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When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Care for a Limping Pet

Typically, your pet’s lameness can wait until the next business day for veterinary attention. However, certain conditions accompanied by limping require immediate action, prompting you to head to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital right away.

Signs of lameness in pets that necessitate emergency care

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

  • Dragging a limb
  • Inability to bear weight on a limb
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Excessive swelling
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Sudden worsening of a limp

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

Causes of lameness in pets that require emergency care

Pets can become lame due to various reasons, some of which demand immediate treatment. While a muscle sprain or strain is worrisome, it doesn’t necessitate rushing to the nearest emergency hospital. However, certain conditions do require urgent care, including:

  • Fractured limb
  • Paresis or paralysis of one or more limbs
  • Deep or large wounds that won’t stop bleeding
  • Venomous insect or snake bites
  • Car accidents
  • Dog fights

Although some of these situations may not initially appear severe, internal issues could develop, requiring treatment. For instance, if your pet was hit by a car resulting in minor limb injuries and road rash, a comprehensive examination might reveal damage to vital organs such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder, warranting intensive hospitalization.

Another common scenario that calls for emergency treatment is when a pet has been bitten by another animal. Puncture wounds may seem insignificant, but they can quickly become infected. Moreover, a pet that grabs and shakes your companion can cause extensive tissue damage that 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. We encourage you to contact our team and discuss your pet’s condition, allowing us to advise you on whether they need immediate treatment.