Is an infected dew claw an emergency?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Is an Infected Dew Claw an Emergency?

When it comes to an infected dew claw, it is important to address the issue promptly. While it may not be a medical emergency, seeking veterinary treatment as soon as possible is crucial for the well-being of your pet.

Firstly, let’s clarify what a dew claw is. Dew claws are the small, extra claws located on the inner side of a dog’s front or hind legs. These claws are not actually used for walking or bearing weight, and they tend to be more loosely attached than the other nails.

An infected dew claw can occur when the nail is damaged or when bacteria or other microorganisms enter through a small cut or break in the skin. This can result in redness, swelling, pain, and discharge around the affected area. In some cases, the infection can even spread to the surrounding tissues.

It is important to note that a dewclaw injury is not the same as accidentally trimming a toenail too short, which can cause bleeding. In the case of an infected dew claw, over-the-counter styptic powders are unlikely to resolve the issue. Professional veterinary care is necessary to properly address the infection.

So, why is it important to seek veterinary treatment for an infected dew claw? Here are a few reasons:

1. Proper Diagnosis: A veterinarian will be able to accurately assess the condition of the dew claw and determine if it is indeed infected. They can also identify any potential underlying causes for the infection, such as a foreign object lodged in the paw or an underlying medical condition.

2. Pain Relief: Infected dew claws can be quite painful for your pet. A veterinarian can provide appropriate pain relief medications to alleviate discomfort and ensure your furry friend is more comfortable during the healing process.

3. Infection Control: Left untreated, an infected dew claw can worsen and potentially lead to complications. A veterinarian will be able to clean the area thoroughly, remove any debris, and prescribe antibiotics or other medications to combat the infection. They can also provide guidance on how to properly care for the wound at home.

4. Preventing Further Damage: In severe cases, an infected dew claw may require surgical intervention. A veterinarian can determine if surgical removal of the dew claw is necessary to prevent further complications and promote healing.

While an infected dew claw may not be a medical emergency, it is still important to seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible. Proper diagnosis, pain relief, infection control, and preventing further damage are all essential aspects of managing an infected dew claw. Remember, your veterinarian is the best resource for providing the necessary care and guidance to ensure the well-being of your beloved pet.