View Full Version : Very worn down nails on one foot.

18th February 2009, 01:00 AM
I was wondering if anyone had experienced this? I noticed something new and odd today. I cut Dylan's nails and on his back left leg, he has worn two nails down to the quick, they don't look sore but they are even pink at the tips. I don't walk him much, it's never happened before and it's the leg he air scratches with so I'd say he walks less on this leg than the others. The vet said they are not too short but this is something new. icon_nwunsure

18th February 2009, 01:03 AM
Pauline, I think I read somewhere that SM dogs can wear down their nails irregularly since they may tend to drag the feet when walking. I don't know for sure though! Hope you're well. Got your PM- thanks for the support! ;)

18th February 2009, 01:19 AM
I don't know if this is related but - I've had two large dogs with DM (degenerative myelopathy) which is a degenerative neurological/spinal cord disease that gradually affects the hind limbs. Because they don't pick up their feet properly when they walk, their nails got worn down to the point where they would actually bleed. I eventually had to wrap their feet.

I suppose that theoretically this could happen with SM, although I've never seen a reference to worn toenails. I have no idea if this is what is happening with Dylan - if so it must be very subtle or you would have noticed it.


From a DM website:


The early stages of Degenerative Myelopathy start with an almost imperceptible weakness in the hindquarters. DM is an insidious disease and it is all too easy to overlook, in it's earlier stages, unless you are specifically looking . Even then, DM is elusive and hard to detect.

(I always check the rear nails on a dog once a month for uneven wear, especially on the innermost nails of the rear feet, as this is an early tip-off to DM.)

In early and up to the mid-mid stage DM, occasionally you will hear the sound of the dog’s nails scraping on the pavement during a walk. This scraping will not be constant; rather, will present periodically. The dog will begin to show some difficulty getting up. If the dog is standing, it may have difficulty balancing, but it can recover on its own. If you turn the dog’s toes under in this stage, the dog may still be able to right its foot, although response time could be lengthened..............

18th February 2009, 01:35 AM
Thanks Trisha and Pat. I just took a good look and the wear is to the middle two nails and it is slanted with the inner edge (closer to his body) of the nail being more warn. I tried to take a pic but it not clear enough to show. He has been pulling like mad lately, could this be the problem? I really hope so. It's one thing after another here.

Cathy Moon
18th February 2009, 01:38 AM
Charlie had certain nails that would wear down faster than the others. I'm sure it was associated with him having SM and it affected his gait.

18th February 2009, 01:53 AM
Thanks Cathy.

19th February 2009, 05:28 PM
Worn down nails can occur in a number of situations but with syringomyelia (and degenerative myelopathy) the most common cause is a proprioceptive deficit ( poor joint position sense). The dog tends to drag the foot before placing thus scraping the toenails. In syringomyelia this is most likely to occur on the forelimb or the hindlimb on the side of scratching. It is more likely with wide (cross sectionally) syrinxes.
It is a difficult problem to treat. Some dogs improve after surgery or with medication with steroids (has side effects).
Sometimes a chartered physiotherapist can help by giving exercises
Otherwise avoid walking on hard surfaces ie roadscavtiny
Best - Scrumpymum

19th February 2009, 09:37 PM
Ideally the nails wear evenly. The way they wear reflects how the dog moves ,a bit like tyre wear ,or our shoes . Toeing in ,or splayed feet ,cow hocks willl result in more wear one side of the nail or the other. The wear that worries me is if it wears on the top of the nail as it ,means the dog is dragging its feet which may mean something more serious is going on.

19th February 2009, 11:15 PM
It's not wear on the top so maybe not dragging, that's reassuring. This is new, he never did this before so something has changed.