Why is my dog ​​limping on a hind leg?


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What is the anterior cruciate ligament?

It is a fibrous band that goes from the femur to the tibia, anchoring it so that it does not move forward or inward when the knee moves. There is another cruciate ligament that supports you in this mission, the internal cruciate ligament, but the most likely to suffer tears is the outermost. These ligaments, together with meniscus and other structures, control the mobility of the knee and the attached structures (femur, tibia, patella.).

Are there breeds predisposed to suffer anterior cruciate ligament rupture?

We can consider, to facilitate the information, which affects mainly two different groups of dogs:

  • Small-medium sized dogs, especially of middle age, with short legs. It is inevitable to think of shih tzu or carlino when mentioning this risk group. These races also have the disadvantage of being predisposed to problems of discolagenosis, a degeneration of the articular collagen that predisposes even more to these problems.
  • Large-giant size dogs, such as the labrador, rottweiler or Neapolitan mastiff.

However, any dog ​​can suffer limping of a hind leg due to rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament. Above all, dogs that do rough exercise without preheating, in dry jumps to get on the couch, or in a rotation while standing while turning to catch a simple ball.

And how to distinguish that limp from others?

Usually, this lameness of the posterior leg due to rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament it comes fromabrupt way. It is very painful and the dog walks without supporting the paw, or it does so very mildly. When standing, it extends the externally affected hind leg, that is, it moves it away from the body so as not to carry the weight on it, and if it sits it usually extends the leg forward or outward with respect to its body. They are ways to relieve tension in the knee.

Swelling may appear in the knee, but it is not always seen. All symptoms will be more or less intense, depending on whether the ligament has ruptured completely, or partially (like a frayed rope).

Patellar dislocation

The kneecap is housed between the trochlea of ​​the femur, in a groove created especially for her. So to speak, it is like an armchair: it can be moved up and down, but not right or left. If you look, the knee flexion or extension involves just those movements, up or down.

But sometimes the kneecap is luxa, and begins to move laterally or medially. That can happen for two reasons, mainly:

  • Congenital: from birth, the natural accommodation of the patella is defective, and it can move at its free will. It usually affects toy poodle breeds, Pekingese, Yorkshire. and many times it is just one of the many congenital defects that these races can have at the bone level, such as the disease of legg calve perthes, for example. We will notice that our dog is going tojumps, leaving the affected hind leg in the air when you go down or up stairs, and then walk normally after a few steps. We tend to think that it is because it is a puppy, but at that time it should be consulted, especially if it is a breed that most suffer from dislocated kneecap.
  • For trauma: After a fracture, such as that produced after an outrage, this dislocation may appear, or after a severe blow to the knee.

The degrees of dislocation are variable, and can be solved by limiting exercise, and other physiotherapy measures. Large breeds are not free of it, and lateral dislocation may appear in giant breeds, so our veterinarian will do a complete exam to rule it out.


Lameness is a problem that frequently affects dogs. It is not a disease in itself, but indicates that there is a problem with the affected limb. It is a symptom of pain and can affect dogs of any breed or age, although some causes are more frequent in some breeds, in young dogs or in older dogs. Any of the four legs can be affected by a limp, and sometimes they can be several at the same time.


Lamenesses may appear suddenly (acute) or be present for weeks or even months (chronic) depending on the cause that produces them:

  • Sudden onset lamenesses are associated with bumps, falls, bone fractures, ligament rupture, hip problems, etc.
  • Long-lasting lamenesses are associated with osteoarthritis, degenerative diseases of the knees, hip, shoulder and elbow or tumors.

Some of the most frequent causes of lameness are:

    On both front (front) and rear (rear) legs:

  • Objects stuck in the pad or other wounds that affect it
  • Broken nails
  • Nails that have grown too much and that stick to the skin or pad
  • Bone fractures due to falls, blows or abuses
  • Muscle problems
  • Problems associated with tendons
  • Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease
  • Panosteitis
  • Inflammation or infection of several joints (polyarthritis)
  • Tumors

In front legs (front):

  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis of the shoulder or elbow

On back legs (rear):

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Broken cruciate ligament of the knee
  • Osteochondrosis of the knee


As it happens to humans, there can be several reasons why my dog ​​limps:

1. Wound or foreign body stuck in the legs. especially if you have been walking through the forest, it is possible that a spine, a stone or any other element has caused a wound or has even been embedded.

"What I do?". If you have something nailed, use tweezers to remove it. Then, if it is a wound, apply some alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. If the wound is very deep, go to the vet to put stitches.

2. Sprain. If your dog loves games and running like crazy, it's possible that in one of his adventures a leg has been sprained. You will notice it because it does not support it and has it soft and swollen.

"What I do?". Try to lower the swelling with a compress of cold water or ice.

3. Dislocation. It may also have dislocated some of his bones, that is, he has left his place.

"What I do?". Do not try to place the bone yourself, go immediately to the veterinarian, you may already have internal bleeding.

4. Bone broken. The races and games of your dog can end with a broken bone and, in fact, do not notice at that time. But you'll see that after a while he complains if you touch him and he doesn't support his leg.

"What I do?". Go immediately to the veterinarian. Only he knows how to fix your dog's fracture, and make it heal well and quickly.

5. Interdigital cysts. Some dog breeds are prone to these cysts, which can be infected by the presence of bacteria. If your dog limps and has a swollen and reddish upper part of the foot, he is likely to suffer from these cysts.

"What I do?". Go to the veterinarian to prescribe a treatment (antibiotics) and advise you how to prevent the onset of these interdigital cysts.

6. Joint dysplasia. It is a congenital defect that causes the joints to not connect well with each other during their development. The most frequent are those of the hip and elbow. The most likely breeds are the German shepherd, the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever or the Rottweiler. The symptoms of lameness usually appear during the first year of life.

"What I do?". This problem has to be treated with a surgical intervention, so it is important that you go to the veterinarian as soon as you notice your dog's limp.

7. Arthritis. It is a degenerative disease of the joints and is common in dogs of medium (3 to 7 years) and advanced age (more than 7 years). It consists of an inflammation of the joints, so the dog can show pain and difficulty getting up.

"What I do?". Go to the vet to see if it can be treated with medication or if you even need surgery.

8. Panosteitis. It is a disease of severe bone pain that appears in young dogs (between 5 and 18 months) of large breeds (especially the German shepherd). It causes intermittent lameness and is diagnosed by symptoms and an x-ray.

"What I do?". Although lameness usually resolves spontaneously, go to the veterinarian for proper advice.

In any case, never give your dog anti-inflammatory or analgesic medication for people. Many are toxic to dogs! They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, ulcers or liver and kidney problems.

However, although in principle it is a simple scratch, if it does not disappear after a day of rest, it is important to go to the veterinarian to rule out an infection or a larger problem. Don't leave it for two days later! Take your dog to vet so that you do a complete physical examination and can run again as before.

My dog ​​limps on the back leg but doesn't complain

Even if you think your dog limps on the back leg and does so painlessly, don't wait to see him protest. The hairy are very capable of lengthening the bruised little leg and continue walking with the other three without complaining. Of course, the only thing you will achieve if you do not do something is to crush the other one, making the problem worse, especially if you have some obesity.

The most common problem that your dog can start limping with is a chafing or irritation on his pads, on his little piece. If it has been damaged, it will stretch the leg and snort. Be sure to examine them before leaving your question, depending on whether it is a cut or an inflammation, one measure or another will have to be taken. If you see that you have them swollen, consult a veterinarian urgently because it can be a disgusting symptom.

My dog ​​has hurt himself on one leg and moves it weird

The second most frequent cause of your dog limping is a strong blow. The impacts that your dog receives on the knee are very dangerous, They could dislocate the kneecap. Think of it as the joint of your leg because it is what allows you to move it. If you detect that you are making rare movements with it, you may have it dislocated, that is, it has adopted an abnormal posture that prevents it from turning well.

In addition to trauma, the dislocation of the patella can occur due to hereditary causes, born with it badly. The most common way to solve this problem is by surgical intervention.

My dog ​​suddenly limps on one leg, what is wrong with him?

The back leg of your dog is composed of two bones: the femur and the tibia. Between them there is a ligament, a tissue that joins them. It can get hurt or break. Rupture of the ligament of its hind leg is the most common diagnosis if your dog limps suddenly and without warning, without a blow in between.

There are dog breeds prone to these injuries, especially those that are large or small breeds. You will have to take it to the veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis, because in addition to confirming that it is this problem you can also determine if it has appeared due to osteoarthritis, which must also be treated.

Fortunately, in this situation it is not always necessary to operate, sometimes with rest and proper care, you can recover. Leave us a question to receive a personalized solution from our online veterinarians.

My dog ​​limps when he gets up and knocks, what is wrong with him?

As we said, there are two bones that make up the leg of your hairy. The one at the top and connects to the pelvis is the femur. Well, sometimes, the head of the femur does not fit well in its base and fades. This causes hip dysplasia, which will cause your dog that strange movement that usually manifests when getting up after lying down for a while.

Hip dysplasia degenerates into worse problems, such as arthritis. Over time, your dog will lose flexibility in the muscles and avoid going outside or doing any type of movement. If you do not do sports, you will gain weight, your mood will decline and your immune system will also go down. This problem has to be determined by a veterinarian who will recommend physical therapy, a diet and specific exercises to improve. In some cases, it will be necessary to intervene and put on a prosthesis.

In addition to these cases, your dog may limp because of an osteosarcoma, an inflammation of the bone or a necrosis in the head of the femur. As you can see, you can never let your hairy limp go by, because if you don't pay attention to it, you will only make the situation worse. Count on our online veterinarians to ask all the questions you need.

Have you been left with doubts? Ask our veterinarians:

What tests can be done?

The tests to detect the dislocation of the patella and determine why the dog limps on a hind leg are usually:

  • Basic scan: the knee "creaks" to manipulation.
  • X-rays to detect signs of osteoarthritis, or ruptures of the trochlea of ​​the femur after a blow.
  • Arthroscopy or magnetic resonance.

Although the veterinarian already has the diagnosis, it is necessary to know how the knee is affected, since the constant rubbing of the kneecap on the surfaces of the femur results in wear of the knee and an osteoarthritis that is necessary to know to give a prognosis.

There are many surgical techniques that range from a relatively simple one, such as doing the groovebetween the trochies of the deepest femur, even more complicated ones that involve replacing a piece of the anterior part of the tibia to relieve the tension of the patella. Each technique will vary according to the case and according to the degree of dislocation (ranges from l to lV). Also the time it takes with this problem, or if there are more bone problems such as pathologies in the hips or head of the femur.

Hip dysplasia

The hip dysplasia It is a pathology to which multiple causes contribute (management, environmental, food.), but it has a genetic basis. In summary, the head of the femur does not fit correctly in the specific hole for her in the pelvis, and although its triggering is multifactorial, the dog that manifests it has a "genetic programming" to suffer it. Hence, allocate dogs with this congenital pathology to be totally reprehensible.

There are very affected breeds, such as the labrador, Spanish mastiff or the Bordeaux bulldog, for example. But there are several degrees of dysplasia, and mild ones may go unnoticed at first for homeowners. However, in moderate or severe cases, we will notice signs at 5-6 months of age. Our dog will walk "wobble" the hips in a characteristic way, and over time, the head of the femur will rub against the acetabulum in which it does not finish fitting, and will cause arthritis and osteoarthritis. Hence, the limp often acute, which can be observed on one or both hind legs. If the ligament that joins the head of the femur to the acetabulum is completely broken, the picture is usually even more severe.

The symptoms, in addition to the typical oscillating gait that we detected at the beginning, can be:

  • Difficulty starting the march after a rest period.
  • Muscular stiffness.
  • Resistance to movement, especially lowering and climbing stairs.
  • Finally, when the degenerative changes of the hip joint are severe, acute lameness that makes walking impossible.

What is the treatment?

The treatment is complicated, and you can try the physiotherapy rehabilitation in the milder grades, also providing a quality diet designed for joint and bone pathologies, paying special attention to not providing excess calcium, an error in which it fell with the giant races of rapid growth. Anti-inflammatory and cartilage protectors, such as hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate are indicated to help stop progression and improve symptoms.

In more severe grades, dysplasia should be corrected by orthopedic surgery, usually complicated. There are multiple techniques, from the excision of the head of the femur (arthroplasty) if the dog is small or medium and should not support much weight, to triple pelvic osteotomy, an aggressive intervention that is sometimes the only solution for our dog to return to walk. The titanium prosthesis to replace the head of the femur they have been used for a few years with great success, but its cost is high and is reserved for cases that are not expected to respond to any other surgery.

In our article on hip dysplasia in dogs you can expand the information about this possible cause of lameness of the hind leg.

Growth Panosteitis

The term panosteitis refers to "inflammation of the whole bone or of all the bones", literally. The pain in this case is due to a inflammation of the outermost layer that covers the bone (periosteum), and although it may be due to several causes, the one that concerns us here is the growth panosteitis.

It is much more frequent in dogs of rapid and marked growth, that is, large and giant breeds in the months of development (between 5-14 months of age, usually). They usually affect long bones, such as the femur, hence they can cause lameness in the hind leg.

Sometimes it occurs acutely, and sometimes milder. The use of anti-inflammatories, a careful diet, a pattern of gentle exercises and, above all, time, makes it disappear.

Avascular necrosis of the head of the femur

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease or avascular necrosis of the head of the femur is another cause of lameness of the hind leg in dogs. It usually affects mini or toy racesgrowing, like the mini pinscher, toy poodle or Yorkshire, and sometimes it is confused with hip dysplasia.

The head of the femur stops receiving blood flow at a critical stage (therefore it is necrotic), and between 4-9 months we can see the following symptoms:

  • Lameness marked.
  • Atrophy of the muscles.
  • Shortening of the affected leg (due to muscular atrophy).
  • Crepitations to manipulation and pain manifest.

Is it hereditary?

Until a while ago it was accepted that it was the only explanation. But now it is believed that microfractures in the area produce a drastic reduction in blood flow and, hence, death or necrosis of the neck and femoral head. Surely the small size of the affected races predisposes them to suffer those small continuous trauma in the area, which ends up resulting in this disease.

His treatment is surgical, by means of the excision of the affected femoral head (they can be both), and the fact that the injured dogs tend to have a very small size, facilitates surgery and recovery.

More information on Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease is available in the Animal Expert article entirely dedicated to it, check it out!

Other causes of lameness of a hind leg

There are dozens of possible causes that can cause our dog to limp from the hind leg, in addition to those mentioned. If you still haven't found an answer to the question "why is your dog limping on the hind leg?", It may be on this list that we expose you below:

    Osteosarcoma: It is the most common primary bone tumor in dogs and one of the most malignant. It usually affects more medium-large and young dogs, although it can be seen in any size and age. In the hind leg, its most typical location is near the knee, in the distal femur or proximal part of the tibia. It's very painful, fast>

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why is my dog ​​limping on a hind leg?, we recommend you go to our Other health problems section.

What is a sprain in dogs?

Before knowing all the information about the cure of sprains, it is necessary to know what this injury is. To start, it should be noted that these disorders they occur in the joints of the can, mainly in the legs.

We talk about sprains whenever ligaments that form these joints and the muscle fibersthey break partially or totally. The greater the breakage, the greater the severity of the injury and the longer the recovery time.

Once it's clear to us what a sprain is, We are prepared to know all the information of interest that we group in this article. Keep reading to know more!

How to know that my dog ​​has a sprain?

Before solving any physical problem of our dog, of course, we must make sure that said Complication exists in the body of our pet. For this reason, we explain several symptoms that show the appearance of a sprain in the leg of your dog:

Obviously the main symptom of a sprain in your dog's paw is lameness. It is likely that Contemplate that the dog does not finish supporting any of the legson the floor to avoid the pain caused by this pathology.

Although it is a clear symptom, the fact that your dog limps does not always imply that he suffers a sprain in any of the joints. This symptom is also shown, for example, when our pet has something stuck in its pads. Check that this part of its legs is free of external agents that hinder its support on the ground!

If you want to discover more curiosities about the pads of dogs, you can check our article Wounds on dog pads: causes, treatment and prevention.

Joint Sensitivity

As is also logical, our can will reject any type of contact in the joint affected by the sprain and will react with pain gestures when we press it slightly.

State of stress

The pain and discomfort caused by a sprain in your paw can lead your dog to suffer other more internal pathologies such as stress. How will we notice the stress in our dog? This state shows us nervous behaviors, excessive and unjustified barking, continuous licking to your body, etc. Find out if your dog has anxiety or not in this article.

Causes my dog ​​has a sprain

Although dogs take years of advantage in terms of agility, it is true that they can have "bad leg" at certain times in your day to day, causing a disorder in your joints.

A fall, a poorly executed jump or an unexpected stumble They can cause a sprain in one of your pet's legs. It is also possible that these injuries occur when our dog has fought with another or even when you have done an unfortunate stretch.

Gradual degeneration of muscle fibers and ligaments that make up a dog's legs are causes that must be added to this section. Sprains caused by this bodily situation are more common, of course, in dogs with an advanced age.

Sprain Level 1

When we refer to a level one sprain, our pet's injury It is the slightest possible. In this case, the ligament of the can it has broken minimally, which causes discomfort when walking.

In this type of sprains, the dog is able to walk (sometimes not correctly), since the inconvenience is not very big, but unable to jump and run. The inflammation of the area and the pains are remarkable.

Sprain Level 2

In this case, the ligament and joint-related muscle fibers are broken, although the bones of the same are not affected. We speak of a tear greater than in the previous case, so that the symptoms of the sprain are aggravated: increased pain, greater discomfort, increased swelling, etc.

Sprain Level 3

It is the most aggressive sprain that exists, since the ligaments are completely broken and the bones of the joint are also affected. Luckily, it is a less frequent degree of injury and is usually due to very strong and exceptional trauma.

Treatment for a dog's paw sprain

How to cure a sprain in my dog's paw? The first thing to keep in mind is that Only a qualified professional is the right person to cure a sprain in the paw or paws of our dog. Thus, the first thing you should do if you suspect that your dog has a sprain it is go tovet.

This professional, through various tests will be in charge of checking if your pet suffers a sprain or not and will carry out the most effective remedies. When talking about the treatment to cure the sprain, it should be noted that it will depend on the degree of the ailment and the veterinary history of the dog.

We cannot point out a fixed remedy to cure this ailment In the joints, however, we can explain the most common recommendations that a professional veterinarian usually details:

Specific drugs. The veterinarian usually prescribes this type of medication when can to calm the inflammation and pain in the area. In this sense, we highlight anti-inflammatory and analgesic. We remember that they must be prescribed by the veterinarian.

Reposeabsolute. This is a key measure so that the ligament of the joint can recover as quickly and healthily as possible. The movement must be the minimum!

Surgery. In the most severe sprains, surgery will be totally necessary to be able to rebuild the animal's joint.

Periodic reviews. Monitoring the recovery of the animal is essential for it to become effective. Thanks to these reviews, possible failures in the rehabilitation of the animal can be corrected.

Techniques for exercising the joint. Once our dog is in the last phase of recovery after a surgical intervention, many veterinarians recommend performing techniques that help recover movement in the legs such as the hydrotherapy.

If you want to have the best veterinary service To cure your dog's sprain, we remind you that PET AND HEALTH It has a range of clinics and professionals that will live up to your expectations. You just have to click on our banner and you will have all the information!