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Pitbulls are medium-sized dogs with stocky, muscular builds. They’re generally healthy. However, their stature makes them susceptible to various leg problems, which often leads them to start limping.
So, why is your Pitbull limping? Your Pitbull might be limping because it has overexerted its muscles. It might also be limping because of some serious health conditions like hip dysplasia, torn CCL, or arthritis. It’s very important to monitor your dog’s gait and determine the cause behind its limb in order to seek the right treatment.
Keep reading to learn more about the health conditions that could cause Pitbulls to limp and how to treat them.
Why Do Pitbulls Limp?
Limping isn’t always an emergency situation for Pitbulls.
Your dog might start limping because it has overexerted its muscle during exercise. In this case, the treatment can be done at home by administering some pain medication, applying heat pads to relieve muscle tension, and letting the dog rest for a while.
However, your dog might also start limping because of more severe health conditions that the dog has inherited or developed over time. In this case, the treatment will require more professional veterinarian care.
Health Conditions that Cause Limping in Pitbulls and How to Treat Them
There are some health conditions that cause limping in Pitbulls. It’s very important for owners to be aware of the symptoms of these conditions and what causes them in order to seek the right treatment.
So, let’s break down the most common health problems that cause limping in Pitbulls:
Hip dysplasia is a mostly chronic condition that’s very common in Pitbulls.
It occurs due to a deformity in the dog’s hip joint that causes the femur bone not to fit properly into the joint socket. The loose bone will rub into the dog’s flesh and skin causing intense pain and discomfort.
It’s often an inherited condition, however, there are some cases where Pitbulls might develop hip dysplasia due to being overweight and not exercising properly.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia include limping or bunny hopping, difficulties with walking or running, looseness in the hind leg joint, stiffness of the hind legs, and abnormal enlargement of the shoulder muscles.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s recommended to take your dog to a vet immediately as an early diagnosis of hip dysplasia will prevent it from worsening and causing other health problems.
How to Treat Hip Dysplasia in Pitbulls?
Hip dysplasia is mostly chronic as it cannot be cured completely without surgical intervention. However, its symptoms can be managed and treated, depending on the severity of the condition.
Mild cases can be treated through physical therapy, weight management, proper exercise, and administering pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications.
Meanwhile, in more severe cases, surgery will be required to completely replace the deformed hip joint using plastic or metal implants which will eventually restore the natural function of the joint.
Pitbulls are highly energetic dogs and they are prone to tearing the Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) in their leg due to continuous movement. They might also tear it due to being overweight, as the excess weight will press down on the leg ligament to the point of breakage.
Symptoms of torn CCL include limping, extending the hind legs when sitting, severe pain in the affected leg, swelling of the affected leg, and a crackling bone sound.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s recommended to take your dog to a vet immediately to seek proper treatment.
How to Treat Torn CCL in Pitbulls?
The treatment for torn CCL will depend on the severity and extent of the tear.
Mild CCL tears will usually heal on their own with rest and the application of heat pads on the affected leg to reduce tension. Meanwhile, more severe tears will require the administration of pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications.
It’s also very important to use a knee brace to balance the affected leg throughout the treatment as the dog will be putting its weight on the unaffected leg which might cause the CCL in that leg to also tear.
Arthritis is a chronic condition that’s very common in senior Pitbulls. However, younger Pitbulls might still prematurely develop it.
It occurs due to the cartilage on the dog’s leg joints thinning out completely causing the bones to directly rub on each other. This friction will cause intense pain and discomfort.
It also doesn’t just affect the dog’s leg joint, but all the joints in the dog’s body including the shoulders and ankles.
Symptoms of arthritis include limping, difficulties with walking or jumping, stiffness of the affected legs, aversion to touch, and weight gain due to lack of activity.
It can be difficult to diagnose during its early stages as most owners dismiss the symptoms as a minor injury or overexertion. So, if you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your dog to a vet to seek the right treatment.
How to Treat Arthritis in Pitbulls?
There’s no permanent cure for arthritis as it’s a chronic condition. However, its symptoms can be managed through physical therapy, weight management, and administering pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications.
When to Consult a Vet About Your Pitbull’s Limb?
You need to consult a vet about your Pitbull’s limb if it’s getting more intense and won’t go away with rest as this would mean that your dog is suffering from a more severe health condition.
Here are some signs and symptoms that you should also be on the lookout for:
- Intense pain
- Difficulties with walking or even standing up
- Inflammation on the hind legs or bottom
- Lack of coordination or slow gait
- Partial paralysis
It’s also important to know how good are Pitbulls at running to be able to spot problems early on, and you can learn everything about Pitbulls running here.
How Much Physical Exercise Should Pitbulls Get?
Pitbulls should get about 30 minutes of physical exercise when they’re puppies and about 60 minutes of physical exercise when they’re adults. It’s very important not to overexert the dog’s muscles while doing exercises as they’re prone to developing various leg problems.
What Are the Common Health Problems in Pitbulls?
Common health problems in Pitbulls include allergies, various skin conditions, eye diseases, hind leg problems, cerebellar abiotrophy, and parvovirus. They are also prone to obesity if they don’t get regular exercise. So, you need to take your dog to a vet for regular checkups to ensure it’s healthy.
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