Causes of Lameness in Dogs: An Overview

Limping puppy will improve once the cause is found.

It can be very upsetting to see your dog limping or having trouble getting around. After all, many of the things that dogs love to do require good mobility and soundness of limb. Chasing balls, going for walks, and just moving normally around the home are all affected when a dog is suffering from lameness. The causes of limping in dogs are quite numerous. Below is an overview of many of the causes of lameness in dogs.

Remember, never give your dog any over-the-counter or prescription human medications without checking with your veterinarian first. Dogs metabolize medications differently than humans do, so giving improper drugs can be very dangerous or fatal.

Sprain, Strain, or Bruise



Diseases of the Foot Pad and Skin


Hip Dysplasia

Elbow Dysplasia


Luxating Patella

Osteochondritis Dessicans (OCD)


Legg-Perthes Disease

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture (ACL Rupture)

Bone Cancer

Intervertebral Degenerative Disk Disease (IVDD)

There are some other, more rare neurological and muscle diseases that can also cause lameness. A thorough veterinary exam and possibly diagnostics such as bloodwork and x-rays are necessary to determine why your dog is limping. If your dog limps for more than a day or two, appears to be very painful and vocalizing, or has other signs of illness such as inappetance or lethargy, schedule a visit to your veterinarian right away.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in Dogs

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs

Medial Fragmented Coronoid Process

Ununited Anconeal Process

Osteochondritis Dessicans of the Humeral Condyle (OCD)

Panosteitis in Dogs: Growing Pains

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with