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When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Care for a Limping Pet

In most cases, your pet’s lameness can wait until the next business day for veterinary attention. However, there are certain situations when you should promptly head to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital.

Signs of lameness in pets that require emergency care

If your four-legged companion displays any of the following signs, it’s crucial to go to the emergency room:

  • Dragging a limb
  • Not bearing weight on a limb
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Excessive swelling
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Abrupt worsening of a limp

If your pet exhibits minor lameness along with concerning signs like vomiting or diarrhea, they may require emergency treatment for the underlying cause rather than solely focusing on the limp.

Causes of lameness in pets that require emergency care

Pets can experience lameness due to various reasons, some of which demand immediate treatment. While a muscle sprain or strain is concerning, rushing to the nearest emergency hospital may not be necessary. However, certain conditions require urgent care, including:

  • A fractured limb
  • Paresis or paralysis of one or more limbs
  • A deep or large wound that won’t stop bleeding
  • A venomous insect or snake bite
  • A car accident
  • A dog fight

Some of these situations may not initially appear severe, but internal issues could develop and require treatment. For instance, you might assume that your pet, who was hit by a car and only has minor road rash and a slight limp, is fine. However, a comprehensive examination could reveal damage to their liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder, necessitating intensive hospitalization.

Another common scenario that necessitates emergency treatment is when a pet is bitten by another animal. Puncture marks may seem minor, but the wounds can quickly become infected. Additionally, a pet that grabs and shakes your companion can cause significant underlying tissue damage that rapidly escalates into a serious problem.

Determining whether your four-legged friend, now a three-legged pet, requires emergency care can be challenging. Therefore, reach out to our team to discuss your pet’s condition, and we can provide advice on whether they need immediate treatment.