Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe
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Thread: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

  1. #1
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    Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    hi all,

    I have a large dog, a pit bull/german shephard/chow mix. He's about 95 pounds. A couple months ago a toenail on his hind leg split in two,
    and smelled rotten ,and he chewed it off. Since then the vet put him
    on cephalexin two times for about 10 days each, which didn't work
    because it was not enough time. Then the vet put him on Simplicef
    for 28 days. That has helped, but it's not completley better. The swelling
    in the toe has gone down, and the fleshy part of the would has gotten
    smaller. The leftover toenail bits are gradually working themselvs out
    of the toe. It's hardly gangrenous or anything. The vet never took any
    x-ray. The skin between the toes is still a little red.

    The last time we went, she told me the swelling in the toe was because
    of granulation and scar tissue. Now she says it's infection in the bone.
    How can she really determine that without taking any x-ray?

    I'm not really feeling too happy with her right now. I asked for a switch
    back to cephalexin because that is way more affordable for me, and she
    agreed to that for two weeks, after which we go back, and then she will
    make her pronouncement about surgery.

    Hello, what about an operation merely to remove the remaining toenail bits?
    I am very suspicious about this prognosis. It's not the first time this
    animal hospital has recommended surgery, and I found a better medical
    alternative for my dog (in this case adequan shots rather than surgery).

    What do you think: does it really sound like a toe needs to be removed?
    I am just very skeptical about it. You can bet I will get a second opinion.
    Last edited by tyler zambori; 04-19-2008 at 03:14 PM. Reason: toe not toenail

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  3. #2
    Senior Member applesmom's Avatar
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    Here's a link to some information on the dangers and treatment of bone infections. Hope this will help you to be better prepared when you see another vet for the second opinion.

    http://www.gopetsamerica.com/dog-hea...omyelitis.aspx

  4. #3
    Senior Member tipper's Avatar
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    Hi,
    will the remaining part of the toe alter the walking of the dog in anyway?

    Is it more for cosmetic for the dog just to tidy the toe up?

    Without seeing the toe ourselfs if had a picture hard to say. How old the dog to length of time the dog has to live, if help to have a better walk and looks neater then I'd say go for the removal so your dog get on the road to recovery. Nothing really stopping the second part getting infected anyway apart for paying for expensive tablets that might getting repeat after repeat. Which would end in the same result anyway.

    Good Luck, Hope your dog gets better soon.

  5. #4
    Senior Member AkiraleShiba's Avatar
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    If you do not agree with your vet why not ask for a second opinion ?

  6. #5
    Senior Member Ginny01OT's Avatar
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    I can only speak for the human aspect but it may help---many diabetics have toes amputated--they have decreased sensation to begin with--bang or cut their toe and don't realize it--because of poor circulation the toe does not heal but gets infected---again they don't even realize it until their toe is black--then it has to be amputated it has travelled to the bone and can work its way upward, travelling and travelling------so what could be a "simple" (I am in no way minimizing this) toe amputation can become a below knee amputation or above knee amputation which is another can of worms. If the MD has said it has travelled to the bone and the toe is "necrotic" I would have it removed before it progresses (does the toe smell at all?) If you do want a second opinion get it quickly time is of the essence with something like this. Good luck and keep us posted.

  7. #6
    Senior Member spotted nikes's Avatar
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    I had a dog that had a benign tumor growing under the nail bed that was causing bone to die off. It was very painful. The vet removed the toe, and dog recovered uneventfully. No problem walking.
    Bone infections can spread and cause a lot of serious problems. Get a second opinion if you need to, but if the second vet also recommends it, please do it.

  8. #7
    Senior Member lovemygreys's Avatar
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    Aw...toes are so much fun to deal with

    We had a recurring injury keep popping up in one of our greyhounds toes. He had surgery last Friday to remove the dead tissue and stitch back together the healthy tissue. We did one round of antibiotics seemed to clear it up, but then it came back several weeks later. Sometimes the dead tissue deep in the toe, debris or just deep infection can keep it from healing properly. Since dogs use their feet/toes all the time, every day that tissue constantly has pressure on it so it can be hard to heal.

    One of my other greys may need two toes amputated due to severe dislocations and some arthritis that's developing. We are really trying to avoid that. If it were one toe, no problem - go ahead and lop it off. But two toes in a young, still very active dog I'm much more hesitant to be hasty with amputation. She goes back to the orthopedic specialist next week for a reassessment after two (very loooooong) weeks of crate rest and leash walks.

    We adopted a dog once and she was missing a back toe...never realized it until I went to trim her nails and came up one nail short! Dogs can live just fine with a toe missing.

    I would want an xray done - If it's purely an issue with the soft tissue you probably aren't going to see much, if anything. But, they're relatively inexpensive ($60-$75 around here) and will give you a more complete picture of what's going on with the bones inside the foot.

    If you've now done three rounds of antibiotics and that hasn't resolved it, it's very possible there's now infection in the bone. At the very least you have some seriously infected tissue there. I would most likely opt for surgery to remove the toe without too much hesitation. Bone infection is not something to mess around with.

    However, if you do not feel comfortable with your vet - get a second opinion. They may be able to refer you to a orthopedic specialist...I really prefer to have my dog seen by a specialist with toe/foot issues if it's anything more than a soft tissue injury.

    Good luck...keep us posted!
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    hi all,

    I wanted to post a picture of his toe, but don't have a working camera
    at the moment. The thing is, it really has gotten better over the last
    month. The swelling went down, the fleshy part shrunk. The remaining
    toenail bits do smell _if_ he does not get his anti-biotic, and if he does
    not get an epsom salt soak, at least on the simplicef. On the cephalexin,
    the anti-biotic alone was enough to knock out any smell. That is one
    reason I liked it better. The skin around it is slightly red, but certainly not
    sick-looking. He does not lick it much, and he walks just peachy fine. I'm
    going to keep doing the epsom salt soaks even after he goes back on the
    cephalexin, which is tomorrow. it has bled slightly a couple times since
    I started the soaking, and I think that's actually a good sign.

    The thing is, she proclaimed it had gone into the bone without doing any
    kind of testing. Before, she had said the swelling was because of scar tissue
    and granulation. Now that it is doing better, suddenly she's saying it
    progressed?

    Come to think of it, there was another weird thing: as she was trimming
    his nails, she said to me that the dew claw she happened to be trimming at
    the time was just about to grow into his skin. It most certainly _was_
    _not_! I don't know what her problem is. He goes in every month for
    an adequan shot, and he always gets a nail trim along with his shot. I'm
    starting to feel like switching to another animal hospital entirely.

    to applesmom: my b/f and I both read the article, thank you, but that
    does not look or sound like what it is. I guess I'm just going to have tp
    get a second opinion.

    From what I describe, doesn't it sound like the first veterinarian has
    an off-kilter perception of things? Geeez....

    Wolfie is 8 years old. I most cetainly would not have an operation just
    to make the toe look more neat.

  10. #9
    Senior Member tipper's Avatar
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    is your dog not wearing a protected guard to stop the licking of the injury?. Nick name the lamp shade. Letting him lick it at all not the best idea with a injury like this sorry. I'd be asking the vet for a protected guard to stop your dog from doing this. While your dog is licking the injury , it infact can be making it worse alone.

    My girl in a lamp shade for a absess on her paw in picture. She's just come out of it after 6 days
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe-fed-up-dog.jpg  
    Last edited by tipper; 04-20-2008 at 12:29 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    Quote Originally Posted by lovemygreys View Post
    Aw...toes are so much fun to deal with

    We had a recurring injury keep popping up in one of our greyhounds toes. He had surgery last Friday to remove the dead tissue and stitch back together the healthy tissue. We did one round of antibiotics seemed to clear it up, but then it came back several weeks later. Sometimes the dead tissue deep in the toe, debris or just deep infection can keep it from healing properly. Since dogs use their feet/toes all the time, every day that tissue constantly has pressure on it so it can be hard to heal.

    One of my other greys may need two toes amputated due to severe dislocations and some arthritis that's developing. We are really trying to avoid that. If it were one toe, no problem - go ahead and lop it off. But two toes in a young, still very active dog I'm much more hesitant to be hasty with amputation. She goes back to the orthopedic specialist next week for a reassessment after two (very loooooong) weeks of crate rest and leash walks.

    We adopted a dog once and she was missing a back toe...never realized it until I went to trim her nails and came up one nail short! Dogs can live just fine with a toe missing.

    I would want an xray done - If it's purely an issue with the soft tissue you probably aren't going to see much, if anything. But, they're relatively inexpensive ($60-$75 around here) and will give you a more complete picture of what's going on with the bones inside the foot.

    If you've now done three rounds of antibiotics and that hasn't resolved it, it's very possible there's now infection in the bone. At the very least you have some seriously infected tissue there. I would most likely opt for surgery to remove the toe without too much hesitation. Bone infection is not something to mess around with.

    However, if you do not feel comfortable with your vet - get a second opinion. They may be able to refer you to a orthopedic specialist...I really prefer to have my dog seen by a specialist with toe/foot issues if it's anything more than a soft tissue injury.

    Good luck...keep us posted!

    hi lovemygrays,

    somebody gave me this article back in February:

    http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/gro...conditions.htm

    It sounds to me like it's this bacterial onyxis it mentions:

    "Bacterial onyxis exists in the dog but is much rarer in the cat. In the latter, it is usually associated with an immunodeficient state (FeLV and/or FIV infection, diabetes mellitus etc...). In the dog, it may be idiopathic or secondary to an underlying disease (such as hypothyroidism, or even Cushing's disease). Perionyxis, onychoschisis, onychorrhexis and onychomadesis are usually seen on several nails, with pain as the primary complaint. Diagnosis is made by cytology-which reveals a bacterial pus (degenerated neutrophils, phagocytosis), bacteriology and the response to therapy. Treatment must be based on the removal of broken nails, topical antibacterial therapy and long term systemic antibiotic therapy (based on bacterial cultures and sensitivity testing, Staphylococcus sp. and Gram negative rods often being cultured). Months of careful therapy are needed, until the distal abnormal part of the nail has disappeared. In all cases, and particularly in chronically relapsing ones, an underlying disease should be suspected and, if found, treated. Bacterial pododermatitis, whatever the cause, often leads to bacterial onyxis. Good examples are interdigital pyodermas due to demodicosis and allergic skin diseases. Perionyxis is a prominent feature in such cases. Therapy appropriate to the causal pododermatitis will cure the nail problem if carried out for long enough."

    Months, it says months of treatment with antibiotics. I think I'd better
    take him to another place, and just have them take a culture, as a
    starting point. I have severely limited funds, so this is not a good situation.

  12. #11
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    Well, it isn't cancer or fungus. It's just a bacterial infection. Now I have
    to wait until my next paycheck to be able to get a "culture and
    sensitivity" test to find out exactly what kind of bacteria it is,
    and target it very specifically by antibiotic. Then I will probably tell the
    new vet to go ahead and do an x-ray too.

    We went to a different new veterinarian yesterday morning, but they
    made me wait an hour and 10 minutes past my appointment time,
    so I left. I just don't want to put up with that. So one we went to
    in the afternoon was much much better.
    Last edited by tyler zambori; 04-23-2008 at 07:15 PM. Reason: I wanna

  13. #12
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    here's an update, for anybody who actually thoroughly reads:

    Wolfie is now on an antibiotic called baytril. The vet took a
    culture and sensitivity, and said there are 3 kinds of bacteria,
    and yes they are resistant. He said this is the only one
    he feels confident will kill all three.

    The x-ray is in the works, but he's been on it 2 days so far,
    and this morning when I looked at his toe, I saw an accumulation
    of pus. So this is good, the pus is starting to come out of the
    toe after only two days. He's set to be on this antibiotic for
    2 weeks, then go back to vet to see if he wants to be on it
    for longer, or if we need to change the plan again.

    Thanks for your comments and support!

  14. #13
    Senior Member lovemygreys's Avatar
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    Thanks for the update! I'm glad to hear it only seems to be a bacterial infection. Baytril is a pretty good anti-biotic.
    Heather and the hounds ~ www.worldofgrey.com
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3560/3526368682_a6c66d5b5f_o.jpg
    Make a fast friend, Adopt a Greyhound!

  15. #14
    Senior Member RRM_Mom08's Avatar
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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    Glad to hear it is only a infection

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    Re: Dr. wants to chop off part of dog's toe

    Quote Originally Posted by lovemygreys View Post
    Thanks for the update! I'm glad to hear it only seems to be a bacterial infection. Baytril is a pretty good anti-biotic.
    Thank you lovemygrays, I hope it works. I'm sure there will be more
    expenses to follow though.

    Quote Originally Posted by RRM_Mom08 View Post
    Glad to hear it is only a infection
    well the vet still thinks he will at least need the toenail bits removed.
    This is going to be a protracted thing.
    Last edited by tyler zambori; 05-15-2008 at 12:38 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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