Veterinary Treatment for Lameness

Lameness is something every horse or dog owner should understand to at least a small degree. Once considered a death sentence for horses, modern vet medicine makes it possible for horses, dogs, and other farm animals which experience lameness to have a variety of treatment options. Tahoma Veterinary Hospital in Spanaway, WA can help pet and livestock owners identify the cause of lameness in their animals and then select the appropriate course of treatment.


Causes for Lameness

Owners must understand that lameness isn’t so much a condition in its own right as it is a manifestation of one of the following three things:

  1. Pain
  2. Mechanical restrictions that force animals to alter their gait (such as fibrotic myopathy in horses or hip dysplasia in dogs)
  3. Neuromuscular disease

It is important to learn to visually recognize signs of lameness so you can avoid worsening the injury and the lameness. This is especially the case for horses and some other larger farm animals. For instance, lame dairy cows may produce less milk and experience infertility as a result of their lameness. It doesn’t matter what types of animals you’re caring for, lameness is a condition that must be addressed.

Managing Lameness

The first challenge is identifying the cause behind the lameness. Only then can your veterinarian begin to make an accurate diagnosis and formulate an effective treatment plan. There is a lameness exam that every veterinarian will go through before beginning treatment unless there is an obvious cause of lameness that presents itself immediately. The exam begins with the medical history of the animal and its injury before moving on to the following vital steps:

  • Standing examination
  • Moving examination
  • Flexion examination
  • Hoof testing

Once these examinations are complete the vet will often have a good idea of which limb is affected and may have identified the precise location of the pain. If not, nerve and joint blocks may be used to narrow down the location further as well as diagnostic imaging which may involve:

  • Radiography
  • Ultrasound
  • Thermography
  • MRIs
  • CT Scans
  • Bone Scans

Fortunately, there are many different types of treatments available for animals dealing with lameness today. Those treatments include things like:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgeries
  • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections
  • Manual manipulation

Your Local Animal Hospital for Lameness Treatment

At Tahoma Veterinary Hospital in Spanaway, WA, we understand that farm animals and household pets require varying degrees of treatment for lameness throughout his or her life. Call us today at (253) 847-3500 with any questions about lameness and for help choosing the treatment that works best in your situation. As always, compassionate care is our first priority for you and your animals.



Office Hours


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:30 am-1:00 pm