Can a dog walk with a dislocated leg? Essential Tips

Symptoms of Joint Dislocation in Dogs

Signs vary depending on the location of the joint dislocation. Typically, dogs will exhibit lameness in the affected limb, which may progress over time. Your dog may be reluctant to walk because of pain, and you may see swelling around the joint. Other signs specific to a certain joint include:

  • Ankle — Foot hanging loose or moving in unusual directions
  • Elbow — Elbow carried flexed
  • Hip — Shortening of limb
  • Treatment of Joint Dislocation in Dogs

    There are two methods of treatment for a luxated joint.

    Closed Reduction

    In certain cases, the joint can be returned to its original location through closed reduction, which does not require surgically opening the area around the joint. This is a non-invasive procedure but requires general anesthesia to relax the muscles. Following reduction, a radiograph confirms that the joint is in the correct position.


    If the ligaments surrounding the joint are too damaged, surgery may be required to repair the joint. The veterinarian may be able to sew the joint capsule back together in order to support the joint once it has been manipulated back to its original position. Depending on the extent of the damage, screws, pins, or washers may be used to replicate the torn ligaments and to hold the joint in place.

    In both closed and open reduction, the limb will be held in position with a bandage or wrap following treatment, which provides support to the joint while the surrounding joint capsule heals.

    Worried about the cost of Joint Dislocation treatment?

    Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

    How to Manage Your Dog’s Leg Injury

    You can actively help your dog recover from its leg sprain or fracture once you know how to provide the right home care. Start by adopting these tips.

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