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Category: lameness


It is not uncommon for dogs to become lame at some time in their life. In young athletic dogs sudden (acute) lameness may be the result of a soft tissue injury such as a sprain or muscle injury. Lameness that doesn’t resolve within a few days of rest should be investigated by your veterinary surgeon. Causes of chronic lameness include more severe damage to ligaments (such as torn knee ligaments) or mechanical causes of lameness such as luxating patellae (loose knee caps). Lameness can also be caused by neurological problems such as a slipped disc. Dogs will sometimes lick continually at a painful joint and in dogs with pale coloured coats the saliva may start to stain the fur over the affected joint. Occasionally the joint may appear hot or swollen but more usually you will not be able to recognise any change in the joint. The signs in some animals can be very obvious whereas other pets may just become quieter or more grumpy if they are in discomfort.

Physical changes in joints may lead to development of arthritis in later life.Arthritis causes pain and stiffness in the joints. If your pet has arthritis you may notice they are not as keen to exercise as in the past and they may limp or seem to be stiff (particularly when getting up from rest). This stiffness may get better after being out for a walk, and sometimes cold and/or damp weather may appear to make signs worse.

Some breeds of dogs have specific breed-related problems such as elbow dysplasia in Labradors and hip dysplasia in German shepherd dogs. In these breeds your vet can perform screening X-raysto see if your pet is affected. If you are planning to breed from your pet and it belongs to a breed with any specific health problems you should contact your vet for advice to see if any testing is necessary before breeding.

Neuromuscular disorders

Neuromuscular disorders in pets can be very frightening for owners. Apparently healthy animals may collapse at exercise or become paralysed over a period of a few hours for no apparent reason. An accurate diagnosis is important as, with appropriate early

Myasthenia gravis

Myasthenia gravis (MG) literally means grave (gravis) muscle(my-) weakness (asthenia). It is an unusual cause of generalised weakness in dogs and occasionally cats. What is myasthenia gravis? Each muscle in the body is controlled by its own nerve, but this nerve does not connect directly

Managing pain in pets

Long term (chronic) pain is as debilitating in animals as it is in people. Constant pain significantly reduces pleasure in life and can lead to sleeplessness and a poor appetite. Simple measures to control even mild pain can result in a

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a condition that was first described in people in Lyme, Connecticut, USA in the 1970s and discovered in dogs in the 1980s. It is an example of a tick-borne disease (see below) and is one of many

Luxating patella

Owners of some dogs may notice that they often 'hop' on one of their back legs carrying the other. This strange behaviour may be caused by an unstable kneecap or 'patella'. Although most common in small breeds of dog any

Joint problems in young dogs

Puppies continue to grow and develop for months or years after birth. Giant breeds may not reach full adult size for 18 months or 2 years. During this growth period they are at particular risk from bone and joint disorders.

Intervertebral disc herniation or “slipped disc”

A slipped disc (also known as intervertebral disc herniation) is the most common cause of paralysis in dogs. Cats are much less often affected. What is the intervertebral disc? The spine is the name given to the collection of bones

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common and often debilitating joint disease affecting many larger breed (usually pedigree) dogs. Affected dogs have a genetic tendency to develop the disease but the severity of the disease can be influenced by other factors. What is an inherited joint

Elbow dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is a common and often debilitating joint disease affecting many larger breed (usually pedigree) dogs. Affected dogs have a genetic tendency to develop the disease but the severity of the disease can be influenced by other factors. The Kennel Club (KC)  introduced

Cruciate ligament rupture (torn knee ligaments)

Cruciate ligament rupture is the famous knee injury of professional footballers. It is surprisingly common in dogs too. If the ligaments are damaged they need to be replaced during an operation on the knee. After the operation most dogs return

Cauda equina diseases (back problems)

Back problems in dogs are not uncommon. Many breeds are affected by 'disk disease' but diseases of the spinal cord itself are also a problem. These diseases are painful and affect a dog's mobility. Medical management may help some dogs,

BVA/KC hip dysplasia scoring scheme

Hip dysplasia is a common and often debilitating joint disease affecting many larger breed (usually pedigree) dogs. Affected dogs have a genetic tendency to develop the disease but the severity of the disease can be influenced by other factors. The Kennel Club (KC) introduced the

BVA/KC elbow dysplasia scoring scheme

Elbow dysplasia is a common and often debilitating joint disease affecting many larger breed (usually pedigree) dogs. Affected dogs have a genetic tendency to develop the disease but the severity of the disease can be influenced by other factors. The Kennel Club (KC) introduced the elbow

Bone problems in young dogs

Puppies continue to grow and develop for months or years after birth. Giant breeds may not reach full adult size for 18 months or 2 years. During this growth period they are at particular risk from bone and joint disorders.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a familiar problem for most vets. A large number of dogs, and an increasing number of cats, suffer from arthritis. Arthritis simply means an inflammation of joints and animals with arthritis usually suffer with pain and stiffness in their joints. Although