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Should I Call the Vet for My Dog’s Injured Leg with No Obvious Pain or Swelling?


Dear VetBabble

Question: My small dog was outside and when he came in, he hurt his back right leg and won’t put weight on it. Despite not showing signs of obvious pain or swelling and no other symptoms like vomiting or dizziness, should I be concerned and call my vet right away or wait and monitor for a few hours?


We understand your concern as a loving pet owner, and it’s essential to monitor your dog’s health closely for any changes. When it comes to injuries and potential complications, it’s best to be cautious and informed. In this specific situation, there are a few aspects we need to address: assessing your dog’s condition, recognizing possible causes of limping, and evaluating when to contact your veterinarian.

Assessing Your Dog’s Condition

After your dog has experienced an injury or starts limping, take a moment to calm your dog and assess their overall condition. The fact that your dog does not yelp in pain when you move their leg and there is no apparent swelling might indicate that the injury is not severe. However, there can be underlying issues that may not be visible on the surface. Besides the limping, observe your dog for any other concerning symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness, lethargy, or significant changes in behavior. These symptoms could suggest a more serious issue that might need immediate attention from a veterinarian.

Possible Causes of Limping

There can be several reasons why your dog is limping. Providing your veterinarian with more information can help them diagnose the issue and suggest the best course of action. Some common causes for limping in dogs are strains, sprains, fractures, arthritis, and even infections. For more information on limping in dogs, you can refer to our article Why Is My Dog Limping? When to Worry and What to Do. It’s also worth noting that some other health issues might present similar symptoms. For instance, situations such as diarrhea or lethargy might be mistaken for a minor injury. Feel free to explore our articles on Diarrhea in Dogs: When to Worry and Is My Puppy Tired or Lethargic? for more insights on these topics.

Evaluating When to Contact Your Veterinarian

Before deciding whether to call your vet, take the time to monitor your dog’s behavior and condition for 2 to 3 hours. If the issue persists or gets worse, it’s best to consult your veterinarian right away. Additionally, if your pet shows any of the previously mentioned symptoms, it is wise to contact your vet immediately for advice or book an appointment. Note that injuries are not exclusive to dogs, and similar symptoms might be observed in cats as well. It’s always a good idea to become familiar with common health concerns for different pets, such as Arthritis in Cats, to provide your beloved companions with the best care possible. In conclusion, we advise monitoring your dog closely for any changes in their condition or behavior. If you notice worsening symptoms or if your dog doesn’t show improvement within a few hours, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian. Remember that providing accurate information about your pet’s condition and promptly addressing any health issues will enable you to offer the excellent care they deserve.

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