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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11061
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Anna, I have noticed that the nails on the Cavys are often

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I have noticed that the nails on the Cavy's are often curved sideways and/or dirty. I have a "grooming stone" in the cage for them, and it shows signs of some use, however I am concerned for their feet. (this has been happening for a while, and I have not built the new floor yet.) I will occasionally (when they get very bad) take them out and file the nails down. So I am just checking if this is something I need to be concerned about.
Good morning,

Yes, this is something to be concerned about. Nails that are too long are another risk factor for pododermatitis (bumblefoot). Also, when they curve like that, they can cut into the foot, and it's easy for them to be torn off. The grooming stones are not adequate to keep nails in good shape. The best way to handle it is to file and trim regularly, before they become too long. You do need to be careful when trimming not to cut the quick. In white nails, you can see it as a pink area closer to the foot, but in black nails, it's nearly impossible to see. As the nails grow, the quick extends farther down, so in very long nails, we have to trim a little bit at a time to make it recede. If you do happen to cut a quick, it will be painful for a moment, and will bleed, but it's not an emergency that requires veterinary care. If that happens, quickly dip the bleeding nail into a small container of flour or cornstarch - that will stop the bleeding. There is less risk with filing than with clipping.

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Hi Paul,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Goldie. How is everything going?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Things are going well. The issue is catching them and getting them to sit still for me to get all of their nails at once. so by the time I catch the same one again the nails are dirty again ro have grown out some. It is an ongoing process. <chuckle>

LOL. Yes, I'm familiar with that scenario. It's never ending.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is there something that I can put in there that they would naturally scratch on to wear the claws down?

I wish there were, but I've never found anything like that. It's too bad they won't use a scratching post, but they don't.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What do they do in the wild to keep them short?

In the wild, they live in rocky mountainous places, and have to constantly scramble over rocks to find food and escape predators. That may help. However, I suspect that the biggest reason long nails are not a problem in the wild is that few cavies ever live long enough to grow nails long. Besides being common prey for native predators, they are considered a food source by humans. That's why they were originally domesticated.

Everything changes when we keep animals as pets.

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