...now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's get on with our topic for this week.
As I was putting together several topics for presentation in future issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats, I realized that, in almost 5 years of doing this, we haven't discussed lameness in your pets. Lameness (or limping), whichever you prefer, is one of the most likely things a pet owner will notice if they watch their pet over a period of time. The British, in their own special manner, might refer to this as "a disorder of the gait."
Perhaps the following letter from a dog owner will remind you of a similar occurrence involving your own pet:
The really important thoughts to take from this response are that there could be many different causes for your pet to be favoring one of its legs and that you really do need to have a veterinarian examine your pet in order to zero in on what that cause might be.
OK, now you've had a chance to look at the leg that is apparently bothering your dog. You may or may not have come to a conclusion as to what is causing the lameness. Your next step should be to have your veterinarian evaluate the situation.
There is no breed, age or sex predeliction for lameness. Lameness may be associated with a traumatic event, such as being hit by a car, or it may develop gradually, as in a bone tumor in an affected leg. The underlying cause of a lameness may be life threatening or it may be detrimental to a good quality of life such as debilitating and painful hip dysplasia and its associated arthritis.
At this point, some of our cat owners are scratching their heads and wondering if any of this might be different for their critters. Well, in the guise of a definitive answer...maybe yes, maybe no. A lot of what can make a dog limp will also affect a cat in the same way; however, there are some additional considerations with a cat:
- Muscle sprain or strain
- Tendonitis: inflammation of a tendon
- Myositis: inflammation of the muscle
- Nerve injury to a nerve in the affected limb, e.g., radial nerve paralysis
- Joint disease...Dysplasia, e.g., hip arthritis/degenerative joint disease
- Luxated joint: the joint is out of its socket, most commonly the hip
- Infections, e.g., calicivirus
- Immune-mediated, e.g., progressive polyarthritis Bone disease
- Injury to the foot
- Broken nail
- Frostbite or burn
- Diseases of the pad
- Foreign body: piece of metal, plant material, etc.
- Animal bite or scratch, snakebite
- Metabolic diseases
As always, any questions or comments should either be sent to
Helpful Buckeye at: firstname.lastname@example.org or registered in the
comment section at the end of this issue.