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Floppy Dog August 18th, 2011 11:47 AM

Dew Claw & Pad
Hi everyone,

Need some feedback here. Our Cocker Spaniel has injured her dew pad/claw for the 2nd time. First time she split the claw. This time she split the pad. She's small for a Cocker (only 20 lbs) and she spends a lot of time in the bush. G-man takes her for long "bush wacking" trips where they will ford rivers, play fetch in the tall grass and generally give Lady the kind of workout she would get if she was a hunting dog. Bottom line, she spends a lot of time in the kind of environment where she can't see where she's putting her paws.

Does anyone have any feedback or information about clipping the dew claw & pad? I know that it is traditional to remove them in working hunting dogs to prevent injury to the tendon. I've known several pointers, larger spaniels and setters with clipped dew claws/pads. Can it be done in adulthood (Lady is almost 4) or only when a puppy? Is it recommended to prevent injuries? Are there any downsides?

Please don't get the wrong idea here, I'm not into mutilating my pets for the fun of it. All my cats have/had all their claws and Lady came to me with her tail docked, I wouldn't have done it myself. I'm more concerned about preventing a possible torn tendon in my dog since I'm not going to stop her from "bush wacking", it's the closest she's going to get to going hunting and she LOVES it. You all should see to doggy joy on her face when she realizes she's going on a long explore with G-man! She's litterally dancing on her hind legs with exitement.

breeze August 18th, 2011 11:59 AM

when my dog went to get fixed at 18monnths old we looked into removing the dew claws, cause he would go into the woods on trails and he almost tore one off. (he has all four, the front ones are tight against his leg while the back seem very loose)

when the vet examined him they told me that it would be very painful cause there was a lot of bone there and the recuperation time would be lengthy. so we didn't do it.

now all dogs are different, what does your vet say??

most of the time they are done when born, but some breeders don't.

now when we go into a wooded area I wrap the dew claws with vet wrap around his paw, it seems to help and I don't have to worry about him ripping them. once in a while I'll have to replace the wrap on the walk.

hazelrunpack August 18th, 2011 01:55 PM

They [I]can[/I] get them removed later in life, but it's a lot more complicated then because the joint has matured. It's akin to amputating a toe and there is a longer recovery period. But if the dew claw keeps getting injured there is a greater chance of infection and damage to bone and removal might be the best solution to the problem.

Your vet should be able to give you a pretty good list of pros and cons for the surgery and if he thinks it's indicated for Lady.

Another option might be to try wrapping her foot with some vet wrap mesh tape--it sticks to itself and stays on pretty well in the woods (we've had to use it on occasion)--or use booties, if you can find some that extend high enough on the leg to cover the dew claw.

renegaderuby August 27th, 2011 11:17 PM

I second Booties, if your not going to get them removed. I've worked for a vet and the way HE did it, made me want to VOMIT. no pain meds. Just took a hemostat (a kind of pincher siccors thing)..and twisted the little puppys declaws off. I NEVER liked it when people brought thier pups in, and said..can you remove the duclaws. I always went into the back and cried. the poor little pups would twist and wiggle, and try to get away. The jerk. (sorry...rabbit trail). But the older dogs, he would knock em out first...thankfully.
BOOTIES> if not getting them surgically removed should solve alot of the problem. Lets pup romp and play, but not get hurt!

Floppy Dog September 13th, 2011 01:56 PM

Hi everyone,

Lady has torn her dew claw AGAIN! :wall: This time right down to the nub. :cry:

We are dog sitting my step-son & DIL's big dog (wolf, Bouvier de Flanders & GSD cross, aka "Mount Currie Special", in our neck of the woods) so G-man took both the dogs bushwacking on Saturday. He thinks Lady tore her claw when they were crossing one of our many creeks and she slipped off the log and tried to climb back on.

We cut away all the fur in the area, disinfected with Detol solution, painted some of the Nexcare cracked skin sealer on the exposed quick and wrapped it in gauze and athletic tape. We check it every 2 days to make sure it's not infected. Is there anything else we should be doing?

Can anyone tell me how long it will take for the claw to grow back? Also, will the claw grow around the exposed quick? Or will I have to wait until the claw has some length and do what the vet did last time. He cut off the torn portion of the claw and used powdered alum (I think) to stop the bleeding.

I checked Lady's other dew claw and trimmed it 1/2mm at a time until I got a tiny drop of blood and then I stopped. Her claws are black, so that's the only way I can tell if I've trimmed off enough. However, that still leaves over 1cm of claw exposed, for sure enough to get caught on something, especially since she's small and close to the ground.

Looks like I'll have to set up some consultation appointments with the local vets and see if amputating Lady's dew claws is a viable option. I hate the idea of the operation, but she's a young dog, only 3-1/2 years old and has lots of "bushwacking" days ahead of her. I'm worried that she will end up damaging her tendons and ligamets if we don't do something.

Any suggestions, comments or sympathy would be sincerly appreciated.

hazelrunpack September 13th, 2011 08:17 PM

I would have the vet look at it now. If there's been some damage done, she may need it removed now so that it heals properly. If the vet thinks it will heal okay as it is, then you can at least discuss whether the surgery is necessary. If it's a bad tear, there's the possibility of an infection getting into the joint--and once it's in the joint, that's a whole new world of frustration... :o

renegaderuby September 14th, 2011 03:14 PM

Had our dach toby rip out a regular toenail somehow (we still dont know how)...and it took about two years to grow back. it grew in short, and really crooked. So...I would imagine it'll grow back. just may take some time.

Floppy Dog September 20th, 2011 01:19 PM

Took Lady to the vet on Saturday and got full marks for my 1st aid skills and honor roll for my bandaging skills (no swolen paw). No sign of infection, all the vet had to do was trim the ragged bit of claw that I couldn't bring myself to cut off. What a traumatic experience for Lady though. She's really strong from all the outdoor exercise she gets so it took both me and Beena, my daughter, to hold her down for the vet. Not doing that again. Talked it over with the vet and with G-Man when I got home and we decided that if Lady tears her dew claw again, they're both coming off. The vet said he'd do the operation for about $250. Considering the office visit each time costs about $60, that seems reasonable.

growler~GateKeeper September 21st, 2011 12:22 AM

Have you tried using Vet Wrap to wrap the dew claws to the leg before she goes out into the bush as a preventative measure against further injury?

Rose_ September 21st, 2011 02:01 PM

We also had our girls rear dew claws removed when she went in for her spay at 6 months. I was warned by SO many people that it was a bad idea and her recovery time would be long. One was loose but the other was very much attached and bony.

I have absolutely no regrets. She recovered really quick, and the only issue we ran into was that she wouldn't keep the bandages on.

Sure it might be painful for her for a bit, but I'm sure it's worse tearing it as often as she had. Gives me serious shudders to think about.

Floppy Dog September 22nd, 2011 03:35 PM

We have considered vet (or athletic) tape (they seem to be the same thing). And I have been using it with some sucess to keep Lady from worrying the stub of her dew claw. The issue, of course, is how long it will stay on in the very damp environment of the Squamish Valley. There a more rivers and creeks here then you can stick a shake at, and in between is mostly marsh and bog. Also, since we don't want to keep the bandage on permanently, there's always the probability that one day we will forget about putting it on. The other probability is that Lady will decide to go on a little adventure while we are going on an otherwise sedate walk. She can be very sneaky that way, especially if there's fresh bear poo involved!

hazelrunpack September 22nd, 2011 03:42 PM

We use the vet wrap secured with a strip or two of surgical tape and it usually stays on for the couple of hours we're out in the woods. The wrap sticks to itself without adhesive--so water really doesn't affect it--and as long as the outside cut edge doesn't get pulled loose, the wrap stays on. Secure the cut edge with the tape and make sure you cut the vet wrap so that that edge is on the back of the leg :thumbs up

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