Everything you need to know about Greyhound Corns

Corns in greyhounds? Who would have thought? Whether you're just discovering that your long neck fren has greyhound corns or you've been grappling with this issue for some time, dealing with this "greyhound foot problem" can be overwhelming and stressful for greyhound parents.

Greyhound corns can have a significant impact on your dog's behaviour. Walking on hard and uneven surfaces, such as asphalt roads, can be painful. You may notice signs like getting a big no from your hound when it comes to walks, hesitation on stairs, lifting of the affected paw, lameness, or limping on solid ground. If you've observed any of these symptoms, it's possible that your greyhound is dealing with one or more corns. Continue reading to find out more.

What are corns, anyway?

These pesky things are like overgrown, keratinised skin growths, and for our furry friends, they tend to pop up in their paw pads. Picture tiny dots that eventually turn into hard lumps and break through the surface.

Now, here's where it gets ruff. If these corns are left to grow unchecked, they can cause some serious discomfort for our beloved greys. Imagine walking around with a sharp stone or a pebble stuck in your shoe—that's what it feels like for them! And let's not forget, doggy paws are packed with nerve endings, so you can bet they're really feeling the pain.

These corns go by a few names, like digital keratomas or footpad keratosis. They're pretty common among active greyhounds, and sometimes even the older ones get in on the action.

Why do corns occur in greyhounds? 

When it comes to the curious case of corns in greyhounds, the exact cause remains a bit of a mystery. While there isn't a definitive answer, several theories have been proposed to shed some light on why these troublesome foot problems occur.

Theory 1

One theory suggests that corns may arise when foreign elements, like tiny grains of sand, become lodged in the footpad. As the body reacts to these intruders, scar tissue gradually builds up, eventually leading to the formation of corns.

Theory 2

Another assumption points to infections within the footpad, potentially caused by factors such as clogged sweat ducts. These infections can contribute to the development of corns in greyhounds.

Theory 3

Lastly, continuous pressure on the footpad is thought to be a possible culprit. This prolonged pressure can cause the skin to react and form those stubborn corns.

It's important to note that whenever you notice changes in your greyhound's behaviour or signs of limping, seeking guidance from a veterinarian is crucial. They possess the expertise to properly diagnose and provide the best course of action for your furry friend.

For additional support and insights from fellow greyhound parents who have dealt with corns, I highly recommend checking out Greyhounds with Corns Facebook group. You'll find a wealth of videos and tips to navigate this unique challenge.

Remember, being proactive and seeking professional advice are key to ensuring your greyhound's well-being and keeping those corns at bay.

Why are greyhounds prone to corns?

When it comes to corns, greyhounds seem to have drawn the short straw compared to other dog breeds. Why? Well, it might all come down to their unique anatomical features.

As the sprinters of the dog world, greyhounds possess long and narrow paws with closely positioned pads. These specialised paws allow them to achieve remarkable speeds of up to 60km (36 miles) per hour! However, their sleek design might also be a contributing factor to their corn problem.

Another factor to consider is their lean body structure. It's possible that the lack of adequate fat distribution on the paw pads deprives them of essential cushioning. This uneven weight distribution could potentially be the cause of those pesky greyhound corns.

While this theory sheds some light on why Greyhounds are more prone to corns, it doesn't fully explain why corns can also affect other dog breeds.

Another theory proposes that Greyhounds have less protective tissue beneath their skin on the paws, which might make them more vulnerable to developing corns.

While we're not entirely sure about the exact reasons behind greyhound corns, one thing's for certain: it's a common problem among these speedy pups. So, if you've got a Greyhound by your side, it's crucial to stay informed and take proactive steps to keep their precious paws in tip-top shape.

How to spot corns on your greyhound's feet

Spotting greyhound corns on their feet requires a keen eye and attention to detail. Regularly examining your greyhound's paws is crucial in identifying these pesky foot problems. Look out for small, hard lumps or nodules on the soft pads of their feet. These corns may appear as discolored or raised areas, sometimes with a rough texture.

Here's an example of a greyhound corn:

Picture

Source: https://www.greysave.org/corns.html

Spotting corns on your greyhound's feet is important for early detection and timely treatment. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

Unusual lumps: Keep an eye out for hard lumps or bumps on the weight-bearing toes, particularly the third and fourth digits. Corns can also make their appearance in the center footpads, so make sure to give those areas a thorough inspection.

Painful reactions: Apply gentle pressure to the suspected corn area and watch for any signs of discomfort. If your greyhound lets out a yelp, growls, or lifts the affected paw, it's a strong indicator of corns causing them pain.

Changes in behavior: Watch for any changes in your greyhound's behavior. If they start hesitating or showing reluctance to walk on hard surfaces, prefer to keep the affected paw off the ground, or exhibit a shift in their gaze, it could be a clear sign of corns bothering them.

Long nails and corns: Take note if your greyhound has long nails on the toe adjacent to the affected area. This can be an additional sign that they are experiencing corns.

By being an attentive pet parent and keeping an eye out for these signs, you can identify corns on your greyhound's feet. Remember, if you notice any of these indications, it's best to seek advice from a local vet in order to receive a proper diagnosis and determine the most suitable treatment plan for your furry mate.

How to remove my greyhound’s corn

Removing your greyhound's corn should always be done under the guidance of a veterinarian. It's important to avoid attempting to remove the corn yourself, as improper methods can lead to more pain and potential complications. Your vet is equipped with the expertise and tools necessary to safely address the corn. They may recommend various treatment options, such as trimming the corn, applying medicated solutions, or even considering surgical intervention in certain cases. 

As always, your vet is your best mate and they can provide valuable guidance on preventive measures and management strategies to minimise the risk of corn recurrence. Remember, seeking professional veterinary care is essential for the well-being and proper treatment of your greyhound's corn. 

While we're not experts in corn removal, one potential treatment option worth exploring is the soak and hulling method. This method involves soaking the affected area in warm water to soften the corn, followed by carefully removing the hardened tissue. Read on the find out how you can remove the corns at home.

Treating Greyhound Corns: Methods and Tips

Hulling Method

After soaking in a warm Epsom Salt bath, or softening the paw with a Balm (we use a dog balm with all natural ingredients such as this one), you can start the hulling process. Hulling is a non-surgical treatment of corn on a dog’s feet. It’s basically reducing the size of the corn or digging the corn out by constant trimming. This is a popular DIY method for greyhound owners once they have visited the vet. This is a cost effective way to treat the greyhound corn, but the downside is that the corns tend to reappear. We use a few different tweezers for this process.

We’ve linked some good videos below that you can get you started:

How to remove a greyhound's corn with only your fingers

Corn Hulling

Stick to Soft Surfaces

Minimise discomfort by having your greyhound walk on soft surfaces whenever possible. Taking them for walks on grassy areas can provide a more gentle environment for their paws. In cases where grassy areas aren't available, investing in dog booties with good toe cushioning can offer additional protection.

Moisturising

Applying a moisturising liquid, such as coconut oil, or a balm, to the corn area can help soften the hardened tissue. Ensure that your greyhound doesn't lick off the coconut oil to avoid any potential issues.

Keep Nails Short

We know that this isn’t necessarily a treatment, but it’s good practice to always keep your greyhound nails short. We simply do this using the ACL method using a dremel (best resource we found about this topic is this Facebook group). It’s so quick and easy, especially with some peanut butter to keep our greyhound occupied. Shorter nails can help the dogs to put less pressure on their pads, so we always make sure to keep our Pepper’s nails nice and short!

Surgery to Remove the Root of the Corn

In certain cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to eliminate the root cause of the corn. However, it's important to note that the likelihood of corn regrowth can vary among individual dogs. Before opting for surgery, it's crucial to gather information, conduct thorough research, and seek professional advice from your vet to determine if this treatment option is suitable for your greyhound.

We personally tried this method in conjunction with our greyhound's dental care when she underwent anesthesia. Initially, we found it to be effective for a period of six months to a year, but unfortunately, we observed the gradual return of the corns over time.

Remember, treating greyhound corns requires personalized care, as what may work for one dog may not work for another. Consulting with a veterinarian will provide you with tailored guidance and ensure the best possible treatment plan for your greyhound's specific needs.

Flexor Tenotomy

Flexor Tenotomy has recently become an accepted treatment for corns in the UK, and Australia. It’s a slightly controversial method - some swear by it, and some think it’s cruel or too new of a procedure. We recommend you do some research on this, but to get you started, Hunny from HunnyBoots surgery is documented here, or another really good resource is the Flexor Tenotomy: Greyhound with Corns private Facebook group. 

Final Thoughts 

Preventive strategies and early intervention in place, your greyhound's paw health can be safeguarded. Be attentive to their needs and consult with a veterinarian for personalised guidance.

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