Strange senior cat claw problem! Anyone seen it before?

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by Ann & Scatcats, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Ann & Scatcats

    Ann & Scatcats Well-Known Member

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    Dec 31, 2009
    As my Gustav, now 17, has gotten older, a few of his front claws has started to grow abnormally thick, making them very difficult to cut. It has been manageble though, but now at this old age, they have become even more abnormally thick and also grows into the pad.

    Has anyone seen this in other seniors and knows what can cause this?

    Here are pics under were it says "Gustav's old claws, growing in a strange way" with pics of the normal thin claws and the abnormal thick claws.

    http://felinediseases.weebly.com/claw-problems.html
     
  2. badams

    badams Member

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    Oct 1, 2011
    My cat, Sydney, lived to be nearly 20. She had that problem with the thick claws and growing into the pad. I just had to keep an eye on them and keep them cut. She did not like having them cut, of course. I have read that kitties claws start growing thicker with age...just like they do on us older beans.
     
  3. MelanieAndRacci

    MelanieAndRacci Well-Known Member

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    May 19, 2010
    My Calli's claws used to grow into her paws like that. They were not thick though. Her poor paws would get all irritated because she was so bad about letting us cut them. It took the two of us and we could only do two paws at a time usually. I had a special medicated cream for her feet. I don't remember what it was though.

    Melanie
     
  4. Ann & Scatcats

    Ann & Scatcats Well-Known Member

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Thanks. Seems to be an oldie thing then. I will set up an appointment for him with the vets at the animal hospital and see if they can help me getting them cut.
     
  5. Jess & Earl

    Jess & Earl Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Hi Ann

    I have seen these superclaws in hyperthyroid cats, so I would test his thyroid if you have not done so in the past 3-6 months. If it's not that, it's likely that he is not grooming or clawing (scratching) anymore. This is often because of arthritis in older cats. The nail is actually not overly thick, it's just built up; it's a little hard to explain. You've probably seen empty nail "husks" or "sheaths" lying around on the floor at some point. To stay sharp, the cat's claw sheds a layer of nail and there's a sharp claw underneath. (If it grew like a regular nail, ours or a dog's, the nail tip would be dull.) Cats shed this by clawing at things (with their front claws) or by pulling on the nails (they do this mostly with back claws, sometimes with front). You have also probably seen your cats grooming their back feet and really pulling on their toes, that is what they are doing.

    So, long nails means he's not clawing things with his front legs and not pulling on his back toes, and that makes me concerned about joint pain (hips and shoulders/elbows). You also need to cut his nails regularly, obviously :) You'll see that once you cut the tip, the rest of the overgrown nail almost flakes off, and there will be a normal size nail underneath.
     
  6. Ann & Scatcats

    Ann & Scatcats Well-Known Member

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Thanks Jess. I'll have him tested for thyroid too. How do the vets do an arthritis investigation? By x-ray?
     
  7. Grayson & Lu

    Grayson & Lu Well-Known Member

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    Jan 9, 2012
    Hi Ann -

    I've not seen them nearly as thick as your pics, but some of my kids have a couple of nails that tend to grow thicker like that. When you cut them, it's just as described previously in the thread. They are like outer layers that peel off, exposing the [now shorter] nail. I do all the cats' manis and pedis every two weeks. It's a project and some don't like it, but it's the house rules! :lol: Honestly, it's easier to do all the cats than it is to do my dog Dom! I have to have someone hold him on their lap, then I cut. Fortunately, it usually comes with a playdate, so he's a little more agreeable!

    Lu-Ann
     
  8. nwnews

    nwnews Member

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    Dec 11, 2011
    HI Ann, I have a 19 year old cat, Sitka, who also has the thick, white claws too. She doesn't scratch much anymore because she is severely arthritic and she has also pulled some of her nails out when she has had seizures (she is epileptic). What I do is use people nail clippers to clip the nail. There doesn't seem to be any blood vesses in the nail and she doesn't react when I use the nail clippers on them. So I do think its an old cat thing. Jan
     
  9. Jess & Earl

    Jess & Earl Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Your vet can do it with a physical exam usually. If they want to do x-rays, they should use sedation (some pain medication) because it can be painful for an animal with arthritis. But most vets will just do a thorough exam on an elderly cat like yours, rather than put them through x-rays.
     
  10. Ann & Scatcats

    Ann & Scatcats Well-Known Member

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Thank you all!

    Gustav is seeing the specialist Björn Åblad next Tuesday 21st. We'll do the full blood work, thyroid test, sterile urine analysis, check his blood pressure, weigh him, check his claws, and do arthritis exam even if we take x-rays. I like him examined and helped thoroughly.
     
  11. Sharon & Ramsey

    Sharon & Ramsey New Member

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    Aug 29, 2010
    I have the same problem with Ramsey who is almost 16. He hates getting his claws clipped at home so I take him to the vet every 3 months just to make sure that his nails don't grow into his pads. It's a nuisance because he is not a good traveller (barfs and/or poops in his carrier EVERY time he goes in the car) but that seems to be lesser of two evils. Good luck!
     
  12. Julie and Eleanor

    Julie and Eleanor Well-Known Member

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    Jan 31, 2012
    I have the same problem with Mistaya who will be 17 in April and is HyperThyroid. I keep them cut and the thick layers peeled off. She hates it and I can only do a couple claws at a time!
     
  13. Ann & Scatcats

    Ann & Scatcats Well-Known Member

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Update on Gustav.

    He saw the vet last Tuesday and we tested for thyroid problems but the result showed he didn't have any thyroid problems.

    It was such an ordeal of a visit though with blood pressure measuring, sterile urine sample testing and blood work testing, and he got all hissy and upset, so I decided we shouldn't do any arthitis examination this time.

    I also bought a larger dog nail scissors and cut away the thick claws, and it was as said a normal claw in there. So for this time he is rid of those abornally thick claws.

    Thank you all for your input!
     
  14. Jess & Earl

    Jess & Earl Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Hi Ann

    Even without an exam, you can still start joint supplements. You can put a call in to your vet to see what product they recommend for kitties.
     
  15. Becky & Morlei

    Becky & Morlei Member

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    Jan 2, 2012
    Thank you for posting this Ann, Morlei is only 8.5 years old and has had this issue. A few months ago we had to take her in to the vet because the claw had grown into the pad and was infected. We now check her paws once a week to make sure everything is ok. However, I am now concerned because she isn't older like the other cats that are having this issue. I also didn't know it can be a symptom of hyperthroidism...so I'm taking her into the vet today to get a quick blood test for it. Just the screening, we don't need the full panel unless it comes back positive. All her other symptoms (excessive drinking & urinating, increased appetite, weight loss) have been controlled with the insulin but I just want to make sure this isn't the reason why her numbers aren't budging. And we definitely need to rule this out before we switch to Lantus.
     
  16. Dana & Thomas

    Dana & Thomas Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Thomas has one of those thick claws on his left back foot. The clip clopping on the floor really bugs me. I wonder why it is only the one nail.
    Dana
     
  17. Patty & Champ

    Patty & Champ Well-Known Member

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    Apr 6, 2011
    Your vet can show you how to peel off these dried "husks" of the nail. Some cats just don't scratch enough to do it naturally. My cat will actually "bite" his nails while he's grooming to try to get rid of them.
     

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