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Why is My Boston Terrier Limping?

Is your little Boston Terrier your best friend? With their charming tuxedo-like faces it’s hard not to fiercely love these loyal little companions.

That’s why it can be very concerning and heart-wrenching when we notice something’s not quite right with our little Boston Terrier, so if you’ve noticed that your Boston Terrier has started limping it can be quite tempting to worry excessively or even panic.

There are several reasons why your Boston Terrier might be limping. Limping could be a sign of a paw or leg injury, a substantial injury like a broken bone, fracture, or sprain, or a less noticeable injury such as a dislocation, ligament tear, joint trauma, or spinal injury. It could also be caused by a luxated patella.

Boston Terrier Limping

Superficial injuries can cause some pain or discomfort in our Boston Terrier paws and legs. If they have recently walked on hot pavement, gotten a thorn or other sharp object caught in their paw, or somehow cut or scraped their paw this can be a less serious cause of your dog’s limping.

There are some more serious causes that we will explore, but as I always recommend please be sure to have your dog checked out by your vet. This article is meant to help you investigate possible causes not give you medical advice!

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Possible Reasons Why Your Boston Terrier Is Limping

There are so many reasons why your Boston Terrier could be limping. After all, they have short stout legs and sometimes a lot of bodyweight to carry on those little legs. Boston Terriers come with their own unique set of problems when it comes to their health and wellness.

Because there are so many possibilities as to why your Boston Terrier is limping the best way to find out is to have your dog examined by your vet.

It may seem like your Boston Terrier isn’t in any pain, if they are only slightly limping or they don’t whine or cry when you touch their paw or leg it doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling any pain. Dogs are often very good at hiding pain and may only give clues about the pain they are in when it gets unbearable.

There are some things you will need to consider when trying to figure out why your dog is limping. There will also be similar to the questions your vet will ask you when you take your Boston Terrier in for an exam.

Chess Dog 300 x 600
  • Did the limping start all at once, or did it come on gradually? Sudden limping is usually a sign of trauma or injury whereas gradual limping can be a sign of a condition such as arthritis or hip dysplasia.
  • Is it worse during a particular time of the day? Some owners notice that their Boston Terrier starts limping after they wake up from a nap or a period of sleeping.
  • Where has your dog been walking recently? Hot pavement, broken glass, rocks, thorns, bee stings?
  • Has your dog recently been very active?
  • Did your Boston Terrier jump from a significant height?
  • Is there swelling or tenderness to the touch? Does any part of the leg feel warm or hot to the touch? (if the injury feels warm to the touch seek attention from a vet.)

If your dog has an obvious trauma, dislocations, breaks, change in the natural position of their leg, any bleeding, or swelling you should seek medical attention for your dog immediately. Also if your dog is in a lot of pain, yelping, or won’t put any weight on the leg a vet visit should be sought quickly.

Superficial Injuries

A superficial injury is something that scrapes or cuts or burns your dog’s paw or leg from the outside. Depending on how serious the injury is you may be able to address it at home.

Your Boston Terrier may also try to lick the spot that is causing pain. Licking is a way for dogs to try and nurse the wound, but they should be kept from doing it.

You can learn more about your Boston Terrier Licking and what to do in this article!

Why Does My Boston Terrier Lick Everything?

If your Boston Terrier was stung by a bee then remove the stinger, apply a paste of baking soda and water and then ice the spot. Talk to your vet about giving your dog an oral antihistamine.

Superficial injuries can affect any of your Boston Terrier four legs so whether they are limping on their front leg or back leg, just do a thorough and careful inspection to see if you can find any signs of injury or burn.

Trauma or Injury (Non-Superficial)

If you have an energetic fun-loving dog, or maybe a clumsy dog they may be more prone to a deeper trauma or injury. Dogs (especially young dogs) often ignore their limitations and will jump from high surfaces, run too hard, or try to turn too quickly.

Boston Terrier with their short stout legs (especially around other dogs) may not realize they can’t quite do what their four-legged friends with the longer legs can. This may lead them to overextend themselves which can cause a range of sprains, break, or tears.

If Your Boston Terrier is like my dog I had growing up (I swear she had 9 lives just like a cat) she may get stuck in a fence, shut in a door, or accidentally run into a wall. The possibilities are endless!

If your dog was injured due to something hitting it, falling, or getting stuck it’s important that you have a vet assess the extent of the injury.

Some possibilities include but are not limited to.

  • A pulled tendon or muscle
  • A fractured or cracked bone
  • A sprain
  • Joint Dislocation
  • Bruising

Some injuries that may cause your dog to limp may not be so apparent. It will often take a vet exam as well as possible x-rays, or other specialized equipment to understand what is going on.

Some deeper injuries could be caused by trauma are.

A torn ACL (Limping in Rear Legs)

This is one of the most common injuries in dogs. This injury can only happen in the back legs of your Boston Terrier. A torn ACL requires rest, immobilization, and sometimes surgery.

It may be possible for your Boston Terrier to recover from an ACL tear by wearing an orthopedic brace and getting supplemental support, but depending on how severe the injury is they may need surgery.

Luxated Patella (Limping in Rear Legs)

Luxated Patella (displaced kneecap) is more common in small dogs, but Boston Terrier’s can also be affected. nearly 7% of puppies will have this condition.

If your dog is overweight they are more likely to develop this problem. Keeping their weight in check can help to prevent it.

Depending on the severity your dog may be able to heal from this with rest and an increased nutritional diet. If the condition keeps occurring or gets worse it may need surgery.

Hip Dysplasia (Limping in Rear Legs)

Hip Dysplasia is genetic. This is a problem in more common in large breed dogs, but small breed dogs are not immune.

Hip Dysplasia causes the hip joints to form improperly and leads to arthritis.

If your Boston Terrier is limping on its back legs or having trouble using its back legs or struggles to get up after lying down it could be a sign of this disease developing.

Diseases That May Cause Limping in Your Boston Terrier

Some diseases that cause limping in your Boston Terrier include but are not limited to.

  • Bone Cancer – Normally appears in the front legs, may make your dog lame and unable to walk. It will be diagnosed by an x-ray and biopsy.
  • Arthritis– This usually happens in more than one leg and in older Boston Terriers. Your dog may feel stiff and have trouble getting up and down, as well as may not want to jump or go up and downstairs. This happens more subtly and will be diagnosed by a physical exam with your vet.
  • Lyme Disease – If your Boston Terrier has been bitten by a tick even months ago this could be the cause of their limping. You will see lameness which may seem to move around from one leg to another. Still and Swollen joints, possibly fever. Reduced energy and loss of appetite. Your vet will do a blood test to check for Lyme and if positive start your dog on a course of antibiotics.
  • Valley fever – Another tick-borne illness. You may see lameness of their legs, swelling, coughing, lack of appetite, and low energy. This illness can be dormant in your Boston Terrier for up to 3 years after a tick bite. Your vet can test for this with a blood test. Treated with anti-fungal medicine.
  • Neurological Disorders – There are too many different kinds of neurological disorders to list here, but these disorders will affect your Boston Terrier’s brain, and/or spine will fall into this category. Other signs of these disorders can be circling, excessive pain, dizziness, disorientation, seizures, sudden inability to use legs, or stumbling.
    Your vet may do an MRI or CT scan to find the cause. Treatments will vary and may include surgery or physical therapy.

Does your Boston ever get red eyes? Be sure to read this so you’ll know what to do. Boston Terrier Cherry Eye (Red Eye) Causes and Treatments

Treatment for a Limping Boston Terrier

From their Teeth to their Tails we want our Boston Terriers to live the longest healthiest life possible, that is why getting treatment sooner rather than later is important.

Many of the problems we discussed in this article if caught early and taken care of by your vet will hopefully not leave any long-lasting problems for your four-legged friend.

Treatment will depend greatly on the underlying cause of your dog’s limping. If your dog is showing any other signs or symptoms with the limping such as any in this list please call your vet right away.

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood on its body or in its stool
  • Lethargy
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Disorientation
  • Shaking
  • Trouble Breathing

If you are not able to get a hold of a vet near you, there are several online resources that you can turn to. Here are a few of our recommendations.

Free Online Vet | Pawp | Talk To A Vet For Free Now

24/7 Online Vet Appointments – Ask a Vet – Vetster


While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.

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