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Old 09-03-2011, 10:34 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Ever heard of dogs whose toenails all fall off? Ours does...

She has an autoimmune disorder called Systemic Lupoid Onychodystrophy (SLO) and it causes her immune system to attack her nail beds. Her nails lift straight up like a car hood and eventually fall off. There's no cure but there's management. Hers started a couple of months ago and now she has only one nail left on her front paws and has lost at least 2 from her back. She is on fish oil, vitamin E, tetracycline (to increase blood flow) and Niacinamide (b vitamin) for it, plus she gets the odd tramadol for pain. Here's what they currently look like:
front feet-what look like nails are her nail beds. On the right picture, you can see her one nail that is left-it's slightly twisted and was giving her a lot of trouble so the vet clipped it short.


this is just one of her back feet. She wouldn't stay still for me to take pics of the other one but there aren't any lifting on it right now like there was on this foot. You can see the 2 middle nails look weird-those are lifting (they've since fallen off). The one on the left is also lifting but not as much.



from the side:


The scary thing is that it in the yahoo support group I'm in, they get new members daily. That means that either this disease is getting more prevalent or maybe there are just more finding the support group. As far as the dogs, there is no common denominator. There are dogs of all different breeds, many mixed (like ours), small, large, country dogs, city dogs, dogs in the US or dogs from abroad. All different foods. Outside dogs, inside dogs, dogs that lie around, dogs that are active, old, young, etc. Nothing that can lead to a reason these dogs are losing nails. To make it even more complicated, different dogs respond to different treatments.
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:28 AM   #2
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So the quicks of her nail are exposed? That's such a tender spot, and sounds extremely painful
Does it seem she is in as much pain as it sounds like it would be?

I worked for a vet for 17 years and never heard of this disease, stopped 6 years ago - I hope the increase in members to the support site doesn't mean the disease is growing more prevalent.
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:22 PM   #3
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Yes the quicks are exposed but once the nail falls off, and the quick heals, it doesn't seem painful. If she's limping a lot, holding her feet up, or licking obsessively, we give her a pain pill and it seems to help a lot. Usually she only limps when there's a nail lifting and just after it falls off.

I just read today that there's an article about it in the current issue of Whole Dog Journal. I don't subscribe to it so I haven't seen the article.
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:06 AM   #4
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One of my good friends dog was just diagnosed with this same disease earlier this year! She has been able to manage it with prednisone.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:25 AM   #5
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Has it caused any untoward side effects in her dog? I am avoiding steroids at all costs. I have heard it can cause aggression, which is the last thing we want (our dog is over 50 lbs and the kids play with her a lot) and also problems with eating or weight gain or something like that. Our vet agrees that it's a last resort or none at all. Some on the support group have said they would have their dog declawed before using steroids.
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:43 AM   #6
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My dog's nails don't actually lift off or fall off, but we have for years dealt with his nails splitting and breaking off at the quick. We noticed when we got him as a pup that his feet were "funny looking" - his toes are splayed out, his nails grow like crazy (and I'm talking having to cut them every other day so that he doesn't click-click-click all over the house), and they are very brittle and split so easily. He is nine now, but we have had to bring him to the vet so many times to have his split nails cut off and then wrapped up to heal. When they split, the blood trail is horrific - it looks like a massacre happened! We have three dogs, same breed, different bloodlines, and the other ones have normal, tight feet with no problems. However, his brothers and sisters do not have this problem either - they also have nice tight feet and no weird nails.
The vet has never mentioned this condition, so I will have to do some research on it. Perhaps there are varying degrees of severity and he has a mild case?
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Old 09-08-2011, 12:16 PM   #7
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Different dogs seem to have different experiences but the bottom line is that they all involve the nails. From what I've seen on the support group, most vets have never heard of or treated it. My vet claims to have heard of it but when I first called, the receptionist had never heard of it and when we went in, the tech had never heard of it. So I don't know if our vet only knows of it from research (maybe done after I called the first time).

At the very least fish oil and vitamin e wouldn't hurt your dog and may help. The idea is that they help the nails to grow back more normally and hopefully don't lift or split again. Some also add biotin to their dogs' meds.

Here's a link that explains it a little: Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy
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