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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28552
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat is limping and her toe appears to be swollen. We are

Customer Question

Hi Dr. Andy, my cat is limping and her toe appears to be swollen. We are not sure if the nail is drawn back into it. She took off real fast from a couch and then the limp started. There looks to be pinkish skin on top of her foot. She is putting a little weight on it but just holds it up when she is standing still. Thank you in advance for any help. I have a picture but cannot upload it here.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

You can upload the pic by using the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (if that icon is visible) or you can use an external app such as If you still have a problem,***@******.*** can help you do it. I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing. It sounds as if Minnie snagged her nail in the couch and avulsed it from her nailbed when she jumped. These remain painful but should quiet down unless the nailbed becomes infected which might occur when a partial nail remains. Curiously, if the entire nail is removed, infection isn't likely.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Dr. Salkin I have attached a photo of Minnies paw for you.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. Unfortunately, it's quite blurry. I'm having trouble determining what the unusual "pink" represents in the photo. Can you take a close-up with a macro lens?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Here are better pictures
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you! The nail appears to have broken off at the nail bed. Did you find it on the couch by any chance? There's a remarkable amount of swelling about the distal phalanx. I'm concerned that she has either dislocated or fractured it. If so, we don't need to splint or cast although many vets do so. I prefer to at most apply a padded wrap or perhaps do nothing more than provide pain relief with a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug such as the prescription meloxicam. Cats absolutely loath having external fixators (splints, casts) on their legs. The nail bed needs to be watched for evidence of secondary infection arising - redness and/or discharge. Please continue our conversation if you wish.