Corns on a greyhound's toe: Dr Riggs discusses

Here's an interesting question that came in to my post on toe amputation surgery:

Sheldon's question:

My retired racing Greyhound, now 11+ years old has had terrible corns for the past six years. There is one corn on the left front, one on the left rear and one on the front right. All are on the third toe. Several years ago he had surgery on the front toe to cut out the corn. The corn came back. He has had the corns hulled several times but they always come back. I've used duct tape, hydrating, paw wax and filing the corn. All it seems to do is remove the hard callous. The corn always comes back. The left rear corn is the smallest (on the surface) but causes him the most trouble. He can barely walk and when he does it is with a limp and for a limited distance. I would really like to give him some comfort in his old age and am thinking of either having the left rear corn surgically removed, again or, having the third toe amputated. If he has the toe amputated, should the amputation go back as far as possible and, will it put undue pressure on his other toes on the left foot or even the right foot?

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Rates of Cancer by Dog Breed

What are the rates of cancer by breed? That was a request that was sent in in response to Dr Riggs' guest post on cancer in dogs and cats and one worthy of a post of its own.

In fact, there aren't many facts about relative rates of cancer by breed so I went to the source for the data. Dr. Steven Steinberg of VCA Veterinary Referral Associates, LLC has been collecting data on rates of cancer by breed over at the Vet Cancer Registry and built the following table based on a database of confirmed cancer cases compared to the numbers of AKC registered dogs in that breed. 

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Ask Laura: what are the chances of success for Perineal Urethrostomy surgery?

Another excellent question on the topic of perineal urethrostomy (aka PU) that came up in the comments:

Question from Jo:

I cannot believe how cheap surgery is in America in comparison with Britain!

Our boy was run over in February and had a hole in his urethra. He had a number of weeks treatment before this was discovered and was in a very bad way but a catheter was put in for 10 days and the hole healed.

Unfortunately it seems that the scar tissue has now caused a stricture and he will probably need to have a PU. He has also recently started to leak urine - about 10 days after coming home. The treatment so far has cost us over £3000 and we have been told that the surgery is likely to be a lot more expensive than that. Our £2500 insurance is pathetic with this in mind! we are looking into ways of finding cheaper surgery but have had no luck so far.

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Guest Post: why are there hereditary problems in purebred dogs?

Today, we have a guest post from Dr. Rex Riggs, owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is a veterinarian, and an Advisory Board member of Embrace Pet Insurance. Dr. Riggs writes about hereditary issues from a small animal practioner's perspective.

Maggie's 2 dogs in a basket June 05 Hereditary problems, and their consequences, are something we deal with everyday in our practice. We see a number of purebred animals, each with its own great traits.

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Ask Laura: infected ingrown toe nail on cat

It seems to be the month of the toe! Here is another toe issue regarding infection in a cat's extra toe.


Polydactyl cat from Wikipedia My cat has an extra toe and had an ingrown toenail that wrapped around and split the skin between her big toe and the first toe and may have got infected. The vet gave her an antibiotic shot, cut nails, and wrapped it almost two weeks ago. Last Saturday it was still not healed all the way so he wrapped it again and sent antibiotics home with me to give twice daily. He said if it don't work by this Saturday he recommended amputating her toe. I really do not want to do this. Is there something else I can do to prevent this?

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Ask Laura: to amputate or not to amputate the cat's toe, that is the question

Stephannie asked about her cat's toe in the comments to my post Toe Amputations in Cats and Dogs so I thought it worth separating out into its own post:

Question from Stephannie:
I just took my 10 year old cat to the vet for a swollen toe. I had taken her two weeks before to my groomer so we could look to see if she had a bite or a cut which had caused the swelling. We saw nothing and I took Katie Maru to the vet. The doctor said it was a tumor. He did not specifically say that it was cancerous but said that we should amputate the toe anyway since the 3rd toe was now involved in the swollen area. I asked if this could be cancerous and they said it's possible. I asked if the removal of the tumor would hasten her demise, and they hedged on that one. They said once they had removed the tumor, a biopsy would tell us if she had cancer or not. My question is: Why not do a biopsy first to determine if this is cancerous? Why subject her to general anesthesia and put her life in jeopardy anyway, if the prognosis can be done prior via a biopsy. I can understand from a financial point that an operation is financially a benefit for them, but what about for Katie?

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Ask Laura: the impact of toe amputation surgery

Stock.xchng.706020_big_foot I received the following question from Regina as a comment to another post on toe amputations and I asked Dr Riggs, one of our advising veterinarians:

Regina's question:
I have a 8 year old Boxer mix that has a bad foot infection from being poisoned. She will be loosing the two middle toes on her left hind and some dead tissue with it. Will she be able to run and play normally again?

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Perineal Urethrostomy, incontinence and bladder atony

IMG_3098 Wendy posted the following question as a comment on my blog post about  perineal urethrostomy, which I thought was worthy of a blog post all of its own.

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More discussion about anesthesia-free teeth cleaning

Dr Riggs started off a conversation last week about why a veterinarian should clean your dog's teeth (Guest Post: Why Have Your Dog's Teeth Cleaned By A Vet Anyway?) and there were some interesting comments about other alternatives. Dr. Riggs asked me to post his response to these comments:

Wow...who would have thought we could stir up this much controversy with a little dental blog!

In response to the comment about Vet Economics:
Veterinary medicine is a business. We do need to make a living through the services we perform. I can assure you the vast majority of vets do not recommend services(or "pad the bill"), such as dentals ,when they are not needed. We need to offer the best medicine and let the owners decide. One of the mottos we follow is, "Always offer what is indicated, nothing that is not". 

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Guest Post: Why have your dog's teeth cleaned by a vet anyway?

Harley 2 Today, we have a guest post from Dr. Rex Riggs, owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is a veterinarian, and an Advisory Board member of Embrace Pet Insurance. Dr. Riggs and one of his vet techs, Ellen Winkler RVT, writes about dental health and teeth cleaning.

If you are ever curious as to what happens if teeth go for years without brushing (or you want to show your children what will become of their teeth if they fail to brush regularly), you have only to look at your pet’s teeth and smell your pet’s breath.

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