JJ and the Curious Case of the Broken Nails
As I write this I'm scolding our greyhound JJ to stop licking his feet. You see, about a week and a half ago he started breaking nails on his front paws. It started almost sweetly with him getting excited about seeing his "girlfriend" during our nightly walk and has ended, for now anyway, with a diagnoses of an autoimmune disease I can't pronounce.
Like I said the there's a cute story behind his first broken nail. He was dancing around and prancing, jumping up and down a little bit, tail wagging, because we had run into one of his doggie friends. His girlfriend. When the two of them meet it just makes his week. Anyway, he landed on the asphalt from one of his jumps. Let out the greyhound scream of death and by the time I got him home and got the bleeding had stopped, our kitchen looked like a crime scene.
So we took him to the vet the next morning. They removed the nail. Gave us some antibiotics and a pain pill. Wrapped up the paw and off we went. I was happy it didn't cost a lot either.
Then came the second broken nail. I had worked late at the office. Brought home dinner and was eating with my wife when JJ hopped up on his couch. We heard a little cry, a whimper, but didn't think much about it. We thought he just landed on his hurt paw and it caused him some pain. About ten minutes later I notice him licking his paw. But not the hurt paw. So I investigate further and there's blood all over the floor. At this point the broken nail had stopped bleeding.
Another trip to the vet. Another nail removal. I asked the vet if he thought this was a symptom of something else or just bad luck. We chalked it up to bad luck. I mean who wants to think about what it might be.
Thursday I get the call during my show. My wife Kathy goes, "you won't believe this. He did it again." Yup, he had broken another nail. His third. I called the vet and made another appointment. This time the vet suggested we do some blood work.
One broken nail, easily explainable. Two, bad luck. Three, yeah it might be something else. And another nail was broken at some point either removing some bandages that were hard to remove or it broke while the paw was wrapped causing the blood to stick to the bandages.
After running some blood tests which came back normal our vet thinks we're dealing with an autoimmune disease symmetric lupoid onychodystrophy, sometimes called SLO. Or as The Sighthound Underground calls it "dogie lupus." You can read how the disorder presents by clicking either of the links above.
While I'm glad it's not something worse, it doesn't seem pleasant for our boy. And it's somewhat anxiety inducing for us. For now our vet wants us to try supplements and have JJ wear booties. Hopefully this will work. There is a regimen of medicines that can work if this doesn't, although our vet says that tends to wreak havoc with the dog's immune system so we'd like to avoid that.
We'll soldier on as will our sweet boy. The dog booties are in the mail. The pill pocket company makes a chicken flavored pill pocket that JJ loves so he'll be able to get his supplements down without a hassle. The next challenge will be getting him to actually take a walk while wearing them. Wish us good luck with that.