Ask a Dog Vet and Get Answers to Your Dog Veterinary Questions
Hello. Thanks for writing in. My name is***** and I would be happy to help you. I am not set up to do phone calls but would be happy to answer any questions you do have online. In order to give an informative and concise answer, it may take a few minutes before I respond back to you, so don't be alarmed if you don't hear back immediately if you have responded back to me within 10 minutes of my response. I do have a couple more questions, though, to see if I can better assess your situation.
Is she licking at the area or limping on that limb?
Is it possible for you to take a picture of the area and post it or attach it to your next message?
Ok. No problem. I do need to ask you a few question to see if I can get a better visualization of what is going on?
Is there any hair loss or redness on these toes?
Are the toes swollen or painful if you apply pressure to them?
Is either toe entirely back, or just has a small area of black color?
Does it seem like the black color is more pigmentation to the skin or like the skin is dying?
Thanks for the information. So, it sounds like the change in skin color with due to her licking the toes. If they lick or scratch certain areas of their skin enough, the skin will develop a black pigment. It is often seen in dogs with bad allergies. The only other reasons for the skin to turn black is due to a cancerous tumor called a melanoma, which this doesn't sound like, or lack of blood flow and necrotic/dying skin. The latter would definitely produce more symptoms. Now the reason for the licking can vary. Most dogs will lick their toes for 1 of 2 reasons. The first being environmental allergies. The second being an anxiety/boredom/OCD behavior. Now they may lick if the toes are painful from arthritis, an injury or even cancer (uncommon to see it in the toes), but it just doesn't sound like either of those are the case. Usually more toes, and even paws, are affected with allergies, but you cannot rule it out just based on that. You can try cleaning the toes daily in an antiseptic called Hibicleans (leave it on for 10 minutes) or even wiping the paws with a benzoyl peroxide wipe (many acne wipes) after coming in from outside. My recommendation, though, would be to have your vet evaluate him to see if it is an allergy because they may need to get him on medication to control that. I would also want to make sure the toes are not infected (if there is black around the nail base, there could sometimes be a toenail infection, but the entire toe shouldn't be black). If not deemed an allergy, they may want to put him on a course of medication for OCD/anxiety behavior to see if that helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Hope this helps.
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