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What could cause a dog to limp?

A:

Quick Answer

The possible reasons for a dog to limp vary widely, but issues with aging and injuries to pads, toes, webbing, joints and bones are possible explanations. A dog limps either because he is unable to put weight on one limb, or because his normal range of motion is hampered.

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Full Answer

Toe injuries, such as cracked nails, bruises or fractures, often cause a dog to limp. Some breeds of dogs have soft skin known as webbing between their toes. Foreign objects lodged in this area or an injury caused by a sharp object are likely to cause limps in dogs. Likewise, injuries to a dog's footpads are also potential causes for limps.

Joint or bone injuries, such as fractures or dislocations, are likely to make a dog limp. Swelling and visible signs of pain are indications that a fracture or dislocation may be to blame. The dog is likely to avoid putting weight on the affected limb completely. Another possibility behind a limp is the age of the dog. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to arthritis and cancer as they age. Arthritis usually affects the dog's range of motion, and he may be able to put some weight on the limb, but not enough to walk normally.

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