Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Do You Remove the Dew?

Well we removed the dew claws on the litter of hound pups when they were just over a day old. There is a large difference of opinion on whether or not to perform this surgical procedure. Some breeders have their puppies dewclaws removed at 3-5 days of age. At this age, the dewclaw is adhered loosely so it is very easy to remove. The veterinarian will clamp at the base of the dewclaw at the joint and this is often enough to allow for manual removal. Surgical glue or sutures are then used to close the wound and prevent bleeding, although there is little bleeding associated with this procedure.  Seems the majority of people that run hounds just do not bother with this. There are the folks that believe that the dew claws help give the hound additional traction when making a hard turn in pursuit of quarry but it has been my experience that after a hard course my hound's dew claws are often torn, broken and bleeding, so I have taken to removing dew claws when they are young pups. With my terriers, I will remove the dew claws when the pups get the tails docked usually at 3 to 5 days of age.  I did this with my last litter of hounds and it proved to be a real ordeal for both my wife and I as well as the pups. The hound pups are much larger as well as stronger than the terrier pups at this age and for some reason they tended to bleed much worse than the terriers did. When we performed this procedure on this litter at 1 day of age to the 9 pups and it went significantly better. Virtually no bleeding and the pups acted like it was merely an inconvenience and were back to nursing and taking a nap within minutes. Whatever your decision, I wish you good luck with your future litters and good hunting.


Christine said...

I have German Shepherds and we don't remove the front dew claws. I do think it helps them, that they use the dew claws in various ways.

However, almost every one of my working dogs has broken at least one dew claw at some point (the nail itself, torn the nail out, broken the first joint, broken the bone above that--all of these)--and it is a very painful injury. It's not life threatening and it seldom requires vet care--but it HURTS and they let you know it.

So, I still have mixed feelings on the issue--is the use of the dew claw greater than the negatives of the injuries? It's not like they always have injuries--just almost always at some point in their life there is an injury to at least one dewclaw.

Mike Bilbo said...

Well Christine, in the working sighthounds I have not found that they use it and with the hounds that still have them, I have never seen a performance advantage. You are indeed correct that the injuries are painful when they tear the dewclaw or break it. Can put them out of work for the better part of a month sometimes as they are slow to heal. Thanks for the feedback.

Working Lurchers said...

Definatly out! Like you Mike i cant say theres a definate advantage to having them and to have to rest a dog for an injury that could have so easily been avoided would drive me nuts.