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Dislocated Toe Advice


Guest DaenrysGreyborn
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Guest DaenrysGreyborn

Hey guys,

My husband came home a couple of nights ago and noticed our grey's "ring finger" hind toe was up and to the side. He was also limping/hoping around on 3 legs. Of course, we took him him to the e-vet (middle of the night) and the vet did x-rays and confirmed it was dislocated. She snapped it back into place under sedation, and he is now on Metacam. At the time, she mentioned amputating the end, but admitted she didn't know what to do--she was fairly new--and said she would consult with another vet in the morning.

In the morning she contacted our regular vet, and he phoned to say we could just leave it to heal, but preferred we go for a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon.

The consultation alone is looking like $500+, and our boy looks and is acting normal. No yelping, pain, walking and playing normally, not licking or bugging at his paw. It looks fine and he's acting fine. We're fine to pay (we have insurance) if necessary, but we don't want to sedate/anaesthetize him unnecessarily.

Dislocated toe experienced people: Would you go to the surgeon? Seems like overkill to me, but I would love some advice. Thanks!

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One of my girls (Kara, now at the bridge) dislocated her toe, also on a hind foot. While I was on the phone to my vet, she managed to fix it herself. I still took her to the vet but there wasn't much to do. It never gave her any more problems.

 

However, for some dogs, the toe may be subject to repeated dislocation. In that case, amputation may be appropriate. If the toe isn't bothering him, I wouldn't consult a surgeon. If it dislocates again, then a surgical consult might be in order.

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Marc and Myun plus Starbuck (the cat)
Pinky my AWOL girl, wherever you are, I miss you.
Angels Honey (6/30/99-11/3/11) Nadia (5/11/99-6/4/12) Kara (6/5/99-7/17/12) Cleo (4/13/2000-4/19/2014)

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I am dealing with this now with Sallie, she has dislocated the same toe three times in less than a month, so now it is wrapped and will stay wrapped for several weeks (with changes of course) However, this is an outside toe. I am only wrapping it because it keeps popping out. A weight bearing toe is a little different (I assume by ring finger you mean an inside toe) but I would probably just watch it and not do anything unless it dislocated again. Hopefully it won't come out again!

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Rainey's toes dislocated several times and I was able to pop it back in every time (reluctantly, let me tell you, it's like nails on a chalkboard to me :o). One time it did dislocate several times in a short period of time and our vet said to wrap it with VetWrap for several weeks to let the tendon get back to normal, and fortunately she never had any more issues. That doesn't always work but it's worth a try. I would use surgery as a VERY last resort.

Kim and Bruce - with Rick (Rick Roufus 6/30/16) and missing my sweet greyhound Angels Rainey (LG's Rainey 10/4/2000 - 3/8/2011), Anubis (RJ's Saint Nick 12/25/2001 - 9/12/12) and Zeke (Hey Who Whiz It 4/6/2009 - 7/20/2020) and Larry (PTL Laroach 2/24/2007 - 8/2/2020) -- and Chester (Lab) (8/31/1990 - 5/3/2005), Captain (Schipperke) (10/12/1992 - 6/13/2005) and Remy (GSP) (?/?/1998 - 1/6/2005) at the bridge
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -- Ernest Hemmingway

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I just posted about this about 3 weeks ago as Teague dislocated his front inner toe. I had to pop it in about 4 times right after it happened, so was a little freaked out. I didn't go to the vet, but wrapped his foot up (with cotton between the toes) and did shorter, leashed walks for about a 2-3 weeks. He hated the wrap so I gradually left it off. Also, very important is to make sure the toe nails are short. If the nail is touching the ground when the dog is standing, it will likely keep popping out.

 

We are now back to doing everything normal, and have had no further problems. I wouldn't go to the specialist yet, I would wait to see if this is a reoccurring thing.

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As others have said, restrict exercise for at least 4 weeks. Walks are fine, just no running. If it happens again, you should be able to pop it back in yourself, at which point I would start wrapping the foot with vet wrap before intense exercise to prevent it from happening. Amputation would be a last resort, when wrapping it still doesn't prevent it from popping out. But really you want to be careful for the next few weeks to let that tendon heal because you don't want to get into the cycle of it popping back out repeatedly, which can damage the tendon permanently.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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  • 5 years later...

I know I’m coming to this thread a few years later, but my 7yo Grey has dislocated his toe for the 3rd time. It’s an outer toe on his rear paw. The vet reset it the first time, it reset on its own the second time, and then it just happened again this morning. 

 

Would anyone be willing to share the process of how they were able to reset their dog’s dislocated toe? Our regular vet isn’t open today and I don’t want to spend hundreds at the emergency vet if I don’t need to... He doesn’t seem bothered at all by it but I don’t want to leave it dislocated until tomorrow. 

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Is there a lot of swelling? If not, it should be pretty easy to pop back in place. A finger on one side, thumb on the other around the joint area and then just apply some pressure with the thumb, inward and possibly down a little (inward assuming the toe is sticking out toward your thumb). It's really hard to give instructions, I would just do it and that would be that, but doing my best based on my memory. The main thing is it should pop in pretty easily. 

Once in, wrap with vet wrap with a little gauze or cotton in between the toes so they're not squeezed together to prevent it from popping back out and give an NSAID if you have them for him.

I would keep his foot wrapped for a couple do weeks and then leash walks only for another 4-6 weeks. You really don't want this to become a chronic problem if you can avoid it. After that, depending on your situation you might wrap the foot before he runs. If you have a yard and he runs a lot that probably isn't practical so then you just hold your breath and hope it stays in.

ETA: I meant to say, muzzle your boy if you think there's any chance he'll snap in response to pain. You can smear some peanut butter in the muzzle first to keep him occupied while you do it 

Edited by NeylasMom

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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