It is possible to notice that the dog’s paw does not bend right away, as lameness and dragging of the limb appear. If the lesion is closed, there may be swelling and redness. If there is an open wound, then pus and bleeding may be present. Some cases require careful antiseptic treatment and rest for several days, and there are situations when the animal needs to be immediately taken to the nearest veterinary clinic, as there is a risk of losing a limb.
Overview of Possible Causes
If the dog do not bend its paw, but it can be seen that it is not cause pain, then there is a possibility of a slight bruise. It is better, when the moment of injury falls into the field of view of the master, then it is possible to assess the degree of damage and at least approximately imagine which area the blow fell on. It is more difficult when the symptom appears for no reason. In such cases, the following options have to be considered:
- Dislocation. Frequent occurrence at any age. Moreover, it is possible to dislocate a limb, both during a calm walk (by stumbling), and at the time of active play with relatives. If a dog’s limb is bent, then first of all it is necessary to exclude the possibility of dislocation and fracture. If a dislocation is suspected, it is recommended to take the pet to the clinic as soon as possible for an orthopedic determination. If you’re lucky, you can get off with a closed reduction and a fixing bandage. The dislocation would pass away in several days, then there is a risk of developing muscle contracture, which will make closed reduction almost impossible. Only x-rays can confirm the presence and severity of the injury. In difficult cases, surgery is used, during which an incision is made to reach the damaged joint and blood clots are removed. With the help of physical efforts or special tools, the joint is returned to its original position. If necessary, fasten with knitting needles. A fixation bandage is applied to the limb.
- Fracture. In dogs, a fracture very often causes inability to bend a paw. An animal can get such an injury during a game, a fight, a fall from a height or an accident. Very often street dogs are hit by cars, and after such incidents, many fractures are diagnosed. If a fracture is suspected, the pet is subject to immediate hospitalization. In this case, it is necessary to limit as much as possible any load on the injured limb. To make a diagnosis, palpation by an orthopedist and x-rays of the entire paw will be required. If one of the fingers or the metacarpal bone is broken, then immobilization with a tight bandage can be dispensed with. In all other cases, surgical intervention is performed using metal structures, which can be internal or external, depending on the nature of the fracture. As for healing, the dog’s bone grows together on average from 3 to 5 weeks. With articular and tibial fractures, this process can take several months. Also, do not forget about the rehabilitation period, which is also long-lasting.
- Injury. Not all injuries end in dislocations and fractures. There are also bruises of varying severity. Because of them, the dog’s paw may also not bend. With bruises, the pet usually steps on the injured limb, but lameness is present. The characteristic symptoms of bruises are also considered to be puckering after waking up. Along with this, edema and hematoma may be present. Most bruises will go away on their own within 5-10 days. In some cases, compresses are used.
- Ligament rupture. The most commonly diagnosed rupture of the anterior cruciate ligaments. This diagnose can cause the hind legs to not bend. You can see how the pet begins to limp or take care of a limb. It can happen after a sharp jerk, falling into a hole or unsuccessful landing. The solution to the problem is only operative with preliminary radiography under anesthesia. If you ignore the problem, the dog can limp for the rest of its life.
- Abscess. It can form in any part of the limb due to the ingress of a foreign body (bone from fish, shard of glass, thorn from weed or thorn from a plant) under the skin. If an abscess forms at the place where the limb is bent, then because of this, the dog’s paw may not bend. An abscess can break through on its own, but it is better not to wait for this and take the pet to the surgeon as soon as possible. The sooner he opens the abscess and cleanses of pus, the faster the inflammatory process will end. And with it, pain and limp while walking will go away.
In older dogs, limb problems (sudden lameness, pinching and non-flexing of the paws) can be associated with a tumor process, therefore, in animals after 10 years of age, oncology is first of all excluded.