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Answers from vets about your dog:

10 Myths About Limping

Posted October 19, 2014 in Dog Diseases & Conditions A-Z

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Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a traveling, board-certified surgeon in Allentown, PA. His website is He is the co-author of “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound” (

Kelly Serfas, a Certified Veterinary Technician in Bethlehem, PA, contributed to this article.

Dogs presented for limping are very common in my surgery practice. Here are 10 classic misconceptions I hear from clients that ultimately prolong recovery.

Myth #1: “My dog is holding his leg up so I think he hurt his foot.”
Fact: When a dog holds the leg up or is limping, it could be because of anything in the leg. It could be a problem with a tendon, ligament, joint, bone or muscle. And it could be related to any part of the foot, ankle, knee or hip.

Myth #2: “My dog has been limping on and off for three months. I think he has a pulled muscle.”
Fact: Many clients believe that their dog is limping because of a pulled muscle. In reality, a pulled muscle is rare in dogs. Don't wait to see your veterinarian when your dog is limping.

Myth #3: “My dog has been limping on and off for a year, it's no big deal right?”
Fact: Allowing him to limp on and off for a year is a big problem because it can lead to arthritis, weak muscles and poor range of motion – not to mention ongoing pain.

Myth #4: “My veterinarian gave my dog pain medications for his limping and now he's fine.”
Fact: Just because he is better on pain medicine, doesn't mean the issue has resolved. The medications are just masking the pain, which means that he can get worse because he is now using the injured leg. Learn how straining an injured leg can lead to amputation.

Myth #5: “My dog was diagnosed with a dislocated kneecap, but he doesn't seem to be bothered by it and isn't in any pain. He's fine right?”
Fact: Ignoring a dislocated kneecap is not good because it invariably leads to arthritis and could possibly cause a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament).

Myth #6: “My dog seems very uncomfortable in his hind end, but my veterinarian took X-rays that look good, my veterinarian still wants to treat? Shouldn't we wait?”
Fact: Dogs can have decent hips on X-rays but be uncomfortable. Or they can have terrible looking X-rays

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Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a board-certified veterinary surgeon and author. His traveling practice takes him all over Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey. You can visit his website at, and follow him at