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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16727
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My 6yr old dog keeps shelling his claws. the claws break away

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my 6yr old dog keeps shelling his claws. the claws break away at the root from the back to the front. at the moment his claws are short and the inner sencetive part patrudes as the outer shell starts moving upwards. his is a lurcher, breeding is collie, whippet, grey hound, saluki. i take him to lurcher shows and i some times enter him for the simulated coursing which he does well but always ends up with broken claws.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
I am so sorry to hear that Muldoon has nails that are splitting and breaking away from the quick. This is definitely abnormal.
If he had a single affected nail I would be suspicious of some sort of trauma or even a tumor of the cells that make up the nailbed.
But because this is affecting multiple nails there are several other things that may be causing this. Bacterial or fungal infections as well as vasculitis (blood vessel inflammation) and autoimmune diseases (immune system attacking the animal's own body) like lupus or pemphigus as well as endocrine diseases like hypothyroidism are all possible causes of nail abnormalities.
It sounds like Muldoon has had some screening blood tests. Did they include a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and thyroid profile? Make sure they check a full thyroid profile, not just a T-4 alone as that won't be helpful. If those look fine then bacterial and fungal cultures of the debris present at the base of the nail should be done. If that is not diagnostic then a biopsies of one of the affected nailbeds and his skin around the nail should give you an answer.
Treatment recommendations will be difficult until we know why his nails are affected.
It is worthwhile to start omega 3 fatty acids however as they are natural anti-inflammatories and are important in maintaining skin health. I recommend an omega 3 fatty acid dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 40mg of EPA per kilogram of body weight per day. For example a 15 kilogram dog could take 600mg of EPA per day.
Here is a link to an article discussing nailbed disorders which you and your veterinarian may find helpful: http://www.ivis.org/proceedings/navc/2005/SAE/110.pdf?LA=1
Let me know if you have any further questions.
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