Who knew? Cancer of the Toe in Dogs

Canine Toe Cancer

Emmet is our 10-year-old black lab that we’ve had since he was a puppy. Unfortunately, he is now beginning his fight with malignant melanoma. That’s right. Malignant melanoma. The type of skin cancer that every human dreads because it is so hard to treat. It turns out that dogs can get it too and it is just as bad for dogs, as it is for humans.

With Emmet, it started out with us noticing that he had lost part of his toenail on his left rear foot. Normally, losing a nail is really painful for a dog and normally it bleeds like crazy, as they have blood vessels in their nails. Emmet has always been a stoic dog, and so it didn’t surprise us that much that it didn’t seem to slow him down, but because of that, we didn’t notice it until it was already infected. We took him to the vet and started a course of antibiotics. A few weeks later his nail began to grow back, but it was a just a sliver of a nail and it was clear that it bothered him a bit, so we kept it trimmed really short.

A week ago, we noticed that his toe was swelling — in fact it was quite large now. We figured it was
infected again. We brought him back to the vet and as she looked at it, she grew concerned. It looked different than before. We decided to do a biopsy and it was quite clear as she did the biopsy that his toe wasn’t swollen with infection. It contained a mass of some kind — a tumor. She took a sample and we sent it off to the pathologist. She also noticed that his lymph node near his knee on the same leg was swollen too.

A week later, the biopsy results came back. It wasn’t good news. It was malignant melanoma — one of the worst kinds of cancer. It tends to be very aggressive, fast growing, and worst of all — it can rapidly spread to other parts of the body, especially the lungs. Given the type of cancer, Emmet’s prognosis was not great. He might live a few weeks, a few months, or perhaps another year or two. it all depended on whether or not the cancer had spread.

The question now was, “What can we do to treat him?” I’ve always been against doing radical treatments on dogs. You can do chemotherapy. You can do radiation treatments. The problem is that these treatments cause the dog to get really sick and/or cause even more pain. Although they can prolong their life, it isn’t often by very much — a few months at best and much of that is not quality time. So we started debating how to best treat Emmet. Our goal was to make sure that the time he had left, however long that was, was quality time.

We talked with our vet. With talked with our parents. We talked with our trusted friends. We came up with a plan. We decided to have Emmet’s lungs X-rayed. If the cancer had spread, it was likely going to end up in his lungs. If it was already in his lungs, further treatment was futile. He would die within a matter of a few weeks. Fortunately for us, the x-rays were clean. No cancer in his lungs….yet.

Now that we knew that, we could decide where to go. The toe involved was a non-weight bearing toe and tumor seemed to be limited to that toe, and perhaps one lymph node in his leg. Other than the tumor, Emmet was happy and healthy. His heart and lungs were strong. He was a good risk for surgery. We opted to have his cancerous toe removed and the questionable lymph node removed as well. That surgery happened earlier this week. The goal was to get rid of the obvious cancer so it wouldn’t spread and to get rid of a sore spot on his foot so he could walk, run, and play. So far so good. The surgery went as planned and Emmet is healing nicely. Once it is healed, he’ll never miss that toe.

How will this end? We don’t really know the details, but I’m sure the cancer will eventually kill him. It is, without a doubt, lurking somewhere else in his body. But, given that we have gotten rid of the obvious tumor and questionable lymph node, I’m hopeful that we’ll see his wagging tail around our house for a while yet. I’m hoping for at least a year, but I’ll be happy with whatever God gives us with our sweet, loveable, dog.

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54 People have left comments on this post

» Steve said: { Oct 17, 2008 - 08:10:11 }

Our dog Sandy (a Welsh Terrier) just had a malignant melanoma removed from his right front leg Monday (10/13). Sandy is only 7. We noticed the growth fairly quickly so we are hoping we caught it early. We are having his chest x-rayed today and blood samples. We’ll take it to an oncologist Wednesday. We’ll see what the prognosis is.
We agree with you that radical treatment to prolong life for a few months would not be in the best interests of the dog. If it has not spread we will probably do the radiation to try to make sure it is contained if he could live (healthy and happy) for a few more years.
Good luck to Emmet. Our pets are family, it is extremely difficult.

» Lorraine Hutchings said: { Nov 1, 2009 - 08:11:07 }

Maybel is a 12.5 year old GSD who has now been diagnosed with cancer in her toe on her front left leg. We were advised that this was a nail bed infection and had been given antibiotics, which took some of the swelling down, but after three days of finishing these tablets I noticed that she had been licking her foot making it very sore.

I took her back to the vets who took did a biopsy and after a week the results came back positive. She is having this toe amputated Friday 5th Nov 09 and I am so worried. I hope that when they have done this op that she is clear but in my heart I know this has gone somewhere else, so I will take very good care of my baby.

Fingers crossed that we have all got this cancer at bay and in time, and we all can sewe our dogs grow old or older GOOD LUCK EVERYONE

» Pete said: { Nov 4, 2009 - 01:11:15 }


Best of luck to you and Maybel. Emmet survived his surgery just fine and he never missed his cancerous toe. In fact, he was running and playing again within a week of the surgery.

Sadly, his life ended just a few short weeks later of a medical condition that was unrelated to his cancer – but I’m still glad we had the surgery done.

» Janet said: { Mar 17, 2010 - 10:03:42 }

My doberman, Fausto..had one toe removed..osteo sarcoma..and now his other inner toe on the same foot is going to be removed tomorrow..we discovered we have arsenic in our water..I feed him fresh meat and chicken and very high end food..I checked with the breeder .. she has had cancer in her line but not this type which makes me wonder about the water..it is very upsetting because we love him like a child..he is such a sweet guy..hate to see him in pain.

Janet Hannsz

» Karen Berning said: { May 6, 2010 - 05:05:28 }

My dogs name is Jake. He is an 8 yr odl standard poodle. He is the love of my life. I just found out April 30th that the lump taken off his right paw was melanoma. The now want to take the toe off which I know has to happen. In fact it is being take off tomorrow May 7th. They then want to start chemo for 5 weeks. The vet said it would make him sick and there no quarantee that the chemo would kill the cancer. I am asking for any help from those that experienced this. I do not want my beloved pet to suffer if it is all for nothing and he could enjoy his last days in not so much misery. He is a loving dog and as of now seems very happy. I know when they take the toe off his will be in pain, but he has had other problems that he bounces right back. It is the chemo that scares me. Please give me your comments on this if you have any knowledge of chemo or your pet has went through it. Thank you so much. Karen Berning

» Pete said: { May 7, 2010 - 10:05:23 }


I’m so sorry to hear about your dog. I don’t have any knowledge of the chemotherapy — I’ve not put my dog through it. After talking it over with my vet, we decided together that it wasn’t a good choice. It would make him very sick and probably only buy us a few extra weeks of time and most of that, he would be sick. I would rather that he lived a shorter life, but not be sick for much of it than have him live a longer life, but be miserable during most of it.

We chose to simply have our dog’s toe amputated and do no further cancer treatment. He recovered very quickly from the surgery and the pain of the tumor in his toe was gone. He was a much happier dog after his cancerous toe was gone. We had six more glorious weeks with him where he was happy and healthy. Ultimately, after six weeks, he died of something completely unrelated to his cancer. His last six weeks with us were good ones though. His last day on Earth was spent playing frisbee, swimming, and chasing the other dogs.

My thoughts and prayers are with you in this tough time.

» kevin rodgers said: { Sep 10, 2010 - 07:09:58 }

this is so sad i was searching the internet because my dog lost a nail and his toe is huge and not bleeding.wow i dont know how to feel about this hes a 7 yr old rott and my best friend………………

» Pete said: { Sep 10, 2010 - 08:09:25 }


Get your dog to the vet right away. If it is cancer and one of the slower growing types, they can probably help him by removing the toe. It sounds a lot scarier than it is to amputate that toe. It could also be just a garden variety infection and not cancer, but a vet will need to determine that. Good luck!

» K said: { Oct 3, 2010 - 09:10:41 }

Our black lab is a melanoma survivor. Diagnosed over 3 years ago. toe was removed and he started the vaccine shortly after. He is 12 now and every day we have him is a blessing.

» kim said: { Mar 12, 2011 - 10:03:28 }

my cocker spaniel has to get his toe amputated .. he is only 4 and seems to be completely normal .. my dr. said the survival rate is 90 % .. ive decided im going to be optimistic since charlie seems to be his normal self.. this came out of nowhere and i just thought he had an infection in his toe .. going to hope for the best bc hes my little baby .. im surprised i even discovered it seeing how much hair he has .. im glad i caught it when i did but def do not wait to get that toe checked !! could be a life or death matter

» judy said: { Dec 22, 2011 - 11:12:51 }

My 15 year old black cocker spaniel had her toe removed today…I was told she had a tumor. I was so very concerned for several reasons: 1. having an operation at her age 2. that she already being treated for severe arthritis in rear leg same side as the tumor in front paw and concerned that she would be made more cripple…..I was amazed how well she could walk just few hours after the operation…foot was well wrapped up and supported. She is resting peacefully….I have not seen her this free from pain in such a long time. I had no idea because of her thick black hair that she had a painful tumor on her foot besides the severe arthritis in her knee and hip….because the tumor began to bleed, I became aware of it….but now it is removed, she is on the mend. and I feel like she will be feeling so much better….she is already and it gives me such peace to see her lying there contented.

» Renee said: { Jul 3, 2012 - 09:07:48 }

My 11 yo lab/rottie mix was recently diagnosed with a tumor on his 5th digit. I caught it within days. I thought he was licking his paw out of boredom because of lack of attention due to illness in the family. He had his toe removed today and the waiting begins. I’m praying it’s benign. I just don’t want him to suffer. He’s a good boy.

» Cathy said: { Jul 5, 2012 - 01:07:42 }

My little 9 year old yorkie was diagnosed with cancer between his toes. My husband hasn’t emailed me the doctor’s report yet so I’m not sure what kind. They want to amputate two toes and maybe do chemo. I had another dog that took chemo and it never made him sick or lose his hair so chemo doesn’t scare me, but the cancer does. He’s my baby and we just spent so much money on him getting a trachea stent put in. I wonder how the other dogs in this post made out? I wonder how my poor little dog will make it through this. My heart is breaking.

» Wendy said: { Jul 28, 2012 - 06:07:18 }

My 8 year old Rottie is going in on Tuesday to have his toe amputated because of a tumor that the Doctor is 99% sure is cancerous. I am heartsick over this. He is also diabetic and has been having seizures, both of which are seemingly under control. Because of these other issues, I am so frightened for my dog to go under the knife, and of course I am just scared to death in general of losing my best friend and love of my life.

I have read everyone’s posts and they make me somewhat hopeful, but the thought that he could only have a few weeks more to live really freaks me out!

All comments will be appreciated!

» Pete said: { Jul 30, 2012 - 11:07:20 }


Good luck with your Rottie. I wish you the best!

» Rachel Steckler said: { Aug 26, 2012 - 05:08:04 }

Thank you so much for your post on this subject. My doggie who is a mix small breed was diagnosed with the same cancer as Emmet. So sorry to hear about medical complications with your dog. What kind of medical complications? Am searching trying to find out about the healing process. My dog needs to have 2 toes removed…we are hoping for the best and again thank you for your post.

» Pete said: { Aug 26, 2012 - 10:08:37 }


Emmet’s complications were unrelated to his surgery or his cancer. He developed GDV (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus), more commonly known as bloat one afternoon. This quickly lead to torsion of his stomach and we were a long way from a vet who could perform the emergency surgery required to save him.

His surgery for his foot had gone very well. He had a single toe removed and healed really quickly and within a few days of the surgery was in much less pain from the surgery than he was from the cancer that had invaded his toe. Given the same situation again, I would do the surgery without hesitation.

Good luck with you dog. I wish you the best!


» Marcia said: { Feb 4, 2013 - 05:02:15 }

I was searching the web regarding cancer in dogs toes and ran across your post. I am shocked at how apparently common this is as I had never heard of it before. Our dog just had her toe amputated 4 days ago. She didn’t have a tumor or swelling but I noticed her licking and licking her foot. When I looked at it closely I could see her toenail had fallen out but that was all. No sores, no bumps, no swelling. After xrays, we found that the bone in her toe was 75% gone. I was looking for what could cause that other than cancer. The vet didn’t know what was wrong because her symptoms didn’t present like cancer or an infection and I didn’t think to ask what else it could be. So, we are waiting for results of biopsy. My heart is in my throat waiting for results. This is the first and only dog we have ever had. She was a stray we rescued and ended up keeping. I never knew how wonderful a dog could be and the thought of losing her is just about killing me. She is such a sweet, sweet girl. Since all the other posts describe symptoms that sound different than Ruby’s, I am trying to be optimistic. Maybe it could be something else. I am so sorry for the loss of your Emmet and what everyone else is going through. I can so relate…

» Michelle in ND said: { Feb 6, 2013 - 08:02:44 }

My rott gets the surgery tomorrow. After reading all of your comments, I am a bit disheartened to not see any who say their dog was “cured.” However, Kim – you said that your dog started the vaccine shortly after. What vaccine are you talking about?

» Pete said: { Feb 6, 2013 - 09:02:49 }


I wish you and you dog the best. It is amazing how a dog can wrap itself around your heart and become a cherished member of your family. I’ve lost four more dogs since I lost Emmet. All of them were due to various complications of old age. It never gets any easier when they die, but I’ve never once regretted having those dogs. They have enriched my life in so many ways.

If you get a chance, I’d love to hear how things turn out.


» Pete said: { Feb 6, 2013 - 09:02:04 }


I wish you and your dog the best as well. Whether or not the surgery is a cure will depend on what kind of cancer it is. If it is a slow growing type, it may be a cure. Let me know how things turn out.


» Colette said: { Feb 9, 2013 - 03:02:16 }

Our golden retriever Scout had her toe removed last Monday. We got the test back with a diagnosis of melanoma. She’s going to be 11 in April and it goes without saying that we love her. The surgeon recommended that we see an oncologist and find out about the vaccine. We are interested in preserving the quality of Scout’s life and have talked to a lot of people with bad experiences with chemotherapy. However, one of the comment-posters “K” in October 2010 said her black lab had the vaccine and survived three years. Do you know the name of the vaccine?

» Marcia said: { Feb 10, 2013 - 12:02:20 }

Hi Pete,

Well, our story has a happy ending! Even though the vet told me, point blank, at the time of Ruby’s surgery that it was not an infection, she was wrong (thank goodness). The biopsy came back as exactly that – a bone infection. I was doing a dance! The amputation will take care it! We were so lucky! God be willing, we will have our Ru around for a couple (or more) years yet. (even though we don’t know her exact age, she is an aged dog around 10-12).

I thought you put it so well when you said that a dog has a way of wrapping itself around your heart. That’s exactly how I feel! She gives something to me that nobody or anything else ever has. And I can’t even say exactly what it is. But I was blown away by it.

Best of luck to you and all your precious dogs. May they all have wonderful, long lives.


» Pete said: { Feb 12, 2013 - 07:02:09 }


Great news about Ruby! I hope she shares many more happy years.


» Monica said: { Feb 22, 2013 - 12:02:59 }

My 13 year old female chow/golden mix just had her toe removed on the right front paw. I thought it was an infection from a thorn as her and my GSD love to dig in the field by the briar bushes. Tried to get her in earlier, but was hit with a ice storm. Just heard from the vet that everything went good and we can pick her up this afternoon. Breaks my heart to have her toe removed, but better than the pain she was in. I am not sure of a prognosis, but at her at I am just hoping for a pain free dog until it is her time.

I lost a GSD almost 3 years ago and the last 2 years of his life where hard for him as he had bed sores on his elbows which had to be treated daily. Dogs are our life and just want her to have the best days possible.

» Kristy said: { Mar 8, 2013 - 09:03:45 }

Thank you for sharing this! I hope Emmet is doing well! My 11 year old Black lab lost his toenail a while back but before he did it curled funny and seemed to bother him some. The vet at that time thought it was nothing to worry about but now that it fell out we went back they have put him on antibiotics but said they believe it may be a bone tumor. and they may have to remove it. We are just a few day’s in on the antibiotics and he is limping a little more every day. I’m not sure what we will do or if at 11 he can handle a surgery! I have also noticed his appetite is slowing down and he is sleeping most of the day!

» Meg Body said: { Apr 30, 2013 - 08:04:28 }

The day that Riley turned 7 in Oct. 2012 I took him to the HopeCenter and was told that he would need to have his toe and pad amputated on his left front foot. Not only did they do surgery on his foot but they found 2 other lumps. Those fortunately were not malignant but the toe was. Riley was a very loveable and playful yellow lab and loved to play with his brother Jake, a 7 yr. old black lab and his sister Maggie, a 3 yr. old yorkie up until last week. The HopeCenter said that we had 3-6 months if we did not do the vaccine after the amputation, or we could prolong his life for maybe a year if we did, so we decided not to do the vaccine. Riley is now having difficulty breathing, not eating with the gusto he once had and is very lethargic but still weighs 82 lbs. Sometimes I could hit myself for not having done the vaccine but then I realize he has been so happy and healthy for these last 6 months. Who knows what to do? I have been beating myself up and I don’t have any answers. Our vet put him on antibiotics yesterday and benadryl. I feel like I have lost my baby and don’t know what to do to help him. My heart is so broken…..Good luck to you all and may our furry babies be happy and healthy in heaven.

» Dodie said: { May 22, 2013 - 08:05:26 }

My older black miniature schnauzer, Marshall just tuned 7 yrs old this month. He began favoring his left rear foot 3 weeks ago. I thought maybe he had a thorn in the pad of his foot, but he wouldn’t allow me to get anywhere near his foot. He’s always been very good with allowing me to remove thorns, stickers, etc so this concerned me. My husband took him to the vet who told him that his toe was swollen. The vet told him that miniature schnauzers are not prone to infection in their toes and he thought he might have caught his toenail between the boards of our neck. He prescribed a canine NSAID for pain and told us to bring him back if it wasn’t better in 2 weeks. The foot has not improved. He’s very protective of the area and doesn’t like our other schnauzer to jump around him for fear that his foot will be hurt. He went back to the vet today and had an x-ray of his foot. My husband was told that he has complete loss of bone in one of his toes and the vet was unclear if it was cancer or infection. He is scheduled to have the toe amputated next week. I’ve been researching the internet and was quite honestly surprised with the number of posts that I have found related to either melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma, both of which occur in miniature schnauzers. There is also an increased incidence in all black dogs. I am sick to my stomach right now. Should he have a biopsy first to confirm the diagnosis before the amputation or just examine the pathology from the amputated toe? If the biopsy were done first, we could stage his cancer with a thorough clinical exam and chest x-ray before deciding if amputation would be the best course…

» Pete said: { May 23, 2013 - 09:05:38 }

In my case with my Black Lab Emmet, I chose to do the surgery to alleviate the pain not having any idea whether the cancer had spread. I would have done it even if the cancer had spread just to eliminate the pain. In Emmet’s case, the toe that was removed was a non weight bearing toe so he didn’t miss it all. He healed really quickly and was back to his old self with a couple of weeks — minus the limping and bleeding from the toe tumor. Best of luck to you and Marshall!

» Kat said: { Jul 21, 2013 - 12:07:46 }

My 8 year old Newfoundland has been on antibiotics for a week, his toe has become more swollen and sore. The vet just took an x-ray and most of the bone in this toe is gone. He blew out his knee last year, so this leg that has the cancerous toe is the stronger rear leg. Also, as a very large older dog, I worry that he won’t recover from the surgery. We did a chest x-ray and that is clear, thank goodness. My dilemma is, will he be able to cope with both rear legs injured and will his lungs be able to recover from the surgery? Does anyone have any insight? He is very precious and loving and I don’t want him to suffer needlessly.

» Wanda said: { Aug 5, 2013 - 04:08:59 }

I have lab ben the vet thought he had an infection but sadly he thinks its a tumour . As he is getting on and has athritic hips and swelling on his side which could be a tumour, I have gone for the metacam daily to keep him out of pain ! But I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing the vet wasn’t surprised when I said no to intervention ? I don’t want him pulled about and he has always hated the vets I am trying to make him as comfortable as i can in his twilight hours. Do you think I’m doing the right thing ?

» Nicole said: { Aug 24, 2013 - 02:08:31 }

I am so sorry for everyone’s losses. It is heartbreaking to read these posts. I will try to tell Sassy’s story briefly, if possible. I rescued this beautiful miniature schnauzer 6/04/11. She was about 8 yrs. old then. (#6 out of 7 dogs I have had so far). I am also a retired RN. So I felt I had a bit of a handle on canine health issues. She had health issues from the beginning, starting with persistent UTI’s following bladder stone surgery prior to my adopting her. Then within 2 months of adopting her, she had her first infection in a digit. There were a total of 4 infections, and they were treated as such. Not once did either vet tell me it could be a sign of melanoma. They all seemed to resolve, 3 on her left foot, 1 on her right. At the time of the 3rd, she was also diagnosed with Lyme tho she initially tested negative and had the vaccine. We also walked a lot, so there was always some kind of explanation. When I retired a year ago, she became extremely anxious. The vet could find no explanation. Then in Nov., 2012, I discovered an ugly black, hard, raised mole on her hind leg when I was drying her hair. The first thing my vet said was, do you know dogs get melanoma? She had surgery in Dec., 2012, and after 15 days the pathology came back as benign melanocytoma. We were all elated!! 2 months later she had a severe bout of diarrhea and vomiting, for which she was treated and responded. A month later she had a milder episode of diarrhea which resolved with treatment. Then April 1, 2013, we took our walk and she became so short of breath that I had to carry her home. I waited till my regular vet came in on the 4th, and took her back in. Long story – malignant tumors throughout both lungs, stomach, GI tract, and the liver was enlarged but no tumor visualized there due to the limitations of the x-ray. She was dying. My beautiful girl died one week later, euthanized because her resps were >100 a minute, unable to rest or lie down. Incredible suffering. After the death, I began to research melanoma in dogs, and if I only knew back then what I know now. I had the vet call where the pathology was done, but their reply was “she died from a tumor, but not from this one”. During my research I learned about the digits, and learned that supposed infections on the digit are often misdiagnosed and are actually signs of melanoma. That was the reason I got her records, to see which toes had been affected. When I spoke at length with the one vet, he said he believed she had a malignancy arising from an organ in the abdomen. Yet she ate, her labs were fine, and never had GI problems till 2 months before her death, and even then she continued to eat till the day she died. So my mind is consumed with the reason for her death. I berated myself continuously for missing something, but gradually began to realize that I didn’t miss anything. She was taken to the vets for EVERYTHING! Some pieces of the puzzle are still missing, but in my heart I believe it was a melanoma. I will never know the truth. If I had the money, I would have sent her to a fine vet school and had a necropsy done. I learned a lot, but only too late for my girl. My heart broke April 4th, and there are no words to describe this wonderful, vibrant dog and what it has meant to lose her. I pray for all the sick dogs, and if something is wrong, start searching the Internet. You may find an explanation, and at least you may ask the right questions. How could she die like this in one week and no one had a clue she was so sick?

» Tiffany said: { Sep 30, 2013 - 08:09:19 }

One of my girls a black Labrador Retriever was diagnosed with Melanoma of the mouth at 12 years, it was a lump near her top back molar, the x-rays showed it hadn’t spread to her lungs so we went ahead with treatment. They checked the lymph nodes when they were biopsied during her first rad treatment and those were negative too. She had radiation that was a bit larger than the original tumor area because I didn’t have them remove jaw in a second surgery to get a cleaner margin , at her age I didn’t want her to have to relearn how to eat with half her jaw missing. It turns out it wasn’t necessary anyways. The series of radiation and the Melanoma vaccines from Merial worked, she was cancer free at her 6 month check up and at 1 year, she lived almost another 4 years longer and passed away of old age at almost 16 years. I would do it again if I needed. She had only minor side effects from the radiation, tearing from the tear duct on the side that was radiated and her hair grew back with no grey on that area too, since she had quite a grey face it was noticeable though over time it did turn grey like the rest. I was lucky to have so many good years with her.

» Nancy said: { Nov 27, 2013 - 12:11:07 }

Before I start with my litany, let me just say how genuinely sorry I am for all of you who have loved and lost a beloved dog. ( I was reduced to tears as I read each of the postings here.) I hope you’ve managed since to find happiness with another dog. We have a typically adored black lab (she’s our 3rd) , now 10.5 years old. 14 months ago she developed a sore/irritating open wound on the inside toe of her front right paw. After 2 courses of ineffectual antibiotics, it was decided to amputate the affected toe, a non-weight bearing one. She recovered well. The pathology tests came back positive for squamous cell carcinoma which, oddly, pleased us at the time given that it wasn’t the much more deadly melanoma. I don’t recall (without checking the paperwork) whether or not she received the vaccine; I believe maybe not. The oncologist put her, for life, on an anti-inflammatory and Pepsid and the dog has been well ever since, except for being obese. Now she’s got a suspicious-looking exposed nail on her right rear paw and the vet (as opposed to the surgeon who did the 1st amputation and isn’t available till mid-December) wants to amputate theto. We’re very conflicted about this, especially since she’s been panting a lot for several months (cancer already in the lungs? Obesity?) and we worry she may not survive the surgery (her 5th!!!). In a way, I feel we really don’t have much of an option other than to risk the surgery because how else to treat th toe? So that’s the quandry. Sorry to have been so long-winded. I just thought that a future reader might benefit

» Nancy said: { Nov 27, 2013 - 12:11:42 }

(sorry!) …from some of info contained herein. Happy holidays to all of you dog lovers!

» Alan said: { Dec 30, 2013 - 12:12:44 }

Our Golden is age 13, pretty amazing since she has hip displasia and pretty bad arthritis. But she is a Golden, so she won’t tell you about her pain. Now she has a front toe cancer. If we operate on it, there is a good chance she won’t be able to recover as she has very little strength in her back legs. She is a 70 lb dog, and that is a lot of pressure to put on already stressed legs. There is no way we would even have a biopsy done, as we wouldn’t do more treatment regardless of where the cancer has gone. So my question is this – for those of you who have done it, how fast do the dogs get back on their feet? Any of you have any experience with dogs with bad hips and arthritis? Thanks for any help.

» LeAnn said: { Jan 21, 2014 - 03:01:42 }

My 9 year old labradoodle was recently diagnosed with
Malignant melenoma in his toe.
It started as what appeared to be a toe nail injury
And after several treatments of antibiotics we decided
to have his toe nail removed. (Under sedation at the vet)
It started to improve and then it got worse and seemed to be
After trying a few different antibiotics and no success we opted
for X-rays and the results proved to be cancer and toe
amputation was the only option. Luckily the chest X-ray was clear
and the needle aspirate they did on his lymph node was also clear so
we decided toe amputation would do the trick.
While in surgery our vet wasn’t able to cut out and remove all of the tumor
unless we amputated his entire leg.
We were just devistated! After talking with the vet and knowing the margins
we went through with the full front leg amputation.
How could we do this to our dog? We knew he wasn’t ready to die. He was
Letting us know that some how. Today is day 4 post amputation and he is
doing fantastic! Happy, alert, active and really thriving!
Hoping for many more years together. My advice is don’t hesitate to amputate
a toe and be proactive and get help early on if you detect anything.
Xx long live Jet xx

» Kathy said: { Feb 26, 2014 - 02:02:37 }

I just got back from our vet visit. Our 6 year old lab went to the vet with, what we thought was a broken toe nail or possibly a broken toe 12 days ago. The doctor prescribed an anti-inflammitory and anti-biotic. Yoda was done with the anti-inflammitory 3 days ago. Yesterday we noticed that she would not put weight on her foot and that her toe was swollen and looked to be blistered. I called the vet this morning and they got us in right away. Our vet thinks it is cancer and we are set to have surgery in 5 days. We could have had it done today but Yoda had eaten breakfast this morning. I wish that I had considered the likelyhood of surgery this morning before she was fed and hope that doesn’t make a difference in her life expectancy. She is so happy and bouncy that I never thought that it would be cancer and the word just made me so sad. I am scared. Our kids and our whole family love her so much. She is such a loving and happy girl. Reading some of the posts I just cannot believe that she can be gone in a year even with having her toe removed on Monday. We will be telling our kids tonight. I am just praying tha we have many more years with her.

» Stephen said: { Oct 1, 2014 - 08:10:37 }

Our 10.5 year old black labrador, Buddy, just had his left front dew claw surgically removed. The biopsy came back – malignant melanoma. He also had the lymph node in his left shoulder area removed. The biopsy hasn’t come back yet. Buddy is recovering from the surgery and is on antibiotics and pain meds. Buddy is bright and responsive and eats well…he still eats anything he is given.
What the future holds, only God knows. We will take whatever time remains as a gift.

» Pete said: { Oct 1, 2014 - 09:10:07 }

My best to you and Buddy. I hope that you have much more time together.

» Anne E. said: { Oct 4, 2014 - 06:10:48 }

Saying prayers for all the dear dogs and their families. My seven yr old bichon mix Archie just had surgery to remove a tumor between two of his toes. Today we learned from vet that lab tests say cancer and now he recommends removing his pinky toe and the weight bearing toe next to it. We are so upset and can hardly bear to put him thru more surgery. Anyone know if the recovery is far more complicated and painful with two toes? Will he be able to go for walks and play anymore? Wanting to do what is best for him and cant stand the thought of losing our little guy.

» Desiree Barbazon said: { Oct 4, 2014 - 08:10:18 }

My 9 yr old f,spayed Dobie has had her toe removed bc of squamous cell carcinoma. Still waiting to see if the amputation got it all…am torn up. Am thinking if her lungs are clear we will just make sure the margins on the amputation are good enough and go from there will not do chemo4

» Desiree Barbazon said: { Oct 4, 2014 - 08:10:28 }

9 yr old dobie, toe amputated results are a squamous cell carcinoma will do chest xrays but no chemo please advise

» Pete said: { Oct 5, 2014 - 10:10:35 }


I don’t know how much more complicated it will be, but I can say that dogs are incredibly resilient and adaptable. I’ve seen many dogs that have adapted to having to foot or leg at all and they continue to look happy and healthy. My best to you and Archie.

» Pete said: { Oct 5, 2014 - 10:10:53 }


I’m sorry to hear about your Dobie. I chose not to do chemo on any of my dogs. The science that I saw at the time showed that it usually didn’t buy them much more time, and that the time they did have during the chemo was not quality time. I don’t regret my decision. I am hoping that the treatment options will get better in the future. My best to you and your dog. Treasure every moment with her.


» Kazzam said: { Dec 17, 2014 - 02:12:58 }

My 10+ yo lab has an infected nail which I believe is extremely painful.
He is down fir toe amputation and I have been feeling sick over it. However, I do have the greatest confidence in his vet and I am highly encouraged by your post.
I had to smile when you said once your labs toe is healed he will never miss it. I hope all is well for him.

» Cheryl said: { Dec 31, 2014 - 11:12:21 }

Hi all, and Happy New Year.
I was researching the Web and came across this site. I just had my 7.5 year old GSD’s rear outside toe removed. He has been through two bone biopsies, a full body X-ray, a needle biopsy to determine the reason he had a lump on the upper part of his toe. All came back negative for cancer and a recent blood test for Aspergillus came back negative too. Our surgeon, oncologist and family vet all agreed that the only way to find out what is wrong is to amputate his toe and send it to the pathologist. He is now finishing his second day of the surgery and I have to keep him on is bed or by my side, as he wants to go running and jumping around! We are waiting for word next week on any results. I was initially terrified of the surgery but after reading these posts, I believe I did the right thing. You are all so brave and I wish the best for each of you and your beloved pet. Aloha, Cheryl and best friend Steeler (GSD)

» Dianna said: { Feb 8, 2015 - 11:02:05 }

I noticed my six-year old German Shepherd’s third front left digit was swollen. At first I thought he may have bumped it while playing or running because it happened suddenly. I took him for a second opinion because the vet I was taking him to didn’t do anything for him. As soon as the other vet saw him, he scheduled him for an x-ray that very afternoon because it was a sign of cancer. He also told me he’d be looking at his lungs while my baby was sedated because this type of cancer usually spreads quickly. I thought I was going to die. It was cancer! Thankfully it hadn’t spread but the next day he was in surgery for amputation of that digit. My heart was broken. He is now running and playing happily.

» Dianna said: { Feb 8, 2015 - 11:02:27 }


» BRENDA said: { Apr 14, 2015 - 02:04:18 }

My lovely 11 and a half year old Alsation/Jack Russell mix dog, Alfie, had a bleeding toe yesterday after playing catching ball on the field. When I was cleaning it I noticed a tiny soft lump so I took him to the vet’s. He told me it could be cancer or a skin tag or a wart. He told me to watch for it growing.I asked him if he could do a test or something to tell, but he said it was better to see if it grew and he shaved the area so I could see the lump properly. Today it started bleeding again so I took him back to the vet’s. I saw a different vet and she told me it looked very nasty. She has taken a biopsy of the lump and bandaged it up. I have to go back in 2 days for the results. I am booked to go on holiday abroad with my 25 year old son next week for my 50th birthday. I don’t see him much. The vet told me to still go and that they will take his toe off and the wart like lump if it is cancerous. She said he will be okay staying with my friend that always looks after him when I go away. I don’t know what to do now. If it is cancer and he has his toe off how long does it take to recover ? It is his right back paw and his middle toe. She said she will x ray his lungs if it is cancer, but she said she thinks it has been caught early and that there is treatment. I don’t know what to do if it is cancer. Please give me advice. Thanks .