Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?
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Thread: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

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    Member owl2010's Avatar
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    Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    My puggle has her front left dewclaw. It recently grew into her skin and became infected. We went to the ER and they removed the part that was in her skin and cleared the infection. After discussing options with a vet and a surgeon, we decided that removal is her best option.

    The dewclaw grows ridiculously fast, and we're worried that we won't be able to come up with a really good schedule to get it trimmed. Also, a few vets that I talked to said that they wouldn't trim the dewclaw they would rather remove it (that's a whole other story).

    My puggle is 3 years old, and I'm worried about the surgery. My biggest worry is with the anesthesia. The surgeon has been wonderful in answering my questions, but I was wondering if I could get some advice from you guys on aftercare, and what complications may arise from anesthesia. She will have to stay overnight after the surgery and will come home the next day with no bandage on her paw. She will be wearing a cone to prevent her from biting at it.

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    Senior Member Niraya's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    Why don't you just trim the dewclaw yourself? A regular pair of nail clippers works just fine and you can do it by yourself once a week or so to keep it from getting to how it was and you wouldn't have to spend all of the money on the surgery.
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    Senior Member MafiaPrincess's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    Cider has front dews. I dremel her nails, but use clippers on the dews. It isn't that bad trimming them. For hers to grow in a circle and get embedded would take a while, and her grow faster than her nails as well.
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    Senior Member KodiBarracuda's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    Roonie had a front one removed when he wouldn't stop chewing it and it became infected. It wasn't a big deal though, it was a quick surgery, he came home same day bandaged up and with a cone, we didn't have any problems. We just made sure he didn't get too wild, and if I remember right he was a little nauseous for awhile, but it wasn't a huge deal. Yours may not even have that problem because she is staying overnight, so you will probably be in the clear. Good luck with your pup.

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    Senior Member kafkabeetle's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    IMO, a fast growing nail is a terrible reason to get the dew claws removed. If they were getting damaged in some unpreventable way maybe, but you should be trimming ALL of your dog's nails somewhere between weekly and monthly anyway depending on the growth so this is an issue of grooming negligence, not a real medical problem. It would take an extremely long time for even the fastest growing nails to curl around and imped themselves in your dog's skin...did you not notice them growing unusually long??

    Learn to trim the nails yourself and it will be quick, easy, cheap and will avoid unnecessary surgery. Some dogs use their front dew claws to grip things and would likely miss them. Before you go through with the surgery I would ask your vet to show you how to trim your dog's nails yourself. Unless there's something else you're not mentioning here, I'm shocked that your vet would suggest removal rather than reminding you to trim more often!
    Last edited by kafkabeetle; 10-23-2011 at 05:03 PM.

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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    when I got my gsd his rear declaws stuck straight out to the side I had them removed he had a bandage on the both legs and had had to wear the cone he got fixed the same day at the age of 3 years old no prombles from the surgery

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    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    Cracker had her rear dewclaws removed when she was spayed. Bandages for a week and that was that. No problems.

    Your pug though, I honestly can't see how a vet would recommend removal of a front dew because of nail growth on a brachycephalic dog (ie high risk anesthesia) rather than working on trimming the nails more frequently. Unless of course, your dog is dangerously difficult to trim nails on. Maybe there is another problem with the nail I'm not understanding....
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    Senior Member agility collie mom's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    .
    Quote Originally Posted by Cracker View Post
    Cracker had her rear dewclaws removed when she was spayed. Bandages for a week and that was that. No problems.

    Your pug though, I honestly can't see how a vet would recommend removal of a front dew because of nail growth on a brachycephalic dog (ie high risk anesthesia) rather than working on trimming the nails more frequently. Unless of course, your dog is dangerously difficult to trim nails on. Maybe there is another problem with the nail I'm not understanding....
    I agree with Cracker. Especially because in a previous post you stated that your dog has asthma. Most front dewclaws are attached with bone so basically it is amputation. Many vets remove the rear dewclaws when spaying/neutering a dog because they are not attached and have a higher risk of being injured Is her nail deformed and spiral when it grows? I know that sometimes that can be an issue in pugs. Otherwise regulars trimming should eliminate any future infection from an overgrown nail. Whatever you decide I wish you luck
    "Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." - Milan Kundera

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    Member owl2010's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    Thanks everyone.

    I don't want to trim it myself because the surgeon said the best way to deal with this dewclaw is to keep cutting into the quick so the quick retracts and the nail won't be as long. I don't want to make Dixie bleed because she already has a problem with me trying to grab her paws and such. Every night I play with her ears and paws but she's still pretty aggressive when it comes to paws.

    From what the ER doctor said the first time I brought her in, the angle of the dewclaw is cause for concern. He said that the way it grows will be problematic for the long term. I talked to the surgeon and other docs at the Vet Hospital before making this decision. The surgeon trimmed the dewclaw the first time after her surgery, and a week later we went back and she said that the way it was growing in and the rate at which it was growing was cause for concern. The surgeon tried the trimming route first and it didn't work well for my dog.

    I haven't had my dog long. I take her to Petsmart to get her nails trimmed about every 6-8 weeks. She's constantly walking on pavement which helps keep them at a more manageable length.

    Also, the people at the hospital know that she has asthma and whatnot. She's getting this surgery done at the Matthew J. Ryan Animal Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. I couldn't think of a better place for her to get it done.

    This was not an easy decision for me to make. I spent the other night crying because I am worried about the side effects of the anesthesia, and the thought of leaving her overnight breaks my heart. I am glad to hear about the positive experiences that others have had. I sincerely hope that Dixie has the same response.

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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    Does she need a dental? Might as well not waste the anesthetic.

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    Senior Member agility collie mom's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    Dixie will be in good hands. When is she going in? We will all keep her and you in our thoughts and prayers.
    "Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." - Milan Kundera

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    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    Thanks for coming back and giving more details. UPenn is a good school and I'm sure she'll get the best of care.
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


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    Senior Member kafkabeetle's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    Quote Originally Posted by owl2010 View Post
    Thanks everyone.

    I don't want to trim it myself because the surgeon said the best way to deal with this dewclaw is to keep cutting into the quick so the quick retracts and the nail won't be as long. I don't want to make Dixie bleed because she already has a problem with me trying to grab her paws and such. Every night I play with her ears and paws but she's still pretty aggressive when it comes to paws.
    Sounds like you have a special situation in which trimming alone wouldn't solve the problem (since it's the angle of the nail, not the length that's causing problems) but I thought I'd mention that you don't need to actually quick the dog (cut through the vessel and make it bleed) but actually you just need to cut pretty close to the quick every few days. Exposure to the air and ground when they walk stimulates them to recede. I've done this myself--when I first got my dog she had VERY overgrown nails, which are now in check. No blood necessary. One thing that can sometimes be done in extreme cases is the vet will just cut right across the quick to the appropriate length but that's under anaesthesia, with antibiotics after and it only has to be done once, not on an ongoing basis.

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    Member owl2010's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    Quote Originally Posted by agility collie mom View Post
    Dixie will be in good hands. When is she going in? We will all keep her and you in our thoughts and prayers.
    I'm waiting for the insurance company to approve my pre-auth for the surgery, after that, we see when the surgeon has time to do the surgery. She says her schedule changes every week.

    PennVet actually was trying the trimming route first, so when they recommended the surgery I figured that I could take their opinion seriously. We just found Dixie a new vet (her last one just had a heart attack) and that vet refused to trim the nail and said that if she's going to do anything to the nail, she would remove it. Suffice it to say, we're not going back to her.


    Sorry if my earlier post sounded a but rude, I'm just so uptight about all of this. My boyfriend keeps reminding me that she's in the best hands (they have a 5 person anesthesia team that will be in with Dixie during the surgery! When I had my kidney surgery I didn't even have that!!), but as I'm sure you all know it's different when it's not your dog.

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    Senior Member agility collie mom's Avatar
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    Re: Dewclaw removal surgery, anybody ever been through it?

    I know how worried you are. Please don't apoligize for being scared. We have all been there. Just hang in there and keep us updated!
    "Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." - Milan Kundera

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