Leg nerve damage varies in types and severity. The symptoms, treatment and prognosis often depend on the causes.
Learn what symptoms to look out for, how diagnosis is made and what to expect from the treatment.
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The symptoms of leg nerve damage in dogs
If your dog has damaged a nerve in its leg, some symptoms you might observe are:
- Limping or dragging
- Muscle weakening
- Excessive licking or chewing of the affected area
- Excessive vocalisation
Your dog might walk awkwardly or somehow different to the way it normally does because it is trying to compensate by putting more weight on the healthy limbs.
If the damaged nerve has caused loss of sensation, you might observe your dog positioning its limbs and paws in unusual angles when at rest or exhibiting unusual limb movements. For example it might have its legs crossed or paws turned under.
If you suspect your dog has a problem with a limb, consult a veterinary professional.
Veterinary surgeon Dr Neerja Muncaster advises that it is usually the vet who will pick up that nerves are involved while the owner will usually be more aware of the more acute injury.
Dog leg nerve damage: causes
- Physical injury
- Neuro-degenerative disorder
- Cancers and tumours
Dr Muncaster says that vets often see leg nerve damage as a result of a traumatic incidents such as road traffic accidents; but also in cases with spinal disease or where a mass is disrupting a nerve.
Dog leg nerve damage treatment: outlook and prognosis
There is no specific treatment for leg nerve damage in dogs. Often it is a matter of time, rehabilitation and recuperation.
Any treatment would often depend on the underlying cause. Anti-inflammatories, rest and physiotherapy are often the approach.
"It is very difficult to put a time frame on the healing," advises Dr Muncaster. Sadly if you don’t see improvement in a few months the prognosis may not be great.
How is nerve damage in dogs diagnosed?
It usually involves ruling out other causes for the symptoms and testing nerve reflexes.
Your vet might choose to run blood tests or do an X-ray or an MRI.
The best thing to do if you suspect your dog might have suffered leg nerve damage is to contact a veterinary professional.