The symptoms of limping include crying or pain upon getting up or moving, along with favoring of the affected leg in varying degrees, which in severe cases may result in holding the affected limb up completely. In some cases of tick-borne disease or immune arthritis, the lameness may shift from one leg to another. Depending upon the cause of the lameness, swelling of the bones and joints may occur, as well as varying degrees of fever.
The diagnosis of the causes of limping in pets is first made through careful taking of the affected pet's history, including possible exposure to recent trauma, ticks, or infectious agents. A careful physical examination, including careful palpation of the bones, joints and spinal cord, is important in order to distinguish the various possible causes of limping in pets. Finally, blood work, x rays, and if needed, joint taps, are often critical in defining the causes of limping.