Jack Loses a Toe

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Jack has lost a toe…no it hasn’t been misplaced, it’s been amputated.

Our story begins a few months ago when we started taking Jack to a dog gym/vet who offered water treadmill therapy. His hind end has been getting weaker and our regular vet suggested some additional strengthening. Jack’s not a huge fan of water, but we knew that the treadmill therapy would be good for him.
The vet also suggested some of those toe grip things – small plastic tubes you put on your dog’s toes to help them grip slippery surfaces better. Since we have hardwood floors at our house and Jack does slip on them, I thought they would be a good idea.
Within a few days of putting on the grips, Jack started to lick at his right paw – specifically the ‘baby’ toe. This went on for a day or two until I decided that the grip must be bothering him and removed it from that toe. He continued licking that foot and occasionally his left foot. I check out all his toes and the grips and didn’t see anything wrong but after another day or two, I just removed all of the grips.
Meanwhile, Jack was doing his water treadmill workouts twice a week and progressing nicely.
But, he continued to lick his paws, both his right and left paws.
I tried looking at his diet. The vet had given us some new supplements for him, I stopped those, he still licked. No more chicken treats, still licking.
Each day I would check his paws and his toes, but saw nothing…until one day I did. On his left paw, third toe was all bloody and oozing – plus muddy from just being a dog. Crap, no wonder he’s licking. I cleaned him up, bandaged it and hoped for the best. I don’t know if there is any correlation between the grips and the water treadmill and whatever was going on with his toe…but something sure was going on.
We changed the bandage each day – cleaned it with hydrogen peroxide (which I later learned is a no-no) and it seemed to be getting a little better, but when it wasn’t healed after 4 days, I took him to the vet. They kind of casually said, yes, it’s irritated, here’s some solution to soak it in and some antibiotics in case it’s infected and sent me on my way. I wasn’t real happy with their nonchalance, but figured I’d just keep a close eye on it.
We soaked it and bandaged it and I was keeping those plastic booties on him most of the time just so he would leave it alone. It seemed to be clearing up, until one day I come back from a swim and there’s the booty on the floor and when I pick it up, out falls his whole nail. It had just totally fallen off. It wasn’t bleeding or anything and he didn’t seem bothered at all, but back to the vet we went.
This time they took xrays and came back with the news no pet parent ever wants to hear…the C word. Off we go to Maggie’s oncologist – this was only 2 days after our sweet Maggie had passed, so we sure didn’t want to be back at that vet’s, but there we were. They did some additional xrays and advised us that typically these are squamous cell carcinomas are typically treated through amputation. It could also be melanoma, osteosarcoma or even a fungal infection, but without a biopsy there was no way to be certain. Given a biopsy would require Jack to be sedated, we opted to just go ahead with the amputation since that would be the treatment plan anyways if it came back as any type of cancer.
We had to run Jack through a series of pre-op tests, xrays of his lungs, ultrasounds, etc. to check there was no spreading of the cancer – luckily they were all clear, so last Friday, Jack had his toe cut off!
We’re happy to report that the surgery went fine, no issues. We were worried since Jack is a senior and we’ve never put him under anesthesia for anything so we weren’t sure how he would react. He did so well, he was able to come home that same night instead of having to stay overnight in the hospital. I almost wish he had stayed as they gave him a shot of morphine for the pain just a few hours before he came home and he was LOOPY. He really didn’t understand what was going on and why his back legs weren’t working. He couldn’t settle and kept wanting to wander the house.
We eventually put him in his crate just to keep him safe. Next morning, after a few tentative steps, he was walking fine and the morphine appeared to be out of his system. The missing toe and big bandage doesn’t seem to bother him at all. His appetite is fine. He’s been able to go for short walks and he hasn’t made any attempt to chew at his foot – he’s mostly ignored it. This picture is about the first time he noticed it! I think he’s been in some pain, he’s restless and panting a lot, but we have been dosing him with Tramadol which seems to take the edge off.

Now we are just waiting for the biopsy results and hoping for good news. Bandage comes off Thursday so we will update this thread with news of the results and how he is doing.


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  1. Hugs to Jack and you all. Nicely written article Kate! ❤️

  2. What a sweetie ….. I swear he looks younger and younger. Brave guy – hope the biopsy comes back clear !

  3. I hate that you’ve had to go through all of this and the worry right after losing Maggie. It doesn’t seem fair. But I’m glad the surgery went well and the recovery is going well too. We have all of our paws crossed that the biopsy shows nothing bad! We’ll be thinking of Jack and hoping for the best.
    Jan K recently posted…Middle DogMy Profile

    • It’s been a tough few weeks. Thanks for the thoughts tho.
      mkob recently posted…Jack Loses a ToeMy Profile

  4. Oh Kate, Jan said exactly what I would have had I not read the comments. I’m glad that Jack is recovering well; and will continue to keep him and y’all in my thoughts and prayers. Sending angel kisses from Callie, too! ❤️❤️
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…A Heartbreaking Anniversary My Profile

  5. I am so sorry to hear that Jack’s toe had to be amputated. But it’s great news that the nasty cancer hasn’t spread. I’ll be keeping you all in my thoughts.
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…My Top 4 Tips To Keep Raw Feeding AffordableMy Profile

  6. I am so sorry Jack, take heart.You are a strong dog, from surgery and you get back home to your loved ones. Well I also learned that I should not use hydrogen peroxide on dogs. Thanks for the valuable information. We will be waiting to know the biopsy results and we all hope that all is well.

  7. Oh man, so sorry to hear. Fingers and paws crossed the biopsy comes back negative. Our thoughts are with you.

  8. We are glad he is doing so well. Hopefully it won’t be the C thing. It probably bothers you more than it does him, but we send him hugs nevertheless.
    Emma recently posted…The Most Important Features Of A GBGVMy Profile

  9. I am happy to hear that this ordeal is behind you – at least the surgery part. I hope that the results are negative for the C. I can imagine how hard it was for you to cope with this just after Maggie’s passing. Thinking of all of you.
    KB recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – Crazy Ears in the MountainsMy Profile

  10. oh poor boy! thank god the surgery went fine!
    tammy recently posted…Top 5 Best Adjustable Dog Crates for Growing PuppiesMy Profile

  11. I’m glad to hear that he is doing okay. I am so sorry that you all are having to go through this. ♥ Sending love and prayers your way.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Treat Your Best Friend to WellnessMy Profile

  12. Glad all went well with the survey and hopes you get very good biopsy results.

  13. So happy to hear his doing okay. Thanks so much (with all you’ve got on your hands) to take the time to fill us all in with his story. Prayers and paws crossed for a good report. You all take it easy this holiday weekend and continue to take care of each other!
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…EMERGENCY READINESS PLANS FOR YOU AND YOUR DOGSMy Profile

  14. I’m happy to hear that the amputation went so smoothly and that Jack is adjusting to life with one less toe alright! My fingers are crossed for continued good news for all of you.
    Beth recently posted…The Longest DaysMy Profile

  15. Fingers and paws crossed and prayers up for Jack! Glad the amputation surgery went well!

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