My dog has been limping for a week but is in no visible pain. He is on bed rest & inflammatories but still not right. Our vet said it could be the ACL joint & to wait and see if heals.

A limping dog hurts. Bed rest and anti-inflammatories will certainly help with this. Dogs are quite good at masking pain, and it’s quite likely that although he is on some anti-inflammatories he could still be in discomfort – particularly when he tries to move around. Traditionally, cruciate ligament injuries (ACL) are very painful.

Cruciate ligament injuries are hard to diagnose without sedation for a hands on examination and imaging (radiographs).

In small breeds of dogs, with confirmed rupture of the cruciate ligament, conservative management (strict rest + pain relief) can be attempted, but usually surgery is preferable no matter the size of the dog.

If surgery is not an option, rest is essential for at least 6 weeks (this means no running, no playing and no jumping, keeping on a leash all the time and max 10 minutes walk when appropriate). Anti-inflammatories are usually needed for the first 1-2 weeks.

As it’s been a week it’s a good time to recheck via hands on examination and if things are not improving considering further action starting with radiographs.

If you’d like to chat in person, you can book a live video call or start a chat to discuss in more detail, as soon as possible.

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Chat soon,

Dr Claire