Renee and her 18-month-old Newfoundland, Gus, just moved into a house near a small lake in our area and were looking forward to playing fetch in the water together. Newfoundlands are known for their love of anything wet.
One day, not long after she moved, Renee took Gus with his favorite fetching toy, down to the lake and began tossing the toy. Gus enthusiastically went after it again and again and brought it back to her hand, just as he was taught.
As she was throwing, Renee looked down and saw something red in the grass. Nothing seemed amiss with Gus, so Renee was not concerned until she noticed red stains wherever Gus walked. She made him lie down so she could look at his feet. Three were fine, but then she noticed blood coming from his back right foot. She quickly wrapped her sock around it and brought him in.
An Ounce of Prevention:
Keeps This Scenario From Happening to Your Dog
Before walking your dog in an unfamiliar area, or going for a swim at an unfamiliar beach, check for broken glass or other sharp objects that can injure your dog's delicate footpads.
The sock was soaked through by the time she walked the big black dog into the clinic. We placed him on his side not difficult since Gus assumed he would get his underside scratched. We cleaned off the blood, and examined the foot to discover the main pad of that foot was nearly sliced in half! We could not believe he didn't protest walking on it, but Renee said Gus was one of the most stoic dogs she had known.
We sedated him, cleaned and disinfected the wound, sutured it, and put on a dressing and a spoon-shaped splint. We gave Renee antibiotics for Gus (a substantial quantity, since he was a 120-lb dog!) and instructed her to come back in a week for us to change the dressing. Foot pad injuries take a long time to heal - sometimes 4 weeks or more, so several rechecks and bandage changes would be necessary. We warned Renee that since the wound was in an area of the body that would receive a lot of pressure, she should be aware that the sutures might pop out and to bring him in right away if that happened. In a case where the sutures pop out (the term for this is dehiscence), the wound needs to heal from the inside out and takes longer to mend. We also advised that Gus should limit the time he spent on his feet if at all possible no small feat for an adolescent giant breed.
Gus was able to walk when he left albeit unsteadily and we helped him into the car. Although Renee called before her appointment with one concern or another, Gus healed well. Renee now swims Gus in a safe lake and scrutinizes any area she and Gus frequent for broken glass.