Why Is My Dogs Ankle Swollen

There are numerous causes of swelling in your dog’s legs, including accidents, allergies, infections, diseases, and more. It’s crucial to see a veterinarian for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment if your dog has swelling in one or both of its legs.

Knowing when something is wrong with your dog will help you as a pet parent. You need to be aware of the issue and know when to take your pet to the veterinarian whether they have an itchy ear, are limping, or have swollen legs.

It’s never normal to swell. It may be a sign that something is amiss if your dog’s leg is swollen. Swelling is frequently a sign of another underlying medical issue, like an injury or illness. Depending on the reason of the swelling, it may be acute and happen rapidly or it may happen gradually over time to your dog’s limb. Swelling is a medical issue that should be addressed by a veterinarian, and the treatment of a swollen leg in dogs depends on the cause. This article will address typical causes of dog leg swelling and when to consult a veterinarian.

How can you treat a dog’s ankle swelling?

Even though dogs have two more legs than humans do, they nonetheless limp when their foot or leg is injured. If your dog starts to hobble around, there are a few first aid procedures you may carry out at home, even though the majority of limps require veterinarian care.

What causes lameness?

Lameness develops when one or more of the legbones, muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, or skin are damaged or rendered ineffective. Some limps have an obvious cause. A broken bone or dislocated joint may cause edema and cause the limb to dangle awkwardly. Between the toes, red, wet lesions indicative of interdigital pyoderma (skin infection) will be visible. Deeper infections like abscesses manifest under the skin as warm, moveable, squishy swellings. It is possible for injuries to joints, nerves, tendons, and ligaments to go undetected on the outside.

How serious is a limp?

Assessing the limp is the first step in giving first aid because some limps are more severe than others. Observe your dog as it walks. Which leg is limping—the right or left, front or back? When walking, does your dog carry the leg; nevertheless, when standing still, does it balance? Does she walk on it but occasionally stumble? Does she move more quickly than usual? Is the leg always on the ground?

The second step is to set a deadline. How long have you had the limp? Did it begin suddenly or gradually develop? Was trauma a factor? Are particular periods of the day, such as the morning or just after exercise, when the lameness is worse?

Should I try to examine the leg?

Do not try to examine your dog if she is in excruciating discomfort. Even if she doesn’t seem to be in pain, moving broken bones or dislocated joints can be painful and even worsen the condition. Here is a straightforward formula to assist you in judging the severity of the injury: The majority of dogs won’t walk on a broken leg or an injured joint.

Two people are needed for a thorough exam: one to bind the dog and the other to inspect the leg. Be careful because vicious dogs can bite even the people they love. Stop the exam if it starts to hurt too much! The majority of lame dogs should be evaluated by a veterinarian, but in case you want to try it yourself, here are a few tips.

Once you’ve determined which leg is affected, you need to determine exactly where it hurts. Start your examination from the toes. Check for foreign objects (thorns, splinters, grass awns) or redness between the toes (interdigital pyoderma). Assess each toenail for breaks or nail bed infections and check the pads for cuts or punctures. Each toe should be gently pressed; pay attention to any tender spots. When you touch a hurting location, the majority of dogs will draw the leg back.

By gently pressing on each section of the leg, work your way up the limb to locate sore spots. Take note of any swelling. Joints can bend and flex. A joint that resists being bent indicates pain. Compare it to the other leg if something seems or feels out of the ordinary. After that, phone your veterinarian and share your findings.

What should I do for non-emergency limps?

  • If you see an object between your toes and can easily reach it, take it out and wash the wound with antibacterial soap. To reduce swelling, soak the foot in warm water containing Epsom salts. After that, use an antibiotic cream.
  • Control the bleeding and administer first aid as directed in the articles First Aid for Torn Foot Pads and First Aid for Broken Nails for cut or torn foot pads and broken nails.
  • (Please identify them and provide article citations)
  • Apply ice packs for 15 minutes twice a day to the area if the dog has swelling brought on by a sprain, bruising, or tendonitis. Water in motion promotes healing, lowers edema, and increases circulation. Put your dog in a tub and spray the leg with a hose or with water for 15 minutes twice a day.
  • Apply warm compresses to the abscess area or take a warm Epsom salts bath to treat it. Bring the dog to the vet if the abscess ruptures so they may clean the wound and administer antibiotics.
  • Keep lame dogs inside and limit their activities.

How do I transport a limping dog?

Exercise cautious when transporting an injured dog as this could make the situation worse. To transport little dogs, support the head and hips as you do so. Lay the dog down, damaged leg raised. Gently assist larger dogs that can stand on three legs into the car. Use a blanket to carry the dog if she is unable to walk. When you arrive at the emergency clinic, request help removing your dog from the car.

How is lameness in dogs treated?

The treatment options for lame dogs have improved due to medical developments. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are used for a long time to treat dogs with chronic arthritis and to reduce pain and inflammation in acute injuries. Additionally, there are medications that enhance joint health and offer secure pain management.

There are both surgical and non-surgical therapies for traumatic fractures. Some broken legs are fixed surgically using pins and plates, while others are splinted or cast. Bandages or slings are used to replace and support dislocated joints. Surgery is used to treat stubborn joints that often dislocate in order to offer long-term relief.

In conclusion, there are various ways to assist a dog who is limping. If you give your dog first aid when necessary and promptly seek veterinary care when necessary, their chances of recovering are increased.

What food can I offer my dog to reduce swelling?

NSAIDs, also known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, are effective at easing joint pain, stiffness, and edema in people and can also benefit your dog.

Some of the NSAIDs that are available are only for dogs:

  • carprofen (Novox or Rimadyl)
  • deracoxib (Deramaxx)
  • firocoxib (Previcox)
  • meloxicam (Metacam )
  • grapipant (Galliprant)

Why is my dog limping and his leg is swollen?

Dogs hobble for a variety of causes, much like humans. Dogs are unable to communicate verbally with us, unlike humans, thus we are left guessing as to why a dog is limping.

Your veterinarian is the most useful source for learning the cause of your dog’s limp. However, most of us want to learn a little bit about the typical causes of canine limping, what to anticipate from a visit to the veterinarian, and when a dog’s limping becomes a medical emergency before making a call to schedule an appointment.

Gradual Onset vs. Sudden Limping in Dogs

Dogs might limp in one of two ways: gradually or suddenly. Progressive onset limps develop gradually over time. Like their name suggests, sudden limps occur rapidly, frequently following an injury or shock. Your veterinarian can limit down the potential reasons of your dog’s limping by knowing whether or not it is sudden or gradual. This information can also help you decide whether or not your dog’s limping constitutes a medical emergency.

In general, underlying, chronic or degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis or dysplasia are to blame for gradual onset limps in dogs. On the other hand, sudden onset limps are typically brought on by an accident or trauma.

The mere fact that your dog has developed a limp does not warrant delaying scheduling an appointment. If a cause of gradual limping is discovered sooner rather than later, it may be possible to treat it more successfully, such as bone cancer or hip dysplasia.

When to Call the Vet If Your Dog Is Limping

In general, if a dog’s limp persists for more than a few minutes, it is best to be safe and contact your veterinarian. But just like with people, pets frequently suffer injuries after business hours. How do you determine when it’s okay for your dog to limp until the next morning and when you need to get to the emergency vet right away?

It is normally okay to wait a few hours for gradual or abrupt onset limps that don’t seem to be troubling your dog too much. In some circumstances, the limps may even go away on their own while you wait. Your dog, though, can’t wait in some situations.

Nerve damage can be an indication of a more serious neurological illness or spinal injury, and broken bones or dislocated joints require rapid medical attention. If your dog exhibits any of the emergency symptoms listed below, you must get them to the vet or veterinary emergency department right away:

  • swaying limb (dislocation)
  • Swelling
  • Warm limb
  • obviously broken or at an angle

Common Causes of Limping in Dogs

Lameness in dogs is a common veterinary problem, and it can have a wide range of underlying reasons, from trauma to chronic illnesses. Despite how overwhelming it may seem, these factors can be divided into a few groups.

Paw Injury

You know what it feels like to have something sharp stuck in your foot if you’ve ever walked on a shard of glass. Glass, nails, sticks, thorns, plant stuff, and other foreign objects that shouldn’t be in your dog’s paws hurt. They can cause infection and make walking painful. Along with lacerations, broken toenails, burns, frostbite, and bruising, insect and animal stings and bites can also result in pain and limping. If your dog is constantly licking his paw, he may have something stuck in there.

Joint Disease

Some illnesses gradually degrade the musculoskeletal system and joints. As a result, the dog starts to limp. Any of the afflicted limbs may limp due to osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, ligament disease, intervertebral disk disease, and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). Lyme disease and similar infections can also result in limping and joint pain, which is another another reason why it’s crucial to keep your dog on an effective tick preventative.

Your veterinarian will probably suggest a glucosamine and chondroitin joint supplement of veterinary-grade if your dog has dysplasia or has been diagnosed with arthritis. Because joint supplements are generally safe for long-term usage in patients, they are frequently utilized as an early intervention and during the course of osteoarthritis. Joint supplements may help ease osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia symptoms even though there is still little study on the subject.

Bone Disease

Some illnesses can make your dog limp because they affect the bones in their legs. Younger dogs, particularly puppies of large breeds, are susceptible to developing painful walking diseases such panosteitis and hypertrophic osteodystrophy. For the best prognosis, it’s important to get a quick diagnosis of some tumors, such osteosarcoma, which also affect the bones.

Injury or Trauma

The most obvious response to “why is my dog limping?” is injuries and trauma. Our dogs are subject to virtually as many different forms of injuries as humans are, from sports injuries to auto accidents. Dogs may limp moderately to severely as a result of broken bones, fractures, sprains, dislocations, ligament tears, joint damage, and spinal injuries. In certain situations, the dog may even be unable to bear any weight on the injured limb. Athletes who limp should receive plenty of rest until the source of the limp is found and treated, however proper conditioning can help lower the risk of some sports injuries.

Wait for around 15 minutes while attempting to keep your puppy calm and immobile if your dog becomes acutely lame (particularly if he’s a puppy). They will probably yell and weep for approximately five minutes because they are like children. After that, you might notice that they’re acting completely normal, saving you the trip to the ER.

However, if they are still unsteady or incapable of bearing weight after 15 minutes, you should take them to the vet.

Diagnosing a Limping Dog

The reason for your dog’s limp may occasionally be obvious, such as a broken bone or a piece of glass in a paw pad. Sometimes the root problem is a little harder to pinpoint.

To ascertain the cause of your dog’s limping, your veterinarian may need to perform several tests. A broken bone, a joint condition, and other skeletal anomalies can all be seen on radiographs. Joint fluid collection and biopsies can help detect malignancy and other potential causes, and blood tests for immune-related or infectious disorders such Lyme disease may also be required.

Your dog will undergo a physical examination by your veterinarian before the test to check for tenderness, pain, and range of motion in his limbs. Before contacting the veterinarian, you can perform your own checkup at home. Testing the range of motion and playing with your dog’s limb without correct training, however, is not a good idea and could further hurt your dog. To check for swelling, heat, and to identify any sore areas, you can gently run your palm along your dog’s leg and paw. Your veterinarian can use this information to decide whether your dog can wait for a spot or whether he needs to come in right away.

Treating a Limping Dog

Depending on the reason of your dog’s lameness, several treatments may be required. The course of treatment for your dog may be as straightforward as a few days of rest, or it may involve surgery, medication, additional testing, and a protracted recovery. Despite how frightening that may sound, the majority of the time, the sooner you get your dog to the vet, the better the prognosis.

Keep your dog as calm as you can while you wait for your appointment, refrain from playing with or exercising the dog to prevent aggravating the limp, and if necessary, kennel your dog in the car to prevent further harm.

If you have any additional inquiries about the cause of your dog’s limp, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Never give dogs any human painkillers, including acetaminophen or ibuprofen, whether they are over-the-counter or prescribed since they could be poisonous or lethal. Always seek advice from your vet.

Emergency First Aid for Dogs

A sudden injury or illness cannot always be prevented, even by the most diligent pet owner. Receiving emergency medical care for your pet could mean the difference between life and death. To find out more about what to do in an emergency, download this e-book.