The normal treatment for this is to just wait for all of them to fall off, one at a time. Often they are painful and barely holding on, and a dog will need to be sedated to have the nail torn or cut off each time one goes bad. Some vets will try vitamins or fish oils, and sometimes steroids are given. Most dogs just have to live through it for about a year while all nails fall off and hopefully turn over new, healthier nails.
I see this almost always as an auto-immune condition. In a nutshell, this means the immune system has suffered an insult which make it attack part of the body that is normal (the nails) as if they are foreign. So in this disease, the immune system is seeing the nails as foreign and the body is trying to reject the nails. Ouch!
Well, the first thing I asked is whether or not the dog had suffered a vaccine reaction. Sure enough, yes. Twice in fact. I am always looking to find what caused the immune system to “trip”, and this one was easy. The dog had reacted very strongly to a Distemper-Parvo vaccination 5 years ago. Only 8 months prior to the first nail falling off, the dog had another vaccine reaction on a day he received a Bordetella and Lepto vaccine. It turns out that day he was also under anesthesia.
So my first job was to detoxify the vaccine viruses and bacteria out of the body. I do this with a variety of natural herbal medications. And they work. It should take about a month to do this. Next, I looked for imbalances in the body (a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine technique). Many times my auto-immune patients are way too hot. But this fella was not. He was quite balanced. Last, I performed Muscle Testing to look for weaknesses in his organs. Again, he was pretty good here. We just needed to detoxify the viruses out and calm down the immune system.
This dog should be fine, hopefully in a lot less time than a year. We also should be able to have him be stronger overall, so he is not at risk for more immune-related disease. We will have to be very careful about everything that goes into his body – vaccines, pesticides, chemicals. We will perform blood titers for Distemper and Parvo to feel comfortable that he is protected. We will avoid the Lepto and Lyme vaccines since he is at low risk for these diseases. We will use Bordetella only if necessary, and we will use a 3-year Thimerosal-free (aka Mercury-free) Rabies vaccine when he is due. When giving the Rabies vaccine, we will also give the detoxification herbs before and after to prevent any negative effects.
Think your pet may have suffered a vaccine reaction or disease resulting from vaccination or other chemical? Let us know how we can help!