You Make The Diagnosis: Strange Structure On Paw

Pictured below is the paw of a dog who came in for veterinary care.  During my examination, I found this structure on the inner side of the dog’s leg.  Look at it closely then answer the following questions:  What is the structure?  How is it treated? 

Diagnosis:Overgrown Dewclaw(360 degrees)

I have never seen a nail grown in a perfect circle before.  Luckily for the dog, the nail grew around the pad instead of through it!  Even so, I suspect it caused pain from squeezing the pad.  To remove it, I used a small nail clipper that functioned like a scissor.  Even with medicine on board to block pain, it really hurt when I pried the nail off the pad.  Please check your dog’s paws regularly to prevent them from suffering from this condition.


Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.