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Why is my 10-year-old lab limping and unable to put pressure on his leg after surgery?


Dear VetBabble,

I have a 10-year-old chocolate lab who started limping and moaning about 5 weeks ago. The limp was very slight, but after an operation to remove a lump from his head and a fatty lump from his chest, he hasn’t been able to put any pressure on his right leg. The vet took X-rays, but they didn’t show arthritis or any issues in his lower spine, knee, or hip. What should we do next?

Understanding the Underlying Problem

Dear concerned pet owner, we understand how worrisome it can be when your beloved pet starts exhibiting signs of pain. In cases like your lab’s, where the initial tests (such as X-rays) don’t reveal the cause of the problem, it’s essential to consider additional exams and consult with specialists. This article will discuss three steps that you should consider taking to address your pet’s limp and help them recover.

1. Neurological and Orthopedic Examinations

Since X-rays didn’t reveal any issues in the spine, knee, or hip, exploring neurological causes might be the next step. Consulting with a veterinary neurologist or an orthopedic specialist can provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of any potential abnormalities in your pet’s musculoskeletal or nervous system. These experts may recommend additional tests such as CT or MRI scans to obtain more detailed images of the affected area.

A helpful article on our website, Why Is My Dog Limping? When to Worry and What to Do, provides valuable advice on how to determine when to be concerned about your dog’s limp and explores the possible causes of limping in dogs. This article might help you put your current situation in perspective and provide some helpful insights.

2. Further Examinations and Tests

Since your dog has a history of lumps, it’s essential to rule out any possible connection between these lumps and the limping. For instance, the lump on your dog’s head might have been benign, but the fatty lump on their chest could still be relevant to their current condition. Our article, Lumps and Bumps: When to Worry, can provide additional guidance on when to be concerned about lumps in your pet. In such cases, it’s critical to follow up with your veterinarian regarding any possible connection.

For some pets, injuries such as Cranial Cruciate Ligament Ruptures can cause pain and limping, so it’s essential to explore all possible reasons behind the issue. If your pet is limping but hasn’t been accurately diagnosed, further tests and examinations, as recommended by specialists, can be imperative in finding a solution.

3. Consider Management Techniques for Pain and Mobility Issues

Although your dog’s X-rays didn’t show arthritis, it’s still essential to remain vigilant about the possibility, especially since arthritis is a common issue among older pets. Our article, Arthritis in Cats, explains how arthritis affects pets and provides valuable insight into potential pain management techniques.

While the article focuses more on cats, similar concepts apply to dogs too. Ensure that you’re providing your pet with a comfortable and supportive environment, such as orthopedic or memory foam beds, to maintain their mobility and overall health. Supplements and medications, as recommended by your vet, could also be a valuable addition to your pet’s pain management plan.

In conclusion, the next steps to address your dog’s limping issue include consulting with specialists, considering further tests and examinations, and exploring pain management techniques. With proper attention, care, and advice from veterinarians and specialists, you’ll be well-equipped to cope with your pet’s condition and help them enjoy their golden years comfortably.

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