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Frequently Fractured, Possilby Brittle Nails
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Madison, WI
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5 October 2017 - 11:46 pm
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Hey all,

Starting two, maybe three years ago, Gerry's toenails started to crack, often quite high on the nail, sometimes causing the nail to snag or break off and otherwise require veterinary intervention to clip, bandage and prevent infection.  In probably the last six months, it has become a much more frequent issue.  There are no indications thus far that it's fungal or anything scary like toe tumors (yeah, that happens, apparently), and it's not bad enough to be SLO.  As frustrating as it has been, I do feel very lucky he doesn't have SLO (symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy).

It has happened to pretty much every nail at this point (front feet and back foot), but only a handful have been bad enough to need veterinary attention.  He does do some digging, but doesn't seem to correlate to when his nails break.  On walks though, he does strain and pull ridiculously hard at times to try to reach dog poop or dead things that I don't want him to eat, so I'd believe that might contribute to it.  I also sometimes just hear his nails scuff the pavement for no apparent reason.  So, I suppose all that is a factor, as well as age (about 10 years) and perhaps the gait of a tripawd has a little to do with it as well.

In case tripawdness can make a dog more prone to toenail damage - I thought I'd better share what I'm trying for prevention in case it comes in handy!  Happy for advice from anyone who has gone through this with their dog (no matter how many paws). 

Initially, since it's not fungal, or tumor-caused, or SLO, all my internet research came up with was a "nutritional deficiency" - without being real specific what would fill this nutritional deficiency.  I was eventually persuaded by some website or other that gelatin could help - or at least of all the things that could help, it sounded the least risky of getting the dose wrong!  Unflavored gelatin only, of course.  "Gelatin" should be the only ingredient listed on the box.  Found some fun gelatin recipes for dogs online, although it may be that just sprinkling the right amount of gelatin straight from the package onto your dogs food is smarter, because I think in "gello" (as opposed to Jello) form we're actually a bit far from reaching the recommended dose per day.  But, I'm not too worried about that because of the second thing we're trying in addition is also a source of gelatin...

I emailed Gerry's chiropractor, cause she's also versed in other homeopathic stuff (and Gerry's regular vets didn't have any recommendations beyond keeping his nails short - bless them) and she sent me recipes for making bone broth.  Part of why bone broth should be helpful, according to her, is because of the gelatin in it - so some vindication there for my internet searching skills!

So, the dogs have both had bone broth added to their evening meal for the last 3-4 days or so (in addition to some tasty pumpkin & cinnamon and low sodium chicken broth gello in the morning).  They like the gello and loooooove the bone broth.  Will it work?  Time will tell, I guess.  I should probably think pawsitive, but the longer the list of things a remedy is supposed to be GREAT for, the more skeptical I get.  Here's the list of what gelatin/bone broth are GREAT for:

Joints (arthritis, hip displaysia...)

Allergies

Stomach (diarrhea, IBS...)

The brain (epilepsy, siezures...)

The liver

And I'm probably forgetting the rest. sleepy I should also mention fish oil is another thing that is supposed to be good for healthy nails (and fur and skin - the three go together it seems).  Gerry is already on fish oil for allergies, though I noticed dogs with SLO seem to get much higher doses of fish oil than he is on, so I might as his vet if increasing Gerry's dose of fish oil would be a good thing to try.

Am I late to the party?  Does everyone know about the wonders of bone broth already?  Certainly our tripawds could all use all the help with their joints they can get.  Not to mention Gerry's little brother, who I consider an honorary tripawd because of his luxating patella.

Gerry has been a tripawd since 12/16/2009.

He was a shelter dog with a mysterious past and an irrepairable knee injury.

Videos and pics of Gerry's pawesomeness can be found at: http://gerry.tripawds.com

The Rainbow Bridge

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6 October 2017 - 10:10 am
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Bri this is SO helpful! Thank you for sharing, as I'm sure others are dealing with this. I know that our Wyatt Ray's nails are more worn on the outside than the inside, I assume because of his gait (never asked his vet about it, since cracking hasn't been an issue).

Bone broth is super duper nutritious. I only learned about it when we reviewed this Honest Kitchen product:

A Bone Broth Turmeric Treat for Happy Tummies

By the way got any photos of your doggies? We'd love to see them!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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7 October 2017 - 11:01 am
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Hi! I have not heard of the nails weakening like that, but then again I have never had a tripawd pup. You have probably already done this but I would like to offer a suggestion just in case. Have you ever dremeled his nails? It can help so much if they have sharp places from breakage, and it smooth's them out which really helps them to not get caught on stuff like clothing, skin.. and make the breakage worse.  My husband has very thin skin and if you look at his skin too hard he bleeds. I started dremeling Rosie's nails because they were so sharp after a good trim that she would either scratch us or catch it on something outside and splinter pieces off. I stopped trimming her nails altogether because the dremel was so much easier and she didn't stress nearly as bad.  I got one for about $15.00 at Harbor Freight. I figured at that cheap it would not last but 9 years later it is still just as good as new.  I use the emery board attachment and  it works like magic.  I hope this helps.

Jackie

Hugs,

Jackie, David, and Huckleberry

Michigan
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8 October 2017 - 11:32 am
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We used to have a dog named Taz who loved to get into the dry cat food.  Of course I knew that it wasn't good for him, but I didn't realize how bad it really could be until he ran into some problems.  His initial problem was that his toenails started to break - really short and sometimes they would separate from the cuticle, they often would bleed & they were obviously painful.  I was told that it was a nutritional deficiency, too, and to keep them short & I could use Bag Balm on them (you can find it at almost any drug store - it's in a square green tin).  Well, one time when he went in for his heart worm test, the vet noticed that there was a large amount of white at the top of the blood in the vial.  So we did a cardiac work-up and his lipids were really, really high!  Like over 500!!  So Taz had to be put on a fat-free diet.  It was probably from eating the cat food ..ugh ...he also had quite a few lipomas.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

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Madison, WI
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8 October 2017 - 2:07 pm
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Thanks, Jackie!  People have recommended the dremel before and I've just assumed (but maybe I should reconsider) that given how sensitive he is about his paws being held and how sound sensitive he is, that he would never put up with having a paw be held while a strange new noisemaker was coming at him.  However, if his nails keep breaking, I'll have to give it a try just in case!

Thanks, Donna!  Gosh.  Too much fat.  That is both interesting and confusing.  Gerry is already on a low fat diet for dogs with sensitive tummies like his.  I can't think of anything he gets that would add to the fat in his diet.  Until now - the bone broth.  And he has had bloodwork done pretty recently, so I should have heard something if his lipids were high.  I'll definitely look into the Bag Balm though - you just rub it on the nails?  Did you have any trouble with Taz wanting to lick it off?

Gerry has been a tripawd since 12/16/2009.

He was a shelter dog with a mysterious past and an irrepairable knee injury.

Videos and pics of Gerry's pawesomeness can be found at: http://gerry.tripawds.com

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8 October 2017 - 4:38 pm
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Mine makes a kind of whirring noise, but if you are careful it is much more gentle than the CRUNCH of when the clippers do their job. I started slowly and just tried to get them used to it at first. I don't put mine on high, medium works just fine and it doesn't make the nail too warm too quickly, be careful for that.  Even if you gently get the sharp spots that will help you. Bone broth should not be fattening at all unless you are leaving the skin and fat on when you cook it. I hope this is helpful for you.

Hugs,

Jackie and Huckleberry heart

Hugs,

Jackie, David, and Huckleberry

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9 October 2017 - 8:11 am
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If you think he might have a problem with the Dremel, I'd suggest watching Youtube videos - there are a few series I watched that showed good techniques for getting dogs used to the noise and then the sensation. Two things that helped us most - the tip from Jackie above that you shouldn't keep the Dremel on the nails for more than a couple of seconds at a time and second, that the vibration can be ticklish and it helps to hold their feet and nail fairly firmly when grinding. 

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9 October 2017 - 8:29 am
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Good call dcjack! Yes, instead of pain that dremel can tickle the heck out of the toes... and who woulda thunk? Once the fear factor is gone then you deal with the tickle factor laughing

Hugs,

Jackie

Hugs,

Jackie, David, and Huckleberry

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11 October 2017 - 11:04 pm
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Loki does occasionally seem to snag his inside hind toes (he's a front right tripawd), especially when playing rough and clumsily. No broken nails, but we'll notice redness and sensitivity that lasts a few days and then self-resolves. The vet hasn't been worried about it, but I'd imagine if there were splintered nails or broken toes involved, the vet would be more concerned. The dremel has made a big difference for Loki too, btw. He always had really sensitive paws, but he tolerates the dremel way better than the discomfort of a regular guillotine-style nail clipper. It helps get the nails shorter, which enhance his traction. We also added more carpet runners so he doesn't slide around, which seems to help the toes in general.

🐾 I'm  Loki, the cutest guy around! 🐶

 I've been a tripawd since July 10, 2017, when I rid my life of a hemangiopericytoma! My mom, Brittnie, does most of the typing, so say hi to us both any time!

Madison, WI
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13 December 2017 - 1:39 am
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Just thought I'd check back in.  I've been making Gerry bone broth and gello (jello with a "G") for several weeks.  I got the bone broth recipe from Gerry's chiropractor and I'll list it below.  The gelatin recipe I found/adapted from what I found online here - https://moderndogmagazine.com/gelatintreats (remember to buy unflavored gelatin only!!!).  I've just been winging it with the gelatin.  I'm pretty sure somewhere online it would tell me to add a certain amount of just the gelatin powder to Gerry's food for all it's miraculous properties, but making them gello treats (like my mom did when we were kids) is so much more fun. 

Additionally, I try to use Bag Balm on his nails from time to time.  He's not very tolerant of having it put on.  To keep him (and even moreso his little brother) from licking it off, I try to apply it to 2-3 of his nails that look like they need it before taking a walk.  If he knows he's about to be let out for a walk, he's too excited to be difficult.  His little brother though not only thinks Bag Balm tastes heavenly, but wishes to carry the scent with him always and will roll on traces that get on the floor.  How much is it helping Gerry's nails?  No idea.

His nails seem to crack and chip with about the same frequency, but none have broken to the point of coming off and/or needing veterinary assistance since I started trying all this stuff.  (Cross your paws that I didn't just jinx him!)  Which either means he went back to normal on his own or some of this stuff is helping with the new normal.  Since the dogs looooooooooooooooove the bone broth and gello, and they're fairly easy to make, I'll just keep it up.  And I might as well use the Bag Balm up (which should take a couple years).

Oh, and I did buy a dremel, but didn't quite work up the courage to try to use it yet.  Though first I at least start the training just to get him as comfortable with the device as possible before actually using it.  I'll get on that eventually.

Anyway, here's that (dog friendly) bone broth recipe I was given:

Here's a recipe made in a crock pot:
4-5 lb meaty soup bones or whole chicken. Cover with water.
Add a few veggies: carrots, celery, parsnips were suggested. No onions!
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Optional:
1/2 - 1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
1/2-1 Tbsp turmeric
1/2-1 tsp grated or sliced ginger
Cook on low. Remove meat after 6-8 hours and save for meals. Return bones to pot for total 24-48 hours.
Strain solids out of liquid. Cool to room temperature. Ideally store in glass containers, not plastic. Refrigerate 1 week. Remaining should be frozen in smaller portions but leave enough space for liquid to expand when frozen.
Mix 2-3 tablespoons with each meal.  (Though probably varies with size of dog, right?  Gerry is around 52 lbs. and 2-3 tablespoons is what I was told)
Remember the cooked bones themselves are not safe to feed your dog.
Thanks for all the input so far and I'm still interested in as much as I can get!

Gerry has been a tripawd since 12/16/2009.

He was a shelter dog with a mysterious past and an irrepairable knee injury.

Videos and pics of Gerry's pawesomeness can be found at: http://gerry.tripawds.com

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