When to Take a Limping Pet to the Emergency Room

The lameness of your pet can typically wait until the following business day for treatment. However, certain ailments combined with limping indicate that you should visit the nearest emergency veterinary hospital right away.

Lameness signs in pets that require emergency care

Go to the hospital emergency room if your canine companion exhibits any of the following symptoms:

  • Dragging a limb
  • Not bearing weight on a limb
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Excessive swelling
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Abrupt worsening of a limp

If your pet has minor lameness, as well as worrying signs like vomiting or diarrhea, they may require emergency treatment for the primary cause, and not necessarily the limp.


Lameness causes in pets that require emergency care

Numerous conditions can cause pets to become lame, some of which require immediate medical attention. Even though a muscle strain or sprain is worrisome, you don’t have to head straight to the closest emergency room. However, some illnesses do require immediate attention, such as:

  • A fractured limb
  • Paresis or paralysis of one or more limbs
  • A deep or large wound that will not stop bleeding
  • A venomous insect or snake bite
  • A car accident
  • A dog fight

Some of these situations may not appear to result in much injury, but internal issues could develop that require treatment. For example, you may think that your pet who was hit by a car and has only some road rash on their legs and a minor limp is fine, but a comprehensive examination may reveal damage to their liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder, which could require intensive hospitalization. 

A pet that has been bitten by another animal is another scenario that frequently necessitates emergency care. Punctures only leave tiny holes behind, but the wounds spread infection very quickly. Additionally, a pet that grabs and shakes your pet can seriously harm the underlying tissues and quickly worsen the situation.

It can be challenging to decide whether your four-legged companion needs emergency care once they have only three legs. Give our staff a call to discuss your pet’s condition so that we can determine whether they require emergency care.