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My dog is limping…

v-42As I was sitting on the bench between shifts at hockey last night one of my team mates asked me about his dog that “blew out his knee”. We chatted for a bit about what exactly happened. The dog is “his wife’s dog” so he wasn’t exactly sure but he did say the dog is walking around holding up one leg. I started talking about pain and pain management and what can be done depending on whether this was due to a cruciate tear, another ligament problem, maybe a knee cap issue but regardless of whether or not surgery is an option we can definitely treat him for the pain associated with whatever the cause is.

Imagine my surprise when he said “but, he is not in pain”. I get this a lot from people I know and sometimes even clients. I asked him if he ever “blew out a knee” and he actually had so my next question was – “did it hurt?” He responded with an emphatic “Yes!” My next question was, “Why do you think he isn’t using that leg? Why do you think he is limping?” He kind of stared at me for a minute and then laughed and said …”You’re right – He probably IS painful”. You could almost see the light bulb go on.

Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t unusual. My pet is limping, but he isn’t painful is a common misconception. Unless a pet has a true mechanical reason for limping (like one leg is shorter than the other) then lameness is almost always a sign of pain! What are some other signs of pain? Certainly vocalizing is but that usually means it is pretty severe for most pets. More often there may be just a mild change in behavior, stiffness/soreness upon rising, decreased grooming, holding the tail more down than normal. Some of these can easily be passed off as “he is just getting older” when in actuality we may have pain that CAN be treated.

That’s the good news…Pain can often be managed or treated and there are a lot of things that can be done right here at our practice in Saint Cloud; you don’t need to go to a specialist. Check out our pages on Recognizing pain, pain management, therapy laser, massage and platelet rich plasma for more details.

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