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Diagnosis of canine claw disease – a prospective study of 24 dogs

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The aetiology of claw disease in 24 dogs exhibiting only claw disease was investigated with cytologic examination of claw exudate, complete blood count (CBC), serum biochemistry panel, urinalysis, total thyroxine (tT4) concentration, antinuclear antibody (ANA) titre, bacterial culture and sensitivity testing, fungal culture, histopathology of claw biopsy samples and elimination diet. Abnormalities on the CBC, serum biochemistry panel and urinalysis were minor and nonspecific. Total T4 concentrations were within the normal laboratory reference range. Fungal cultures and ANA titres were negative in all dogs. A bacterial infection was present in approximately half of the dogs. On histological examination of claw tissue, a cell-poor or cell-rich interface onychitis was seen in all but one dog. Evidence for an adverse reaction to food was present in four dogs. One dog responded completely to antibiotic therapy. Interface onychitis seems to be a histological reaction pattern of the claw matrix in the dog with various possible underlying aetiologies. In dogs with claw disease as the only clinical sign, the recommended initial diagnostic evaluation includes cytologic examination, bacterial culture and sensitivity, claw biopsy and an elimination diet.
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Keywords: canine; claw; food adverse reaction; interface onychitis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Clinical Sciences, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA, 2: Central Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Mount Waverley, Victoria 3149, 3: Animal Dermatology, Springwood, Queensland 4127, Australia

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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