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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18924
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My 3 1/2 year old beagle lost a complete toe nail on s back

Customer Question

My 3 1/2 year old beagle lost a complete toe nail on his back foot when jumping from one chair to another. It is apparent that it hurts. He is licking it a lot. He is also walking on just three legs quit a bit. What can I do to help ease his discomfort and not get it infected?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

First, while nail avulsions are never nice for our dogs, I am glad to hear that he has removed the whole nail. The reason is because if any was left, it could pinch the area (causing pain) and prevent healing. So,in those cases, we often have to have their vet sedate them and remove that left over bit of nail.

Now if that isn't an issue, then we can try some supportive care to reduce the risk of infection and his discomfort. To start, I would advise cleaning the area with a diluted antiseptic (either chlorohexidine or iodine, both should be diluted to a weak tea like color). This should be done 2-3 times a day, and discharges should be washed away. Afterwards, you can pat this dry and apply an OTC antibiotic cream. Otherwise, we do like to keep these open to the air (to help them dry out) but can put a light breathable bandage on if needed.

Furthermore, since he is licking this exposed nail bed, that must be prevented as his saliva will be full of bacteria and inoculating the area with infection). Therefore, in this situation, we would need to place a buster collar (which most pet stores or vets carry) . This way you can protect the wound from further self-trauma that could actually increase the risk of infection.

Now in regards ***** ***** pain, I must say that if he is severely painful with this, then you may want to consider having him seen by his local vet. This way you could get him on treatment with dog safe pain relief (ie previcox, rimadyl,metacam, etc) and antibiotics now and get him on the road to recovery quicker. Otherwise, if that is not an option and as long as he hasn't any bleeding from this now, you can offering a low dose of buffered aspirin. This is a mild pain relief that we can use in dogs in these situations. You can read more about using aspirin and the dose for him size @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/acetylsalicylic-acid-aspirin. Do note that if he is already on any of these aforementioned dog safe pain relievers or steroids, aspirin should be avoided (as use together could have unwanted effects). And if you do give aspirin, remember to give it with or after food and consider pre-treating with an antacid (ie Pepcid, Zantac) to avoid stomach irritation.

Overall, this is a very painful condition when they catch their nails. Still, if he has fully removed the nail, then we'd only need to consider the above options for treatment. So, you can try the above just now while monitoring him closely. Of course, if he doesn't settle, or we see pus from the nail bed; then we'd want to have a check with his vet for those further treatments to just settle this for him.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi Rosemary,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Bayley. How is everything going?
nekovet