Any decrease in an animal's ability to bear weight on a limb or a decrease in the normal mobility and function of a limb can be considered lameness. Lameness can be extremely subtle or profound, affecting one limb or several limbs.
Lameness in small mammals is most often associated with a traumatic event, such as falling, or it may develop gradually, as in a bone tumor in an affected leg. The underlying cause of a lameness may be life threatening or it may be detrimental to a good quality of life.
What to Watch For
Home Care and Prevention
Following a surgical procedure you will need to enforce a period of rest and restriction. For some critters, this may be difficult.
Some lameness problems may be treated with a cast, splint or soft-padded bandage. This will need to be kept clean and dry and, where appropriate, the toes at the bottom of the bandage should be checked daily for swelling or pain.
Lameness problems arise during normal everyday activity. Prevent severe injuries, such as falling from a height, by careful handling.