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damaged doggie toenail - any experience or advice?

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  • damaged doggie toenail - any experience or advice?

    My 2 year old lab mix was playing in the park last saturday and caught her toenail (one of the middle toes) on something. It bled a little and we called it a day and walked home.

    She did not seem to rip it all the way out of the nail bed. Looks like she only partially ripped it/dislodged it on one side. She has been licking it and it obviously hurts occasionally.

    Does not seem to be infected (toe is not warm) and somedays it bothers her more than others. She is young so I have trying not to irritate it more but some exercise is necessary for her (and my) sanity.

    A week later still sore, sometimes limping and sometimes not, but generally pretty happy.

    Does this require further intervention? A vet visit? Just a short toenail clip? (I feel that she re-stubs it periodically when walking/running)

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Maybe the nail needs to be taken off the quick (maybe there's a short piece sticking into it?) I'd get her into a vet to see if it needs to be done. Licking the toenail can cause infection/inflammation. Limping for a week on and off sounds like its something that isnt going to resolve on its own anytime soon. Hpefully it just needs a quick tug and all will be finished


    • #3
      I had a dog that I thought did the same thing. Took him to the vet and vet cut nail back to base, saying it was the movement of the broken nail that caused pain. Said dog should be out of pain in a few days. A week later, dog was still limping. Took him in and they xrayed it and found a benign tumor growing in the nail bed that was pressing on a toe bone causing pain and killing the bone. So his toe was amputated. A week later he was pain free.

      Just something to consider, especially since Labs are prone to cancer/tumors. At the least, get a vet to cut the nail back to the break. The repeated movement of the broken nail is painful.


      • Original Poster

        Well, I took her in and they cut the nail way back and wrapped it. Now she doesn't think her foot works and is hopping on three legs as if they amputated something!

        Hopefully she will put weight on it tomorrow. At the moment she is being quite the drama queen!

        Jetsmom, my boyfriend's lab had the exact tumor you described and after amputation was also pain free.

        This was definitely injury related - she is part something super fast/agile and was running like the wind but caught her toe on a park bench while vaulting it to get to a tennis ball.


        • Original Poster



          • #6
            More than I want to admit... I have lost count of how many times one of our dogs has been in for this specific thing. He is strong, agile, high-energy, stubborn, and a terrier, and what that translates into is a dog that loves to tear around the yard and ignore pain when something catches his fancy. Also, this means he will not learn to stop doing things that hurt himself, but he has learned to hide injuries because he knows he does not get to go on walks while injured. He has ripped most of the nail of the quick on the outside toes a couple times, partially dislodged the entire nails on his hind feet, mangled a dew claw from chewing on it (nail was one way, quick was the other), amongst other things... While I do love him, when we go to adopt another dog in the future after he passes, I can't handle his personality type again!

            You did exactly what we have had to do numerous times. We take him to the vet, have the vet clean up the nail and in our case put him on antibiotics when if infected (for whatever reason, the toe always seems to get infected on him). Sometimes the foot has needed bandaged, sometimes not. Sometimes we have had to soak the affected foot in epsom salts, sometimes not.

            Your girl will be just fine. She sounds smarter and less stubborn than ours so hopefully she will learn to be a bit more careful in the future!


            • Original Poster

              Well I unwrapped her foot this morning and she still wont put weight on it. However, it seems to be a bit of not believing that her foot still works as if you pick up the other front paw she will put the other one down.

              She also can lick it around the cone which isn't great either. Every time she sees me coming she tucks it away underneath herself - no, I wasn't licking it, not me, no way, that wet spot on the bed that was made by my invisible friend.

              Oh well, I have a feeling it will be a long week. Especially complicated because I started a new job, etc.


              • #8
                Were you supposed to unwrap her foot so soon? My Newfoundland/Lab once tore his nail off, & his foot was required to be wrapped for a full week. 24 hours sounds like an awfully short amount of time. I'm sure it's still uber sensitive, as would you be if your nail bed/quick was exposed.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                  I had a dog that I thought did the same thing. Took him to the vet and vet cut nail back to base, saying it was the movement of the broken nail that caused pain. Said dog should be out of pain in a few days. A week later, dog was still limping. Took him in and they xrayed it and found a benign tumor growing in the nail bed that was pressing on a toe bone causing pain and killing the bone. So his toe was amputated. A week later he was pain free.

                  Just something to consider, especially since Labs are prone to cancer/tumors. At the least, get a vet to cut the nail back to the break. The repeated movement of the broken nail is painful.

                  This exact scenario at my vet clinic last week, only it was a Rottweiler.


                  • #10
                    OP - get an Xray. My 10-year old LabX broke his outer toe but as we were swimming most of the summer for exercise (due to the 30deg C days we were having) it wasnt a noticeable limp. Presented the same way as yours - and only as an infection when walking was increased as the weather cooled. Nail trimmed back hard, broad-spectrum anti-biotics for 10 days - by the time we had the xray taken, the infection had set into the bone and we hope that the toe amputation will be sufficient to clear it up. As long as we get through the sloughing of skin, the mild infection where that has started etc.

                    PLEASE get an Xray if you havent already
                    Still Working_on_it - one day I will get it!


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks for all the replies. She started to put weight on her foot later in the day once she realized it still "worked". I have been keeping the cone on her to keep licking at an absolute minimum.

                      Bacardi- Yes, we were told to take the bandage off. I can't even imagine how much it hurts as I personally have experienced ingrown toenails that left me in agony.

                      Rae - She is also on prophylactic antibiotics (something I don't always agree with doing) just to be safe. If she doesn't improve I will have an xray taken of her foot. I hope the toe amputation works to end the infection for your dog. If it makes you feel better the lab who had his toe amputated (due to a tumor and infection in the toe) came through the surgery beautifully and has no lasting ill effects from the missing toe. He was just over 13 at the time too, so not a youngster.