My Dog Hurt Her Leg

Updated on August 30, 2010
L.L. asks from Altamonte Springs, FL
11 answers

Hello :-)

So my 3 year old German Shep mix Ella was fine last night. We even played fetch. Then, this morning I noticed she was limping on her back left leg. She would walk and sometimes put a little pressure on it but other times she is hopping on 3 feet. She doesn't cry or anything at all. Other than the limping she is acting fine. I also have a 6 month old puppy and they play rough alot. So I'm thinking she may have sprained it? My vet is open until noon tomorrow. I was thinking about giving it over the weekend and if she's still limping Sunday night I'll take her in on Monday. Do you think that's mean? I checked out her leg/foot this morning. I don't see any sores, I checked in between her toes and nothing. I stretched her leg in and out and that is what is hurting her. So do you think it's ok if I wait until Monday? And see if it's just sore and gets better? Or should I take her in tomorrow morning? I don't really have the money to blow. But I am second guessing waiting ...... Opinion?

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So What Happened?

I appreciate everyone on this site sooo much :-) This morning she is walking on it much better. So I think I will wait another 24 hours and if I see any signs of limping still on Sunday I will take her in on Monday morning. One of my past dogs did once have a serious knee injury that required surgery....Ellas injury does not seem anything NEAR that. But she is my baby and the 1st sign of any "boo boos" and I am thinking about taking her to the Dr, lol. Again, thank you everyone.

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answers from Tampa on

Sounds like she may have torn her akiles tendon. It is very common in big dogs like that. I really hope that isn't what it is though - it can be very expensive to fix!!!! You can always use the vets at the SPCA as well.

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answers from Orlando on

No, I dont think you're mean for waiting it out over the weekend.....if you think about it, do you rush into the doctor if you twist your ankle? I think giving her a few days, even a week to see how she's doing is perfectly fine. We have 3 big dogs that play rough & it's not uncommon for one of ours to do the same. If Ella were crying & not getting up or eating or drinking, then I'd say to take her in.
I'm sure she is fine!!!
Keep us posted.



answers from Dallas on

Oh, I hate to hear stories of doggies hurting themselves. My dog is my first baby so I understand your concern. I agree with another poster that suggested calling a 24 hours clinic and getting advice. Unfortunately, my experience is that they usually say they can't give you advice without seeing the dog in person. A couple weeks ago my dog sprained her front leg while chasing a cat in our front yard. She was limping immediately, but didn't show any other signs of pain. She was still moving around and eating and drinking. We waited to see what would happen and a few days later the limp was gone. I guess my point is, if Ella is still pretty much her usual self other than the limp, I would wait and see what happens.



answers from Jacksonville on

give it 24hrs. My lab has gimped one day and the next was fine. The first time i took her to the vet and they gave her some doggy ibforen and told her to rest. She was up adn running fine a few hours later. Just dont let the dogs play rough for 24hrs and make her relax.



answers from Dallas on

hi L., i'm the same way - don't have the extra money but love my baby girl (dog) so much and never want her to suffer. my baby girl hurt her leg while jumping off our patio not too long ago. i was freakin' out but didn't have extra money if i didn't have to take her to the vet, like you said. i called the emergency vet just to see what they thought...they said some real signs of pain would be panting, whimpering, whining, etc. She wasn't doing any of that but definitely limping like yours is. by morning she wasn't limping & appeared fine...took her for a nail trim (only $12) & just had a vet tech check her out instead of paying for the doctor (that's where the big expense is). they have more experience than me though so i trusted their opinion too. they didn't see a reason to have an xray or doctor visit so that was that.
i'm sure your little girl's fine, just may have sprained it slightly or something. i would just see how she is in the a.m...if still limping then just call the vet first..if're good! :)
i'd be nervous to wait til monday, but that's just me. i sometimes think the worse & think - omg - she could have a broken leg & i'm not doing anything about it! but there's my 2 cents sweetie - MUCH luck to you b/c i know how much i love my dog and would never want her in pain & i'm sure you feel the same way. i lovingly call my baby girl my firstborn - lol. :)



answers from Columbus on

If the dog is eating okay and drinking okay, pooping & peeing like normal, and other than limping, has its same personality, then it is not life-threatening. However, if it's serious, putting off care can make the rehab worse or treatment less effective.

Feel the leg for any signs of heat or swelling. One the good leg, run your hands lightly but firmly over the whole surface of the leg. Then, do the same for the bag leg and note any differences. One of the most common injuries is to the cruciate ligament in the hind legs. It's basically the dog version of an ACL tear. There is little to no swelling with the cruciate ligament tear in dogs. You might want to google about it. We have one dog that tore both cruciates (the left one 2 years ago, and right one last year). Just PM me if you have any questions about it, if that is what turns out to be the problem for your dog; I'd be happy to provide more info on our experiences.



answers from Sacramento on

Personally I would see how it is in the morning then make your decision. We had a good sized,healthy huskey yrs ago, she was quite fit and ran each day 3 miles with my husband. She hurt her back leg running around the bk yard at age 7. Our dog acted similarly to what yours is doing and would bear very little weight on it, oftne hoppin and some wimpering that evening. She was the same the next morning, often hopping. We took her in that day and they found a serious injury. Found out our dog had a serious knee injury that required surgery. If we did not get her the surgery vet said she would be lame on that leg for the remainder of her life. We went ahead with it. I'd call your vet in the morning if things have not improved a great deal. Hope this helps.



answers from Colorado Springs on

Why don't you just call your vet and ask? He or she may say, "Bring her in," or maybe, "Keep an eye on it and call me next week." Can't hurt to ask! Vets are busy people and, especially if they know you, won't want you to come in unnecessarily. On the other hand, if there's a serious problem, you're going to be upset if you should have taken Ella in and put it off.



answers from Detroit on

I am a veterinarian and from what you described, it sounds like a soft-tissue injury (sprain, etc.). I would bet that she hurt her cruciate ligment in her knee joint. This is really common, especially in larger-breed dogs and it is the same as people who tear their ACL (anterior cruciate ligament - happens often to football players and other atheletes). Only your vet can tell for sure so I would get her seen by Monday, even if she is better (with an ACL tear, they can be sore at first, then recover, but in the long run end up with cartilage damage and arthritis if no surgical repair is done).

I was happy to see someone else posted not to give any over-the-counter pain meds intended for people. Tyleonol, Ibuprofen, etc. can be highly toxic to dogs. They don't process it the same way we do and can end up with stomach ulcers, liver damage, and kidney damage. I don't even recommend aspirin any more for this reason. Your vet can prescribe pain medication that is approved for dogs and is safer for them if your dog needs it.


answers from Houston on

I would go ahead and take her. I've worked at a vet and animal shelters before, and one thing dogs do very well is hide their pain. It is a survival tactic. So, if she is limping, she is probably suppressing it vocally by not whining just yet. If she does have a sprain, it will be easier to fix it by catching it early. Just tell the vet upfront that you don't have the money for xrays and such, if he could just do a physical exam and see, maybe all she needs is a wrapping and some pain meds.



answers from Boston on

I agree with other posters (if she's eating, drinking & otherwise "normal", just give her time; feel for heat or swelling, etc).

One additional point: medication. DON'T give your dog ibuprofen (advil, motrin) or acetominephen (sp? Tylenol). An enteric coated aspirin is OK (ascriptin is one brand). Be aware, dogs (for all that they eat weird stuff) have stomaches that are sensitive to some medications & will ulcer. We've nursed a few pupsters through old age & arthritis. One treatment is ONE coated aspirin a day with food (for no more than 3 consecutive days, then three days unmedicated). The ascriptin helped relieve some discomfort, much like we'd take a couple of Tylenol or Advil for a sore muscle.

I know what you mean about wanting to take care of your dog. They give us so much & ask so little in return!

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