Dog Limping on Back Leg

Dogs are active creatures and for this reason, they can sustain severe injuries or get infections from daily activities. Just like human beings, they can sustain injuries such as broken bones, strained muscles, slip discs or even tear ligament. Any of the injuries can lead to immediate dog limping on back leg or movement difficulties.

For the time I have been working as a veterinarian, I have dealt with several dog is limping cases. I often hear questions like…My dog has been limping after running, why is it so sudden? Now that my dog is limping on back leg, what should I do? Why is my dog limping on back leg, what treatment is available for  limping?

There are several causes of dog is limping leg. However, the cause and the possible reason why your dog is limping on back leg depends on several factors. If you can be able to answer any of the below questions, then you can be able to determine the underlying problem.

Dog Limping
  • What is the age of the dog?

  • Did she get the pain suddenly or gradually?
  • Does the limping persist or it comes and leaves after some time?

  • If your dog gets this problem from time to time, is it worse during exercise or when she’s still?

  • Does she get the problem when she wakes up in the morning?

  • Is it always the same leg that she has a problem with?

  • Is she willing to lay weight on the affected leg or she’s completely lame?

  • Does the condition make it difficult for your dog to perform daily tasks such as eating and going outside?

If you answer the above questions correctly, then you are likely to get an insight on what is the cause of dog is limping on back leg. Some of the most common causes include trauma, sprains, osteoarthritis and ligament diseases. The above are just some of the most common causes of dog limping back leg. What this means is that there are several other causes and for this reason, you should always get in touch with your veterinarian. The vet will carry on comprehensive research to determine the specific cause.

Presenting signs and symptoms of dog lameness

Veterinarians, classify dog limping on a scale of grade one to five which depends on the severity. For this reason, it is important to understand each grade so that you will be getting information on whether the dog is limping on back leg or limping leg is getting better or worse. Consequently, the signs and symptoms of dog limping on back leg depending on the grade. However, the most common symptoms and signs of lameness are:

  • The dog is likely to refuse to place any weight on the affected leg especially when it is in grade 5.

  • Grade 5 lameness is likely to make the dog fail to walk the right way or even be totally unwilling to walk.

  • The dog may also have a difficult time walking up and down the stairs.

  • It is also likely to get some signs of discomfort especially from the pain.

  • The other symptom is loss of muscle mass around leg.

  • It is also likely to start knuckling. It may fail to place the paw on the floor properly.

  • Abnormal swelling around the joints

dog lameness

Lameness in older dogs

Although this condition can get dogs at any age depending on the root cause, lameness in older dogs is often due to arthritis setting in. According to research, this is a very common condition in older dogs. It is likely to affect the joints especially the knee, hips and shoulder. If this is the root cause, then the older dogs may benefit from anti-inflammatories, complementary therapies and nutritional supplements. Some of the complementary therapies that can help in this case are acupuncture, hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy.

Lameness in younger dog

On younger dogs, there are several things that can cause dog lameness. What this means is that you should get to a qualified professional to get the insights on the same. The dog may get a problem with over-exercising, injuries or infection. In most cases, bones and joints in younger dogs don’t properly form until they have passed puberty and for this reason, too much exercises or mere injuries can cause problems.

Common causes

The simple reasons why you will see dogs limping or dog is limping on back leg is because she isn’t comfortable to or refuses to put her full weight on the affected limp. In addition, there is need to visit veterinarian to determine the main reason for this. Below are some of the reasons why your dog is limping.

  • Overexertion

  • Bone Cancer

  • Inflammatory diseases

  • Trauma to leg

  • Overweight

  • Animal or Insect bites

  • Congenital abnormalities and some genetic disorders

  • Fractures, dislocation

  • Spinal Code problems

  • Infections

  • Arthritis and degenerative joint problems, Hip or Elbow Dysplasia


The reality of the matter is that a dog can overexert themselves during a rough play, a fetch session or run in the park. The fact is that muscle soreness affects them just like it can affect human being. However, in this situation, the dog is likely to recover quickly. If you notice that your dog is limping back leg or dog is limping after a busy day, the best think you can do is to help her rest.

Bone Cancer

Bone cancer is another very common cause of lameness in dogs. The veterinarian should spare time to check for signs of bone cancer in dogs. If this is the root cause, then there are several treatment techniques he or she can adopt.

Inflammatory Diseases

One of the most common condition in this case is the Panosteitis. It refers to a short lived and a painful condition which is characterized by Limping and lameness. The condition is usually common among young dogs specifically between the ages of 5-18 months. It affects the long bones in the legs of young dogs. It can affect any dog breed but is very common in medium-to large-sized dog breeds.


This is another very common condition. The added stress on the joints of an overweight dog can cause limp and eventually cripple them. When they jump and maybe fall, they are likely to suffer from trauma. If this is the cause, then try and cut down on what you are feeding your dog. The other thing is to exercise your dog more. Start slow but ensure you are adding on to something as the time goes by. You should get in touch with your vet for possible changes on the diet.

Something stuck in the paw

This is one of the common reasons why your dog may be unable or even refuse to put their weight on the limb. Just imagine going out without shoes, the bottom of your feet is bound to get dirty, right? This may feel uncomfortable or even unbearable. This is what your dog goes through each day if she gets jumping outside. For this reason, if your dog is limping back leg or dog is limping or putting up its paw, then there may be some dirt stuck on the paw. In some long haired dogs, even their hair can get matted between their toes and cause discomfort.


This is the leading cause of canine lameness in dogs. As I had already said, dogs are very active and can be hurt on the way. The reality of the matter is that with activity comes the possibility of hurt and pain. If you notice your dog limping immediately after an active hour outside, there’s likelihood of an injury.


These are soft-tissue damage. This can either be caused by a muscle pull or be a tendon. It can also be a bruise. However, in this case, the animal can heal a little bit faster. If this is the case, then give your dog enough rest.

Fracture and Dislocation

Fractures and dislocations from injuries can cause severe pain. You need to check for any fractures or dislocation if you find that your dog is not putting all the weight on the leg. If you notice any signs of dislocation and fracture, rush your dog to a veterinarian immediately.


There’s no doubt that an infected wound, skin, incision or nail bed can cause pain and limping. In such a condition, you need to take swift measures to treat the infection. If left untreated or if the treatment is delayed, there’s likelihood of more advanced problems arising.

In this case, take your time to look for any punctures, breaks in the skin or scratches that are red, tender, runny, crusty or foul smelling. You should as well take your time to check the pads of their feet for cuts, stones, nails, glass, thorns or even slivers.

You can either clean or disinfect the area. If it’s a serious infection, then take your dog to the veterinarian.

Arthritis and Degenerative Joint Problems

Arthritis is one of the most common bone problems that dogs battle. However, it is common in older dogs. This condition come on gradually and hence we may not notice it right away. On the other hand, studies show that most degenerative joint problems are caused by specific breeds, aging and genetics. If this is the case, you should connect with your veterinarian for the line of treatments recommended. The other condition in this case is the dysplasia. This is a degenerative condition where the joints don’t fit in properly. In some instances, it is a crippling condition that can be found in most of the breeds but specifically on large and giant dogs.

Spinal Cord or Nerve Injury

In case the dog is injured on the spinal cord or if the injury lead to a nerve injury, then there’s likelihood that the dog will start limping. These injuries come on gradually from degeneration. However, the main cause of spinal cord and nerve injuries is due to trauma.

Congenital abnormalities (present at birth) and genetic disorders

In some other instances, the dog may contact infections in the womb and be born with this problem. They may be born with Deformed musculoskeletal systems or any other abnormality that can in one case or the other affect their ability to walk. According to research, if the mother eats toxic plants at some stages of the pregnancy, then the puppies maybe affected significantly. There are some inherited conditions that can lead to the same problem.

Animal or Insect Bites

When you get out with your little guy to play or even take a walk, there is likelihood of insect bites. Some of insects such as Safari ants can bite their toes and cause discomfort. Some other insects have poison and can induce pain which can lead to dog limping. The poison will affect the neural system. Some other parasites such as Ticks can cause the limbs to fail due to diseases such as Lyme. If the dog has contracted this Lyme disease from ticks, then you should rush for long-term antibiotic treatment.

The other issue is that your dog maybe limping from Rickettsia Disease which is contracted from flea, tick and lice bites. If you suspect that this is the reason for dog limping, then you can contact your veterinarian immediately.

Take away

If the veterinarian has already diagnosed the dog with overweight, then he or she is likely to recommend exercise and dieting. It is imperative for the pet owners to know that exercise and diet are the two main components in weight loss especially during the winter. The veterinarian may also prescribe nutritional supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin.

For the long time that I have been serving as a veterinarian, I have since recommended Hills Metabolic & Mobility which is a very effective way of helping your dog lose weight.
Hill’s nutritionists & veterinarians developed Prescription Diet® Metabolic clinical nutrition. This was specifically stimulated to help your dog manage weight. As a matter of fact, 88 percent of pets lost weight at home within 2 months with the use of nutrition metabolic. This remedy helps in several ways as discussed below.

  • It helps avoid weight gain after your dog has successfully lost significant amount of fat.

  • It also naturally works with your pet’s unique metabolism

  • It also makes your dog feel full and satisfied between meals.

  • It supports vitality and holistic health.

  • Especially formulated to help manage your dog’s weight and joint health.

Dog Limping
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Dog Limping
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Hip and joint nutritional supplement with glucosamine and chondroitin

As a veterinarian I recommend Glycoflex for hip and joint nutritional supplement with Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

  • Glycoflex has several advantages. It is clinically proven to increase Hip Strength within a month for both large and small dogs. Its chewable tablets are formulated with Imitation chicken flavor to meet the needs of pets with chicken allergies.

  • It also helps cushion joints promote healthy cartilage, Building and also alleviating the discomfort caused daily activities. The Glycoflex Plus has beneficial levels of the joint supporting nutrients which includes: MSM, Canaliculus DMG, Glucosamine and Chondroitin Perna.

If you choose to use supplements, then give them to your dog for a month. For more advanced or severe cases, give it to your pet until the end of the life.

Dog Limping
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Dog Limping
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