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Dr. Drew
Dr. Drew, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16846
Experience:  Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
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My elderly dog is losing his toenails. He has lost two, and

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My elderly dog is losing his toenails. He has lost two, and is now limping and I suspect is going through the pain of losing another. Any suggestions?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 7 years ago.
Hi, thanks for your question about Gizmo. Is there any swelling of the skin at the base of the nails, before they fall off? Are the nails brittle, or mis-shapen?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Just looked - I don't believe so - they look normal
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 7 years ago.
OK, thanks for the reply. In many dogs who lose toenails, there is either an infection of the nail bed, or a cancer of the nail bed. A biopsy obtained by amputating a toe is often the only way to diagnose such an issue, so certainly there are cases where we just try to treat the symptoms.

A fatty acid supplement such as flaxseed oil or salmon oil, given daily in the food, might help to improve nail strength somewhat. There are also some prescription medicines that could help, such as Niacinamide, and Tetracycline. It would be best for Gizmo to be seen by a veterinarian, so that an assessment of his overall health can be made, since some underlying issues such as organ disease or cancer can sometimes lead to weak nails.
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