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Dogs claws falling out

(8 Posts)
HOHOHOhwhatsoccuring Thu 18-Dec-14 13:23:59

We have an almost 9yr old ridgeback, he is very large for his breed. We noticed he had lost a claw nearly 2 wks ago and assumed at first that he had caught it when walking or something.
However another came off the night before we were due to take him to the vet to get it looked at. He has now lost 4 and there are at least 3 more loose claws.

We saw the vet and were told it was a syndrome mostly seen in black labs that attacked the claws and we should expect them all to come off but they would grow back.

The vet (different vet) has told me today at the follow up appointment that he feels it is either something to do with his immune system that is attacking his body. He cannot say if it is only his nails that are going to be affected or if it is also attacking him inside. Or it is tumour based and the claws are a symptom. He has said that we could do expensive investigations but that we would probably not get an answer and that his treatment should now be palliative.
He is now on long term antibiotics and has a course of steroids to try and help but the long term prognosis seems bleak.

Has anyone else had this or a similar experience please? I have to relay all this to my DP this evening who is going to be devastated. We thought he may lose his claws but that they would grow back and everything would be ok.

Floralnomad Thu 18-Dec-14 16:01:38

My patterdale x (4 yrs old) had a similar problem and he was diagnosed with SLO ( symmetrical lupoid onchodystrophy) , the diagnosis is made by a bone biopsy so he had the end of a toe amputated whilst they were removing a nail . The treatment is Nicotinamide tablets ( tds) and Coatex spray on his food ,he was diagnosed earlier this year and his feet are much improved although he did have a nail break a couple of weeks ago . Long term there is no cure but it's not something that will shorten his life expectancy or his quality of life , he just stays on the pills.

HOHOHOhwhatsoccuring Thu 18-Dec-14 16:07:46

Thank you so much for your reply, that is what the first vet led me to believe, that they would fall off have treatment and be fine.

This vet now seems to have veered off that line of thinking, I don't know why as no tests have been carried out to find out a definite diagnosis.

We have young children and he seemed to feel that they were at risk if our dog is in pain due to the loss of claws. They are obviously very painful and he keeps licking them until they bleed. I'm not sure if this is his reason for us 'having a difficult decision to make' as he put it.

Very confused about it all and obviously didn't ask enough questions.

TheHappinessTrap Thu 18-Dec-14 16:13:02

Hm, I've found 3 nails, but two in the house and one that looks the same colour and size, in our garden. But when I examined my dog's feet they seemed to have all of their nails. I presumed this was an outer layer that had come off but this makes me think I need to look into what's going on.

SpicyBeat Thu 18-Dec-14 16:13:36

I cannot help with the nails but I do think your vet has been a bit quick to write off an 8 year old dog, even a large breed. If it is treatable then you could have several more years so surely further investigations would be worth it.

Floralnomad Thu 18-Dec-14 16:18:54

I was told that bone biopsy is the only way to diagnose SLO , but my dog was already under GA to have the nail removed anyway so it was just a bigger op to take the toe . If this is what your dog has your vet is being very premature in writing him off as its really not a big deal and the treatment is very cheap ( after diagnosis) . My dogs nails have always been poor and peeling it was only earlier this year that they started to break off completely .

HOHOHOhwhatsoccuring Thu 18-Dec-14 16:26:28

That's what I thought, he said he was an old boy for his size and breed but I thought they could go on until 12yrs.

I think we need clarification as to what he means, would be good if we could both go to the follow up appointment but with 3 young children it is not really going to work.

He does seem out of sorts in himself (which I suppose he would be) and the vet said he thought it was probably something more sinister. But he can't know that without tests can he? Or does his level of experience count for a lot?

TheHappinessTrap you can really see where the nails have come off as his nails are black and all that remains is the bed which is red raw and bleeding (poor chap) if that helps. Although they said the bed would dry up and crust over so I imagine won't be so obvious then???. Apparently it is usually found in black nailed dogs but they don't know why.

noddingoff Thu 18-Dec-14 22:24:54

Worth getting the vet to amputate a dewclaw and submit for biopsy - probably SLO as above.

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