Golden retriever on walk with owner

Why Is My Pet Lame Or Limping?

Lameness or limping in pets can be caused by various underlying issues, ranging from mild to severe. Some common reasons why your pet may be lame or limping include:


Pets can sustain injuries to their muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, or joints due to accidents, falls, or trauma. This can include sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations, or soft tissue injuries.


Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can affect pets, especially as they age. It causes inflammation, pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility in the affected joints.


Infections, whether bacterial, viral, or fungal, can affect the bones, joints, or soft tissues, leading to lameness. Examples include osteomyelitis (bone infection) or septic arthritis (joint infection).

Ligament or Tendon Injuries:

Tears or ruptures of ligaments (e.g., cruciate ligament) or tendons (e.g., Achilles tendon) can cause significant lameness and pain in pets.

Inflammatory Conditions:

Inflammatory diseases such as Lyme disease, immune-mediated polyarthritis, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) can cause lameness as part of their clinical presentation.

Congenital Conditions:

Some pets may be born with congenital abnormalities or developmental disorders that predispose them to lameness, such as congenital hip dysplasia or angular limb deformities.

image of a limping pet

If your pet is lame or limping, it is essential to seek veterinary attention. Your vet can perform a thorough examination, diagnostic tests (such as X-rays, blood work, or joint fluid analysis), and provide appropriate treatment to address the underlying cause of lameness and assist with your pet’s discomfort. Delayed or untreated lameness can lead to chronic pain, decreased mobility, and secondary complications.

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