Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Brad Eden

      TO THOSE REGISTERING FOR MEMBERSHIP ON UJ   01/06/2018

      To the Guests who have decided to register for Membership. PLEASE read Terms of Service, not just checking it off. This is covered there: Add more info than just "hunting" or "Upland hunting" or "birds" or "outdoors" or similar nebulous terms in the required INTERESTS field. Despite this Boards strong spam filtering function, some Spam registrations do sneak through. I need an inkling that you are a human being not a Spam Bot tagging onto key words. Also please do not use a business name as your User Name. Thank you.
BlacknTan

Dew claws. What is the current thinking?

Recommended Posts

BlacknTan

As with many topics like this, there are points worth consideration on both sides of the question..

 

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dogrunner

Here’s one that broke off my pointer in August before hunting season and she was just in her kennel. Not sure what happen but it didn’t bother her and it grew back. 

51587DE2-D0F4-474E-BEEE-2286B8E28BC7.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bobman

they definitely help dogs climb, if a dog grabs you with its front paws and it has dew claws you will not dispute this

 

I would prefer they leave them on my dogs, if they fall thru the ice or in some hole I want them to have every tool they need.

 

I’ve two dogs one 13 and one 12 with them and neither have ever had a problem 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flushing Whip

We never remove them nor have we ever had a problem. There's always a first time but it turns out there are a couple good reasons for keeping them-- for grasping and then for their work in the field. I can't find the article to share this evening but will come back asap with it tomorrow. The reason we do not remove them is because of the tendons involved and their use in running corners and curves. Here is a portion of a piece from  Pet Helpful that alludes to what I am referring to and gives a couple of reasons to keep them. I'll try to locate the complete article and share it here tomorrow.  

Interestingly, each dewclaw is attached to five tendons, which are further attached to a muscle, according to veterinarian and rehabilitation specialist of performance-related injuries Dr. Christine Zink. This seems to suggest that dewclaws much have some sort of functionality. Let's look at some reasons why dog owners have decided to keep their dog's dewclaws as nature made them.   It is also very valuable in preventing torque.  If your dog runs in the sport of agility or if he is a working dog, you may want to give dewclaws a second thought. Dewclaws help support your dogs' lower legs, and when he makes those tight turns,  it's thanks to his dewclaws that torque is prevented. Indeed, when cantering or galloping and making a swift turn, those dewclaws touch the ground and prevent the leg from twisting and getting other injuries further explains Christine Zink.

And then, less important but it also works as a "thumb." You won't see your pup  engaging in useless thumb twiddling or sending text messages, but rest assured that those thumbs have some purposes. You may notice how your dog uses his dewclaws to aid him in grasping objects such as toys, bones and sticks as he chews on them. You may also see your dog use his dewclaws to scratch a sudden itch or remove some foreign body stuck in his teeth. Not to mention the use of such extra appendages in climbing and engaging in several sport activities.

You do need to pay attention to them and make sure they get trimmed etc. But one of the main reasons that they are removed is to meet breed standards. In the NRSFTC our breed standard is performance based and we don't care what the show fancy thinks is "pretty" or the way it should be. Beauty is as beauty does--  and dew claws are there for a reason. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
evcvet

The front dewclaws contact the ground with the forelimb is in extension.  The dewclaw may help to prevent rotation while at full extension. Repetitive injury may lead to carpal arthritis.  Dogs with dewclaws removed may be more prone to carpal sprains and carpal arthritis. Torn nails are common injuries of all the digits.  I do not see any benefit to removing front dewclaws in athletic dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
marjolein

It's been forbidden here in Holland for years and years now and you hardly ever see any problems with them. I'm currently on my 15th or so dog, never ever had any issues with them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dogwood
9 hours ago, evcvet said:

The front dewclaws contact the ground with the forelimb is in extension.  The dewclaw may help to prevent rotation while at full extension. Repetitive injury may lead to carpal arthritis.  Dogs with dewclaws removed may be more prone to carpal sprains and carpal arthritis. Torn nails are common injuries of all the digits.  I do not see any benefit to removing front dewclaws in athletic dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curious do you see more carpal injuries in dogs whereby the front dewclaws have been removed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
forestdump

I'm in the removal camp because more things can generally go wrong with them than benefits. I've seen dew claws ripped and torn off they are a pain. I've never seen a dog with its dew claws get arthritis or carpal tunnel because of the lack of dew claws. I have also never been in or heard of a situation where a dog in the field with its dew claws performed better in any situation because it had two extra nails.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
406dn

I've had dogs with and without them. One dog without them got pretty severe carpel arthritis beginning around five or six years old. If and when I raise a litter of puppies, they will retain their dewclaws.

 

Here is a photo of her around five years of age and you can see the beginning of arthritis in her right foreleg.

 

P1000218.thumb.jpg.0c14b74c6e28c903d332cfefaf9e2855.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
evcvet

Dear Dogwood;  My personal experience has  been that carpal injuries and arthritis occurs more frequently in dogs with their dew claws removed.  I have attended CE on that the speaker reflected the same opinion and read others .   I treated a carpal sprain today in a young dog.  I would like to see a retrospective on dogs with carpal fusion surgery and correlation with dew claw removal procedure. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flushing Whip

Flushing Whip back here with the link to the article I'd seen by Dr. Zink. I went to a site I sometimes use called "Pet Helpful" and was able to find her name and the basic idea but in this pdf she speaks in more detail here about all of it. Hope it is helpful. Dewclaws have a purpose and can be very valuable in working gun dogs and other activities.

And by the way, Dr. Zink is not as someone pointed out just a research veterinarian. She also has a PhD as a rehabilitation specialist in performance related injuries. Her name and education is as follows: 

Christina Zink DVM, PhD, DACVSMR (Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Medicine and Rehabilitation)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dogwood
On 11/20/2017 at 9:38 PM, Flushing Whip said:

Flushing Whip back here with the link to the article I'd seen by Dr. Zink. I went to a site I sometimes use called "Pet Helpful" and was able to find her name and the basic idea but in this pdf she speaks in more detail here about all of it. Hope it is helpful. Dewclaws have a purpose and can be very valuable in working gun dogs and other activities.

And by the way, Dr. Zink is not as someone pointed out just a research veterinarian. She also has a PhD as a rehabilitation specialist in performance related injuries. Her name and education is as follows: 

Christina Zink DVM, PhD, DACVSMR (Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Medicine and Rehabilitation)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Christine_Zink

 

Dr. Zink is a consultant (?) but does not practice (examine, diagnose, and treat) clinical veterinary medicine. And based on her Wiki bio I don't know where she would find the time.   But just because I do (practice, that is) it does not make me an expert, so  . . .

I posed the issue of dewclaws in the context of this discussion to my wife (35 years of practice) and my associate (37 years). Both said they have not seen a correlation.  But hey, we're general practitioners, not specialists.  Might as well ask a few.

 

Spoke with Dr. Henney at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services in metro Detroit.  She's a boarded surgeon and past president of the Veterinary Orthopedic Society, of which I am also a member (annual weeklong meeting, lots of clinical research presentations and the like).  She does not observe a higher number of carpal or any other injuries related to dewclaw removal, just her observation, no research to back it either way, and none exists as far as she knows.  Hm.  

 

Was on the phone with Dr. Loic Desjardin, an orthopod at Michigan State, concerning an unrelated surgery case I recently referred to him.  Similar answer to Dr. Henney.

 

Neither of them were familiar with Dr. Zink.  That does not deem her opinions irrelevant, but if I'm interested in practical advice I would prefer it was from someone who works and treats orthopedic issues on a daily basis AND is current on research trends.  

 

"Perhaps you are thinking, "None of my dogs have ever had carpal pain or arthritis." Well, we need to remember that dogs, by their very nature, do not tell us about mild to moderate pain. If a dog was to be asked by an emergency room nurse to give the level of his pain on a scale from 0 o 10, with 10 being the worst, their scale would be 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Most of our dogs, especially if they deal with pain that is of gradual onset, just deal with it and don't complain unless it is excruciating. But when I palpate the carpal joints of older dogs without dewclaws, I frequently can elicit pain with relatively minimal manipulation."  

 Dogs show exhibit many degrees of pain you just need to learn how to evaluate via real life experience and frequent clinical practice.  Forelimb lameness in particular is very sensitive to even relatively minor injuries, compared to the rear legs.  Front legs provide far less power but bear far more pounding force relative to the small joint surface and are centered under more of the dogs body mass, not unlike the front suspension of a car right under the weight of the engine.  Whammo.

 

 

Suit yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SLR

Clinical experience is certainly valuable, but what is really needed is the collection of actual data for this question, I would say fairly large numbers would be needed, dogs with carpal arthritis +/- dew claw removal. I know of only one dog I have seen with bilateral carpal arthritis and that is the setter field trial Ch. Peacedale Duke. Carpal arthritis may be quite rare and where seen it may be mainly in the dogs who have extensive mileage on them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Natty Bumpo

Doc Dogwood has provided some solid, real world  advice directly  above.

 

I have a D.V.M. also. And board certification too, although in Veterinary Pathology.  I spent very little time in small animal practice and then 40 years in pharmaceutical research, working for Fortune 100 drug companies.  Designed, conducted,  evaluated the data, wrote up the results, presented findings to national/ international meetings and published manuscripts in major scientific journals, human and veterinary. Drugs, biotech products and some AG chemicals too.

 

Many opinions above, all anecdotal. Interesting to a degree but not conclusive. What is needed is a research study of carpal injuries, in hunting dogs.I could design such a study. It would use 100 dogs of a hunting breed, lets pick Labs which already have more hereditary orthopedic diseases than most any other common working breed. It would be a lifetime study. It would be double blinded. Half the dogs would have the dewclaws removed at a young age, the other 50 % would not. Then you would need to replicate the field workouts hunting dogs get every day; running, jumping, turning, twisting, etc, etc. For XX hours a day, XX number of days a year and  for XX years. Record any and all clinical observations. Frequent X rays of carpal joints. Then necropsy at the end, do gross dissection and inspection and then histopathology of carpal joints. And maybe even TEM.  Write up the results, submit for publication in a major, peer reviewed veterinary journal (JAVMA, AJVR, Veterinary Pathology, JAAHA,  Veterinary Orthopedics,  etc) Maybe even Science or Nature too. "IF" accepted for publication by the three highly qualified reviewers, then we would have some solid answers to the question.  ( Study design is a quick shot in the dark @ 6AM  ..... )

 

WHO will fund such a study??

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dogwood
On 11/22/2017 at 5:56 AM, SLR said:

Clinical experience is certainly valuable, but what is really needed is the collection of actual data for this question, I would say fairly large numbers would be needed, dogs with carpal arthritis +/- dew claw removal.

 

 

Precisely and I could not agree more.  Unfortunately that's unlikely from a funding standpoint for a lameness problem that is (anecdotally) relatively uncommon. Regardless, one would think that a DVM with a PhD and a research based career would respect that before espousing/publishing emphatic opinions on anything.  Guess not.  Which is different from shooting my mouth off in a forum, yes?  Maybe.  Maybe not . . .

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×