Ugh... we can't win

Food, Fitness and how to keep them healthy.

Postby mnp13 » December 22nd, 2010, 12:07 am

Merlin was sitting on my lap tonight and I noticed some crud on his front right foot. When I touched it, he growled at me and jumped down. My cat's don't act like that towards people. I picked him up to get a closer look and he got fussy but let me touch it, but then got down. I had Demo help me, and he washed it and cleaned away some clumps of who-knows-what from under the nail of his outside toe. Then we got to his second toe.

Not good...

The claw of just that toe had grown so long that it had curled back into the pad and there was a big dent and a lot of crusty puss. He let us clean it off, then Demo clipped the nail just above where it was against the pad. Merlin freaked a bit, and I had to adjust how I was holding him. The point of the nail came out of the pad and puss started coming out. There was a "bubble" that is bigger than the pad itself on the side of his toe, and he must have been really releaved to have it open and the pressure relieved because he let me push on it and it started oozing / globbing.

That's where I started checking out, and we had to take a break from Merlin to get me off the floor. :oops: So once I was back on my feet, we got Merlin again and I held him while he started cleaning his foot.

The claw is still REALLY long, and we only got enough off to get it out of his pad. It's got to be cut way back to get it to a length where he can take care of it by sharpening it like normal. I have him in a crate with newspaper for litter so that hopefully it will stay clean until we can get him to the vet. I don't want him using the regular litter box now that it's open and draining.

It's really nasty. I know that their claws grow continually, but I've never seen anything like this before. Has anyone else? All of his other claws are sharp and normal. Are cat quicks like dog's and it will be far up into the claw or can I clip it back and not have to worry about hurting him even more? My cats are not nasty, he'll let me do it, though if I quick him I'm sure I'll get tagged (not that I'm blaming him for that!)

Hopefully we can get him in tomorrow because he is howling his head off in the crate.

Any ideas on how to keep him comfortable or help things until he gets in?
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Postby Hundilein » December 22nd, 2010, 12:27 am

I'm not much help, but am sending good thoughts. I've seen a dog's nail turned into the pad a couple of times, but never a cat. I know cat's have a quick, but I don't know if it grows way out the way a dog's does.
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Postby plebayo » December 22nd, 2010, 1:04 am

You should be able to see the quick in the nail. Usually it doesn't grow out as far as the nails do.

We see cats with ingrown nails quite frequently. Sometimes they just don't or can't wear the nail down properly when using a scratching post and the nail just continues to grow and ends up growing into the pad. I would say it's mostly in older cats that we see this problem, but it can happen to any cat. Personally I would just make nail clipping a routine thing so you're at least checking his feet regularly. I use human toe-nail trimmers.

Hopefully the worst is over, your vet will have you wash it once or twice a day and give you some antibiotics.

As far as keeping him comfortable I'm sure he feels better already just having the nail out and the relief of pressure from the infection. If you have any tramadol you could give him 2-4 mg/kg. You could give him a 1/4 of a 50mg tab, that's generally the dose we send home.
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Postby BigDogBuford » December 22nd, 2010, 1:50 am

Once Amadeus started getting older I noticed his claws would grow into his pad so I had to start monitoring and clipping them for him as needed.

Cats heal well, even from infection and stuff. He'll be ok.
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Postby Malli » December 22nd, 2010, 3:53 am

I've seen it a couple times, usually its more then one nail though.
I agree, it'll be ok :)

I'm impressed that you've changed his litter already on your own - smart thinking!

It will feel much, much better now. The key will be keeping it open so it can drain fully and heal properly!

good thoughts.
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Postby iluvk9 » December 22nd, 2010, 6:56 am

Was Merlin walking funny? That must have hurt.
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Postby mnp13 » December 22nd, 2010, 9:30 am

iluvk9 wrote:Was Merlin walking funny? That must have hurt.

No, not at all. I would have noticed it much sooner if he had been. He tends to "stomp" his feet when he walks (thump thump thump in the upstairs hall is always him!), so I'd guess he was in considerable pain.

Malli wrote:I've seen it a couple times, usually its more then one nail though.

Yeah, I thought that was weird too. The other nails on that foot were a much more reasonable length, though they were longer than the ones on his other feet.

I'm impressed that you've changed his litter already on your own - smart thinking!

I'm pretty sure what we were pulling out of his foot was clumped litter, so that made me think of it. I can't imagine the added infection from him digging around in clay and dust now that it's open and draining.

It will feel much, much better now. The key will be keeping it open so it can drain fully and heal properly!

I checked it this morning, the "bubble" is all collapsed and now is just mushy loose skin. It had a regular scab on it, but the toe is still warm to the touch. Least night after I posted, I worked on it again and got straight red blood with no goo. Like has been mentioned, the pressure relief must have been huge because he again didn't scratch or even growl at me when I did it. He just lets me hold him and take care of it.

He hates the crate though, and has been howling endlessly.

plebayo wrote:We see cats with ingrown nails quite frequently. Sometimes they just don't or can't wear the nail down properly when using a scratching post and the nail just continues to grow and ends up growing into the pad. I would say it's mostly in older cats that we see this problem, but it can happen to any cat. Personally I would just make nail clipping a routine thing so you're at least checking his feet regularly. I use human toe-nail trimmers.

He's just coming up on his 14th birthday, so he's not old yet. I've never had to trim their nails, but I'll definitely keep an eye on him from now on. He's going to the vet at 10:15.
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Postby plebayo » December 22nd, 2010, 10:47 am

mnp13 wrote:
plebayo wrote:We see cats with ingrown nails quite frequently. Sometimes they just don't or can't wear the nail down properly when using a scratching post and the nail just continues to grow and ends up growing into the pad. I would say it's mostly in older cats that we see this problem, but it can happen to any cat. Personally I would just make nail clipping a routine thing so you're at least checking his feet regularly. I use human toe-nail trimmers.

He's just coming up on his 14th birthday, so he's not old yet. I've never had to trim their nails, but I'll definitely keep an eye on him from now on. He's going to the vet at 10:15.


Well I guess by old I meant cats aged 10yrs plus... :wink:

I hope everything goes well :)
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Postby ArtGypsy » December 22nd, 2010, 11:08 am

Poor Bebe'! :shock:

Hope he Gets Better......
I Clip My kitties nails on a 'semi' regular basis, starting when they're really little. Just PLOP Them on my lap, Their backs facing my stomach (like I would my kiddos) and clip clip clip! :D

so glad the prognosis from our experts is so encouraging! :)
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Postby LMM » December 22nd, 2010, 11:26 am

Owie Merlin!! :(
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Postby Malli » December 22nd, 2010, 2:08 pm

um, yeah, anything over about 10-12 yrs is getting senior for a cat ;)
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Postby TinaMartin » December 22nd, 2010, 2:29 pm

Poor Merlin. Glad you noticed it. Cats can be really good at hiding stuff like that.
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Postby dlynne1123 » December 22nd, 2010, 2:59 pm

We see this slot for regular exams. People ask us to clip nails and we find one or two ingrown. Usually an extra toe or a dew. Keep clean and dry. Cats and abscesses go hand in hand and are usually so stoic no one knows unless really bad. In extreme cases may add antibiotics. But will prob clear up on it's own.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » December 22nd, 2010, 3:59 pm

Ouch! Poor Merlin...
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Postby mnp13 » December 22nd, 2010, 9:11 pm

Malli wrote:um, yeah, anything over about 10-12 yrs is getting senior for a cat ;)


No.

My first cat lived to 18. 14 is not old.

SHUT UP Malli.
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Postby Ino » December 22nd, 2010, 9:17 pm

Poor Merlin!! I am sure he will be fine. My cat Hoppy split a few nails one time defending himself (the dog was chasing him- not trying to attack)from a friend's dog who was in my house (I was out walking Ino and left the person in the house with the dog) and the only reason I noticed was because I saw blood on my windowsill. I looked at his feet the next morning and he had completely ripped all the split nails out (he removed them himself :crazy2: )- about 6 between both feet. I tried keeping them clean and infection free, but the next day (we had a vet appt already) his paws smelled horrible- rotten flesh smell :puke: . The vet gave us antibiotics and told me they would grow back normal, and they sure did. I stopped clipping his nails since he can be a spaz and he either split them when he swatted the dog or when running, but I promised him never again. I do monitor his nails though and if any needed to be done, I would dremel them because he apparently had brittle nails. If Hoppy can heal from that, Merlin will be fine!! Good luck at the vet- I know with my cat, crating them is the worst part about vet visits.
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Postby DemoDick » December 22nd, 2010, 9:49 pm

Thanks everyone.

Today is my Sunday so I was able to get him into the vet. She did a blood draw for a panel and clipped his nails nice and short. His paw looked much better this morning. Swelling has gone down a lot and it isn't as hot as it was before, and it's not weeping any more. The vet sent us home with some antibiotics. I'm working the holidays so I will be home and will be able to pill him 2X a day and keep an eye on him.

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Postby call2arms » December 23rd, 2010, 2:23 am

Good. I'd check on the nails at least 1x month to make sure they don't get ingrown again.

Often "mature" cats grow thicker nails that tend not to sharpen as well as younger, finer nails, so that's why this happens. You can't really see it if you've never needed to trim them.
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Postby Malli » December 23rd, 2010, 4:04 am

yes, lets go with mature, like a fine wine!


psst, Oscar is also "mature"
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Postby mnp13 » December 23rd, 2010, 10:11 am

I just got off the phone with the vet. I'm glad I decided to do bloodwork - I figured it was a good time to do a baseline for him - he's Hyper Thyroid, so we have to give him medication for the rest of his life evidently.

We can pill him every day, or do a transdermal medication. I have to call and find out the prices, but I'm thinking transdermal will be the easier of the two!!!

His kidneys look ok, one liver enzyme is elivated (the vet thinks that's related to the thyroid) I asked about taking it out, since it looks like we'll be putting him under for his teeth anyway, but she didn't recommend that.
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