Responsible Pet Care – First Aid For Limping Pets
Pets usually develop a swollen leg after being bitten by another animal and when the injury becomes infected. They can also sustain injuries such as strains and sprains when they are left unattended outdoors or during rough play. When they develop a muscle or tendon sprain, they can develop a hematoma when a leg is seriously bruised. However, leg swelling can also be caused by a bee or wasp sting and fractures. It can also be caused by metabolic conditions such as diabetes or bone cancers and fluid therapy. The fact is, there are many reasons for your pet to limp and considering the seriousness of a swollen leg, it is crucial that you apply first aid and seek immediate treatment.
What To Watch Out For
It is always wise to seek medical assistance when you are trying to diagnose the cause of your pet’s swollen leg if you did not witness the actual accident. If the leg swelling was caused by a sprain, bruise or infection, it can be easily treated with first aid. However, you also need to watch out for symptoms that indicate more serious health conditions or injuries.
You need to bring your pet to the vet when –
- Your pet no longer puts any more weight on the injured leg
- Your pet is not acting normally or depressed
- Your pet is unable to eat or drink properly
- The limp on the swollen leg does not heal within 48 hours
- A fever develops with these symptoms
- The swelling and fever does not decrease within 24 hours
The Right First Aid Treatments
It is essential that you apply the proper first aid treatments for a limping pet.
Strains, Sprains And Bruising
When your pet has a swollen leg that is not accompanied with any other symptoms then it may just be a sprain, muscle strain or bruising. The best way to treat it is by applying cold compress on the affected area to prevent the body from releasing pain causing chemicals that triggers the swelling and inflammation. Simply wet a washcloth and apply it to the injury, then place a cold pack on top of the washcloth for 10 to 30 minutes several times in a day to help numb the soreness.
With the advice of your vet, you can give your pet buffered aspirin temporarily to help eliminate the pain accompanying the swollen joints caused by arthritis, while reducing the swelling since it is an anti-inflammatory. Though the buffered aspirin is gentle on your pet’s stomach, you must give it along with food. The normal dosage of aspirin on animals is 10-25mg per 2.2lbs of body weight at least twice a day. However, you must never give aspirin to cats.
Sometimes, swelling can be caused by the allergic reaction triggered by an insect sting or bite. In this situation, you can give antihistamine such as Benadryl to help treat the swelling and inflammation. The proper dosage of Benadryl in pets is 1mg per body weight pound for every six to eight hours. Benadryl in its liquid form is available in a dosage of 12.5mg per teaspoon and 25mg per pill. However, you will still need to bring your pet to the vet to have the wound properly treated to avoid any further complications. Since there is a risk of your pet being stung or bitten again, it is best to have your home and garden treated using the services of a pest control professional.
Swollen legs caused by abscesses heats up with the onset of a fever. A hot compress is needed to encourage blood circulation in the affected area and improve the healing of the infection. You can do this by applying a hot water bottle to the swollen area two to five times a day for every five minutes. However avoid placing hot compress on the groin or armpit area and consult with a vet instead.
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Valerie Williams is a freelance writer specializing in pet health and natural pest control solutions. She offers information about the allergies caused by insects, common pet ailments and the first aid treatments for specific injuries. She also recommends Preventive Pest Control for any type of infestation problem in homes and gardens to help prevent insect bites and stings on the family and pets.