Nero's Toe Troubles

Nero is a handsome 7-year-old male Great Dane who presented to our veterinarian with nasty sores in between his front toes.  This ongoing irritation led to painful swelling around the toes of both of his front paws.   A combination of factors led to the sores not responding to medical management and in the end, the decision was made to remove them surgically. Nero was booked in for surgery and the sores removed.

There was no issue with the surgical procedure and the recovery went very well, until his surgical site started to break down. This is an uncommon complication that can happen in areas where there is excessive movement; like between the toes.

Due to his sheer size of 70kg, there was a lot of pressure on the stitches and they kept on pulling through. His right front paw was able to heal but unfortunately, the wound on his left paw broke down and could not be restitched.

This led to the wound being allowed to heal by secondary intention healing. This is a long process and involves the body laying down granulation tissue (think proud flesh) and slowly the skin heals over the top of the wound. Closing with stitches is always preferable over secondary intention healing as it is quicker and faced with less potential complications. Even a little infection can halt the healing process and as the wound was between the toes this was a valid concern. The healing process for secondary intention healing would require the wound to be kept as clean as possible with regular bandage changes. 

Nero’s parents were devoted throughout this whole process bringing him in for regular bandage changes to give the wounds the best chance to heal. As a result, the wounds shrunk down to the point where the skin almost completely covered the wound.

He is a brave boy and definitely enjoyed the cuddles and treats from the nurses when he visited – after all, he deserves it!

Update on Nero: We are sad to advise that between Nero’s patient of the month article being written and publication, he was diagnosed with a very nasty and malignant form of cancer. Due to the nature of the cancer, keeping him comfortable at home for palliative care was the best option for him and his owners. He passed away in July and is dearly missed by his family and by the team at AdelaideVet. Rest in Peace Nero and we’ll see you again at Rainbow Bridge.

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