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dog's foot injury - lame toe - Answered by Dr. Van Lienden

horst van bongs
December 5th, 2006, 05:07 PM
i have a VERY active, 3yo GSD (german sheperd dog). my wife and i have had ranger for a year now, in which time he has seriously injured his feet three times.

most recently he punctured the skin on his underfoot between his toes and heel pad. it was a good sized puncture, about the diameter of a pencil. it bled profusely at first, but i was able to stop the bleeding within 5 minutes or so. we made the decisiion not to take him to the pet emergency, as the bleeding had stopped, the wound was fairly clean and he hadn't broken any bones. on to our well rehearsed regimen of injured foot care.

first i irigated the wound and bandaged it carefully. no foreign objects, nothing from the inside poking out. i don't think he had tendon damage, as this would be extremly painful (?). i put him on a course of amoxicillin - 500mg twice a day for a week, kept his foot bandaged and clean, and had him take it easy.

its been two weeks now and the wound has almost healed completely. there is still a small area which is scabbed over, but the wound is had mostly healed with no infection and it doesn't seem to be bothering him too much. still no running, but we are going for walks in the grass.

what i'm worried about is his toe. his middle toe, the one above where he was injured, is somewhat lame. it flops above his other toes, and he doesn't seem to have much muscle control over it.

i am hoping that this as he uses his foot more he will regain muscle control over his toe. he is walking with a very slight limp, but it is not slowing him down. as i mentioned earlier, this limp could be due to the fact that his foot is still not completely healed.

is this something i should be concerned with? am i a fool for not taking him to the vet sooner?

December 5th, 2006, 05:24 PM
Um.. I'd say maybe. :o

There could be some nerve damage. Only a vet would be able to tell for sure.

December 5th, 2006, 05:59 PM
theres nothing you can do about the past, only the future. i would suggest taking him to the vet.
also in the future take your dog to the vet when injuries like this occur. a puncture that large is huge in comparison to the size of the dogs foot. there seems to be possible nerve damage. also please never self perscribe antibiotics. also why did u have a weeks worth antibiotics around in the first place? also should be seeing a vet before you start irrigating a wound that size, as you can cause more damage. i wish your pup the best of luck, i will not criticize you for your past actions but please take this as a learning experience regardless of the outsome, and seek vet assistance in the future when an incident like this occurs

December 5th, 2006, 06:13 PM
First of all, welcome to the forum and we would love to see pics of Ranger. :dog:

I do agree with the others and think you should get Ranger's foot looked at by your vet. Good luck and please keep us posted. :fingerscr

December 5th, 2006, 07:34 PM
Take him to the vet, the toe could have been dislocated, they may still be able to fix, by triggering the joint(set back in place and inject something in to help it hold in place), in some cases it is better for the dog just to amputate the toe, they tend to heal very quickly after an amputation and it far less problems and pain for the dog then longterm constantly catching the bad toe on things and having pain and inflammation as a result,

December 5th, 2006, 07:46 PM
This happened to my GSD as well when she was younger - she injured her toe twice within one year. Both times - inflammation & cut and just dangling there. Took her to the vet - he said there was nothing to do for a broken toe (if it was broken or bad sprain) but if this toe was to become a problem - it would probably need to be amputated. She was given antibiotics in pill form and spray.

It never happened again. To this day - I do notice that same toe to not sit like the rest of her toes but it never became a problem. This happened 2.5 yrs ago! :pawprint:

If it happens again, go see your vet! :thumbs up

horst van bongs
December 5th, 2006, 07:57 PM
thank you both for the replies. this is very helpful information.

i'm going to keep an eye on the toe. we're giving him till the end of the week before we start running him again, to give that cut a good chance to heal completely. if the toe doesn't show any signs of improvement over the next couple of weeks, i'll take him in. i am hopeful that it will heal. i have personally experienced nerve damage from a cut (in the face), and after a few weeks it healed completely.

there seems to be a vast range of opinions on when to seek vetrinary care!

i have had several dogs, and have been to the vet too many times to count. i have also been to the emergency room for my own self a few too many times. i am of the opninion (and my vet has confirmed) that if you are confident that you can treat an injury yourself, and it is not an emergency, go for it.

i know when a wound needs stitches. i know what kind, and what dosage of antibiotics to give my dog (again, confirmed by my vet). i have no more problem giving my dog first aid than i do giving myself, or my wife, first aid.

thanks again for the advice, the shared experiences, and the opinions!

horst van bongs
December 5th, 2006, 07:58 PM
i'll be sure to post a progress report in a day or two. thanks again!

horst van bongs
December 5th, 2006, 07:59 PM
oh, one more thing.

i'm sure the toe isn't dislocated. it is straight, and is not sensitive to the touch. i can work the toe and the toe joint with no fuss from ranger.

December 18th, 2006, 09:14 AM
If the digit is easily displaced and, as I understand it, is directly adjacent to the puncture wound, then I suspect that the tendon to the flexor of that digit has been cut. We usually explore these wounds under anesthesia shortly after trauma when these patients are stable. Any cut tendons are repaired if there is enough tissue/normal structure is present. Some injuries are so extensive that all one can do is fuse the joint to provide a stable limb.

It may not be too late to repair this damage. Consult a boarded surgeon for further information.

Dr. Van Lienden

Dr. Raymond Van Lienden DVM
The Animal Clinic of Clifton
12702 Chapel Road, Clifton
Virginia, U.S.A. 20124