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Puppy Limping

by Ruben

Last night I noticed our 5 month old was unusually quiet when we got home. She wasn't following me around. So I got her food and she was limping towards the food (3 legs). This morning it is worse. She's having difficulty wee weeing because of the pressure on her leg. It is her back leg. We crated her during the day so I don't think anything happened. Thursday we did get her nails clipped by groomers. Maybe something happened! She is licking her foot too. She is in pain on the padding of her foot so I don't think its a sprain. My vet said it wasn't an emergency, to wait 2 days to see if she gets better. I'm so worried to see her like this. Should I ice it down? Maybe she walked on something? Has anyone else had this problem? If so, how long did it last? Help!


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

Are you sure it is the foot or toe and not the rear knee joint (stifle joint) ? Is there a grate in the bottom of the crate where she stays ? It is not unusual for a pup, especially, to get a toe pad stuck in a grate and could cause either a knee joint problem (as the dog twists and pulls to get free) or a toe or foot sprain. If it is a toe sprain it will quickly get better - if it is a more severe knee problem it will persist. Only the vet can tell for sure.

One of my show dogs, now a finished conformation champion, got a toe stuck in a grate and limped for weeks - even while under the care of a Vet. She needed only a couple of points to "finish" and I was worried she'd never get those final two points. Eventually she recovered fully. Now, I use a second layer of flooring over the top of wire grating to provide for better support on their feet when they are crated or in exercise pens - it is a rubber, close meshed, interlocking floor that allows for waste to drain but provides a much better surface for them to walk on.

Another side note - through my own carelessness (it happens to us all) I allowed a dog to fall from the grooming table while brushing her long coat. She fell on her shoulder and cried for several minutes and refused to put weight on her leg. I rushed to the vet for x-rays and found nothing terribly wrong - just a real good bruise (thank goodness !). However, I did such a good job consoling the dog - carrying her around, letting her sleep with us, elevating her to an elite status in the house - that she learned all she had to do to get attention was to raise her little paw and limp a step or two. Immediately she was "rewarded" with treats, carresses, and lavish affection. As I wondered when, or if, she would ever walk okay again I noticed in the play yard she never limped or missed a step cavorting with her canine playmates - only when myself or my wife got within sight did she begin to limp and whine. BUSTED ! Once we began to ignore her antics and quit holding her every time she "put on her little act" did she resume walking and playing normally when humans were around. As cute and affectionate as the Maltese is as a Breed, they are clever, manipulative, and equally devilish when it comes to wrapping you around their little paw.

Good luck with your baby. I hope it just a bruised toe. LS
-Larry Stanberry Divine Maltese

Find a new vet, yours sounds kind of lazy to me. It could just be a bruise or something, but as you said, the puppy was crated all day. What if she has a bacterial infection in her foot because the person cutting her nails trimmed them back to far or something awful like that? I hope she feels better soon, but if I were you I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Our vet said injuries to footpads will heal within 2 to 3 weeks, with or without treatment. Using an antibiotic ointment can be helpful in keeping the pad a little moist and in preventing infection. If the injury does not show steady progress towards healing it would be best to see your vet because one possible problem is an abcess that has ruptured through the footpad. This would be less likely to heal without veterinary attention. If you are unsure if it is a footpad injury, I certainly would seek professional advice.

My baby is doing so much better! Friday she slept and rested all day and night. Saturday she began walking on the foot again. And by Sunday she was her old self again. Boy, I was so scared. Thanks for all the advice!
-Ruben (Update)

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