My Poor Little Toes
Poor Me! A couple of months ago, I kept shrieking every time Daddy came near me with the nail clippers. They thought I was making a fuss about nothing. Then about 2 weeks ago, a nail fell off and left the bare stump of a quick which was all raw and bleeding excessively. They stopped the bleeding and assumed I had got the nail caught on something and it ripped out. Even with just one nail like this it was awkward and painful and went on for weeks, sometimes bleeding, then healing over and over.
This weekend, on Saturday night Mummy and Daddy noticed my other claws felt a bit odd and unstable. By Sun eve they were separating from the quick and by Mon morning, the claws were hanging off and some were sticking out at right angles, it was an awful mess and I felt very sorry for myself. They took me to the vets, and I had to stay in and have every single claw removed under sedation.
It was diagnosed, partly by Daddy then confirmed by the vet, that I have an auto-immune condition called Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy or SLO. This is an autoimmune condition and can cause severe damage to nails in the nail bed inside the toe joint, then when the claws grow they are deformed and separate from the quick. The diagnosis can be confirmed by amputating a whole toe and examining it, but that is a cruel thing to do to me and the symptoms are distinctive so it is best just to go ahead and treat it.
The nails if they do grow back may quickly crumble, or like me just separate and fall off leaving the living part of the claw exposed. It is a painful and bloody mess. With me there was no option but to have all the loose ones removed under sedation. I could not go home last night, or see Mummy and Daddy as it might have unsettled me. The bleeding stopped about midnight and I had overnight supervision from a nurse on night dutyon the animal ward.
Mummy and Daddy will be coming to pick me up later today and will need to take great care. No doubt it will be really painful and look very strange to them to have no claws. It takes around 6-9 mths for new claws to grow but SLO can be a lifelong condition and they may grow back deformed and in all likelihood, I will lose the new claws. I just have to hope it is only one at a time and very infrequent. We know from my last claw lost that even a short walk can start the bleeding again. It is quite a sad thing as I used to like to run so fast.
There are things Mummy and Daddy can do to help my new nails grow a bit better. They can supplement my Royal diet with omega 3 and fatty acids, and make sure I have enough Vit E. They can give me other supplements and make sure I have antibiotics as the exposed quick can easily get infected. I will need regular Royal foot baths too. I will have to walk on sheets (silk and pink perhaps?) and blankets as I am likely to leave bloody paw prints.
If the change in diet and supplements do not work, then the last resort is steroids....if that doesn't work not sure what they will do. I just hope my inability to walk and run properly at the moment will not last long. The next couple of months will be hard for me, but they will still take me out in the car and let me stand in the park so I can feels I have been somewhere. And, I might feel it is all worth it if I get to eat stinky fish for breakfast every day....apparently, the best tinned salmon is what works well I am told.....but only if the whole tin goes to me and I don't have to share with Dizzy.
If you own a greyhound yourself, take care to give them really good supplements of omega 3 and other vitamins. Don't wait until you see the nails suffer, because at that point it has taken over 3 mths to grow out of the paw and the damage is done much earlier, invisibly, inside the toes. Giving hounds etc supplements is not going to harm them if the amounts are considered safe by your vet. Mummy and Daddy did supplement me with her special food and vitamins. However, I do have other autoimmune problems like baldness around the backside and neck, a lichenoid type ulceration of her vulva and skin cysts.
Love to y'all, HRH Princess Lily (the 'Toe-less')
A strange thing happened last night. I went to eat my dinner, glances over me shoulder, and saw I was the only dog with the only bowl of food....and the other bowl had water in. I felt a little subdued all evening. Things were not the same without having to fight for my favourite spot on the sofa, or barge someone out the way to get to the back door. And when I went into the garden, I had the whole place to myself to do my business.....what is going on? Oh, just realised, Lily is not here. She is like a very annoying little sister, but dare I say it, I might actually be missing her a little bit perhaps??
I heard that she is coming back later but I am not to get excited and leap at her, or stand on her toe less paws
Love Dizzy (usually the 'underdog' but temporarily the 'only dog')