Brittle nail disease

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Brittle nail disease

Postby BabyReba » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:47 am

Anyone have a dog that experienced it? Our vet says it's the reason Button's nails split and break all the time. The only thing they could tell us to do was keep them short and watch for signs of discomfort. Now his nails are starting to separate from the quick, so we brought him in today and they removed broken parts but they didn't really have many suggestions for us beyond what we are doing. Blood work is normal and he has no conditions they can find that would contribute. He eats TOTW. Problem only began in the past year. Besides moving, the biggest change in his life is going from being raw fed to being kibble fed.

I was wondering if there is a nutritional thing we can be supplement with to encourage better nail growth? Biotin maybe?
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby dogs4jen » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:00 pm

I haven't heard of it but I wonder if maybe Roscoe has that too. He's always getting split nails, especially in the winter playing in the snow, and his nails seem really thin. We try to keep them trimmed short too. Some people here recommended Derm Caps, I think the name was, but my vet said it's pretty much the same as the fish oil we are already giving him.
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby Misskiwi67 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:26 pm

If the nails are soft, brittle, and sometimes painful the medical term is onychodystrophy.

If the nails are just hard and brittle, this is common in senior dogs, and a dremel will be your friend for that. If the nails are soft, I can look up doses of Vitamin E and something else I can't remember for you to try.
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby turtle » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:40 pm

Would adding some powdered gelatin to his food help?

That helps harden human nails and certainly can't hurt to try it...?
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby dogs4jen » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:45 pm

I think the gelatin for human nails thing has been pretty well debunked, unfortunately.
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby BabyReba » Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:08 pm

Misskiwi67 wrote:If the nails are soft, brittle, and sometimes painful the medical term is onychodystrophy.

If the nails are just hard and brittle, this is common in senior dogs, and a dremel will be your friend for that. If the nails are soft, I can look up doses of Vitamin E and something else I can't remember for you to try.


Hmm. Well, the vet didn't give us a term for it but the nails are sort of dry and brittle and they do seem sensitive sometimes. I have actually started talking to the vet about sedation options for nail trimming because he is starting to get very shy and panicky when it comes time to cut them. I had them do it today because there were two that were splitting and he was very concerned about me handling them. So I wanted them to take a look again and trim them up.

She told me that it looks like they are sort of hollow and thin. He is only 3 so not a senior. So that makes it even stranger.

Another oddity to add to the list of Button issues I suppose.
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby pblove » Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:17 pm

sounds like the autoimmune disease a friends beagle/basset now has(started out the way Buttons nails are now)
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby Misskiwi67 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:58 pm

Here's a good link: http://www.histovet.com/PDFs/HIS_DiseasesCanine.pdf

Maybe you can show your vet and see if he will help you try the treatment to see if it helps? Doxycycline is cheap and low on side effects, and pretty much everyone here is already well aware of how essential fatty acids help with pretty much everything. It really can't hurt to try... particularly if he's progressively more painful.
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby BabyReba » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:29 pm

Thanks. I'll talk to them about that. Today I noticed that one of his nails is bleeding near where the nail connects to the quick. Looked sore so I soaked his feet in Epsom salts for a while. Hoping that will ease some of the discomfort or him.
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby dogs4jen » Sun Oct 30, 2011 6:51 pm

You could try that Bactine with Lidocaine in it too, that helps relieve pain and prevent infection. One of Roscoe's split open nails did get infected.
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby PitBull-Lady » Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:58 pm

MissKiwi, thanks for posting that article. It was really interesting. Especially the part about the black dogs and their 'unique' issue. It would be interesting to see more info like what percentage of white the dogs had in their coats etc.

I would think that for poor button, it would be difficult to find a doctor that has a 'specialty' in feet. Good dermatologists for dogs are difficult enough, let alone one that can deal with other skin and hair issues let alone nails! Good Luck.

...I always find it interesting how sometimes 'we' as dog people deal with similar issues at the same time like you and Red. Yes, different but still nails and toes.
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby suzanne » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:15 am

Have you sent any nail scrapings to check for any kind of fungal growth? That might be a good option just to be 100% sure there isn't something else going on.

We had an Afghan hound that had nails that were breaking and growing in weird. I think the doctor put her on high doses of Omega 3's[Fish Oil and Flax Seed] and Vitamin E, she also came in regularly for nail trims.

I know someone mentioned the whole gelatin thing has been debunked but people in the horse world still swear by it and claim to see improvement in horses hooves, I can't imagine it would hurt to feed a dog a packet a day and you can get it for like $8 for 30 packets.
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby BabyReba » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:05 pm

no, we haven't done anything ... we had him in a few weeks ago, and they trimmed him up and they didn't mention it as anything specific, but then we took him in this weekend to have them look at them again and they sort of casually told us "oh, it's brittle nail disease, it happens sometimes," and didn't really mention doing much of anything beyond keeping on top of regular nail clippings and trying to grow them out and hope they grow back in right ... maybe when he goes back in 2 weeks i'll be more aggressive about getting them to try to pinpoint it better and see if there's a treatment. i do know that one of his back nails just sort of fell off a month ago and it hasn't grown back at all. then one of his front nails, which are usually black, grew back sort of a discolored clear ... so there's definitely something funky going on. i did read that some people use malaseb shampoo to soak the feet in to soothe and keep fungus and bacteria at bay. i'll have to call the vet and ask for some more info.

weird. this whole nail thing is just sort of odd and new to me. i've never had a dog with nail problems. maybe this is why he has always hated having his feet handled. he's always screamed like a banshee when i trimmed his nails. perhaps it was actually painful to him and not him just being a drama queen, which is what i actually thought his problem was. poor dog.
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby Misskiwi67 » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:39 pm

The nail loss makes me even more sure this is onychodystrophy. Old dog brittle nails don't do that.

You may have to see a dermatologist to get real help, sounds like your vet isn't very familiar with this problem.
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Re: Brittle nail disease

Postby FBODGRL » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:39 pm

This sounds similar to the issues I had with Khans nails when I first got him. The vet actually put him on medication to increase blood flow to the paws/nails for a month or 2. Along with derm caps and gelatin added to his food. Between that and regular nail trims his nails are 100% He had a lot of nail splitting from the quick type issues and cracking. He also had long term yeast issues on the paws at the same time. I can't say if it was 1 thing or a combination of all of them that fixed the problem.
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