Why Do Jack Russells Limp? Reasons Explained With Tips

Why Do Jack Russells Limp? Reasons Explained With Tips

Limping, also known as lameness, results in abnormal walking conditions in dogs; simply put, it makes them walk abnormally on one or more limbs. This article is helpful to Jack Russell Terrier owners and anyone who’s expecting to raise one of these dogs.

Limping is sort of common among short-legged dog breeds. Hence Jack Russells belong to this category; they can be vulnerable to limping.

Why do Jack Russells limp? There is no one fixed reason behind this, but several factors could make a Jack Russell limp. Some of the typical ones are Wounds, Patellar Luxation, Hip Dysplasia, Osteoarthritis, Bone diseases, Trauma, or other Injuries. 

In most cases limping is not a critical condition. However, if you deny the limping of your Jack Russell, it could end up giving adverse outcomes.

Therefore if you notice your pet is limping, pay attention and take action appropriately. Read this article to comprehensively understand what makes these dogs limp and how you can help them in such a condition.

Why do Jack Russells walk on three legs?

Have you ever noticed that your Jack Russell walks on three legs? If so, the first thing that usually pops up to your mind is that one of their legs might be injured.

That is not entirely a wrong prediction, but it is crucial that you correctly understand why your Jack Russell walks on three legs.

This walking condition usually happens due to Patellar Luxation. Patellar Luxation, in simple terms, also known as the floating knee, is referred to as the dislocation of the dog’s kneecap.

Many dogs could face Patellar Luxation, especially small dog breeds, including Jack Russells. And this often makes them walk on three legs.

This doesn’t cause any threat to your pet’s health, but this makes them feel uncomfortable and painful when they walk.

Not every Jack Russell Terrier faces the complexities of Patellar Luxation in the same way. For some, the pain might be less, while for others, it’s high.

So as soon as you notice your Jack Russell walks on three legs unless you don’t see any external injuries, it is advisable to take the dog to a vet and figure out the issue.

Why does my Jack Russell keep limping?

Jack Russells indicate limping in several ways. Sometimes they crawl for a short amount of time and then switch back to normal walking conditions. But they might constantly limp as well.

Below are some reasons that could make your Jack Russell keep limping. 

  • Superficial injuries

Starting with the most apparent reason, injuries. Superficial injuries are referred to as surface-level injuries.

A Jack Russell Terrier could limp if they face a surface-level injury such as a cut, wound, or burn.

This kind of physical injury will cause pain in their legs; hence they will keep limping. It is not surprising that a Jack Russell faces such damage since they have extreme energy levels.

  • Non-superficial injuries and other diseases 

As a Jack Russell owner, you should be aware that the reason behind your Jack Russell’s limping is not always limited to cuts and wounds. You might not always see the issue on the surface level.

Sometimes, your Jack Rusell might be limping as they undergo other complex health issues inside the body, such as joint trauma, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, Intervertebral disc disease IVDD, Lyme Disease, or even Bone Cancer. So you must take quick action if you feel suspicious. 

Do Jack Russells have back leg problems?

Hind legs or the back legs of a Jack Russell Terrier are usually prone to leg problems. Patellar Luxation, which we discussed earlier, usually affects the back legs of Jack Russells.

Other than Patellar Luxation, Hip Dysplasia, Achilles Tendon Rupture, Superficial Digital Flexor (SDF) Luxation, and Lumbosacral Disease usually affects the back legs of a Jack Russell.

Also, when it comes to Jack Russell puppies, you may see some of them have bowed hind legs, and it might feel unusual.

Some Jack Russells genetically possess bowed legs, and it doesn’t cause them any harm or discomfort.

However, as the puppy grows up, you notice that they walk abnormally, make sure to take it to a vet.

How can I help my limping Jack Russell?

Suppose that your Jack Russell keeps limping; this will undoubtedly make you feel devastated. I mean, who would like to see their beloved pet in pain? No one would.

As a dog parent, you can and must take action to help your dog in such situations. Let’s look at some of the essential factors that you should know to help your limping Jack Russell. 

First and foremost, you should try to figure out what causes limping in your Jack Russell. Examine their legs and find out if there are any visible injuries.

Suppose you could find a wound or a cut on either their paws or legs that could explain limping. In such cases, you can soak the leg in warm water with magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) and apply some antibiotic ointment. If the wound seems to be pretty grave, you better take it to a vet.

If you cannot find any surface-level injury, that means something is going on inside their body. It could be something ordinary, such as joint dislocation, or something serious such as a neurological disease.

If your Jack Russell is limping, give the dog some good rest, don’t make it tired too much, reduce the amount of exercise you provide and observe if things get better.

If the limp isn’t severe, you might see that it gets better over a couple of days. But if you don’t see any progress, take it to a vet without hesitating.

Especially if you come across other symptoms along with limping, for instance, vomiting, swelling, shaking, fever and blood in their stool.

Final thoughts about Jack Russell’s limp

This article discussed the topic “why do Jack Russells limp?”. You might understand that several reasons could cause limping in your Jack Russell.

It could be due to genes they inherit or a common reason such as a wound, fracture, or dislocation. But it can also be something severe like a born cancer.

So the bottom line is as soon as you notice that your Jack Russell limps, find out why they limp without delay.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about your favorite dog breed. Cheers!!


  • George Brown

    George B. is the founder of the JRO Organization. He believes in creating a better world for domestic animals. He believes domestic animals are more vulnerable than other animals, especially dogs, since they have been used to depending on their owners for generations. So, he started JRO to share his ideas and insights while helping vulnerable dogs worldwide. George runs multiple projects on street dogs in developing countries, especially Sri Lanka.

    [email protected]

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