weight management, exercise control, and a hip brace. If your dog improves with treatment, it’s possible for them to live a long happy life.

Read about Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: Prevention, Treatments and How to Help

9. Spinal issues

Dogs, like humans, need a healthy back to get around and live their lives. Back and spinal injuries or problems cover a vast array of issues. They can be anything from an injury sustained through trauma or an accident which can cause a slipped disc in dogs, to a genetic or breed-specific issue such as dog IVDD.

Read about Spinal Issues: Prevention, Treatments and How to Help

10. Neurological issues - commonly Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), also sometimes known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM), is a progressive, and very sadly, incurable and terminal neurological disease. Degenerative Myelopathy is the gradual degeneration of the spinal cord.

It typically begins in the hind limbs and progresses over time. Dogs affected by DM may initially show signs like weakness and unsteadiness when walking. This means that sometimes they are misdiagnosed with arthritis or other age-related conditions.

Read about Degenerative Myelopathy: Prevention, Treatments and How to Help


Previous article Reasons Your Dog May Lose Hind Leg Mobility

Why is My Dog limping?

The most common front legs limp conditions are in the carpal pad area (the wrist) or paws. The most common rear conditions are hip dysplasia, Achilles Tendon or cruciate ligament knee.

REad how to help
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