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Split Nail-O-Rama


Guest urchin
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So the weirdest thing happened - a couple of weeks ago Blue seemed to be a bit ginger on his back foot, licking and doing all of the usual "this is bugging me" activities. We inspected, couldn't find any embedded stickers, no web damage from a jumping brother, looked fine. Licking continued, slight swelling ensued and then we saw the "pinky" toe nail had split along the bottom. We did more inspecting and noticed that the adjacent two toes had a bit of darkness (dried blood?) along the nailbed. So do two more on the front paw. Off to the vet where he had to be sedated to have the nail removed. This happened about a week and a half ago. Vet gave us pain meds and topical antibiotic. We soaked foot and kept it wrapped with the topical for the first five or so days and the past few days we let it air out and it was developing a hardness around the exposed quick. All seemed fine until we went out for breakfast this morning and came back to find the adjacent nail now also split and hanging on by the top of the nailbed only (gross).

 

What is going on here? Do we have to sedate him again to remove this next nail? Vet felt that nail length wasn't an issue and did an extra trim while sedated to be sure. All we can think of is that he "bruised" a bunch of nails previously and now they're growing out/falling off. Has anyone else had this experience? I do not want to sedate him again unnecessarily.

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Guest bluefawn

This exact same thing has happened to my senior girl Penny. At first, they popped up and/or split one by one, and then one of them became infected and I had to have my vet remove it. It eventually healed, but she has that hard nub left too. Once in a while another nail pops up like the hood on a VW, and either she will or will not let me pull it the rest of the way off, when it is just dangling by a small piece of skin. When she first started losing her nails, they bled freely. Now when she loses one, there is little or no blood loss. She had devastating injuries when I got her as a puppy, but this nail thing started happening about 5 years ago (she is 12 1/2 now). She currently has only 5 actual nails left - the rest are dried-up nerve tissue and the one nub left after the nail removal. My vet never gave me an actual diagnosis for it, and didn't suggest any course of meds other than an antibiotic & something for pain following the nail removal. Oh, and she does still develop split nails from time to time. Keep us posted!

Edited by bluefawn
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Sheila - thanks for the link to the SLO site. After looking at a few more with pictures, I've got to say that it looks like exactly what is happening. Even sort of more interesting is Blue only has one real dew claw, the other is a shriveled weird nub that sounds like what happens to a lot of regrown nails in SLO dogs. Maybe coincidental, but certainly worth mentioning. Does anyone know if this sits dormant and then surfaces? We've had him about a year and a half and this is the first incidence, the dew claw was that way when we got him. FWIW he's very young - 3 now, and absolutely the sweetest, best tempered dog we've ever had, it's a shame this is happening to him :(

 

Leslie

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Sheila - thanks for the link to the SLO site. After looking at a few more with pictures, I've got to say that it looks like exactly what is happening. Even sort of more interesting is Blue only has one real dew claw, the other is a shriveled weird nub that sounds like what happens to a lot of regrown nails in SLO dogs. Maybe coincidental, but certainly worth mentioning. Does anyone know if this sits dormant and then surfaces? We've had him about a year and a half and this is the first incidence, the dew claw was that way when we got him. FWIW he's very young - 3 now, and absolutely the sweetest, best tempered dog we've ever had, it's a shame this is happening to him :(

 

Leslie

I don't know anything about SLO from personal experience though I've heard that it is most prevalent in Rottweilers and Greyhounds. I'm sure if you do some research and take it to your vet you will be able to make a plan for treatment options.

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I did some research on SLO when DesiRay was having his nail problems, and from what I understand, it's an immune issue; the body thinks it's allergic to its own nail material. Also understood that it ran in cycles; better for a while, then worse for a while.

There are several treatment options; just search SLO/greyhounds & you'll find out more about this than you probably ever wanted to

know. Good Luck!!

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.

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My Scout had SLO. He lived with another family before coming to me; his nails evidently started showing problems when he was around 4-5. When I got him at age 9, he was losing about 1 a month. With the recommended regimen of tetracycline (hope I'm remembering this right) and supplements, the nail loss gradually slowed until during his last two years -- age 12-13, he was only losing one a year. We were able to cut out the tetracycline except during flare-ups and cut back on the supplements, too. Keeping the nails short so they didn't catch on things helped.

 

I'm sorry your boy is having problems, but if this is SLO, with most dogs it can be managed fairly easily.

siggy_z1ybzn.jpg

Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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So I called the vet to discuss the suspicion that it is SLO, he is researching treatment options so we can get a game plan together. I started Blue on the large doses of Omega 3's today, because it was at least SOMETHING I could do for him. This is absolutely the craziest thing I've ever seen - toenails are suddenly popping like champagne corks. Woody got excited and accidentally stepped on Blue's foot when I got home from work - there went another one. Looks like overall he's going to lose close to half of the nails in the next week or so. Any tips on minimizing infection on the open quicks? We're doing foot soaks and wrapping them for outside elimination and letting them air overnight while he's wearing a muzzle/stool guard to prevent licking. Poor boy is pretty miserable!

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Urchin, it sounds like you have a very reasonable anti-infection protocol going. With Scout, it seemed like the nail would only bother him for a few days, but he never had more than one going at a time while he was with me. Your poor boy. :(

siggy_z1ybzn.jpg

Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't think I have enough posts to edit, but here's an update. 2 weeks into SLO and Blue has lost half the nails, and all but about three have "popped" exposing the quick underneath, while the nail shell hangs on, at least temporarily. It appears that he will lose all of them. He's been on the standard pred treatment for a week and a half and has noticeably lost a lot of weight. Worse, nails keep oozing and popping and it seems to be having no positive effect. Between the feet and the "skeletor" look, he's just not himself. He hasn't picked up a toy in weeks, he doesn't get up when I come home, in fact he barely lifts his head. We go back to the vet tomorrow to address the sudden weight loss. Has anybody with SLO or even pred experience seen this dramatic weight loss? Any other time I've had hounds on steroids this has not been the result. They'll be doing a complete blood work up with thyroid panel tomorrow.

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Poor, poor Blue. Other people with more knowledge will answer, but I think that weight loss is a fairly common effect of prednisone.

 

What other meds/supplements is Blue getting? Give him a gentle head pat from us.

Edited by EllenEveBaz

siggy_z1ybzn.jpg

Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

I am not sure how greyhound savy your vet is, but from the fact that you had to suggest SLO to your vet, he/she may not be that savy. I would be very cautious of getting a thyroid from a non-greyhound vet. Reason being greyhounds blood values are very different than most breeds, and thyroid problems are very rare in greyhounds. If you do run a thyroid, have your vet send the bloodwork to MSU for a full workup, not just a quick panel, they should know what a full workup means, but be prepared for an extra bill, I believe the cost for MSU workup is 150(?).

 

here is a quick reference link for greyhound specific values:

http://www.recycledracers.org/FAQ/greyhound-blood-values.html

 

here is a link for an OSU generated report of some of the major differences in greyhounds (this is written by vets, for vets):

https://ckm.osu.edu/sitetool/sites/greyhoundpublic/documents/Resources/GreyhoundsLabwork.pdf

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Guest greenbottle27

Hi there!

My baby is Gabby and she has SLO. It is an autoimmue disease and it is very painful. SLO is a newly identified autoimmune disease in itself so you won't find gobs of information on the internet about it. SLO is not breed specific.

It is however, commonly misdisgnosed and treated.

 

My first red flag in reading the thread is that your vet is dosing out prednisone without doing a blood panel fist, especially if there is weightloss - sudden or not. Looking past that, get the blood panel done and get a greyhound savvy vet to look at the details. Send the result to OSU, Dr.Stack or Grassmere if you have to. The concern is that SLO is a life long disease and dosing out the pred is not a long term solution.

 

There are a couple schools of thought and protocals. Not every one works for every hound. You need to see what works best for you guys. Keeping that in mind is key.

 

You need to arm yourself with this information and almost demand your vet follow one of the two protocals. Removing the dogs nails, sedated is not doing any good. I tend to agree that if you had to tell your vet it was SLO, you might seriously consider finding someone more savvy that has treated SLO before. I was about to jump in my car and take my Gabby to Grassmere to see Dr. Carol in Nashville (I live in NJ) and she called me and gave me the best advise "find a savvy greyhound vet and print out the info"....

 

I so understand that this has sucked the life out of your hound. My Gabby lost her entire RL paw (all her nails) in less than 2 weeks. We lost 1 on the RL and are about the lose more. She was the spunkiest greyhound ever. And she barely gets up to say hello or eat.

 

Currently we are doing Omega-3, Vitamin E, tetracycline, niacinamide (not niacin -that is lethal) and biotin. In conjuction, we are switching out her food. SLO is typically triggered by and allergy or say a tick bite or fleas. After a quick go over with the whole pack, the 12 pinkish feet are encouraging me to try the food allergy route. We are actually just swiching over to "cool" energy foods like duck and salmon vs the TOTW Bison blend.So, if we don't see any positive growth in about 8-10 weeks then we will try the presnisone. And of course pain medication of NSAID's.

 

http://www.greythealth.com/toenails.html

http://www.grassmere-animal-hospital.com/SLO.html

 

At the bottom of the grassmere page there is a link to a SLO Yahoo group. That is loaded with info. to get you started. I prefer just printing the 2 sites above as they are geared to "us" :) Do yourself a favor and highlight the part that says you want to treat the underlying cause. I found even a couple greyhound savvy vets try to tell me I might not know the answer. Which I partly agree with. I'm saying I want my vet to look at every angle of blood work, stool, teeth, genetics - anything that trigger the SLO. Fine, if you come up empty handed, just look at everything darn it because treating the underlying cause is the key - not treating WHAT happened as a result of it... make sense??

 

If you have any questions - give a shout. And speedy healing. Remember, this is treatable - just a long, slow road.

 

Best,

Julie

Edited by greenbottle27
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Julie - Thanks for all of the links and information. On the plus side, we have a very greyhound savvy vet, he treats many greyhounds at the Palm Beach Kennel club as well as a lot of the adopted greys in the area. Initially when we went to him with the initial split nail, there was only one, so we all just assumed it was a random accident while running.

 

After he started losing more, I called and asked if SLO was a possibility. At that point he agreed that since it wasn't just the one nail, it was most likely SLO. He was mentioning that he had treated a number of greys in the past with SLO, but that luckily it had been a few years since he had seen any cases. He also indicated there were a number of different protocols, but that the pred was the most common, least extreme one to start with. Blue only started losing the weight AFTER we put him on the pred. We took the dosage down on Saturday and already his demeanor has improved a bit - lower doses may just work better for him. He also seemed to indicate that since very little is really known about what causes the auto-immune diseases and that they affect every dog differently, what may work for one do may not work for another. He was even saying that on some dogs SLO affects only the front paws, or only the rear - he even mentioned one case where it affected only the left side. Blue has lost nails on all feet.

 

We lost three more nails today getting in and out of the car for a total of 9 in two weeks, There are only two that haven't "popped" so he'll lose 5 more or so by the weekend. We also are trying the Omega-3, Vitamin E, tetracycline route, however we are a little less gung-ho to switch from our TOTW food. I'd like to try the other options first and if no result move to the next option. We've got four on the TOTW including one supposed IBS case that have been tolerating it well for more than a year and a half. It's the only food that Blue has ever had with us.

 

Found the yahoo site - I joined it immediately after the diagnosis :) How long has Gabby had the SLO? Have you seen any nail regrowth yet? If so, how long before you noticed it?

 

Thanks again for all of your help - Leslie

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Guest greenbottle27

Julie - Thanks for all of the links and information. On the plus side, we have a very greyhound savvy vet, he treats many greyhounds at the Palm Beach Kennel club as well as a lot of the adopted greys in the area. Initially when we went to him with the initial split nail, there was only one, so we all just assumed it was a random accident while running.

 

After he started losing more, I called and asked if SLO was a possibility. At that point he agreed that since it wasn't just the one nail, it was most likely SLO. He was mentioning that he had treated a number of greys in the past with SLO, but that luckily it had been a few years since he had seen any cases. He also indicated there were a number of different protocols, but that the pred was the most common, least extreme one to start with. Blue only started losing the weight AFTER we put him on the pred. We took the dosage down on Saturday and already his demeanor has improved a bit - lower doses may just work better for him. He also seemed to indicate that since very little is really known about what causes the auto-immune diseases and that they affect every dog differently, what may work for one do may not work for another. He was even saying that on some dogs SLO affects only the front paws, or only the rear - he even mentioned one case where it affected only the left side. Blue has lost nails on all feet.

 

We lost three more nails today getting in and out of the car for a total of 9 in two weeks, There are only two that haven't "popped" so he'll lose 5 more or so by the weekend. We also are trying the Omega-3, Vitamin E, tetracycline route, however we are a little less gung-ho to switch from our TOTW food. I'd like to try the other options first and if no result move to the next option. We've got four on the TOTW including one supposed IBS case that have been tolerating it well for more than a year and a half. It's the only food that Blue has ever had with us.

 

Found the yahoo site - I joined it immediately after the diagnosis :) How long has Gabby had the SLO? Have you seen any nail regrowth yet? If so, how long before you noticed it?

 

Thanks again for all of your help - Leslie

 

Gabby lost her first dew claw 7/4 jumping in the car. I didn't witness the episode, my husband did so you know he didn't actually see anything ;) except the blood. It was hanging by a thread but she wouldn't let me touch it. Off to the vet at 4:45 on the 4th of July! Then 9/26 she was running inthe yard and ripped her RL nail - off to the e-vet at 9pm. Then 10/15 that morning she woke u pand was missing 2 nails - bloody and very nasty. So, her SLO was most likely festering in the Spring. Nail growth is very slow so we have't seen any. The dew claw is healed over but nothing has grown back.

 

Glad you are comfortable with your vet. From the begining of the thread he didn't sound very reliable. I am curious though, you posted that the pred treatment was the "most common, least extream to start with"... can you elaborate on that? I have talked to a few vets that are highly respected in the SLO world and the prednisone is the most aggressive "treatment". I'd just like to know what then his/her next more extream steps would be. **totally not trying to debate here - just curious ** :)

 

Outside of that, everything you wrote is text book.

 

I hope that we get something in terms of nails going before winter hits. I cannot imagine going out in the snow with no toe nails :( Of course that isn't a worry for y'all in the sunshine state (jealous button).

 

This is gross but I have been looking for the nail that shed and haven't found a one. I think that Gabby might lick them off her herself and then - gulp - eat it. Ewwww.... but I've never had any pop off while I'm at home with her.

 

Cyber (((healing hugs))) to Blue!

 

~julie

Edited by greenbottle27
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  • 2 weeks later...

Julie-

 

Can't believe you haven't found a nail yet, we've been joking about starting a jar of nails, we find them everywhere. I told Blue if he put them under his dog bed at night, maybe the nail fairy would leave him a bully stick :P

 

So just wanted to update those who have been so helpful that Blue's bloodwork came back and he tested negative for one auto-immune and positive for the other (not 100% sure exactly what that means). He is down to a minimal dose of prednisone and is acting completely like his normal self except that he has lost weight and looks a little thin.

 

The other interesting point is that the vet said that he had no measurable thyroid function (less than .4 I think he said) and wants to start him on thyroid medication. From what I've read if he has no working thyroid, he should be gaining weight, not losing it. If I put him on this thyroid medication is he going to get even thinner? Will this "cure" the SLO? Are they even related?

 

Thanks again-

 

Leslie

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So glad Blue is feeling better. I don't know what the one positive and one negative auto-immune mean, either.

 

I think dogs with auto-immune diseases such as SLO are at higher risk for thyroid problems, or vice versa (plus a few other conditions, as well). I don't think regulating an out-of-whack thyroid will "cure" the SLO, but it certainly won't hurt.

 

Low thyroid can cause weight gain OR weight loss.

 

Was the thyroid panel a full panel, or just the T-4 level? .4 certainly sounds low, but I had a girl who had a .7 (low even for a greyhound) but that was a normal for her because her other T measurements were proportionately correct.

 

I'm sorry I'm not more authoritative about all this; just relaying what's happened in my own dogs' experiences.

siggy_z1ybzn.jpg

Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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