When any pet starts limping, it’s time to take note. Limping is a symptom of pain or injury, of course, but what’s the cause? Like people, our pets might limp because of pain in their feet, which corns can cause, or so can a broken bone. The limp can also be a sign of damage to a leg bone, joint or hip. This damage can be caused by injury to the muscles, nerves or bone, by joint conditions like arthritis, and by cancer. So the first thing to note is exactly where your pet has pain.
One reader recently reached out to say her greyhound’s limping, and to ask whether corns could be the problem. As it turns out, this is a common issue with greyhounds and with those mixed with the breed. But to rule out other causes of pain, like those listed above, notice if your dog seems to prefer walking on grass or the ground, vs. a hard sidewalk. If a corn or foot injury is the problem, hard surfaces cause them more pain, and so they’ll avoid them. If not, the issue might be elsewhere. You can help your vet diagnose the cause by describing when your pet seems to be in most pain, when it started, what relieves it, and if he’s acting differently in any other way.
For corns, which the reader asked specifically about, we found out that they’re often a problem for racing greyhounds, whether they’re active or retired, as the reader suspected. Corns are growths on the pads of the toes of dogs, and they’re very painful. They’re also a problem for older dogs. As the corns grow, they break through the pad of the toes. But even small corns—those that haven’t broken through the skin—are very painful. So look carefully at your pet’s toes. Both corns and broken bones are more common in the middle two toes, by the way.
The verdict is still out on the cause of corns: virus or repetitive use, like running, are the two suspects. Treatment usually does not involve surgery. A vet can often remove it completely using a special tool, and the procedure isn’t painful. But it can give instant relief. The most important thing to remember is that corns can return, and they can pop up on other feet. So be vigilant in examining your pet’s feet, so you can take care of any corns before they get “out of hand,” so to speak. Greyhound lovers have found that not all vets are familiar with this problem, so be sure to ask the vet to inspect the feet carefully. You might even want to print out this blog to share as a possible cause for your dog’s limping.
Have you discovered the cause of your pet’s limping? Share what you learned and how you helped your pet.