Dog with nerve damage in paw - Answered by Dr. Van Lienden
Hi, my dog was hit by a car 5 weeks ago. He now has nerve damage to his right-front paw. He has feeling in the outside of the paw, but the nerve that controls the motion of the paw itself has no feeling (the one down the middle), so he can't walk normally without the help of a support/splint or a boot of some kind on that paw.
I took him to a veterinary neurologist three weeks ago, and have spared no expense in his medical care since the accident.
The neurologist said that it was possible the nerve might regenerate/repair itself, but that if Charlie (the dog) started to chew on the paw then amputation was the best recommendation. The neurologist didn't seem to have a lot of experience with nerve damage, and had no opinion on an alternative treatment (accupuncture, holistic healing, or whatever else is available). Charlie's regular vet had even less experience, and recommended amputation before even seeing the x-rays or anything! Surgery of any kind is out of the question because of Charlie's size (about six pounds). Obviously I'm a little frustrated with them both, and am looking for someone with some REAL experience with this type of problem or just some advice from someone with some experience.
He started to chew on the paw less than a week ago, and has broken the first few layers of skin near the joint. I have since been washing it with disinfectant soap and applying neosporin several times per day, and Charlie now has a collar on to prevent him from chewing the leg during the day. It's already starting to heal.
With all that being said, my questions are these:
Does anyone have any experience with this? Do you know of any alternative treatments that I didn't mention for this type of injury? Money isn't the issue, it's the quality of life for my dog. I can't keep a collar on him all day long for the rest of his life! I also don't want to simply give up trying and amputate the leg when there could be something out there that could help him. I know he'll adapt a lot quicker than I will to having three legs, but why do that if something can be done to save it? He's getting exercise on it every day, several times per day (being forced to use it by walking slowly with the paw in a support boot).
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Matt & Charlie