If your German Shepherd puppy is limping, you might have good reason to be concerned.
It might be a sudden limp, or it might be brought about over time.
Liming can simply be a temporary response to short term physical pain, or it might result in a more permanent condition like lameness.
Regardless, knowing the cause behind the limp is a great start to implementing a management or treatment plan (on the advice of your vet) to hopefully improve the affect the limp has on your puppy or dog.
We’ve put together a few potential causes and reasons below!
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
6 Potential Reasons For Your German Shepherd Puppy’s Limping
Firstly, See A Vet If Your GSD Is Limping
It’s not normal for a healthy, non-senior dog to be limping.
If your dog has developed a limp suddenly, or over time, see a vet and get an assessment of what might be going on, and how to address the issue.
Onto the potential reasons for limping …
Summary Of Potential Reasons For Limping
– Bone, muscle, disc, ligament or other body damage (or injury)
– Hip, or elbow dysplasia
– Body defects
1) Bone, muscle, disc, ligament or skin damage
Humans are similar to dogs in this regard.
If you notice your puppy is limping, it could be because of a:
Bone break or fracture
Muscle strain, pull or tear
A slipped disc
A torn or damaged ligament
A cut or laceration on a paw or base of the leg
Any of the above injuries or body damage could be caused by rough play, falling or landing awkwardly, poor genetic, or just general day to day activity.
Higher energy puppies or puppies that engage in a lot of physical activity could be more at risk.
With something particularly painful like a broken bone or deep laceration, the limping could have an immediate onset.
You have to remember with puppies that they are still developing physically and growing.
Particularly in large dogs, if they grow too quickly, they may develop injuries more frequently.
Arthritis (or sometimes referred to as osteoarthritis) is not really that common in puppies, but more so in older dogs.
A side effect of arthritis can be lameness in a leg – which can cause limping.
Arthritis in dogs can occur over time with natural wear and tear, as a result of injuries, or as a result of a disease like hip dysplasia for example.
3) Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Unfortunately, over the years of poor breeding, the hip and elbow dysplasia has become a more common genetic disorder/disease in the German Shepherd breed.
This is why you should always check the official OFA hip and elbow certification of your puppy and their parents before you buy – and get a guarantee on the health of the pup against latent defects developing.
With hip and elbow dysplasia, a malformation in the joint leads to deterioration of the cartilage (according to assisianimalhealth.com)
The result can be inflammation along with pain, and sometimes arthritis and debilitation
Panosteitis is an inflammation of the leg bones (particularly in long boned bigger dogs), and leads to lameness for one or more weeks – which can cause a limp.
There isn’t a lot that can be done about this, but there’s usually no lasting damage.
5) Lameness in the body caused by diseases, infections and inflammations
Tick infection can cause lyme disease which can cause lameness in the leg.
There are also other infectious diseases, and cruciate ligament disease, neuromuscular disease, and cancers which can cause limping.
6) Body Defects
Defects in the body at birth, like German Shepherds with shortened spines or dwarfism can lead to limping and lameness.
What If My German Shepherd Puppy Is Limping On Its Front Legs?
If your GSD is limping just on its front legs, it may have one of the causes of limping isolated to it’s front leg i.e. it might just have a broken bone in its front leg, or only the joint in one of its front legs is deteriorated, or only one of it’s front legs is lame.
The best person to let you know which legs on your GSD are affected by a cause of limping is your vet.
What If My German Shepherd Puppy Is Limping On Its Back/Read Legs
Read the above query.
The issue may just be isolated to one of the back/rear legs.
What If My German Shepherd Puppy Is Limping With No Pain?
As in with humans, a dog might have a chronic disease like arthritis for example.
The joints may deteriorate and the dog might develop a limp, but the leg may simply become lame with little or no pain.
Even if you suspect your puppy not to have pain, it’s good to get a vet to confirm this to be the case.
More German Shepherd Limping Resources
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