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Broken Nail: Vet Needed or No?


mbc1963
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I defer to the knowledgable people on this forum, since I've never dealt with a bad toenail break before.

 

Buddy's bleeding and licking his broken dew claw. I called my vet, but he wasn't in today because of the blizzard. So... I have an overnight to decide if I need to spend money on this. (Water heater blew a couple weeks ago... so I'm all into frugal right now.) It looks to me like it's broken right at the base. Poor dog.

 

Do these things heal on their own? Is it worth it to have a vet take care of this?

 

Outside.jpg

 

Inside.jpg

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Mary

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I've always taken care of them myself in the past, some I have had to remove the nail leaving an exposed root. But, I'm unable to tell what is going on via the pictures to know if this would be a do it myself, wait and watch, or requires a vet visit.

 

Sorry to not be of any help.

 

Deb

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I agree with Mara. In the old days we'd muzzle him & do a quick chop with nail clippers above the crack, topical cautery (quick stop, clotisol) & pressure dressing for 24 hours. After that use a light bandage to keep clean & restrict activity for a few days. OUCH! :blink:

 

Now we'd sedate with Propofol (quick 10 minute anesthesia) first & then do the same. Rarely did we administer antibiotics.

 

The problem with leaving it is that you have to wait until the break grows out & that could take a month or more. Each time he steps it will hurt. He will lick at it & make infection more & more likely.

 

It is hard to say for sure but it looks like the nail is pretty long. Be sure to keep them short to minimize the chance of getting them snagged.

 

HTH,

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Thanks for the advice! Alas, the question resolved itself last night when Buddy got the nail snagged in the blanket. Now it's snapped and sticking out at a 90 degree angle, and judging from his behavior, it's intolerably painful. (He sticks like velcro when he's in pain - and he hasn't been this clingy since he impaled himself on a stick several years ago.) Because I'm too wimpy and muzzleless to try it myself, I'll take him to the vet ASAP.

 

I never think about Buddy's nails, because they generally get filed down by walks on the street. But this is the second dew claw he's broken, so I guess I'll have to start trimming them.

 

Thanks again. Bleah.

 

Mary

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Good luck! I've taken Pip to the vet twice to have broken toenails removed (those I couldn't yank easily myself). Whether he was sedated depended on the vet and the extent of the break. I did wrap his foot afterward to keep grass, etc., from poking the sore spot. He seemed more comfortable wrapped.

 

J.

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Celt just had to have a nail removed (well, cut back to the base). He tends to have one nail that's prone to splitting but this time, the soft tissue managed to split all the way back to the base. No way to heal without risking infection and a prolonged healing time, or maybe healing defectively.

 

He's understanding your dog's pain...

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  • 3 weeks later...

:angry: DH just brought Poke back from the dog park all bloody and short a toe nail. This discussion was timely. Poke severed the nail in half, it looks like he clipped it far too short himself. DH doesn't think the vet can do anything at this point besides dress it and clean it. (Which we've done) Would a vet visit be beneficial for anything?

 

ETA: Angry face is not for DH, just in general. ;)

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:angry: DH just brought Poke back from the dog park all bloody and short a toe nail. This discussion was timely. Poke severed the nail in half, it looks like he clipped it far too short himself. DH doesn't think the vet can do anything at this point besides dress it and clean it. (Which we've done) Would a vet visit be beneficial for anything?

 

ETA: Angry face is not for DH, just in general. ;)

 

Buzz split a nail one evening at flyball practice. By the time I got him to the vet the next morning, it was infected, there was a little pus already coming out. You might call the vet, see if he would need to see Poke before prescribing some antibiotics.

 

Sending good toenail mojo to everyone!

 

Ruth

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sounds like a bad toenail kinda of week!

I have a question to add...

Jazz is quite old as is her sister Raven. They have what I call old lady nails. They've gotten thinker and harder to trim over the years. I usually just keep the clippers handy and trim them a bit each week. Still they nails have gotten longer over the years along with the quick. Since we walk in the fields they really don't wear them down. I trim and trim but they are still long and with the quick longer it's hard to get them to what I would call short enough.

 

So how do you get the quick to retreat back a bit so you can get them shorter. If a younger dogs nails get long the quick seems to retreat each time you cut them so eventually they end up short enough again. But these girls have long nails even when I cut them.

 

Poor Jazzy, I quicked her one day. Wrapped it in a pressure towel (didn't have anything else close) then told her to stay and walked away quickly forgetting I left her on the couch. A few hours later I come back in and there she sits with her towel wrapped around the foot looking heart broke cause I forgot to tell her she could move.

To bad all my dogs aren't that obeident!

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Sweet-Ceanna

 

I am not a fan of systemic antibiotics - just in case. You can apply some neosporin & keep it covered for a week or so- sounds like the nail itself was avulsed (torn off) & the quick (inside core) remains. Until this hardens over it will be tender & bleed every time it is bumped. No dog park for a while only leash walks, etc. Watch for signs of infection & if it looks like it might be getting infected then you can call the vet.

 

If there are any pieces of nail left then all bets are off & you should have the vet check it to make sure it is in the best state to heal properly.

 

Good luck,

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sounds like a bad toenail kinda of week!

I have a question to add...

Jazz is quite old as is her sister Raven. They have what I call old lady nails. They've gotten thinker and harder to trim over the years. I usually just keep the clippers handy and trim them a bit each week. Still they nails have gotten longer over the years along with the quick. Since we walk in the fields they really don't wear them down. I trim and trim but they are still long and with the quick longer it's hard to get them to what I would call short enough.

 

So how do you get the quick to retreat back a bit so you can get them shorter. If a younger dogs nails get long the quick seems to retreat each time you cut them so eventually they end up short enough again. But these girls have long nails even when I cut them.

 

Poor Jazzy, I quicked her one day. Wrapped it in a pressure towel (didn't have anything else close) then told her to stay and walked away quickly forgetting I left her on the couch. A few hours later I come back in and there she sits with her towel wrapped around the foot looking heart broke cause I forgot to tell her she could move.

To bad all my dogs aren't that obeident!

 

Can't write much..off to work but a Dremmel works great!

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Thank you for the info. Apparently Poke is one tough son of a you know what. He never complained and has been letting us clean his foot daily. He has had no signs of infection and that nail hardened up again pretty quick. He only bled that day. He is cranky we will not let him run, but he can just deal with that. If it weren't for the blood I don't think we would have known there was a thing wrong with him.

 

The funniest thing was our foster Chip's reaction. Poke had blood all over his paws. As DH and I were cleaning him off Chip came up, sniffed the blood and started crying like the world was ending. What a wussy dog. This was not a he's injured please fix him cry. It was a head back, full of despair, I don't think he's going to make it because there is blood cry. We actually were cracking up as he was doing this and the poor guy just couldn't see why we were laughing. :lol:

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