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My Dog Is Limping On Their Rear Leg. What Could It Be? 10 Reasons Why Your Dog Might Be Limping.

My Dog Is Limping On Their Rear Leg. What Could It Be? 10 Reasons Why Your Dog Might Be Limping.

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 the paws:

    1. Corns - 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, making 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 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 here: 

On the rear leg:

    1. Cruciate Ligament Knee Injury - 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 dogs cruciate ligament whether they have surgery or not. This will increase recovery time and reduce risk of re-injury. Read more here:
    2. 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 as possible. Read more here: 
    3. 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.
    4. Luxating Patella - Patella Luxation is when your dogs kneecap no longer slides up and down smoothly in your dogs thigh. When your dog has luxating patella, they are likely to limp occasionally or consistently depending on how severe their condition is and will also show signs of stiffness for example not being able to get out of their bed easily or only walk short distances. You need to give your dogs kneecap support to reduce the chances severe injury to the luxating patella. Read more here:

Above the rear leg:

  1. Hip Dysplasia - Hip dysplasia is a painful condition that causes the hip joint to develop abnormally. It is an inherited condition. Some dogs respond very well to non-surgical management through weight, exercise control and a hip brace. If your dog improves with treatment, it’s possible for them to live a long happy life. Read more here:
  2. 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 and it can be anything from an injury sustained through trauma or an accident to a genetic or breed-specific issue such as IVDD. Read more here:
  3. Neurological issues - the most common is Degenerative Myelopathy - Degenerative myelopathy (DM), also sometimes known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM), is a progressive, and very sadly, incurable 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 degenerative myelopathy may initially show signs like weakness and unsteadiness when walking. This means that sometimes they are misdiagnosed for arthritis or other age-related conditions. Read more here: 

Read more on Dog Limping - Causes, Prevention and How to Help here

Previous article Cara is a 14 year old German Shepherd. She regularly sees the vet and has rear knuckling linked to the typical GSD weak hips / neuropathy and some osteoarthritis. What would you recommend?
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