Limping of a Saint Bernard is unusual and this can be a reason for concern. It can come on suddenly or gradually as a Saint Bernard slowly develops difficulty in walking.
So what causes Saint Bernard limping?
Let’s dive into the common causes of Saint Bernard limping and when to seek help.
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Why is my Saint Bernard limping?
Saint Bernard 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 Saint Bernard developing an abnormal gait and limping.
Possible Causes of Saint Bernard Limping
A Saint Bernard 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 Saint Bernard having trouble getting up or walking.
As a large breed dog, Saint Bernards are very susceptible to bone diseases. Bone diseases affect the stability of the legs, making walking difficult and painful.
This includes Eosinophilic panosteitis which affects young Saint Bernard’s legs, arthritis, and bone cancer. These lead to limping and difficulty in walking.
Joint disease or problems are also common in Saint Bernards. The conditions occur during development when the joints do not develop properly due to fast growth, or diet.
Saint Bernard joint diseases include osteoarthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), and Lyme disease which causes swollen joints and lameness.
A Saint Bernard with bone or joint disease will have difficulty in walking, standing, lying down, or climbing stairs because of their sore weak legs.
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 Saint Bernards that causes a Saint Bernard to have an abnormal walk.
When To Seek Help
Saint Bernard 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 Saint Bernard:
- 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.
After the determination of the underlying cause for limping, treatment will be provided. This includes a Saint Bernard 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 Saint Bernard. It could be due to injury or a serious underlying health problem.
If your Saint Bernard is limping due to injury or underlying health condition, medical care is required.
With the right treatment and care, Saint Bernard limping can be managed. Therefore consult your veterinarian when you notice signs of limping.