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Broken toe nail: updated


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Blue is severly thunder phobic and in one of his panics in his crate he broke off a toe nail. :rolleyes: All the hard shell is gone leaving only the exposed quick. I've been treating the toe with Povidone solution. I wish to treat this at home if possible. Besides keeping the toe clean and allowing to be exposed to the air to dry out is there anything else I should do?

 

AK Dog Doc, any suggestions?

 

Mark

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Ouch,

Charlie broke a toenail off on some playground equipment that he was playing on with the kids, he goes up and drops the ball down the slide. When we got home we disinfected it with Povidone and I felt it hurt him so I put some topical anesthetic on it. We have some lidocaine prescribed gel for another use so I just used that. OTC is available at a lower concentration of active ingredient. It was painful to walk on it for a day or two. Best wishes to you.

Caroline

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Hi Mark

Probably that will grow back out just fine. Typically they do. If you suspect any infection - though this is rare - you can use a little neosporin topically. You'd want to look for anything that looked like pus or had a significant odor. I generally advise the original recipe (not the pain control type) since I can just about guarantee that unless you wrap it Blue will lick it. Since we use lidocaine in dogs to address certain arrythmias, I personally prefer not to have them ingesting it - it's unlikely that there'd be a problem, but I don't want to find out that one of my patients has a problem with it the hard way. I'm a big chicken that way. :rolleyes:

 

At any rate, if there are any raggedy bits still sticking out, you might want to keep those trimmed back as the nail grows out, beacause if they get tweaked they'll tug at the quick and that hurts. I've only maybe twice had a nail grow back in in an abnormal fashion after this sort of injury, though I've seen quite a lot of these. Generally the nail bed isn't badly damaged and it goes ahead and grows out a perfectly normal nail. I generally don't suggest a bootie or a wrap unless the dog is obsessed with licking it - a little licking is no big deal, but you don't want him spending all his time on that. As for activity, probably running around in rough terrain or lots of harsh vegetaion would be painful, but everyday sorts of things should be fine. Obviously digging (which is probably how he did it in the first place, by digging at his crate) would be something to limit during the healing process.

 

Let me know if you have a problem with it, though I'm confident you won't.

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Thanks for getting back and it's good to know we're already doing what we can. Since it's fresh it's VERY sore and still bleeds if he runs around in the field (the others running have gotten him excited enough to forget the pain). Generally he spends the day sleepingin his crate and only wants to go out as far as he needs to find "the right spot". Hopefully he'll heal enough to compete in two weeks; I'll just have to wait to see.

 

Mark

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Hi Mark,

Having just gone to the vet today thanks to my co-worker deciding my dogs should visit in the office and then proceeding to open the door over the dog's foot, I can give you some information on broken toenails (probably wouldn't have bothered with vet visit, but staples were due to come out anyway, so did the old twofer thing). My vet has told me to put Neosporin on the site of the break and keep the foot wrapped (mainly to keep blood off stuff and to keep the dog from hitting the toenail on stuff, thereby causing pain). My vet said that if the toenail comes off, leaving the quick, then the quick will shrivel up and drop off and a new toenail will eventually grow, assuming no damage was done to the cells responsible for growing the nail. If the nail is hanging by a small bit, best to pull it off, but to do so will hurt. In my dog's case, the toenail seems to be relatively firmly attached still, so he just wrapped it and said it could either come off later or "reattach" (for lack of a better word). Anyway, I am to rewrap tomorrow after appling Neosporin, and then rewrap every other day, with a recheck in a week. According to my vet, the important thing is not to let infection start in the nail bed area. He also seemed to think that a week was all that was needed for the nail either to have come off or to be reattached well enough not to risk re-tearing it. Hope that helps!

 

J.

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Thanks Julie. All that Blue has left is a raw stump that I believe is the quick. I found a whole, but hollow, nail on the floor in front of the crate. I can tell the tip of the quick is starting to dry up. He is really subdued now and hasn't quite mastered the art of walking on three legs.

 

ArmyDoc, I think I'd prefer Blue to "feel the pain" since it'll keep him from running around and, for lack of a better term, reopening the wound.

 

Mark

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Yep, my vet said I could eventually find a hollow toenail if the nail falls off. I imagine once the quick dries up Blue will feel much better. In a few days, if you want him to get out and exercise a bit, just put some guaze over the spot as padding and put vetwrap on and he's not likely to be so ouchy. Poor Blue is probably feeling really sorry for himself.

 

J.

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, it's been a while and Blue is walking fine; however, his nail still bleeds a bit every time we work. Last weekend two items were recommended to me to seal the nail while it grows out: super glue and a livestock/medical liquid. Can anyone help me with what the second item was?

 

Mark

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Mark,

I have some in my dog medical kit, but as the van is in the shop I don't have the kit with me. It's probably just a relabeled form of superglue. You should be able to find some at a pet store or perhaps a feed store. I think I got mine from Care-A-Lot, which carries Tear Mender (which was designed for clothes). I don't recall that being the name of the stuff I have, but then my memory isn't the greatest. On a quick Google search I found an article on Krazy Glue and the prescription equivalent, called Dermabond. According to the dermatologist quoted, Krazy Glue is fine for surface type wounds (like Blue's), but probably not large or puncture wounds. So, it sounds to me like Karzy Glue would work fine for you, and it's a lot cheaper than the prescription stuff. You might also find some OTC version of Dermabond if you just go to a pharmacy and look in the first aid section.

 

I'm still having toenail trouble too, though the nail is still intact. Jill got what is I guess a nail bed infection (thank you Neosporin for not doing the job) and so is now getting Nolvasan soaks 3x/day and is on antibiotics. The good news is that after two days of the new treatment regime her toe looks really good!

 

J.

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Thanks Julie for the name Dermabond.

 

OK, chemistry lesson time. Dermabond is 2-octylcyanoacrylate while superglue is methylcyanoacrylate both polymerize via addition with water as the catalyst. (see 25.1 Properties of Polymers)

 

Methyl, CH3-, vs. 2-octyl, CH3CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2(CH3)CH-, will lead to some differences in physical properties of the two polymers. I'm still looking for the differences.

 

Mark

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Mark,

I'm checking bluelines and so don't have a lot of time, but what I gathered from the article I read is that the chemical differences between the two were not significant as far as how they worked and/or their safety. By the way, the recommendation for removing KG from stuck together fingers was nail polish remover (acetone type). For Blue I think the whole point is to cover the stub of the blood vessel so that activity won't reopen it (probably he knocks the "scab" off when he runs), causing it to bleed. Probably even nail polish would do that as a stop gap. Alternativey, you could use stiptic powder to stop the bleeding and then just work him with his foot wrapped or in a boot to protect it further. All of these solutions have the added bonus of keeping dirt/ick away from the raw area, therby reducing the chance of infection (infact, I think that's why it took so long for Jill to develop an infection--for the first week she was wrapped or in a boot, but once we stopped that, the wound was open to all the yuck she goes through when working, etc.

 

J.

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Mark (and anyone else who might want this information for future reference),

I just got the summer Jeffers Pet catalog and was going through it and saw two products (p. 79) that could help in situations such as Blue's or for other minor wounds: ProCare liquid bandage (which says it's good for minor cuts and nicks) and Vetbond liquid tissue adhesive (which can be used for binding wound edges, for cat declaws, lacerations, tail docking, dew claw removals, etc.). The latter especially sounds like something good to have in the first aid kit.

 

J.

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