Why is My Dog Limping?

Q

Why is my dog limping?

A

Many times the limping is due to a sprain or a strain and pain relievers and some rest is all that is needed. However, your veterinarian should assess an injury that causes your dog to limp.

A common injury to the rear leg is the tearing of the cranial cruciate ligament. (This injury is also common in sports and is referred to as the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL in humans.) Ignoring this kind of injury can lead to arthritic changes from chronic instability in the knee joint.  Most CCL ruptures happen in large breed dogs especially those that are overweight or “weekend warriors”. Keeping your dog in good physical condition can lessen, though not eliminate, his chances of injury.

The fix for a CCL rupture is surgery. Many different procedures have been used with varying degrees of success. The preferred procedure today is the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy or TPLO. This procedure does not repair the ligament but alters the configuration of the tibia bone so that the ligament is not necessary.  Strict rest during healing is very important.  Since specialized equipment is required for this type of knee repair, board certified surgeons best perform TPLO.

Many people opt for a less expensive surgery which replaces the ligament with a nylon line. This method works well but is prone to failure if the dog is too large or too active and the line breaks prematurely.

For further information or to have your pet assessed, please call Hudson Veterinary Hospital at (330)650-2929.

Dr. Mark