brittle dog nails

greenandgoldFebruary 9, 2008

Has anyone else had problems with their dog's nails becoming extremely brittle?

I have a 4 year old lab who has always been extremely alergic/sensitive to many things. She had demodectic mites when she was a puppy, can't eat most dog foods, and was released from her service dog training because something at the training center was giving her extreme respitory problems.

About 4 months ago, we noticed that one of her nails had split up the middle. We took her to the vet, and they removed most of the nail. Within two weeks, another did the same thing. Shortly, all of her nails started flaking away and growing in hollow. If you look at the underside of her nails, you can literaly see a hollow effect where there is a large open gap between the hard cover of the nail and the nail bed. So far at least 9 of her nails have either fallen off on thier own, or had to be removed by the vet (I don't mean completley removed, but the hard part comes off nearly to the farthest point of where the nail starts.)

Our vet is at a loss. He doesn't think it's fungal, and he doesen't think it is diet related. His guess at this point is something genetic. We've got her eating 3 packets of Knox jello every day to try to strengthen the nails, but I think the reasearch on this is anecdotal at best. We've just started switching her food around.

Has anyone else had anything resembling this happen to their dog?

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Sounds like Pemphigus (symmetrical lupoid onchodystropy)which is an autoimmune disorder. Many vets just aren't famliar with this. Please ask your vet to research it. Treatment is available; Chlorphenerimine & pred.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 10:11AM
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I found a Yahoo group for you but this site won't let me post it - Go to Yahoo and look for dog SLO forum.

And here are a couple of articles:

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 10:29AM
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Wow, Cynthia, you have really helped me. I have been trying to do various web searches, but I think my keywords weren't pulling in the right sorts of results. I am going to dive into those links and see what I can find. I'm thrilled to have learned this. Many, many thanks!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 12:09PM
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Good! Hope your vet can help your boy to feel better and get back to normal soon.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 10:00AM
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I have a mini schnauzer whose nails do the same thing. Nails splitting, becoming very painful, breaking off below the nail bed, etc. Our vet is at a loss too. He had my dog taking anti-fungal meds, gelatin, fish oil, and anti-oxidant supplements. It is really frustrating that we can't find out what causes this. The vet told us to soak his foot in warm water with some betadine mixed in every night when one of the nails is bleeding and causing pain, I guess to ward off infection. I will definitely check out those websites, thanks!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 9:32PM
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My SIL's min pin had the same problem. I'll try to find what her dogs diagnosis was but it may be what cynthia mentioned.

To confirm diagnosis their vet had to remove a toenail and send it to the lab. It took 6 months of meds for treatment.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 1:21PM
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My understanding is that definitive dx can only be made by removing a toe (to view the junction of toe to nail.) Basing DX on just the nail can result in misdiagnosis. Once the vet has information on SLO, he or she should be able to come to a reasonable conclusion and start treatment. Vets do not see this often, so many simply aren't familar even if they learned about it in school. It is more commonly known about in my breed,(not sure it's more common) that's why I'm aware. None of my dogs are afflicted.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 4:28PM
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What cynthia describes is what my SIL had to do. My memory is returning :^) and it was the lower joint of the toe the lab needed, not just the nail.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 5:56PM
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