Dogs Swollen Paw

A dog’s limb is made up of different tissues: bone, muscles, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, skin, etc. Swelling of a limb can affect one or more of these tissues. This article will know you about dogs swollen paw.

The dog may regularly exhibit swelling of one or more legs.

The latter can localize or generalized over the entire leg. During generalization, it will be necessary to focus on a general disease.

It can also associate with dog lameness, pain, …

It is important to know the cause of the swollen paw in dogs. Because the therapeutic management and the prognosis are, of course, very different depending on the origin of the problem. The context of the appearance of this swelling (after a walk, after a shock,…) and the speed of evolution (fast or slow) also help to guide the diagnosis.


There are several conditions that can cause a swollen paw. It is possible to classify them by type of tissue affected:

  • Bone damage: fracture, tumor (primary or metastasis), inflammation (panosteitis), infection (osteomyelitis), cyst.
  • Joint damage: inflammation of one or more joints (mono- or polyarthritis of infectious origin or not), osteoarthritis, sprain (eg rupture of cruciate ligaments in the knee – called “stifle” in dogs), tumor.
  • Musculotendinous involvement: tear, inflammation, tendon rupture (e.g. rupture of the Achilles tendon which can lead to muscle retraction and therefore localized swelling), phlegmon / abscess
  • Cutaneous and subcutaneous involvement: infection (abscess, phlegmon), edema, tumor.

As mentioned in the introduction, there are many general diseases that can manifest as swelling of the limbs:

For example, edema of the limbs can find in advanced heart disease, with clots located in the veins, during severe kidney or digestive diseases, during severe allergic reaction.

Another example: swelling of the joints of the limbs can be secondary to cancerous diseases, infectious diseases (Lyme disease, leishmaniasis, etc.) or autoimmune diseases (this is a sudden disruption of the immune system of the animal, with no identified cause, causing the organism to no longer recognize part of itself – in this case, its joints – and react to reject and destroy it).


The swelling of the paw can isolate.

It can be associated, as mentioned previously:

  • local signs: pain, bleeding, purulent fluid, mobility of the limb
  • locomotor signs: permanent or intermittent lameness, hot or cold, …
  • general signs: depression, fever, digestive disorders, weight loss


Given the multiplicity of causes, it is essential to provide as much information as possible to the veterinarian in order to help him in the diagnostic process and to target additional examinations.

For this, information on possible trips, on the frequency of antiparasitic treatments, on vaccination, on the context of the appearance of the swelling (during a fight, an abscess following a bite is likely; during a runaway, a fracture is possible; during a progressive swelling on a large old dog, a tumor will be mainly suspected, …), on the presence of clinical signs not visible in consultation (increased drinking, diarrhea, …) are important .

In a second step, a careful clinical examination is fundamental: observation of the animal’s gait, observation at rest, orthopedic examination of all the limbs and the affected limb (lastly), manipulation of the swollen area will be associated. to a general clinical examination.

Dogs Swollen Paw

Depending on the results of the clinical examination, certain additional examinations may be performed:

  • X-ray
  • Blood and urine tests to look for general illnesses
  • Punctures of the swollen area are possible: they can easily do on a vigilant animal, with a simple sampling needle, when the swelling is superficial (skin, muscles). They may require tranquilization in the event of significant pain or deep involvement (bones, joints).
  • Biopsies
  • A scanner
  • Cardiac and abdominal ultrasound

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Treatment and prognosis of swollen paw in dogs

The management and prognosis will depend on the cause of the swelling.

During infection, a simple antibiotic treatment, combined with analgesics, may be necessary.

Anti-inflammatory drugs will indicate during osteoarthritis, during inflammation, during allergic reaction, during stings, etc.

Surgical interventions of very variable nature and complexity are possible (incision and drainage of an abscess, reconstruction of ligaments crossed during severe knee sprain, amputation during bone tumor, removal (excision) of a skin tumor,…).

An exhaustive list of all medico-surgical treatments is of little interest, given the multiplicity of causes. Your veterinarian will suggest the most suitable therapy for you.


Most frequently, a paw is swollen in a specific place: the most frequent causes are then insect bites, abscesses following a bite, or sprains.

Sometimes further investigation is necessary to find the precise cause of this swelling.