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When Should You Seek Emergency Care for a Limping Pet?

In most cases, your pet’s limp can wait until the next business day for veterinary care. However, certain conditions accompanied by limping require immediate attention at 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 is crucial to head to the emergency room:

  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 but also exhibits concerning signs like vomiting or diarrhea, they may require emergency treatment for the underlying cause rather than just the limp itself.

Causes of Lameness in Pets That Require Emergency Care

Pets can experience lameness for various reasons, some of which demand immediate treatment. While a muscle sprain or strain may be worrisome, rushing to the nearest emergency hospital is unnecessary. However, certain conditions necessitate urgent care, including:

  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 from a dog fight

Some of these situations may not initially appear severe, but they can lead to internal complications that require treatment. For instance, if your pet is hit by a car and only sustains minor road rash and a slight limp, a comprehensive examination might reveal damage to their liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder, necessitating 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 a pet grabs and shakes your pet, it can cause significant 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. Feel free to contact our team to discuss your pet’s condition, and we will provide guidance on whether emergency treatment is necessary.