Dog losing claws help.

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flitz@blitz | 21:55 Thu 24th Aug 2006 | Animals & Nature
4 Answers
My dog has lost all his claws one by one. It was excruiatingly painful for him. The vet says that it's not a fungal infection, but that his immune system is rejecting his claws. Apparently we just have to live with it and when his nails grow again, they will be rejected again with the accompanying pain. I can't just accept that my dog will be in agony for the rest of his life, (painkillers not withstanding), could it be fungal?


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I would be tempted to get another vet (from a different practice) to look at him and see if they come up with the same diagnosis. I would imagine that if it is his immune system causing the problem then they should be able to do something (possibly suppressing the immune system to stop it attacking the nails). Apart from the pain it would allow the nailbeds to become infected and all the complications that could arise from this.

I would not just accept one vets opinion on something so serious, as you say, it means that your dog will have a lifetime of pain and that is not acceptable.

Sometimes vets do get it wrong, a vet once told me that my one year old GSD had a massive tumour in her stomach (the size of a banana), this was Friday, he wanted to operate Monday, told me that he was 90% certain that she would not survive. I took her to another vet Saturday morning, he examined her, could not feel anything, on my insistance (the first vet had been so certain) he X-Rayed her the following Tuesday. Totally clear, but she did have severe HD!!! I often wonder what would have happened had I let the first vet operate!

I posted your question on one of my dog groups, and the following email came back. I don't know this person, but thought you could make your own mind up about it. I think like me you would be willing to try anything if it helped the dog:

I hope you don't think this is too 'off the wall' , but I am an
animal communicator and when I read this I immediately picked up that
there was a defect in the nerve endings around the tips of the pads
where the claws come through. In response to a treatment, I got
magnesium. I'm not sure what it does, but the dog's diet appears to need
supplementing with it.

If you think this reply is too unusual for you to put on the list the
question was on, you could tell the dog's owner to contact me directly
or just pass this message on if you can.

A couple more answers have come in - some say it is breed specific. What breed is your dog? The following answer gives a website for this problem:

This problem affects all breeds but some do seem to suffer more than others
I've heard of several Beardies, greyhounds GSDs, Labs and even mongrels
that have been affected.

The posh name for it is Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy and vets here
have very, very little experience of the problem. Steroids should only be
used as a very last resort, certainly not as the first treatment option.
Most specialists find the results with steroids are not worth the risks. The
first line of defence seems to be with EFA and EPAs, other dogs respond best
to a combination of the antibiotic tetracycline, EFAs and niacinamide. NOT

There is a yahoo group to help owners with affected dogs at http://www and their files include treatment protocols etc.

A dog may have one episode in its life or suffer repeated attacks....but
with the correct treatment (NOT STEROIDS) the owner should be able to keep
the problem under control.
Question Author
Thanks very much for the answers, no I don't mind "off the wall", I would try anything. He's collie-ish breed. I think I will definitely try another vet though, and see what they say. Thanks again.

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