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Paronychia Infection Paronychia is an infection that causes inflammation of the nail fold and around the nail, nail bed or claw. At times, all three areas appear swollen and red. Damp claws, claws immersed in wet soil, claws with feces on them and nail damage are causes of Paronychia. Symptoms include inflammation of the surrounding tissue of the nail bed, dark discharge from the nail area and constant licking of the affected paw.


Swollen red nail beds and the surrounding area around a dog's nail is a possible sign of infection or nail disorder. Nail and claw disorders in dogs are common, and they need treatment under the guidance of a veterinarian. Exposure to snow, mud and dirt can also affect the nail health of dogs. Mud, dirt, debris and salt can get trapped in the nail bed for long periods of time, causing swelling and redness.


Paronychia is an infection that causes inflammation of the nail fold and around the nail, nail bed or claw. At times, all three areas appear swollen and red. Damp claws, claws immersed in wet soil, claws with feces on them and nail damage are causes of Paronychia. Symptoms include inflammation of the surrounding tissue of the nail bed, dark discharge from the nail area and constant licking of the affected paw.


Nail and nail bed disorders refer to any abnormality or disease that affects the claw or surrounding area, generally known as dystrophy. One type of nail disorders, paronychia, is an infection that causes inflammation around the nail or claw. Fungal infections, such as onychomycosis, can also occur in or around the nail bed.


Dogs who relish digging in the dirt and snow will occasionally cause trauma to their claws. Dirt particles, dried mud, salt from snow, small twigs and debris can puncture the nail bed or get lodged. If left unattended, the area can become infected, showing redness around the nail bed and the surrounding area. Activities such as jumping against fences and trees can cause splinters in the paw and can split, break or otherwise harm claws. Even a simple hike in the woods can damage toenails, causing redness, and coming into contact with poisonous plants will cause irritation and redness around the nails. Inspect your dog's toenails and paws is recommended to prevent infection. Seek veterinarian assistance if any signs of redness, swelling, or bleeding appear on your dog's paws.


Trauma, Dirt and Debris Dogs who relish digging in the dirt and snow will occasionally cause trauma to their claws. Dirt particles, dried mud, salt from snow, small twigs and debris can puncture the nail bed or get lodged. If left unattended, the area can become infected, showing redness around the nail bed and the surrounding area. Activities such as jumping against fences and trees can cause splinters in the paw and can split, break or otherwise harm claws. Even a simple hike in the woods can damage toenails, causing redness, and coming into contact with poisonous plants will cause irritation and redness around the nails. Inspect your dog's toenails and paws is recommended to prevent infection. Seek veterinarian assistance if any signs of redness, swelling, or bleeding appear on your dog's paws.


How is a swollen toe treated?The treatment plan recommended will depend on the cause of the swollen toe. A simple infection will be treated with antibiotics. Pain is treated with pain medications.Aggressive tumors however require a much more aggressive treatment. If the tumor is confined to the toe, the most successful treatment by far is surgical removal of the affected toe. Although this may sound extreme to some, it is the best way to stop the cancer from spreading. Fortunately, dogs recover well after toe amputation, especially if it is a “non-weight-bearing” toe. This term refers to the two outermost toes (similar to our pinky and index fingers), whereas the weight-bearing toes are the middle two (similar to our ring and middle fingers).Again, early detection is of utmost importance so that surgical removal need not go further than the affected toe.If the tumor has spread further than the toe itself, your veterinarian may also recommend chemotherapy along with surgery, taking into account factors such as overall health, age, and quality of life. You may be referred to a veterinary surgeon for the surgery and a veterinary oncologist (a.k.a. cancer specialist) who can tailor a treatment plan specifically to your dog's needs.What do I do after surgery for a swollen toe?After surgery, your family veterinarian or your surgeon will have specific instructions for the post-op care of your dog. This will include limited activity and very close observation, along with specific medications to aid in recovery. Limping or reluctance to walk is normal initially, and is soon overcome through slowly easing into normal activity. Some veterinarians use a splint or a bandage to protect and support the foot after surgery. In such cases, regular bandage changes will be required.What is the outcome of treatment for a swollen toe?The outcome depends on the cause of the problem. A broken nail or an infection should resolve in a matter of days to weeks. A cancerous tumor however is typically aggressive, which is the reason why early diagnosis is so important.So please don’t neglect a swollen toe in your dog. Remember than early diagnosis is critical.Questions to ask your veterinarian:


When your dog has a swollen toe, it is easy to underestimate the potential seriousness of this condition. Dog owners can sometimes write it off as a bug bite or something their dog has stepped on. However, the swollen toe can be a sign of something much more serious. Cancerous tumors may initially present themselves as a swollen toe and should be diagnosed and treated as early as possible for a positive outcome.Swollen toe red flagsA swollen toe can cause limping or reluctance to walk due to pain. Usually, only one toe is affected. Cancerous tumors can be tricky as they may disguise themselves as a broken toenail. The tumor weakens the toenail and causes the nail to snap off without major trauma. Large-breed dogs (Labradors, Standard Poodles) and black-colored dogs are more likely to be affected by such tumors. Tumors of the toe are most commonly (but not always) seen in dogs older than 10 years. How do veterinarians find the cause of a swollen toe?After performing a thorough exam and blood work, your family veterinarian may recommend taking a sample of the swelling to check for the presence of cancerous cells. The most important step in the diagnosis of a broken nail is x-rays of the foot, which may reveal bone destruction in the toe. Further x-rays can show if cancer has spread to other body parts, such as the lungs.How can a swollen toe turn fatal?All of these diagnostic procedures will help your veterinarian pinpoint what may have caused your dog's swollen toe. A broken toenail may just be a broken toenail, or it may be a sign of something much worse beneath the surface:


Dog Nail Diagram The Quick (light gray) contains blood vessels. When trimming, nail should be just above the floor line as indicated. Do not trim close to the "Quick" since this will cause bleeding and pain. Dog nail bleeding can be easily stopped with a styptic pencil or powder. Do not be alaramed, the bleeding will stop.


In some cases of fungal infections, the dog's nails may become brittle or discolored, but even then, that's not always a positive indicator of an infection. If you notice your dog is chewing or licking his paws or you see that his nails have changed in appearance since you last trimmed them, have a veterinarian take a look. The vet will take a sample of the nail and place it under a microscope to rule out or confirm a fungal infection.


In the event that there is a trauma to your dog's nail bed, check to see if only a single nail is being affected. If multiple nails are affected, a serious underlying medical condition is the more likely cause for the disorder. A skin scraping may also be taken to determine what type of a skin condition your dog has, as well as a bacterial or fungal culture for further analysis.


Veterinarians usually prescribe a topical anti-fungal cream for treating the dog's nail fungus or, if the infection is severe, an oral antifungal medication may be prescribed as well. The biggest challenge with applying the cream to the nails is making sure it stays on long enough to do its job. If your dog can't control his licking habits, an Elizabethan collar will be required. This is the large, cone-shaped collar that's placed around the head of the dog to prevent it from licking the affected areas.


"There are many possible causes of dog nail problems and diseases. These can be caused by injury, trimming too close to the quick causing bleeding, infection, vascular insufficiency, defects in keratinization (cell growth), congenital abnormalities, neoplasia, immune-mediated disease and infection.