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Advise On Limping And Potential Toe Amputation.


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I apologise in advance for the long post!

 

I’m looking for some advice or other people’s experiences around toe removal and limping.

 

A few weeks into fostering Gin he started to limp and he was sent to the greyhound association vet who diagnosed a cut pad and gave him some cream. The cut was very minor and we didn’t believe this was the cause of the pain however accepted it. As he was put up for adoption a few weeks later he started to limp again and we took him back to the greyhound vet who said it was a very large corn and needed to be surgically removed. Whilst under they found a large abscess behind the corn which was drained and the corn was removed (the largest the vet has ever seen with a very long anchor).

 

We have since adopted him (no one wanted him and he was going to be put down) and his limp remained. We went back to the same vet on 5 occasions who said it was just taking a long time to heal, which I disagreed with. A few weeks ago, Gin was attacked by a bird and suffered an injury in which he required surgery, so I took him to my local vet and asked them to x-ray his leg whilst he was under as I thought it could be Osteosarcoma.

The results indicated that he had fractured his wrist when we first fostered him and because it wasn’t set, healed incorrectly, this along with juvenile arthritis was the cause of the limping and not the corn site healing. The local vet said every 3 months he would need a cortical injection and be on pain relieving tablets for the remainder of his life.

 

This week we were at a greyhound function and bumped into the greyhound vet who saw that Gin was still limping and he examined him and said that the corn had come back even bigger, and he needed to get his toe amputated as it will just continue to reoccur. I explained what my vet had said and he said it was rubbish that they were trying to just get cash out of me. To show me, the greyhound vet bent Gin’s leg back and flexed it to show me he wasn’t in pain in the places the other vet’s had said was the fracture and arthritic site and then pressed the toe with the corn and he did cry.

 

I know don’t know what to do, I have 2 vets telling me 2 different things! The greyhound vet is a bit of a cowboy in my opinion; I’ve had a few issues with his practices with other foster dogs I’ve had, but I’m also questioning what my local vet tells me??? I don’t want to do something as drastic as amputation to find out that the problem is still there but am happy to do it if it solves the problem.

Gin has had an horrific life up until he came to us and I just want to make him happy and healthy. Has anyone else been through this or something similar and what did you do? Any advice will be appreciated!

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Did you *see* the xray from vet#2?? Something that drastic would definitely be able to be seen by a layperson who looked at the rads. It would look much different from the other "normal" wrist. You don't indicate a time frame for any of these issues, so it's difficult to tell if it could be fully healed, if it was fractured.

 

Vet#1 isn't right either. Surgical removal of corns very rarely works, and I would have some doubt about his description of the first surgery without independent verification. Corns can indeed cause limping. The usual presentation is limping on hard ground/floors, but not at all (or as much) on grass and soft surfaces. Wearing a boot on that foot, such as a Therapaw, will usually help them cope with corn pain while walking. There is a very good group on Facebook called "greyhounds with corns" that has a ton of information and a lot of people who have dealt with this very common issue. Also, lots of threads here about them if you do a search.

 

Amping a toe is a relatively easy surgery. As long as the surgeon takes enough of the toe bone so the leftover stump is NOT impacting the ground while walking following the healing process. It's a short surgery, with a two week (plus or minus) healing period. The biggest problem is pressure sores developing from the splint/bandaging, and keeping them quiet!

 

What does the pad *look* like to you?? Is it an open sore? Look infected? Is there a raised, calloused area that could be a corn? Does your dog lick his paw? Is he walked daily or do you have a yard for pottying? How old is your dog? And could his prior "horrific" life be impacting his health, whatever that was?

 

You don't say where you are or what group your fostering with, but someone may be able to give you some suggestions for local vets who a) have a better "bedside" manner, and B) understand how to treat recurrent corns on greyhounds.

 

If you want to investigate his wrist fracture further, at this point you need to find a competent orthopedic specialist to look at your dog (or at least give you a second opinion from looking at the xrays already taken).

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Yes i saw the X-rays and you can see where the fracture was, the healing and the areas where the arthritis was affecting compared with the other wrist which was clean. The fracture was in May and the X-Rays were taken a month ago and according the Vet #2 had healed.

 

I had read the threads on here before his surgery and objected to it, however, as he was a foster dog at that point i didn't have a say in the treatment.

 

The pad is not infected or swollen currently (it was a long time after surgery so i have a base line to compare it with) and it is evident there is another corn there again. He doesn't lick his paw at all and we walk him every few days on the beach as the sand does help due to the softness. His prior life issues haven't impacted on his foot according to both vets and i agree.

 

I'm in Australia and he is 3 years old. Vet#1 was the greyhound adoption programs vet and they swear by anything that he recommends and i have talked to them about other vets but they only recommend him or one of his other private practices. I do have another vet that i use and was considering going for a third opinion.

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What about a third vet? Give as little info as possible and let them come up with their own conclusion from their physical exam and review of rads.

 

Sounds like you are definitely in a difficult place....but could both vets also be right?

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10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
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  • 2 weeks later...

My first greyhound had similar issues. Had corns and arthritis in his wrist at age 3. I had the corn surgically removed, but it came back. I managed it by soaking it in Epsom Salt and water for a few hours and then hulling the corn out after it had been softened. It never went away, but I was able to keep him somewhat pain free.

What toe is the corn located on? if it is an outside toe I would seriously consider amputation after my experience. An inside toe is a weight bearing and could be more problematic. I know the healing time is relatively short approximately 2 weeks and I actually had a greyhound who came to me with a toe amputated and it never caused her a bit of trouble.

Corns are the worst!

Edited by Finnsliz

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Find a good orthopedic vet and ask them to review the rads. In the meantime, do a nerve block on the corn toe and see if the limping resolves. If it does, then I would consider the toe amp. And ask the ortho if he thinks there is also or may be at some point pain from the fracture whether they can do any repairs noe, especially if he'll be under and then recovering from the toe amp anyway.

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

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