5 Common Causes of Lameness in Dogs

Almost all dog owners have had a dog start limping at one time or another. Although alarming at first, it’s not always cause for panic. There are probably thousands of reasons your dog may suddenly come up lame.

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Some are certainly more problematic than others, but generally speaking you will often need only a single veterinary visit to find the diagnosis. Lameness can and does happen in dogs of every age, breed, size and degree of health, so don’t be surprised if your athletic youngest comes up with a limp.

We can’t cover all of the many possible causes, but we can certainly discuss a few of the most common.


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Injuries are probably the most common causes of lameness in dogs and they range from very minor to quite severe. Injuries are most notable because of their sudden onset, especially during or after physical activity like running or jumping. Bruises and strains to muscles and tendons from overexertion or minor impact are common in younger dogs with less self-preservation skills – we all know the dog that will jump off a cliff for a frisbee.