Rhodesian Ridgeback Limping: Possible Causes And What To Do

Limping of a Rhodesian Ridgeback is unusual and this can be a reason for concern. It can come on suddenly or gradually as a Rhodesian Ridgeback slowly develops difficulty in walking.

So what causes Rhodesian Ridgeback limping? 

Let’s dive into the common causes of Rhodesian Ridgeback limping and when to seek help.

Rhodesian Ridgeback limping can be caused by injury, joint problems, bone disease, and neurological disorders that affect their joints, bones, muscle, paws, or other tissue. This leads to a Rhodesian Ridgeback developing an abnormal gait and limping.

Rhodesian Ridgeback limping

Possible Causes of Rhodesian Ridgeback Limping


A Rhodesian Ridgeback can become injured on their legs or body which can cause limping. Injury can be from stepping on something sharp such as nails, glass, sticks, or animal bites, stings, broken nails, bruising, frostbite, burns, torn ligaments, sprains, fractures, or broken bones.

This can result from having their leg(s) stuck in the fence, an attack from another dog, or car accidents. 

Checking for these possible causes of injury can help to initially determine if they are the cause of the limping and your Rhodesian Ridgeback’s trouble walking.

Bone disease

As a medium-sized dog, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are also susceptible to bone diseases. Bone diseases affect the stability of the legs, making walking difficult and painful.

This includes Eosinophilic panosteitis which affects young Rhodesian Ridgeback’ legs, arthritis, and bone cancer. These lead to limping and difficulty in walking.

Joint disease

Joint disease or problems are also common in Rhodesian Ridgeback. The conditions occur during development when the joints do not develop properly due to fast growth, or diet. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback joint diseases include osteoarthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), and Lyme disease which causes swollen joints and lameness.

A Rhodesian Ridgeback with bone or joint disease will have difficulty in walking, standing, lying down, or climbing stairs because of their sore weak legs.

Neurological disorders

Neurological disorders limit the transmission of signals from a dog’s nerves to the brain for a particular function of the body. When this affects signals from the legs to the brain, limping occurs. 

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy is a neurological condition common in dogs as well as  Rhodesian Ridgeback that causes a Rhodesian Ridgeback to have an abnormal walk.

When To Seek Help

Rhodesian Ridgeback limping can be moderate or severe. It is not unusual not to know when to seek help when you start noticing the symptom. However, seek help when your Rhodesian Ridgeback:

  • Is injured 
  • Limping continues for more than 1- 2 days
  • Has signs of broken bones or dangling limbs Swelling of the limbs
  • Seems in pain
  • Health is deteriorating with other symptoms of illness (loss of appetite or lethargy)

The veterinarian will conduct a full examination to determine the underlying cause of the limping. 

Limping due to injury may be determined quickly if it is due to injury of the paws by sharp objects or due to a sprain, cut, frostbite, or burn. 

Other underlying causes require more tests to determine the problem. Tests that are conducted include x-rays, a biopsy for detection of cancer, or blood tests for determination of infection causing Lyme disease.

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After the determination of the underlying cause for limping, treatment will be provided. This includes a Rhodesian Ridgeback requiring a few days of rest if limping is due to moderate injury.

Other treatment options include administration of medication, rehabilitation exercises, surgery, or change of diet with supplements having glucosamine and chondroitin to support bone and joints.


Limping is a sign that something may be wrong with your Rhodesian Ridgeback. It could be due to injury or a serious underlying health problem.

If your Rhodesian Ridgeback is limping due to injury or underlying health condition, medical care is required. 

With the right treatment and care, Rhodesian Ridgeback limping can be managed. Therefore consult your veterinarian when you notice signs of limping.