What We’ve Learned About Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy

Paw of a German Shepherd with Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy
Broken Toenails may be more Serious than Your Dog Just Being a Klutz
July 18, 2013
August 21, 2013
Show all

What We’ve Learned About Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy

This past month has been depressing, maddening and exhausting for me and painful and depressing for Riley. Since he was diagnosed with SLO I’ve spent mega-hours on the Internet researching Symmetical Lupoid Onychodystrophy. I want to share our experience with it and what I’ve learned so far because one of the things we work hard to do here at Riley’s Place is to try to help educate people so they can be better dog owners with happier, safer and healthier dogs.

I’ve had several crying jags and for a full solid day and a half I was so angry about the pain he’s in and what’s happening to him that I wanted to punch out every wall I could find. I managed to get through it without punching or trashing anything but it wasn’t easy. Because his disease was more likely preventable than not, I wrestle a lot with my guilt over not knowing this could happen and the “if onlys” which are tough for me to work out in my head. Beating myself up over this isn’t going to help Riley and I have to keep reminding myself of that — but reminders don’t make my guilt go away.

So, I’m going to continue the saga of Riley’s broken nails in the hopes that I can save at least one dog from getting it. Please remember that I’m not a veterinarian nor do I hold any licenses or certifications in any veterinary medicine field. I am simply sharing what I’ve learned through my own research and experience with our Riley’s SLO.

What is Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy?

SLO is an autoimmune disease which affects the toenails. Autoimmune of course means that the body is attacking itself. SLO occurs when the dog’s body forms antibodies against their own toenails, it’s like the body launches it’s own private war which destroys the dog’s nails. Some of you may think “So big hairy deal! They’re just toenails, they’ll grow back.” I got a news flash for ya — it’s not that simple and it is a big deal mostly because it’s so painful for them. There was one article I read titled “Hell’s Nails” which is absolutely right-on target!

What are the Symptoms of SLO?

I combined the symptoms found on the Grassmere Animal Hospital and Bloodaxe websites into one list:

  • multiple nail loss from more than one paw – eventually all nails will probably be lost
  • licking the nails
  • visible oozing around the base of the nail
  • receding quicks
  • separation or splitting of the nail from the quick usually on the underside of the nail
  • nails “lift up” like you lift the hood of your car or a hinged jewelry box
  • pain and limping
  • distorted or twisted nails
  • discolored or rough looking nails or quicks where the nails used to be
  • infection often with a strong odor
  • lameness

How is SLO Diagnosed?

A definitive diagnosis can only be achieved through a biopsy. Because a toe must be amputated for biopsy this is considered an extreme measure and is only performed if absolutely necessary. The symptoms themselves are alarming and definitive enough that in most cases the dog just begins treatment. Our vet first consulted with the Dermatology department at U.W. Veterinary Hospital in Madison, WI and they advised her to not even bother with things like cultures or biopsies. Based on his symptoms — SLO was the only possible diagnosis.

What Triggers SLO?

Since SLO is still considered a rare disease at this point in time, unfortunately no one knows 100% for sure what causes it. There are a number of studies on it with various possibilities including genetics, vaccinations, allergies and one site even mentioned a dog that was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at about the same time he was diagnosed with Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy. Even if one day someone figures out what causes SLO, we may learn it’s not just one single thing.

One thing I consider strange is that after years of being on the same dose of thyroid medicine, Riley’s annual blood test for his hypothryoidism came back just a tad on the high side. On retest three months later the results were the same and was originally attributed to him having gotten older and simply needing a dosage adjustment. Whether or not his hypothyroidism is involved somehow we don’t know for sure but because of that and the timing, I suspect it is.

German Shepherds are one of the breeds most often diagnosed with SLO and this is where genetics may play a role. But the actual trigger for Riley’s SLO we now believe were the normal common annual vaccinations he received in April. Although he may be genetically predisposed to being a victim of SLO, everything falls into place and points to the vaccinations as being the actual trigger.

Neither of our dogs will be receiving any more vaccinations of any kind — ever. The one vaccine I may not be able to get around is rabies but I’m going to find out if I can get a medical exemption for both our dogs — especially Riley. The state of Wisconsin does have a medical waiver law for rabies but I still have to find out how this works. I will be speaking with our city health department and other city officials and if I can prove through obtaining a blood titer test which shows he’s still protected from rabies it just might work.

It’s looking like the rabies vaccine may protect a dog for at least five and as long as seven years now! More information on this is available on the Rabies Challenge Fund website. I strongly suggest you educate yourselves on what over-vaccinating our dogs can do to them. It’s not pretty. Our entire country is over-vaccinating dogs (and not just with rabies vaccines) thinking this is what good dog parents are supposed to do to keep them safe from disease. Today’s reality is that most dogs are likely protected for many more years and sometimes for life by the vaccines they received when they are very young. All these annual vaccines we give our dogs is doing them more harm than good. Seriously, learn more about this.

Is there a Cure for SLO?

SLO is forever, currently there is no cure and it’s not contagious. This is a lifelong illness that one can only attempt to manage with treatment. Even if you get it under control, it can flair up at any time and there is no guarantee you will be able to get it under control. Some say summer seems to be a popular time of year for SLO flare ups.

What is the Treatment for SLO?

Antibiotics are prescribed (Doxycycline is popular for SLO) along with a version of vitamin B called Niacinamide. Add fish oil (salmon oil is suggested as being the best fish oil for this) and vitamin E as you always should give vitamin E along with fish oil. He cannot have any dairy products (he misses his fruit yogurt mixed with cottage cheese desserts!) because dairy products bind with the antibiotic making them less effective.

A word of warning, when giving your dog higher than normal doses of things like fish oil and vitamin E be wary of injuries that bleed because these products can cause anticoagulation of the blood among other risks. Over time fish oil can deplete the body of it’s normal vitamin E so you give the vitamin E to prevent this deficiency.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from SLO, please do not just begin treatment on your own. Always see your vet first and get a diagnosis, preferably without a biopsy. A dermatology vet can most likely diagnose without a biopsy. Treatment should be administered only under your vet’s care. The pain-killer Meloxicam was also prescribed for him. Riley does not handle pain killers well, they upset his tummy so I did not give them to him every day. I chose his bad days to give him pain meds.

It’s recommended to give your dog probiotics when they’re on any kind of antibiotic. Riley started refusing to eat his meals and I knew it was because something was upsetting his tummy. Since I hadn’t given him any pain meds for several days I knew it had to be something else which turned out to be the Doxy. These meds must be given with food so eating is a requirement for treatment. I picked up some probiotics at Walgreens (they keep them in the fridge in the pharmacy but it’s an over-the-counter product) and gave him one that morning. By dinner time he was eating again and has been eating fine since as long as I give him a probiotic capsule every morning.

Niacinamide should not be mistaken for or replaced with what is only thought to be something similar. When I went to Walgreens the first time to pick some up I couldn’t find Niacinamide so I asked the pharmacist who told me that the other products I saw on the shelf were the same thing and that I would never find a stand-alone version of Niacinamide. Niacin was just one of these products, it contains Niacinamide but is not directly Niacinimide. I checked further when I got home and found the pharmacist was incorrect. There is a difference and I did find straight Niacinamide at Vitacost. You need the non-flushing formula — the last thing your dog needs is to have to put up with hot flashes while they’re suffering from SLO!

I found that the homeopathic remedy called Hypericum Perf. 30X which is for nerve pain seems to be helpful in keeping him from licking his toenails so much. I was waking up and coming home to his dog pillows being literally soaked in doggie slobber from him licking his nails — usually when one is on it’s way off. Can you imagine licking your fingers for hours on end? If I keep him dosed on this the licking is minimal and sometimes non-existent.

I just picked up his second month’s supply of antibiotics. My vet thinks it’s possible he’ll have to be on antibiotics the rest of his life. I sure hope not, from what I’ve found the nail loss stage usually runs 8-12 weeks and then the antibiotics will likely be phased out. DO NOT just stop the antibiotics cold turkey, they must be phased out gradually. Do not phase them out without your vet’s ok and only after having been given directions on how to phase them out.

Is SLO Fatal?

I haven’t found any evidence that your dog will literally die from it directly but think about this; if your dog gets SLO and you do nothing to help him, he may eventually not be able to walk because he’s in so much pain. If your dog can’t walk, what’s the solution? That’s right, you put him out of his misery — he dies at the end of a needle or in some cases — he’s taken out into a field somewhere and stares terrified down the barrel of a gun wondering what he did wrong that his best friend is doing this to him until it’s over.

At our house this makes SLO a potentially fatal disease. There are too many people who’d not seek veterinary help just because their dog is loosing toenails. They just wouldn’t consider toenail loss as something to spend money on a vet for and so their dog would suffer and possibly go lame. I learned my lesson when Riley was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and so we don’t mess around if something seems not quite right with them. If our dogs become ill, we do everything we can (cost be damned!) to get them healthy. If there comes a point in time that their quality of life deteriorates to the point they’re suffering with no way whatsoever to stop their suffering to the point that we would only keeping them alive for our own selfish reasons, we’ll be forced to have them euthanized.

To us this means dogs could indirectly die as a result of SLO. Kind of reminds me of people involved in serious accidents — they may not pass away for months or years but the cause of their death was the original accident or complications from it.

What’s Life Like for Riley Now?

He’s still not through the nail loss stage so he’s still in a lot of pain and limps quite often. To date he’s not grown any nails back, all you can see are the quicks that used to have nails covering them and the actual lifting action seems to have slowed. It’s now getting to be late August and we originally realized that something was wrong the first week of June with SLO diagnosis in mid-July so it’s been a very long summer. Having lost his back nails, dew claws and some front nails his front feet are still being affected. I think it’s possible the treatment has slowed the nail loss but I can’t say for sure and we haven’t had any blood baths in several weeks. The photo below was taken this morning:

Riley's left front foot

Currently his front feet are flatter than normal and his toes are more spread out. His front nails look long and normally black in color are now various states of bi-color. He walks kinda floppy footed on his front feet, think of a clown walking wearing those huge flat shoes. The walk is exaggerated and he takes more of a deliberate step rather than having a dog’s natural gate. Because of his pain our almost daily walks are down to maybe one every week or 10 days. His back feet seem to not be too painful but I really don’t think he’s totally pain free there either.

He spends a lot of time laying around looking very depressed. The photo at the top of this page is how Riley spent most of his summer. I always thought it would be nice to have a couch potato for a dog, this is not what I had in mind. Where he used to go charging up the stairs when it was time for bed, he now lays on the floor and has no interest in coming upstairs to be with Nissa and me. I don’t know how long it takes for him to join us, but when I get up he’s always there so he does manage to maneuver the stairs sometime after we are sleeping. There have been a number of instances where his Dad has carried him upstairs because he couldn’t do it on his own. It breaks my heart to leave him downstairs but unfortunately, I don’t have the strength to carry him upstairs myself. To do so would probably cause us to both tumble down the stairs. I tried this when he had his hip surgery and found out quickly (but without incident) this is not something I can do for him. He can’t jump into my SUV so if I have to take him somewhere I have to lift him into my vehicle.

One good day I took them to the field about two weeks ago. I checked first, it had been mowed. I knew he’d probably just walk rather than run with Nissa which is exactly how it went. But at least he got out of the house for a little while into some new but familiar surroundings and just as important Nissa got in a little romp time which she’s been cheated out of all summer.

He’s lost some weight and looks thin, I’d say he’s lost at least 2-3 pounds. That may not seem like much but it’s noticeable. His coat has dulled and I’m hoping it’s only because he needs a bath badly. I can’t see making him stand in pain for several hours just to bathe and blow him dry. That just seems cruel, so we do a lot of brushing and I spritz him with our favorite doggie cologne a couple times a week.

Adding to his discomfort is the fact that he’s also blowing his coat the past month or so which is an uncomfortable time for dogs. I tell ya, my boy just can’t catch a break.

I really want this nail loss stage to be over and to see new nail growth. That’s supposedly when his pain stops and his life can begin to get back to some kind of normal. I also want my Riley back, annoying, irritating quirks and all!

Update – April 18, 2014 – Giving Your Dog Pentoxifylline for SLO

I just had a one-on-one meeting with our vet yesterday regarding switching Riley to Pentoxifylline or adding it to his medications for his SLO. We decided to not put him on Pentoxifylline due to the potential side effects and the fact that he’s doing well on his current meds. My vet and I agree that if it’s not broke don’t fix it and so far his meds are working so why mess with it? We of course don’t know what the future holds and are not ruling out use of Pentoxifylline in the future if what he’s getting now fails for some reason. Our vet put some notes in Riley’s chart on this for future reference. We will however, not just jump into Pentoxifylline if it seems we need to do something different. We would at that point, investigate every available option before putting it into his medication regime.

The potential side effects are alarming for me and our dogs. As our vet described it can be like giving your dog caffeine. It can affect the central nervous system much the same as the theofylline or theobromine does in chocolate which is what makes chocolate so toxic to dogs. Even if it would not be toxic for him, it could increase his excitement level and that’s one big thing we do not want to happen in him. He can get quite (overly!) excited enough on his own without help from some drug. You’d know what I meant if you could see him “greet” the mailman every day, LOL! Not pretty!

It’s always been my understanding that continued use of antibiotics can cause the antibiotic to become ineffective which is the reason I checked into switching him to the Pentoxifylline in the first place. Don’t ask me for the doctor/scientific mumbo-jumbo cuz I don’t remember all that, but the basic gist of things is that there are two ways antibiotics work and in the case of using them for SLO as they are used, the antibiotic becoming ineffective is not an issue.  That was enough for me and along with the rest of what I got from our vet, we nixed the use of Pentoxifylline at least at this point.


  1. Andrea says:


    Thank you for sharing all of this information. My dog was recently diagnosed with SLO. I am considering changing his diet and wondered if you had any thoughts. I think that genetics and vaccines are probably the reason he got the disease but feel that diet is important for overall good health.


  2. Diane says:

    Our GSD, Carley was diagnosed with Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) just a little over a year ago and just recently SLO (lost 3 nails). These diseases appear to be related. She is almost 9 years old. She was a healthy active dog until we moved to a new city where rabies shots are compulsory. About 6 weeks after the shot her nose was a mess. She’d had only her puppy shots and that was all. She had a biopsy done at Guelph to confirm this. She is currently on Doxycycline, Niacinamide for the lupus and nails and Derramax and cartrophen for hip dysplasia. She is on a grain free diet. She has an allergy to fish, but I will add vitamin E. She has her good days and not so good days. At times we think its time to let her go then she rallies and all seems much better.

    Thanks for everyone’s input… it was a great help.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Diane,

      I’m sorry to hear about Carley’s medical issues, poor girl. I would be careful if she’s allergic to fish with adding the vitamin E, you might want to ask your vet first and even if he gives the OK I would watch her closely.

      It’s so hard to make that final decision. Dogs do have a way of rallying when you least expect it just as sometimes people do. You do what you can for them and when it’s her time to say good-bye I think she will let you know. It’s kind of a heat & soul thing for me. To me 9 is not necessarily old for a dog but I know pretty much the rest of the world thinks otherwise. Riley is just over 8 right now and he’s no where near ready to leave us, thank goodness. We wish you and Carley all the best and I’m glad you found some help here.

  3. Vanetta Coy says:

    my 1 year old boxer s nails lifted from his quicks he was in so much pain i took him to the vets who said they had never seen this before and he sould be ok in a week a week later after the antibiotic had finished i took him back only to be given more i read up alot about this disease on this site thank you to all comments they helped. i found it easier and less stressful for my dog that i would shower him in warm water soak all his feet in hibi scrub and each night one nail would be much looseer than the others i wiuld easily pull it off i keep him in the shower until it has stopped bleeding when i have dried his feet i cover in wound powder he now has no nails at all left. My question now is does anyone know if his nails will grow back im hoping not . regards v coy –

    • Mom says:

      Hi Vanetta,

      It’s my understanding that this depends on the dog. Riley’s grew back but they don’t look like they used to. I personally am glad they grew back because that means he can still use them for their intended use such as scratching himself for example. Can you imagine having to scratch yourself without your nails? Sounds like a frustrating experience to me so I would not like my dog denied of this. Not having nails also puts your dog at a disadvantage should he ever need them for protecting himself. Although dogs don’t normally scratch other dogs, it’s comforting to me to know that with nails they can if they need to.


  4. Britny says:

    I have a five year old siberian husky who now has this. She has been under anaesthetic twice to have many of them cut right back as t has taken such a hold. Vet sad really they could all do with being done but too painful to do that to her. We are on the salmon oil , tetracycline and niaciminide although vet not convinced on this working.
    Our vet is keen to use steroids too but we are reluctant to give in t those in the first instance.
    Us and vet opted not to do the toe amputation for biopsy. She has had full thyroid and other blood panel all those results fine and nail clippings didn’t show fungal or bacterial cause so basically this is our diagnosis based in being the only logical diagnosis.
    tally’s started a week after she was spayed she got a nasty nail bed infection. After three courses. Antbiotics it came back so she was anaesthetised and it taken off. Few weeks later another nail did e same and we thought they all looked bad. She went under again and had a lot of the nails removed.
    tally is a high energy working siberian husky and working. Season is just about to start here. Due to her spay and the nails she has had no formal exercise since june :(
    Luckily she is a happy stoical dog so is her happy self and playing with the others but becoming increasingly frustrated and is likely to become depressed when the others start running.
    This is our vets first case of this s she is researching madly but being honest about never having come across a dog with it before.
    I hope we can get improvement soon a husky that can’t work is a very unhappy husky.
    Sadly i spite of me asking on husky forums no one wants to admit to having a dog with it so i am feeling very alone.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Britny,

      Awww, I’m sorry you feel alone. I think you probably know now that you found us you’re not, there are lots of people and dogs going through this and now you’ve found a place to help alleviate your loneliness. You might even find at least one more husky on this blog, I think there is at least one more.

      Nice to hear of a vet that although unfamiliar with SLO is being pro-active in finding help for your dog. I urge you to have your vet contact a dermatology vet, they are the ones supposed to be most familiar with this disease and he might find more help with less time invested in researching.

      I’m glad you didn’t do the biopsy!

      By season I don’t know if you mean breeding season or sledding but in either case I think if Tally were my dog I’d have her sit this season out. She’s in a lot of pain and both breeding and running is in my mind only going to increase her pain. Depression isn’t fun for us or our dogs, but it beats the alternative of causing her more pain, that’s my thinking anyway. I would probably keep her home rather than letting her see the activity that’s going to depress her. I know when a dog needs to fulfill their activity level it’s not fun to deny them this but I’m looking at the big picture and not just a small part of it. Maybe you could come up with some other activity for her that would be helpful in keeping her depression away but not quite so physically stressful? Or if your vet contacts a derm vet, perhaps ask them what their recommendation is on this?

      We wish you well and for your Tally to recover soon. Come back and visit any time you like!

      • britny says:


        Tally hasn’ responded well yet to the EFA, tetracycline and niacinamide. We had to make the decision to put her under anaesthetic again and bave all the claws cut back to the bone. All of her claws were split, coming off the nail bed and starting to re infect. Vet agreed that to alleviate her long term pain it was necessary to put her through the discomfort of cutting them all down.
        The three main vets at the practice all looked at her and all her notes and agreed that we could no longer hold off starting steroids.
        We are on a very highg immunosuppressant dose which isnt agreeing with her. She is very quiet(also still on tramadol for the pain), has had a bad dose of collitis and is peeing like crazy.

        I was referring to working/ racing season not a breeding season. She has become quite withdrawn not interacting with the other dogs (she is usually the life and soul of the house) she is very depressed (we have begun race training the other dogs she gets left at home with two oldies but she knows the others are out running).
        Our vet has been speaking to a specialist (we are a long way from such vets). We have an appointment later this week to assess how she is doung with the steroids.
        If we don’t see an improvement soon we will seek referral to the vet school down south but with my partner working abroad and me no holidays left at work going there will be quite problematic.
        To try and lift her spirits i took her along with some of my other dogs to the hydrotherapy pool. Vet says no to swimming at the moment but just took her today to just get out the house and get cuddles from dfferent people. She has perked up after her trip out.
        Its difficult with her feet currently healung cant even put her in the runs/garden with the others as if she runs about will knock the tops off her healing feet. So she is pretty much housebound at present.
        Ive been pretty down and lot of crying past coule of weeks. Its so jard seeing my usually happy very energetic dog so miserable.
        The lady who makes my sled dog supplies can make me some toughtec reinforced sled dog booties. Going to see what vet thinks about if claws start growing back to some short gentle jogging in the forest wearing those later in the winter. Tally is a dog who really needs to be doing something active so fingers crossed the sterouds kck in and she starts to make some progress.

        • Mom says:

          Oh your poor, Tally. It sounds like her SLO is just absolutely unbearable! This is one of the worst cases I personally have heard about and I’m so sorry for all of you and yes, fingers are crossed!

          Although we love that you joined in our discussion and hope you’ll keep us posted, if I might suggest joining the SLO group over at Yahoo? You may just find more help and information there than we have here on our website. I’m just one person with one dog who has SLO joined by other people who’s dog has SLO. There are many people in that group with SLO dogs that have been dealing with it for a number of years. I hope you’ll seriously consider this as a step to helping your Tally and yourself for that matter. You must be so stressed!

          Best of luck and keep us informed I hope?

          • Britny alfonzetti says:

            Thought i would give you an update on Tally.
            The steroids have brought the symptoms of the SLO under control. The nail beds are no longer wet, toes no longer inflamed and nails staying attached to the nail bed. They are very slowly growing back.
            She started on a very high steroid dose of 8 tablets a day for two months. Since then we have slowly been reducing the dose and she is now on two tablets a day along woth he salmon oil, niacimide and vitamin e. Vet cutting the doxicycline for now because the steroid is already weakening her immune system.
            The steroids have changed her personality greatly, she is pretty lethargic, wants to lie alone on kitchen floor and doesn’t interact much with us or the other dogs. Her muscles have ateophied completely because of the steroids (even her head has changed shape).
            Late October because tally was so depressed and nails were making progress vet gave me the ok to put booties on her to jog with her and to take her to hydrotherapy.
            We are doing about 1.5 miles at a steady trot, she sometimes stumbles a bit but is much happier doing an activity a few days a week.
            She loves her afternoons at hydrotherapy. She started gently ina buoyancy harness. She really enjoys it. She goes in first then gets to hang round the pool while the others get swum and gets lots of fuss and cuddles. Last week she did her first swim without a buoyancy harness and with the jets on a little to get her working harder. She did really well.
            She seems brighter last couple of days since she dropped to two steroids a day, is starting to come back in living room a bit and have a little cuddle. Hopefully this is us turning a corner with her.
            As hers has been so severe vet is keen to keep her on maintenence steroid dose (hopefully one tablet on alternate days) for a long while. I guess our biggest obstacle is that by the time we can physically see a flare then the damage is already done.
            I have been sharing my experiences on the siberian husky breed club forums in the Uk so that should anyone encounter this then they have a little info to go on.
            Us and vet wonder if this is connected to a skin problem she had as a puppy. Her and two close relatives had what prsented like zinc responsive dermatosis (common in sled dog breeds). It was particularly agressive in all threee dogs. The other two responded to zinc therapy hers did not. Hers did improve itself to a small patch which tended to flare when she came into season (hence the decision to spay her).
            We wonder if the spaying kickstarted the SLO as it can triple the chances of hypothyroidism so its not a huge stretch that as this is also an Autoimmune problem that the spaying tripped it. Incidentally hee skin is now completely clear!

          • Mom says:

            Hi Britny,

            Thank you so much for the updates on Tally. I’m happy to hear she’s doing better but like you worry about the darn steroids. You’ve already seen some negative results with her misshapen head and other nasty side-effects. You are so kind and good to take her to hydro!

            I personally do not think spaying her had anything whatsoever to do with triggering her SLO.


          • Britny says:

            Thought i would give you a Tally update. The nails are coming back slowly, they aren’t great but at least are not brittle or wet at the nail bed.
            We have been slowly tapering down the steroids. As the medication reduced tally’s personality started coming back.
            She has been going to hydrotherapy a couple of months now and i jog a mile or so with her in booties.
            On hydrotherapy day she swims first then just hangs in the pool area while the others swim. She loves this, lots of attention and gravy bones. She is always more cheerful swim day!
            At new year we stayed at friends to have a training day with our dogs on their forest trail. As i was recovering from flu i decided i would cycle slowly with her rather than jog. I let her set the pace and well she did some loping as well as fast trotting. I got lost so we ended up doung about four miles. She was so happy with herself.
            Bit by bit her depression is improving. Over last few weeks she has rejoined us in the living room for cuddles rather than lying in kitchen on her own.
            Last weekend was our annual trip to aviemore for our clubs famius big sled dog race. We had a rare week of good snow so by time we went the training trail could be run with a sled. I decided to run tally with my bombproof lead girl saying to my partner even if i had to get off and walk with them tally would enjoy having her racing harness on and doing something.
            Well my lead dog was a good girl and took most pf the weight (the steroids have made all tally’s muscles atrophy so she has no pulling strength and her head has changed shape). Well we trotted round the trail at a steady pace and tally was so happy waggy tailed and bouncy. I did hug her and cry my eyes out when our run ended.
            That weekend her steroids reduced to one a day. She became full of mischief (stole my cake) and finally she played with our new puppy.
            We are back home and she is still bouncy and playing with puppy. Finally her zest for life is showing again.
            Hoping for a decent remission period for her so she can carry on doung what she loves and being her cheeky self.

          • Mom says:

            This is wonderful news, Britny! Thank you again for sharing Tally’s progress. I hope she never has another flare and that you can get her off the steroids completely and for good very soon.

  5. Catherine P says:

    Sorry, I should have worded my comment differently. I realize that you are not telling people what to do with their dogs. It’s just that most vets do not have much experience with SLO and sometimes a group of people with extensive experience with it is even more helpful than personal vet recommendations. Regarding fish oil, the amount recommended by the Yahoo SLO group is stated in EPA units per pound weight of the dog, and it’s higher than what most people mention in this blog. It’s also viewed as the central part of the treatment protocol and most people give it for life, even after other drugs might be discontinued. As you said, there is a lot of information out there, and hopefully people will look for it and be able to help their dogs.

    • Mom says:

      No offense taken and I’m glad you said something because it was a nudge to remind everyone that I’m not a vet and I can only share what we do and what works for our dogs. You’re absolutely right, there are not enough vets that know about SLO which is reinforced by the number of people here who’s vets didn’t know (as mine did not) and this is just a very small sampling! I hope people from here also use your SLO group as a resource. The more it gets around the more maybe will be done to prevent it. It looks to me like people are looking and so both we and your Yahoo group are helping them.

      I wanted to become a member of the group but Yahoo REQUIRES that I input my cell phone number to get a Yahoo account and that’s something I’m flat out not going to do. I keep my cell number VERY private so not about to hand it out to some Internet site and have it get around and start getting telemarketers calling me. I had to settle for subscribing to the list but I don’t believe I can post.

      Thanks for stopping back, Catherine!

  6. Catherine P says:


    Many of your comments and suggestions are quite useful for owners of SLO dogs, but I would like to say that even more information and assistance can be found at the Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy Yahoo Group. There are many people on that site that have been dealing with SLO for years and there is better information there than most vets possess. People can find detailed info on the SLO condition and the standard protocol of treatment, and members are always willing to give feedback and answer questions.

    Offhand, I would say that your recommendations for fish oil are too light in the dosage and dogs who are experiencing much pain should probably get Tramadol, in addition to any homeopathic remedy you may be using. And if anyone is wrapping their dogs’ feet as part of the treatment, they are probably adding more pain to an already painful condition.

    I hope everyone has success in helping their dogs get better from this difficult and painful condition.

    Catherine P

    • Mom says:

      Hi Catherine,

      Thank you so much for your information, I really appreciate you sharing it with us!

      Just to be clear for everyone, I’m not a vet which I mention quite often here nor am I an expert on SLO in any way. People visiting here should not have any question in their minds on this whatsoever. I don’t pretend to have a veterinary degree and I don’t recommend dosage. I share what we were told to give Riley by our vet(s) but that folks should always check with their own vets. What meds and supplements we give Riley is what works for him and may or may not work for other dogs. It’s clear on our blog that there are other treatments available. I also believe it’s beneficial to do some research on their own as long as they discuss their findings with their vets.

      There are several posts in which those who found us through their own research tell me that what they found here and subsequently taken to their vets has been helpful and greatly appreciated by them and those vets who weren’t familiar with SLO. At least they have a possible starting point through our blog and to me this means that I’m helping other dogs to get better and to spread the word about SLO.

      I don’t like Tramadol because of it’s potential side effects although I know it’s widely used as a solution for pain. Riley’s been on Tramadol occasionally when needed and as I recall he was on it temporarily during his bout with SLO last summer. I can’t say I’m happy when the vets tell me to give it to him but if he needs it he gets it. In fact he’s on another medication right now for another condition that I’m not liking to give him, again due to the potential side effects, but the specialist says he needs it so he gets it. Thank goodness so far we’ve not seen any ill effects. I don’t tell people not to use Tramadol, I’m only saying I don’t like it but I don’t refuse to give it to Riley when needed.

      I agree that wrapping the feet, booties, socks or anything on that line is likely causing more pain. But I have to take into consideration that there may be products that help without adding pain that I’m just not aware of, although I’m doubtful such a product exists. If there is one, maybe someone will share it with us one day.

      There seems to be a LOT of information on SLO both here and elsewhere that vets don’t have which is disheartening but yet encouraging to know the information is out there for folks (and vets!) to find if they just look for it. Hopefully, places like our blog and groups like your Yahoo group will help change that. Vets need to know about SLO as do the people who’s dogs suffer from it. Although I’m not a member myself, I urge anyone visiting here to check out the group Catherine recommends, I’ve heard from others that it’s a great source of help and information. Thanks again, Catherine!

  7. Diana and John says:

    Thanks for your reply. Sorry for the second story about Maggie Maehem! You can see how familiar I am with blogging! Really enjoying hearing everyone’s stories and learning from each of them. Took Maggie to a Dermetology specialist clinic 2 weeks ago. They removed the remaining claws that were coming off. She has lost all of her claws now. They are coming back in but the best I can describe them is that they look like cat’s claws, small thin and pointy. Derm specialist prescribed doxycycline, niacinaminde and pentoxiphilline. Dropped the omega pills and vit E. They are trying to rule out food allergies. I don’t think that’s it but as you were stating it very possibly could be. They prescribed an Iams dry food, which she is not a dry food eater. This food consists of kangaroo meat and oats!!! Well she does eat it but we must prime it with cooked chicken (let’s hope chicken isn’t the culprit!!) We have cut out beef, fish, rice, pasta, potato. I don’t know but they said they haven’t seem this disease in her breed or in a dog so young (13mos). We are still toying with the meds and dosages.
    We dropped the pentox. poor dog was running around like a kindergartner after a double latte! It also could be attributed to the niacinamide. I keep drilling the docs about this B vit. whether or not it is non flushing and they keep changing the subject and saying none of the other animals they treat exhibit signs of flushing. I stopped her niacinamide and have just ordered a non flushing one from Vitacost. We will give that a try. She seems happier than she has been. She can run and play on her “new” nails so we shall see as time goes on. I am hoping that this will go into remission and she can reduce the drugs cause no matter what, long time drug use cannot be good for our pups. I did look into Frontline and of course it uses 2 drugs but not trifexis, but there can be side effects no matter. Do you use a flea treatment on your dogs? It there something that is homeopathic? Enjoy your blog ever so much and hugs and kisses to your dogs from Maggie and me.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Diana and John,

      Welcome back and thanks so much for the update. It’s great to hear Maggie is doing better! I’m so happy you enjoy our blog, makes me feel great! If you’d like to sign up to receive our newest posts the day they’re published please visit our home page and scroll down to the subscription box near the bottom. You can keep up with our blog very easily that way because you’ll receive the newest posts in your email inbox.

      I would not expect Maggie’s nails to look normal, some dog’s nails do grow back normal looking, Riley’s didn’t although they’re not bad but they’re not black like they should be.

      I’d like to suggest that you to do a some research on Iam’s dog foods. Take a look here: Grade Your Dog Food and see what grade Iam’s gets. I really wish vets weren’t so stuck on these name brands because so many of them are really poor quality and contain toxins, grains and poisons. We can all do so much better for our dog’s food! It’s also not good to feed dry with or before/after any kind of wet or damp food. This kind of mixture can cause obstructions in a dog’s digestive tract. You might be ok with the boiled chicken but if it were me I would prefer to not chance it. If I had to for some reason I think I’d make sure to dry the boiled chicken off before putting it in the bowl. But that’s just me.

      I haven’t stopped any of Riley’s SLO meds, my understanding is that he’ll need them the rest of his life to help keep him in remission. I too, would like to see him off all this drug stuff, but the alternative isn’t one I want to revisit nor I’m sure does Riley. I know some people have stopped and then the SLO returned, others have stopped with apparently no return. That may point to it being dog-specific but I can’t say for sure. I’m thinking of asking my vet to consult with the derm vet on this and see what they have to say. Although, with Riley’s new and more serious health issues (not yet published on our blog) it may be better in his case to just keep him on his current meds.

      We use Bio Active Care for our flea and tick treatments. I didn’t find any bad news on this treatment when I first started using it a few years ago but I’ve not rechecked for recalls or issues up to now. I’ve heard garlic is something some folks use but it’s controversial because some believe garlic is harmful to dogs. I do mix a little in some treats but it’s very little, in larger doses it may be quite harmful. I don’t know how well garlic works either as we’ve not tried it. We’re not overly concerned with fleas or ticks for our FurKids as they don’t often get into areas where these buggers are a problem. Granted, dogs can get them anywhere and I’m not ignoring the possibility it can happen but in all our years so far Riley has had two ticks (one one year, one the next) no fleas and neither of the other dogs have contracted either one. The ticks Riley did pick up we know came from areas he’d not previously nor since visited.

      Thanks again for revisiting us, hope you’ll come back often. Hugz to little Maggie!

      • Diana and John says:

        WOW, thanks for the article on Grade Your Dog Food!! Very interesting. I feel so bad, like I’ve been poisoning our dogs all those years!! Interesting enough she came to us already eating Kirkland puppy dry food which has a good rating. I do give her probiotics each day, but definitely need to change the wet food! Curious as to reason for drying the boiled chicken? Do you mean pat it dry or dry it like a jerky?
        Also thanks for the heads up on the flea meds. Have looked into Bio Active which has good reviews and is much cheaper than Frontline! Will be ordering some today. We have not had problems with ticks in urban CA but do get those pesky fleas in summer especially since we have had such humid weather lately. This is very unusual for our area as we live on the edge of the great desert!! Just one flea inside means it passes on to the indoor cats too and that spells disaster!
        Well I’m sure I’ll be “picking your brain” for other tide bits of knowledge. But for now off to the feed store to read the labels!
        Thanks again, OXOX from Maggie Mae

        • Mom says:

          Here’s another dog food resource you might want to bookmark: Dog Food Advisor. You can even sign up to receive dog food recall alerts!

          I meant “pat the chicken dry” sorry for the confusion!

  8. sonja says:

    Hello Im so sorry about everyone’s one love one. Im new to this whole thing, my 1year old male boxer name Mater just got diagnosed with SLO 4weeks ago, I was looking at his feet an his front foot an it was so warm an hot pink an red, took him to the vet the next day an ran some test an it can back as SLO the vet started him on 2tabs 2xs a day Doxycyline an 1 tab 2xs a day Tramadol for pain also 1/2 tab 2xs a day fluconazole an it seems to work sofar cause I cought this really early then late, he is also having his feet soaked every other day for 10mins then risen off well with cold water in this shampoo an this all is work…but its never going to go away I looked this whole SLO up so I know more about it so I can help my Mater but..His nails have not started to come off nor he looked like he has never licked his feet tho.. so me an my husband got him dog shoe’s that are comfy an there breathabol an it keeps out all the dirt an dubre out an there grip on the botton so he can do puppy things when he is feeling better, from what I found out is when the SLO goes an come is when his feet are wet or damp form out side going potty that it comes back more so the shoe’s help keep them dry but he only wears them when he is out side…an his shoes get washed so the SLO dont stay there when Im trying to help him get better…so if there is other things I need to know Please let me know cause I wont give up so I need all the help cause my vet has only seen this one other time an I dont what my Mater to be a test dumb for him to figer things out… think you all so much an many prays to you an your lovely parnerts

    • Mom says:

      Hi Sonja,

      I’m sorry to hear Mater is suffering with SLO, it’s a painful disease for them and painful for us to see them in pain.

      I’ve not heard of fluconazole for SLO but that doesn’t mean it won’t help. You may have to try several medications and variations to find what works for Mater. There are several if not numerous posts on this page that include what we use and works for our Riley and what others use and work for their own dogs. From what you’ve said you aren’t using Niacinamide or Salmon oil which are part of Riley’s meds routine. You’re correct, SLO never goes away but the medications are supposed to put it in remission and it shouldn’t be a continuous painful day after day forever kind of thing for Mater. He could have flare-ups but if he’s lucky once you get this flare-up into remission he may never have another. So far one year and about 3 months later Riley has not had another flare-up.

      I don’t know if you caught it before his nails started to peel and lift off nor do I know what tests were done that diagnosed Mater with SLO. The lifting nails is a key symptom so in my mind I’m wondering if SLO is what you’re truly dealing with and not something else. I’ve not heard of dampness or wetness triggering a bout with SLO which is another something that makes me wonder if Mater truly has SLO and not some kind of fungal or other infection. BUT and I say that in capital letters, I’m NOT a veterinarian, I’m just sharing the thoughts that are going through my mind. I think if what you’re doing for Mater now does not improve his condition and put him into remission I’d get a second opinion especially since your vet is not familiar with SLO. Our vet wasn’t either, she consulted with a dermatology specialist vet.

      When I suggested getting booties for Riley the vet we had then thought because of the lifting nails they’d just cause him more pain but your dog doesn’t have lifting nails so perhaps the booties are truly helping. With SLO the nerves are involved — very painful and even slight rubbing or irritation will cause excruciating pain so we opted to go without booties. I did try baby socks before I asked the vet, big mistake! I got lucky and realized that if any of his lifting nails got caught in the sock fabric it would be very painful to get that sock off and perhaps even rip the nail out. Maybe your booties have a different inside than the baby sock I used so this won’t happen.

      It was recommended by the derm vet that to use Epsom Salts for Riley’s foot soaks, not shampoo. Some shampoos can be very irritating and drying which might possibly add a bad case of the itchies for Mater to deal with if his feet get too dry, but perhaps this is a special shampoo that won’t do that. Epsom Salts is supposed to be very soothing for them, non-drying and rinses off easily so no soapy mess either.

      Also, don’t forget to read about Why and How to Stop Over-Vaccinating Your Dog because too many vaccinations may be what brought on your dog’s condition!

      Good luck to you and Mater, I hope you get this figured out and him fixed very soon.


      Sonja wrote me again tonight so I’d like to add her newest comments here:

      From Sonja: “I talk with my vet about other things I’ve read on the blog and he said thank you to your website cause it open his eyes to help my dog.”

      Sonja, I’m very pleased that you discussed thing with your vet and that we’ve been able to help him to help your dog. We’re grateful he’s a vet that will listen to his clients! Please thank him for us.

  9. Karen says:

    Hello all,
    I am sorry to hear that you are going through this with your furry friends. We are enduring the same illness in our home with our 9 year old
    Bird dog mix, Casey.
    We began our journey about 5 months ago when she lost her first nail. Of course, we had no idea what was happening. The second was an odd coincidence..the third, well you know how the story goes.
    After a lot of research, including this site, SLO was what I determined before even speaking to our vet. She listened to all of my ideas and she is amazing and wonderful lady! After dozens of text messages and emails, she has researched and provided me with an array of knowledge and options, many of which are listed in the above posts.
    However, we have had many challenges.
    Casey is allergic to the Doxy which caused inflammation of her eyes and horrible tearing. She developed and now has residual dry eyes which I know can be a part of any autoimmune disorder and has xerostomia, dry mouth, as well. Of course, she is also allergic to the Cyclosporine, the compounded medication for the dry eyes. That immediately produced eyelid twitching and swelling. Luckily, I found an OTC dry eye drop that works phenomenally for her. (Our family eye doctor recently supplied me with samples to keep my costs down when I told him what I was using them for! )
    She is now responding well to Prednisone and Pentoxyphylline (with no side effects, phew!) and is taking Tramadol for the pain, which helps a lot. She is also taking Niacinamide which I found at our local health food store( Brand: NOW) She also takes Biotin, Salmon Oil and Vit E. We recently changed her diet to a Salmon and potato food since our Vet learned from a dermatologist that this can all be propagated by a food protein allergy. She hasn’t ever eaten this protein and although has been eating Bison dog food for years, and even tho it is another novel protein, we decided to give this a try..it can take up to three months to see a difference and we are at week 2 so we are crossing our paws!
    During her worst time, when she was losing nails regularly her little paws were red and swollen and so sore. It was so hard to see her in such
    pain. But thankfully, steroids have helped tremendously and although I am not crazy about her potential long term need for these, if they help her, then so be it.
    Also, be aware! Casey developed a secondary staph infection called Staph Pseudintermedius because of all of this. It was awful. Our doctor said it is like doggie MRSA. She developed pus filled vesicles on her belly which we cultured and sent to the lab for diagnosis. We treated her with a strong antibiotic for this (which was a huge challenge and risk because she has developed sensitivities to almost every antibiotic family that is used to treat this infection). Fortunately it worked. We were very worried because our options we very limited if it failed, since she was very sick and so highly contagious. She had to be “quarantined” in the house and all bedding bleached daily until she was 1 week past 100% cure. Scary. She has made it over the hump and is another week out of the woods with that, but now we know to watch for the next beast to rear it’s ugly head.
    Now, no matter how much she eats, which is more than ever, she is just very thin. She has lost about 5 pounds total and we are happy to report has gained back 1.5, so overall loss of 3.5 pounds, but still eating like a champ! Initially, she wasn’t eating well when she was in alot of pain so that contributed to the weight loss. She is a very slender girl to begin with so when she loses even the slightest bit of weight it shows. Even thought she is eating a good amount, her muscles are wasting and she is so thin that all of her bones are visible through her fur, which gratefully hasn’t lost it’s sheen or fallen out. We have dog beds in nearly every room on the floor and she cannot jump to her couch bed as well as she used to and her gait has changed because of the loss of muscle strength. We are currently starting to try to ween her off of the Prednisone somewhat and increase her exercise to see if we can get those muscles strong again. Our last ween was a failure, tho, so we are being very cautious.
    I have learned quickly that his whole treatment protocol is trial and error and as our vet texted me last night, “an art not a science”. Definately NOT absolute, as I am sure you have all learned as you treat your own dogs.
    As a light side note:
    Casey has lost all of her nails except one..her middle “finger” toenail on her front left foot. I think this is her way of telling her SLO right where to go! She is so sassy! :)
    We are keeping our heads up and hoping for the best but we know this will be a life long struggle for her and us too.
    All the best things to you all as you care for your beloved pets.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Karen,

      Oh your poor Casey! I thought Riley couldn’t catch a break but you and your sweet girl are going through much more than we ever have and my heart breaks for her and all her pain and suffering.

      I would be very worried about the side effects of both the prednisone and pentoxyphylline especially in a dog that’s got so many nasty, serious healthy issues going on already. It’s surprising (but good I hope) that she’s not experiencing any additional problems from these. When I took Riley back to his hip surgeon for a recheck on his hips a few months ago we were talking about his SLO and he gave me the name of a drug that although it’s used to treat other things (and I’m sorry I can’t remember what those other things are) he told me they are seeing good success with it for dogs suffering from SLO. It’s called Apoquel. I don’t have any further info on it but you might want to have your vet check into this for Casey. If what Riley is getting now were to quit doing it’s job, I would have my vet look into it but we decided several months ago that since his treatment is working well we’d leave well enough alone but to keep other things in mind should there come a time something else needs to be done. This was the result of our discussion when I asked him to check into pentoxyphylline.

      On a quick Google asking what Apoquel treats I came up with this: “Jan. 20, 2014 – Zoetis Inc. today announced that APOQUEL® (oclacitinib tablet) is now available to veterinarians in the United States for the control of pruritus, or itching, associated with allergic dermatitis and the control of atopic dermatitis in dogs at least 12 months of age.”

      About all her tummy issues, weight loss, her coat condition and other issues — has your vet looked into gastrointestinal diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or other similar diseases? She definitely has some of the symptoms of IBD but her symptoms could of course mean other things. I’m just tossing our possibilities that may so far not have been considered. Has she had blood testing for hypothyroidism which will cause horrendous issues with a dog’s coat? Will your vet stop vaccinating her? Vaccinations should only be administered to healthy dogs (it’s supposed to even say that on each bottle of vaccines) and she most definitely is not healthy therefore should not be receiving vaccinations, auto immune conditions mean no more vaccines should be given.

      Commercial dog foods are literally chock full of things that dogs can be allergic to which could literally take years to sort out by testing, trial and error and which still may not give you a definitive answer. Have you considered getting her off all commercial dog foods and moving to a raw diet? I’m dead serious about her diet, it could very well be hugely contributing to one or more of her current condition(s).

      We sincerely hope that Casey gets better very soon and that you’ll keep us posted on her condition. Best of luck to all of you!

  10. Kelly Beck says:

    Hello There!

    My 9 year old Rottie, Zoe, was just diagnosed with SLO. She started to lose nails in early July and at first, I just thought she got one caught on something and then another and another. I had her at the vet three times within two weeks. At first the one vet at the practice said she must have stepped in some chemicals on a lawn, but I knew that was not possible and then another vet thought a fungal infection. It wasn’t until I started to do my own research and came across Rileys Place, that things were starting to click and I suggested to my vet to look into SLO. With all of that said and the loss of nine nails, he didn’t feel 100% comfortable making a definite diagnosis of SLO without a toe biopsy, so two and a half weeks ago, Zoe had part of her tow amputated. The biopsy results came back this past Thursday and confirmed what I believed, SLO. In discussing with the doctor a treatment plan, he wanted to give her prednisone, but from what I have been researching, that’s not always the best, so she is on doxcycline and niacinamide and Omega 3 pills. I also bought some Hypericum Perf 30X because just like Riley, she is licking her paws and nails. My question is, how much to give her of that. She is 105 pounds. Any guidance would be appreciated! :D She has lost a total of nine nails and two more will be coming off shortly. She is being a trooper! Thank you for posting about Riley. I believe if I wouldn’t have come across your site, the diagnosis might not have happened. The vets in the practice where I go have only seen one other case of SLO, so my doctor is open to what I find out from others who have dogs with SLO. Blessings to you and Riley! Again, if you can please give me some guidance with the Hypericum, I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you!!

    • Mom says:

      Hi Kelly,

      I’m so sorry to hear about Zoe’s SLO but tickled to hear of another pro-active dog owner who worked to get to the bottom of it! Yay, Kelly!

      It’s too bad your vet didn’t consult with a dermatology vet prior to the toe biopsy. As I understand it yes, most definitely a definitive no-question-about-it diagnosis of SLO requires a biopsy but when it comes to SLO the symptoms are so specific they apparently tell pretty much without a doubt what the disease is without resorting to painful, permanent drastic measures. I’d like to encourage all our readers to have their vets consult with a derm vet before performing a biopsy, you might be able to avoid a biopsy. The derm vet told our vet after she described the symptoms (they didn’t even need to see the photos of Riley’s feet that I’d taken!) that there was no need for a biopsy because SLO was the only thing it could be. It also alleviates the wait-time for diagnosis and gets the dog on treatment right away. I’m not telling anyone to ignore what your vets say, I’m simply relating how things happened here which includes our regular vet telling me about the seriousness of toe biopsies and that she didn’t believe it was necessary for Riley after speaking with the derm vet.

      You’re very welcome for our thread on Riley’s SLO. I try to share all medical things we go through with our dogs in the hopes of helping others perhaps prevent them or at least know there is a place they can go where they might find some help or at least have a place to talk about it.

      As for the Hypericum, I was advised to just follow the directions on the bottle so that’s what I did. For awhile I alternated between the Hypericum and Traumeel (another homeopathic treatment) but did find that because the pain is mostly from the nerves in the feet the Hypericum worked best for Riley. By alternating I mean daily I would alternate the two different medications then when I found the Hypericum worked better I dosed him with just that at four tablets four times daily. I didn’t try to force them under his tongue where you’d put them for a human. He’s very good about me just putting them in his mouth, closing his mouth with my hands (but not over the nose) and calmly tell him to “hold it.” I keep his mouth closed for about 5 seconds and then release my hold. When I’m going to give them to him I tell him “time for your holdy pills” so he knows what’s coming. In those 5 seconds they melt enough that he can’t spit them out.

      Another homeopathic pain reliever is Arnica which you might want to try alternating. I didn’t find out about Arnica until after Riley’s SLO kicked in last summer but I’ve tried it myself and it works pretty darn well. It’s kept me from taking ibuprofen a few times which as we all know can damage the liver. I will start with Arnica and see if it helps, if not I’ll resort to ibuprofin.

      I’m grateful to your vet for being open-minded; please thank him for me and thank you for your forethought on not dispensing prednisone. Best of luck with your sweet Zoe, hope you’ll let us know how she’s doing.

  11. Misty says:

    Hello, my 6 year old german sheppherd Bear was just diagnosed with SLO officially yesterday. We took him to the beach with us mid July and one week later he lost his first nail. I too had thought it was an accident from him playing in the yard. I took him to the emergency vet because he was bleeding and I wanted to make sure he was ok. They bandaged it and prescribed antibiotics and pain meds. By the next weekend he had lost 2 more. He has a secondary infection that we are still treating with Zeniquin. It’s very expensive so I am hoping the infection clears soon. So far he has lost 8 nails and there are more starting to lift. He is also on the doxy, fish oil, vitamin e and niacinamide treatment along with the Zeniquin and his joint pills for hip dsplasia and arthritis. Because of the infection he gets 2 foot baths a day and has to wear the e collar when we aren’t home because of the licking. Has anyone’s dog been diagnosed with SLO with an infection? He’s either in pain or the pills slow him down. Definitely not the same dog as he was a month ago. He’s depressed and it’s hard seeing him this way. My vet tells me to give it a few more months and I will see an improvement. Seems like a lifetime away. He is our life.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Misty,

      I’m sorry to hear your boy Bear’s got SLO. You didn’t mention specifically what the secondary infection is so I won’t comment on that other than to say having a double whammy is just so unfair to Bear and hope this other problem is gone now.

      It’s so hard to see them in pain but I think it’s very possible you’ll find that it won’t take months for him to start feeling better. Once medications start to take hold it’s been my experience that dogs bounce back pretty darn quick in most cases. As I remember it was about a month before Riley started perking up, it was slow but I don’t recall it taking months to see at least some encouraging results.

      We didn’t see Riley slow down from any of his SLO meds, his depression and slow down was a direct result of the pain from his SLO.

      Riley is currently (and probably forever) on additional medications for new health issues we’ve been dealing with over the past couple of months. I haven’t had a chance to put it on the blog yet and I won’t elaborate here but to answer your question yes, he’s on two different antibiotics. He also takes Dasuquin with MSM for his hips and any overall arthritis or other similar issues. We give all three of our dogs the Dasuquin which I purchase through Amazon. Please note that the prices fluctuate often. One order I might pay $70.00’ish the next order $90.00’ish. I’m going to assume that your vet has gone over surgical treatment options for Bear’s hip dysplasia vs. just dispensing joint supplements.

      If Bear must be on Zenequin a long time you can ask your vet if there is a generic version it. You could also call Meds for Vets, it’s a specialty/compounding pharmacy but I’m finding out they carry the more common meds as well. What I’ve gotten from them so far has been significantly less costly than getting it locally. For example, I can get two bottles of Gracie’s eye drops for the same cost at one bottle locally. The shipping time is very quick and shipping costs have been very low. You can call and ask them if they carry the Zenequin, but without an actual prescription faxed to them by your vet they cannot give you any additional information such as cost. If they have it, you can ask your vet to fax them a prescription. Once they have that they can answer all your questions.

      I hope this helps, please keep us posted on how Bear is doing and give him a hug from all of us.

  12. Diana and John says:

    Thank you so much for your blog! We have a 14 month old Welsh Terrier, our only child, our furchild! Her name is Maggie Mae, we sometimes call her Maggie Mayhem! She is all terrier and when her first toenail came off and began to bleed we just thought it was her being a terrier. Then 2 other nails broke off. Upon taking her to our vet they clean them and wrapped them prescribing antibiotics for 2 weeks. She was then doing OK but I noticed her nails were growing in gnarled and twisted! We left for the day to visit my sister and left her in doggie day care, getting a call that as she was playing in the pool and had broken a toenail and it was bleeding. Well that was the trigger that something other than weak toenails were going on. On the way home my sister was constantly texting me with info on a disease called SLO and we should take the info to our vet. Made an appointment but in the meantime found your blog. I had pretty much diagnosed her with SLO and walked into the office with a handful of info. My husband was laughing at me as he said I “instructed” our vet the whole time and didn’t let her get a word in edgewise til I took a breath!! She knew of SLO, had seen one other dog with it. Wanted to put Maggie on prednisone to get this disease under control. I said to hold off and suggested she look into the “cocktail” drug/vitamin mixture you use. She agreed and we are in the process of getting all the vitamins and she has just had her first dose of doxycycline. She does lick her paws, but I distract her with toys. She has lost all nails except those on one paw and I expect those will go soon. The vet has trimmed the remaining nails and she seems comfortable. She never had great pain and continued her regular play routines. That is the reason I never suspected she had any problem other than being too rough outside. She has had all of her vaccines and is due for her next doses in Sept I was please to hear the vet say that she would hold off on any future shots until they finally diagnose her. (We do put on Frontline for flea is that bad?) We had them do a thyroid blood test on her, waiting for feedback on that. Cant seem to find the Niacinimide yet. Walmart wanted to sell Niacin which I said thanks but nothanks!! Wouldn’t have known that without you! Thanks:) Don’t know about Vitacost here in CA but will pursue it. Would like to find out about that $4.00 cost for doxy at walmart!?! Have looked into it and we do have 2 derm, vets at specialist clinic in next town. May pursue a visit with them to make sure we are on the right track with Maggie, not that I want to supercede our regular vet, but since Maggie is so young compared to other doggies I have read about in your blog and this is lifelong but controllable. Just want the best for her. She’s just so cute and loves life. Will keep you posted. Thanks so much for all of your postings, you are awesome!!!

    • Mom says:

      Hi Diana and John,

      I’m sorry your Maggie Mae would up with SLO, poor baby! Sounds like you found a dynamite vet! She’s a keeper!

      I’m not aware that Frontline can affect SLO or auto-immune illnesses but I’ve never researched that. You could Google around and see what you find out. I do suggest that you research the Frontline as well. Some of those remedies are not what they say they are and not up to par and some are even dangerous. Trifexis for heartworms is killing dogs so be very careful. Seems to me Frontline had some bad stuff going on with it as well awhile back but I don’t remember it all.

      You can get Niacinamide online at VitaCost. Just makes sure whatever brand you purchase is non-flushing. You were right to not use Niacin.

      I think it would be great if you can get a derm vet’s input as a second opinion but your vet sounds like she’s on top of things very well!

      Thanks for your kinds words, it’s always nice to hear that we’ve helped another FurKid! Take care of little Maggie Mayhem (cute!) and yes, please let us know how she’s doing! Best of luck!

  13. JESSICA says:

    Hi, I have a pitbull that is almost 4. about a year ago he lost a toenail while playing out back in our yard with my other dog. about 3 months after that he started losing all his nails. It all happened within a month and the vets didnt really do much or help at all. It was winter at the time so they figured it was due to the wet and snow. since then his nails have come back but are extremely short, cracked and discolored. They dont seem to bother him much if at all. I am not sure if this would be considered Slo but the symptoms seem to match. I guess I just wanted to comment and say that was 2 years ago and although the nails have not gone back to normal they dont bother him and you cant tell a difference other then the look of his claws

    • Mom says:

      Hi Jessica,

      I’m glad your boy is ok now. It does sound like he’s got SLO, but I’m not a vet and it sounds like your vet needs to be more proactive when a medical issue comes up with his patients. To just do nothing in my opinion is really wrong. If this were my vet, I’d be finding a new one real quick. I don’t take well to a vet not doing something, anything, everything when there’s something wrong with one of my dogs.

      I hope that you’ll keep a close eye on your boy and at the first sign of a flare up that you will seek out a vet that knows about SLO and have your boy checked out. IF this is SLO, being an auto-immune disease means he may have or may develop other auto-immune conditions such as panus, hypothyroidism or others. Auto-immune diseases attack the body anywhere they find a place to attack. Just because one seems to go away (if it’s SLO it’s not gone it’s just in remission) doesn’t mean it or others won’t crop up.

      Thank you also for having a Pit Bull. They have such a bad rap and it’s always good to hear about one that has a good home and is being well cared for.

  14. Gayle AKA Callies's Mom says:

    I’m, so happy to have found this site. Brought in my 4 year old Lab mix (Callie) to the vet, with what I thought was hip displasia. She had such a hard time getting up from a lieing position and struggled to jump up on the bed at night. Yesterday I explained to the vet her symptoms and casually mentioned her nails were splitting and often times breaking off. I received a call from the vet after leaving her for the afternoon for xrays of her hips and back. He said the hips and back looked great. He then told me her lameness came from being in pain from her nails!! He had done his research and suggested it may be an autoimmune disease and possible SLO. He cut all her nails, wrapped them, and are sending them to be cultured. After reading all the articles I hope this wasn’t in vain. I bought all the supplements except for the niacinamide( will order online) and will wait and see. Thanks for all the information, Also I’m and RN and see doxycycline prescribed routinely for my patients. It is generic and $4.00 for a prescription at walmart, without insurance. Unfortunate that we would have to pay as much as we do for this cheap antibiotic.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Gayle,

      Thanks for joining in our SLO discussion, I’m glad our website was helpful to you. That is so cool that your vet is dedicated to his patients that he researched and found the problem! My hat’s off to him! I had to do my own research and tell my vet what was wrong (we’ve since switched vets for other reasons) so this impresses me no end.

      Good to hear that your Callie is on her way to feeling better, best of luck keeping her SLO in check.

      I’d really love to hear exactly what the name of the Doxy is that you mentioned. That is a HUGE price difference in what Riley’s taking between here and where you live. It’s my understanding that there are different kinds of Doxy so maybe that’s the price difference. If you don’t mind sharing the full name of it I’d love to know what it is.

      Please let us know how Callie is doing!

  15. BJ Pilar House says:

    Dear Friends,

    Thank you for sharing your and Riley’s painful experience. We have a 4 year old female greyhound who appears to be affected by SLO. The first alarm bell was the detachment of one of her nails as she ran in a sandy terrain at the beginning of May 2014. First we thought it was an ‘accident’ but we started to get concerned once we noticed in the following weeks that all nails were altered and were beginning to fall through immense pain. We live in Italy and found no literature on SLO and our vets were a bit at a loss since they had never seen such a situation. In describing the symptoms of nail loss in greyhounds in English, we came up with much literature and finally found all symptoms described in various SLO articles.

    We have thus had a super Dermatologis Vet visit our greyhound who in principle comfirms SLO. To this end, we have had all nails removed in total anaesthesia and then cauterized. One spur nail is being analyzed (biopsy) and we should expect the results in early AUgust 2014. The possibilities, according to the Vet, are highly for SLO andless for a vasculitis. Treatment for both differs. More, later, once the biopsy results reach us.

    Thank you for the possibility of posting this and please, any further information is precious.

    Kind regards,
    BJ Pilar House

    • Mom says:

      Hello BJ,

      Thanks for joining our discussion. I’m so sorry to hear of your girl’s SLO. You’ll find all the information I have to date in this thread and my original one Broken Toenails May be More Serious Than Your Dog Just Being a Klutz. I also suggest you read How and Why to Stop Over-Vaccinating Your Dog.

      I wish I’d have known your plans to remove your dog’s nails before you proceeded because I’d have tried my darnedest to stop you. This is heartbreaking. We asked our vet about doing this with Riley but she strongly warned against it. See, you can’t just remove the nails because they will simply grow back. Think of when you lose an entire nail. It hurts like a ^%$# but eventually it grows back. The procedure to declaw a cat is the same as if you remove the nails on a dog. As explained in and partially quoted from this article from the Humane Society of the United States website:

      What is Declawing?

      “Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.”

      Please continue down the page of the article for more specifics.

      I’m sorry, I’m sure you won’t like hearing this and I’m truly not trying to cause you more heartache, it sounds like your heart hurts for your girl already. I didn’t want to mention this but I felt I just could not ignore it for the sake of my other readers who may be considering taking this step. People, please please PLEASE think SERIOUSLY before taking this step to “cure” SLO!!! It’s NOT a cure!!! To date there is no cure. SLO won’t just go away if you remove the nails, it’s in your dog’s system — FOREVER. I have nothing concrete to back my honest thoughts based on what I know of SLO … SLO is a disease and by removing the nails you may stop the SLO from flaring up in the nails but the SLO is NOT GONE and I can’t help but think it will then just find another area of your dog’s body to attack and the next attack might be more serious than the nail issue.

      I’m sure your vet had nothing but the best intentions, but they are quite obviously not fully educated in SLO and in my opinion they needed to do a lot more research before performing this procedure. It broke my heart to read what your derm vet did to your girl. In most cases even one nail for a biopsy is not necessary. SLO has very specific symptoms, the derm vets here in Madison knew exactly what was wrong with Riley just by our vet’s verbal description over the phone. They told her that SLO is the ONLY thing it could be.

      Here is another article: A Rational Look at Declawing Here and there I’ve even seen mention that some vets are discontinuing providing de-clawing services because it’s becoming thought of more and more as an being an inhumane and cruel thing to do to a cat. Since it’s the same procedure in a dog, the same would hold true.

      I hope your girl is healing well and that she will be ok. Thank you for bringing this up so, it helps to address everything possible about SLO in order to help everyone who’s pets are suffering from it to be able to learn and do what’s best for their fur babies.

  16. Jan says:

    Hi , just about to take our Border collie Meg to vets tomorrow ,all the symptoms you mentioned she has ,so am going to take all your info with me .
    Thank you so much for all the details and easy to understand text also the meds that your boy Riley is on ,will let you know what happens .Hope your boy is still maintaining his improvement.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Jan,

      You’re very welcome, glad to help. Yes, please do let us know :) Good luck with your Meg, give her hugs from us!


    • Michele says:

      Hi, I’m so happy I found this site. My 11 lb, 7 year old Yorkie seems to be losing her nails for the past couple of weeks. At first I thought she hurt the nail and it fell out, although I wasn’t aware of anything she had done to hurt it… Then a couple of days later I found another nail on the bed and then another on the floor in the kitchen. She has been licking her paws a bit more than usual. When I looked online as to what could be causing this, I found this information and I’m very nervous about it. I’ve made an appointment with the vet tomorrow afternoon. She has been taking Hydroxizine for a couple of years for her very allergic skin that erupts if she’s not on her meds. I adopted her when she was 2.5 years old and the allergic skin is the only issue she’s ever had. I hope she’ll be okay, but I wanted to thank you for all this information.

      • Mom says:

        You’re very welcome Michele, I’m happy that I was able to help and hope that you were able to calm your nerves. I sure hope your little girl is getting better by now. Please let us know how she’s doing and I’d be curious as to what your vet had to say and what he/she prescribed for treatment for your Yorkie’s (probable) SLO?

  17. Julie aka moose's mom says:

    Vet spoke with specialist who now says not slo. Will update once I learn more.

    • Mom says:

      Yes, please do. We all need to know what’s going on with your dog. What does this specialist specialize in?

  18. Julie aka moose's mom says:

    Please excuse typos. SSSI was supposed to be so. I have no clue how to get that stuff out of my phone

  19. Julie aka moose's mom says:

    My vet agrees it is slo. He is her fifth case of this she has seen. She is contacting the derm specialist. He has now lost 10 toenails. This has occurred in one week. unfortunately she cannot write the prescription under my name at a pharmacy so for a dog this cost 400 to 600 dollars for tetracycline or doxycycline I can’t remember which one was more expensive and also very hard to find a pharmacy that doesn’t have it back ordered thanks to Obama care. I do have a friend who is willing to call the script in for me but I don’t know how long she’ll continue to do this as that would be on her license and insurance company quick question why a person would be on an antibiotic for a month to two monthswhich would jeopardize her license. they want to start him on 50 milligrams of prednisone twice a day I am not really feeling comfortable with that at all have you had any experience not using prednisone. nothing has been ordered yet officially until she hears from the vet specialist but I think due to the numerous toenails have fallen off and the rapid onset that may be why they are considering prednisone. I won’t touch atopica as I nurse I’ve done enough research into that one. he’s lost some weight and went from 127 pounds to 122.he has never been obese it is just a very large breed dog. I’ve ordered all the omega 369 wild salmon caught based, niacinamide vit e and gelatin . prednisone by other very in NC was only 20mg which could be why it didn’t help but he is so depressed I can’t tell if it made it worse or cause not enough. They recommend 1-2mg/kg/12hrs fit tx of slo. SSSI that pts him at 55kg out 50mg bid. Any advice?

    • Mom says:

      Hi Julie,

      Riley’s prescriptions are called into Walgreens in HIS name not mine and it is prescribed to Riley-Dog so this can legally be done at least here in WI. I *think* prescriptions fall under federal licensing rules so if it’s legal in WI it should be legal in your state but I’m no expert on that, your friend should know. If you have a Walgreens close enough to use, call them and ask and also ask about their “W” card for your dog which I’ve mentioned several times. I think the W card is also what helps make the difference in Walgreens being able to supply prescriptions for dogs. Here it’s $40 per year for the card and drops the cost of Riley’s doxy to $40 per month. Doxy is what I was told to use (not tetracycline) and Riley’s is a generic form called specifically Doxycycline Monohydrate in 100MG tablets. The Monohydrate makes the cost difference as I understand it. If I were your friend I would not be risking my license but that’s not my decision. I would not want to give my dogs prednisone unless absolutely necessary.

  20. Nicole says:

    Ok- doing better now- after calling 4 vets I finally spoke with one that new exactly what was going on….. The other ones were dumbfounded…!whichnis so upsetting in itself! I ordered all the supplements from vitacost and gave the antibiotic as well. This vet said if we wanted a quicker way to treat would be prednisone for 10 days to suppress the immune system- restart it per say so her body stops telling itself to reject itself. Then hopefully with the supplements it would keep it at bay… And also, that the 3 nails affected will fall off, but that he has seen once treatment starts, ifmthemothers aren’t affected, they won’t be… Also he thought the pannus could have been brought on by the SLO so with usemofmthe prednisone, itnwouldmalso clear that up and justbhavento watch for flare ups….
    Thoughts? I also corrected my email!!
    Thanks so much for your time!

    • Mom says:

      Hi Nicole,

      Sounds like you found good vet who knows his stuff! Super and thanks for tracking down a vet who knows about SLO! Riley didn’t have prednisone, I guess 10 days worth I would be ok with but ongoing I would not.

      I would think the Pannus was brought on by the vaccinations like the SLO was not from the SLO but that’s just what sounds right to me. Hopefully, he gave your dog the drops for the Pannus, too, and your dog’s sight can improve on the drops.

      Keeping fingers crossed for good results.

  21. Nicole says:

    I went back and form I can get the stop lick stuff and the b from vitacost- where is the most economical place for the salmon oil and e ? I am seriously crying now because I believe I just diagnosed her with pannus as well, about the same time a couple months ago I saw a little cloudiness in her eye…. Again- didn’t think too much of it. She has always been healthy… Now looked that up and that is auto immune as well…. I really don’t know what to do right now except to cry while I write this to you

    • Mom says:

      If she’s got Pannus an eye vet can diagnose and treat that with drops. Our Gracie has Pannnus and went from about 50% sight to now having about 90% of her sight. If you’ve misdiagnosed and she’s got Glaucoma and not Pannus it’s too late to do anything about it that will save her sight. You only have like 24 hours if you suspect Glaucoma and she is in serious pain with Glaucoma. As I understand it the solution is to remove her eyes in order to stop her pain. Pannus is not supposed to be painful. If her cloudiness is pinkish brownish it’s probably Pannus, if it’s white/greyish likely it’s Glaucoma or something else.

      Both SLO and Pannus are auto-immune diseases likely brought on by her vaccinations. All the information you need for the SLO is within the posts in this article. I know you’re upset but crying is not going to help your girl. I’m not trying to be mean, I was a basket case myself so I do understand how emotionally painful this is but you must take a deep breath and stop crying and do what needs to be done for her immediately. You’ll start feeling much better knowing you are doing everything you can for her, I did.

      I tried to email you that I responded to you but your email address given doesn’t exist so my email bounced.

      Screw the anti-lick stuff, waste of money when she needs other things more that will help her more. There are links to where I get Riley’s meds and supplements in the article and some of the posts.

  22. Nicole says:

    I just looked at the nails on that paw and of course it’s wet and the nails are split down the back middle and there is nothing in them, just hollow. Do I have them trimmed down, do they fall off, I don’t know what to do, I am seriously a wreck and am now just laying by her to try and keep her from licking…

    • Mom says:

      Trimming them is going to be very painful for her, we did not trim Riley’s. Some vets will put them under to remove affected nails but we refused to do that because it meant multiple times of putting them under which can be very dangerous. Get her to the vet and get the meds and supps she needs. That’s the best you can do for her. It gets worse every day until it gets under control.

    • Mom says:

      Trimming them is going to be very painful for her. Get her to the vet and get the meds and supps she needs. That’s the best you can do for her. It gets worse every day until it gets under control.

  23. Nicole says:

    Hello, it is 3 am here and I just finished reading every post… I am so sad…. My female gsd rylee as well has this I believe. About 2 months ago, she was licking her back paw and it looked as though the black covering had came off. I wrapped it and cleaned it daily and went on. She was good. 2 weeks ago my sister stepped on her front left paw without shoes on and rylee yiked and limped for almost 10 minutes which I thought was so strange, I mean I know that it hurt but my sister didn’t even have any shoes on… It was weird…. Then last week I noticed she was licking the same foot my sister stepped on and I knew something was wrong- I thought for sure a nail was broke and it needed to be trimmed, took her to the. Et up north and she didn’t see any broken nails, but could see her nail cover grew over the quick like a shelf and that they looked like they were going sideways … She also didn’t like on those nails that there was ooze coming out. She put her on clindamyacin for 14 days and Epson soaks. This was last Saturday. Now tonight before I went to bed, I looked at that foot and there is nothi g under the black nails, it is just hollow, which led me to start searching. I want to cry, I have been putting an ace bandage on it every night to deter her from licking…she is almost 7 and has never had any problems… Since this started she does eat at different times, it use to be like clockwork morning and then 5, now it’s like she gets around to eating around 1 orm2 then later like 7, the food just sits in her bowl. I hadn’t gotten her any vaccines which is what I don’t understand…. I usually don’t, THE only thing that happend was after the back nail incident, we found a tick on her, same day, we pet herald over several times a day, so we found it ASAP and successfully took it off, I got a dose of flea and tick med and out between her shoulder blades, but that’s it. I just want our dog back!!! I seriously don’t have th money for this right now and wondered if you can give me a run down on what worked again for you…. The last thing I need is to take her her somewhere and them not know about it and get charged for all these tests and bloodwork. She is 75 lbs and almost 7…. Please help- I have to work in 4 hours and literall could not go to sleep until I wrote this to you,,,, you are an angel for putting all of you hard learned info here for people… I am just so sad, mad, disappointed, angry, everything! And mostly I just feel so bad for her :( I also don’t care what her nails look like, I just don’t want her to be in pain and driving herself insane licking them all the time… And here I am think an ace bandage will help … Smh please help!

    • Mom says:

      Ni Nicole,

      She doesn’t need tests and blood work, so don’t let any vet tell you this. My vet was going to draw blood, too, but the derm vets told her not to bother because SLO is the ONLY thing it could be. Take the information from this website and click some of the links in the article and the posts. Print out some photos from these websites to show them what the nails look like as related to the SLO information. Take all this to your vet, that’s what I did. She got on the phone the the dermatology vets, had a consult for which I was not charged and they told her what to prescribe which has been working ever since. The meds and supplements are listed in this thread several times.

      Since money is an issue I can only suggest that you apply for a Care Credit credit card or one of the other ones that gives you a credit card to use for vet use. It only takes a few minutes to get approved and you can use it right away. I believe they give you a temporary code or number or something. Six months to pay interest free. You can use that for the vet visit. The supplements are inexpensive, the antibiotics cost us $40 per month at Walgreens using their “W” card which costs $40 per year. Our pet insurance company reimburses us 80% for the monthly meds but it’s too late to get insurance for this, none of the pet insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions. I don’t know what other pharmacies might offer but what Riley is actually getting for anti-b’s is a generic human version which is why it can be gotten at a human pharmacy.

      Another option is to talk to your vet about the possibility of making payments.

      She is in a lot of pain, she needs these meds right away to start getting better. Please find a way to get her what she needs, this is only going to get worse without the meds and supps.

      Good luck, and please let us know how she’s doing.


  24. Julie aka moose's mom says:

    Treats sorry my phone loves correcting things lol.

  25. Julie aka moose's mom says:

    We really don’t do dog txs unless they are sourced and made in USA. He eats beef from our cow we personally raise and feed so no hormones steroids or antibiotics there.

    • Mom says:

      Sorry, don’t know what “txs” is but I love that you’re feeding your own poison free treats!

  26. Julie aka moose's mom says:

    Went to a good vet down here at the animal hospital of outer banks. Walked in no appointment and they were very accommodating in taking us right back. They did labs including thyroid. It’s back all normal. He thinks this is an autoimmune response probably triggered by vaccinations that cause blood flow to stop to his nails. Only new vaccine was Lyme vaccine. They don’t think it’s his tick color as they tested this one by feeding it to animals kid you not. The dangerous ones ate the ones that they sell over the counter. Trifexus had been over a year on and does well on it. But he takes it with food which is what a lot of people don’t do. He’s lost 8 nails total. Got cortisone shot. Rx for amoxicillon and prednisone taper. Moose looks more comfortable already :)

    • Mom says:

      Sounds like this vet nailed it with his “autoimmune response probably triggered by vaccinations” diagnosis = just an easier way to pronounce Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy or SLO. Happy to hear that Moose is feeling better and thanks for letting us know!

    • Becky says:

      My dog just recently diagnosed with this also. He was healthy as a horse prior, 6 yrs old. I haven’t done vaccines since his puppy shots and 1 booster so I don’t really think its vaccine related…just my opinion.

      • Mom says:

        Hi Becky,

        You’re entitled to disagree but there numerous articles and sources that say it’s true. It’s not the *only* reason a dog gets SLO and it many times depends on the dog. It’s true in Riley’s case and I believe in many other folks cases here who’s dogs have it. When was the booster given and what was the booster for?


  27. Julie aka moose's mom says:

    *four toenails fell off. I have then all. Kept in case vet needed then. Got corn starch and Epsom at a grocery store here. The are vets at the breach but thinking it may be better to get an appt asap once we get back. Not sure what care is like down here.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Julie,

      I wouldn’t be real comfortable taking my dog to a strange vet either so I understand your concern there. You could try calling your regular vet and see if perhaps he’s got a recommendation of a vet he knows personally within a reasonable distance of your location.

      What might work is to take pics of your Moose’s feet, zoom in close as you can get. A photo of a lifting nail plus the timing of your dog’s most recent vaccines is probably going to be proof-positive for any vet that knows about SLO. Your dog’s onset and initial reaction is about the same time-frame and reaction I had to our Riley’s onset from vaccines to SLO. I didn’t know what I was dealing with either.

      What I did after I felt I’d found what was wrong with Riley was to email a few pics along with links to articles on SLO to my vet . Then I called and did a phone consult. You can do this same thing from your vacation spot. Photos and links for proof should be enough to get your vet to listen to you. If he doesn’t, you need a new vet! Epsom salts should help ease some of your dog’s pain. You can also put Neosporin on the open-wound nails. That freaked me out, didn’t know you could use Neosporin on a dog considering they’re going to lick it off but she assured me it was safe. Please check with your own vet before using it.

      If you can get him to prescribe the anti-b’s to a nearby pharmacy, you can pick up the supps as well and get your Moose started on his meds. The sooner the better, the meds take time to start working. Walgreens has locations all over the country, try to locate one nearby so you can take advantage of their “W” card so you can get the huge discount on the anti-b’s.

      Please also read more on over-vaccinating and get him off the routine vaccination schedule thing. He’s probably vaccinated enough for life already including the Lyme disease. Get him tittered before you allow your vet to stick any more vaccine needles in him. If his titers show he’s good he does not need vaccinations!

      Might I suggest that you also research Trifexus along with the use of flea and tick collars in general? Have a look at these links to get you started:

      Owners Blame 700 Dog Deaths on Trifexis

      Local Vets Weigh in on Concern Over Flea and Heartworm Drug Trifexis

      Flea Collar Dangers

      Flea and Tick Collar Dangers

      The second link tends to pooh-pooh the first link somewhat but this is the same scenario as the treats made in China nightmare that are killing dogs and cats. Some say there’s no scientific proof the treats are killing – but they also can’t prove they’re not. If my dog got sick or died died a short time after eating a treat of any kind, you can be darn sure I’d be thinking that’s what killed or made my dog sick and unless someone could prove otherwise, I’d continue to believe this. I don’t need scientific proof to error on the side of my dog’s safety, I just do it.

      Best of luck and please let us know how your Moose is doing!


  28. Julie aka moose's mom says:

    My 127lb dog moose lost a toenail Monday this week though it got caught in something called the vet told to soak in Epsom salt. Easy enough. Well now we are on vacation in NC 10hrs away from home. He had had for more fall off. I’m beyond distraught. I’m at the beach and I’m just sick. Background moose is a boxer/Chesapeake bay retriever/st.Bernard/greater swiss mtn dog/american fox hound mix. According to his DNA test anyways. The last two weeks he’s been mopey. He was vaccinated in may reg vaccines and new Lyme disease one. Eats taste of the wild high prairie mix. Trifexus few mths and new tick collar not a store one. Toenails have looked thick lately. I hope when I call my vet she’ll listen. Thank you for posting your story. I’m just sick and angry at myself. He is due to get Lyme testing soon. I was worried that was why he was mopey. This vacation has not been off to a great start.

  29. Cherie says:

    First, I want to say thank you for this page; it has been a godsend. Our 6.5 year boxer Ziggy (he is a rescue and we think he may also be part Pit) started losing his nails about a month ago. The first trip to the vet resulted in a misdiagnosis (infection due to likely hurt foot/nail). The antibiotics given did nothing and more nails started falling off and we could tell he was having pain/difficulty walking. Return trip led us to diagnosis of fungal infection and prescription for anti-fungal meds. While he seems better, he is still losing nails, bleeding and in incredible pain.

    That led us to the internet and to you. Now we are moving up his next appointment, changing his diet, adding many of the supplements discussed here and hoping we can get on track and help our poor valiant boy. Kicking ourselves for not doing this research sooner but at first it was only one nail and not nearly as bad and he would have good days that made us seem that things were turning around. All the shared wisdom and experiences are truly helpful. Although it does make me believe that perhaps this is not at “rare” as indicated given your responses here.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Cherie,

      I’m glad we were able to help you figure out what is wrong with your Ziggy. Hopefully, once he gets the right anti-b’s and supps started his SLO will go into its non-active state and stay there forever. If it does do not stop any part of the meds, this is a lifetime daily meds routine no matter how good he seems to be doing.

      I kicked myself as well for not figuring things out sooner but ya know what? We’re human and in the beginning it really doesn’t seem like there’s anything wrong. Any dog can lose a nail or two and something like that just usually doesn’t alarm us because there always seems to be a logical explanation for the first 2-3 nail losses. I had started thinking something may not be quite right and decided that should Riley lose one more nail he was going to the vet. Then I came home to the literal blood bath in my kitchen and was majorly alarmed. No question about it anymore, this was something more than just our dog being a klutz.

      SLO may not be quite so rare anymore, it was just about a year ago that I learned about it and everything I read then said it was still considered rare at that time. My vet had never heard of it which helps to prove it. I think in the big picture as compared to high profile diseases like cancer or more common diseases like hip dysplasia it probably still is but it also appears that word is getting out which is fabulous! But word also needs to be spread that over-vaccinating our dogs is a major cause of SLO and other things and that people need to learn to not just blindly administer vaccines because of the harm this can do.

      Our best to you and Ziggy and I hope you’ll let us know how he’s doing.

      • Cherie says:

        Appreciate all that you do on this issue…Ziggy now only has 4 of his original nails left. All the one’s growing back are severely disformed, discorlored and now even one of those broke yesterday. Back to our regular vet tomorrow armed with all the ammo, info from Rileys’ Place! I have to say though that I think you are spot on as far as the vaccinations including Lyme, he just had a round of vaccines about two weeks prior to the first symptoms of SLO…we back to a county park land that is full of trees and deer which also means lots of tick so I’ve been following my vets advice about vaccines; not any more…


        • Mom says:

          You are so very welcome, Cherie. I am so happy when someone says we’ve helped them and really appreciate when they tell us! I know then that all my time and effort that I put into Riley’s Place IS doing good and that was one of my goals when I started this website. Thank you for letting me know, I hope you’ll stop back in and let us know what your regular vet has to say after your upcoming visit.

          I hope you won’t find a fight on your hands for demanding that no more vaccines get administered to Ziggy. The day our vet said she would never agree to not vaccinate our dogs for rabies is the day I went new-vet hunting and found one that knows all about this and agrees with my decision as well! Any vet can get a blood titer on a dog and find out if they’re protected in order to determine if a dog needs any vaccines and chances are an adult dog won’t need them. I got two additional bonuses out of the vet switch, that is our new vet is just a few blocks away vs. the 20 minute drive one way the old one was and I’m saving bookoodles of money on not having to pay for vaccinations. The biggest bonus is having healthier dogs without vaccines!

          Riley’s nails have never come back to normal, his sound pretty much like your Ziggy’s. We don’t care what his nails look like anyway. They are covered with fur and we’ve never had one person gawk at him or ask “What’s wrong with his nails? Nobody but us knows and even if it were obvious we wouldn’t care as long as he’s not in pain and suffering from an active flare-up. So far so good, it’s now a year since he had his first (and hopefully only!) active go-round with it.

          Good luck, looking forward to your next visit with us!

      • Cherie says:

        Wanted to give an update on our Ziggy (6.5 yer old male boxer). Our regular vet has conferred with a derm specialist and both now concur it is SLO as we feared. We have had Ziggy on the regime recommended on your website for about 8 days now and we are seeing a vast improvement. He doesn’t seem to be in nearly as much pain which means he has also stopped incessantly licking his paws. Our vet also recommended that we keep his nails filed down every day now that Zig will let us touch is feet. The new nails growing back appear far more typical then they had previously. He also tolerates the epsom salt soaks every night and seems fairly content afterwards. And, we are spreading the word about over vaccination since we ruled out any systemic immune/cancer issues via a blood test. Thanks so much for Riley’s Place and spreading the word!

        • Mom says:

          Wow, filing his nails? I would be terrified to do that. We haven’t had to so much as trim Riley’s nails at least so far. Happy to hear your Ziggy is doing so much better! Keep spreading the word!


  30. David says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have a 4 y/o German Rottweiler named Roxy. This dog is my life. I’ve had her since she was 4 weeks old. For Rox this began about a year ago and since I was an OTR truck driver she was with me in the truck all the time. She lost one nail and I chocked it up to probably ripping it out on the bunk in the truck, but over the course of about 4 months she lost every nail including dew claws on all four feet. They all grew back in but one sideways and the others just really bad. I have to bring her into the vet since I’ve moved out of the state I was residing in but I am 100% sure it’s SLO. I was in the marine corps so I tend to have the attitude of if it didn’t kill me I don’t need to see a dr and unfortunately it came down to the sand with my dog. I know, irresponsibly so. I’ve always done everything to take care of my girl, I just had no clue what was wrong with her and when I did bring her to the vet in CT he couldn’t shed any light on the situation. Of late it has gotten worse again so I decided to do some research and came upon your writings. Thank you very much for your insight. I know Roxy will appreciate it and I appreciate the eye opener I have just found myself in. I have to remember not to take things for granted and even though I may not believe in going to the dr most the time my girl needs to be taken care of no matter what the cost time of day of situation. What I learned reading your writings was much more than the vet I had spoken to ever said to me. He gave me one of those bs answers and didn’t seem to want to look any further into it. Come to find out later he was very short with me bc she is a rot and from the mouth of that vet she is a vicious breed of dog and he didn’t want to deal with her. Even though the only thing she could hurt is possible a shadow. Currently I’m trying to train her in search and rescue but I need to address the issue with her paws before I can continue. Thank you for the info and for listening to me.

    • Mom says:

      Hi David,

      You are so very welcome for me writing about SLO. I’m happy that you found our website and learned here what your vet wouldn’t or couldn’t tell you. I can relate so much to your comment on how your dog is your life. I love my Furkids like crazy!

      Never having heard of SLO, I didn’t think anything of it either when Riley lost the first 2-3 nails. There always seemed to be a logical explanation for why it happened at that time.

      Please don’t take offense and I’m sure the Marine Corps has their reasons for teaching the things they do but that doesn’t mean I agree with it. I think the marines tend to forget we’re humans before we’re marines, ya know? If you need to see a doctor to get better you can be a better marine then. I guess they don’t see it that way.

      It’s too bad the vet you saw has the attitude about Rotties that he does, but it’s also possible he didn’t have a clue about SLO as well. I hope you’ve decided to find a new vet considering what you learned about this one.

      We’re glad you stopped by and told us your story, it’s very touching for a big tough Marine to be a tender-heart when it comes to your dog! I love that! My husband was a marine, too and he’s the same way. It sounds like you truly understand now that our dogs are worth every penny we spend on their health for what they give to us.

      We wish the very best for you and your Rox and hope that you will come back and let us know how she’s doing! Hugs to both of you and some puppy slobber from our three to Rox!


  31. Shannon says:

    oops in above message… I began with Comet’s “proper” name on her papers which is Apple. We call her Comet.

  32. Shannon says:

    My 3 year old black lab, Apple, was just diagnosed with SLO by a dermatologist. Apple is on doxycycline, Niacinamide, and Salmon oil. Vitamin E was not mentioned from the dermatologist, but I am going to check on that. I am going to UW-Wisconsin Vet Clinic for a second opinion this week. Comet has lost one nail so far. She has about 4-5 other nails that are lifting from the nail bed and will probably fall off with time. I have stopped walking her as I think she is uncomfortable, and I don’t know if it will cause her worse pain later in the evening. She wants to play and to walk when outside, but once inside the licking begins. Comet awakes around 3 or 4 in the morning and licks for a long time. Sometimes whines at me. So I take her outside. Give her a treat and encourage her to go back to sleep. Poor thing.
    I am interested in Riley’s outcome over time…..Riley’s nails have grown back? The licking has stopped? Are you able to resume walks and playtime with Riley? Thank you for this website. It is helpful to learn about what others have done to fight this disease.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Shannon,

      We’re so sorry to hear about your Comet’s SLO. I also stopped walking Riley when his SLO was active because he was in serious pain.

      Riley’s nails did come back but they do not look normal. They are no longer black but instead kind of a greyish brownish color. He’s not fond of me touching his feet, never has been SLO or not but his aversion to being touched on the feet got worse after the SLO. He doesn’t lick anymore, no more than any other dog licks their feet occasionally. Yes, we walk and he trots around the field with his sisters, although he’s slowed down on that. He doesn’t run anymore like he used to, he trots. But he’s also almost 8 years old and both hips have had FHO surgery so we are not overly concerned about his activity level slow-down. We also don’t give a hoot that he doesn’t have black nails. Long as he’s not in pain that’s all we care about and so far so good on that.

      What seemed to help Riley’s licking was giving him Hypericum Perf-30X, it’s a homeopathic remedy for nerve pain. They’re tiny little “pillows” that melt very quickly. I put them in his mouth (best under the tongue but that doesn’t work so well with dogs!) and would gently hold his mouth closed for like 5-10 seconds and tell him to “hold” to give the pills a chance to start melting. They taste good, I tried them for my own nerve pain so if you decide to try it your dog may not fight it too much.

      I’m so glad you found us and stopped in to yakk with us for a bit. Do come back and let us know how things are going with your sweet girl!


  33. Cynthia says:

    I was surfing looking for SLO updates, and found this — haven’t read every entry, but want to share my experience and successful treatment for this nasty illness. When my beloved shepherd mix was 5ish, he got SLO and lost all his nails. I took him to a top vet dermatologist. We did the biopsy, lots of suregery on a reg basis to remove the deformed nails, etc. We put him on a trial of Derm caps — fish oil and Omega-3’s and then the vet experimented with a human medication which increades the blood circulation to the feet of the dog. I got it at a human pharmacy — vet would call it in — can’t recall the name of it right now; but it worked. The incresed blood flow, and the fish oil made the SLO go into remission. After 3 or 4 years on the circulation med; I stopped it and continued the fish oil. He has done great for years, — no recurrance until now, at the age of almost 13; the SLO is it back. He’s been declingin in other ways so I think he has some cancer — going to vet tomorrow. But for you all with young dogs, talk to your vet about blood circulation med. It saved our beloved Elliot from years of suffering!

    • Mom says:

      Hi Cynthia,

      Thanks so much for your comments, we love hearing how things are going with SLO dogs. These blog posts that I have on it have shown me that SLO is affecting soooo many dogs which is horrible! If you could remember the name of the meds you gave I’m sure a lot of people here would love to know what it is, us included. So far Riley’s treatment is working great but I and our vet are making notes in his med chart for possibilities to try should his meds fail him at any point.

      Good luck with your Elliot, please do stop back and keep us posted. We are thinking of him!


  34. Karen says:

    I am so glad that your Riley is doing better. :) I was linked to your page because I have a friend who’s dog could have SLO and she was referred to view your posts by The Dog Oiler who has recipes using the essential oils of Helichrysum, Frankincense and On Guard blend to give the body what it needs so that it may heal itself. If you are interested in more information I will be more than happy to share it with you.

    • Mom says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, we really appreciate that and we are happy as can be that Riley is doing well at this point, too.

      I think for the moment we’re in agreement with our vet and since what Riley is taking is working so well, we’re going to stick with that unless his condition changes or he has a flare up. Thank you for the offer, though. I may contact you about this at a later date.

      We hope your friend’s dog is doing better and will continue to be so! Please give them our best regards.


  35. Anahi says:

    Thanks for sharing. Our vet did not mentioned the name of what my dog had, but I am pretty sure sure this is what she meant. He lost one nail and I thought it was due to an injury, then a second one and we went to the vet and most the nails of his rear look brittle and likely to fall soon :(. The vet recommended now fatty acids and antibiotics…and probably changing diet. He was just just diagnosed so reading and knowing more everyone’s experience is really valuable so that I can make an informed plan on how to take the best care of him and bring him back to the happy pup he was!

    • Mom says:

      Hi Anahi,

      Thanks so much for your comments, I’m happy we were able to help you with our information. I’m sure all our participants appreciate your letting us know we’ve been helpful :) I do wonder why your vet didn’t explain better, that’s really too bad :(

      Riley’s been doing well so far on his anti-‘b’s and supplements but I’ll be holding my breath and checking closely all summer long for any potential new flare-ups in the works.

      Good luck to you, I hope your boy gets better soon! Stop back and let us know how it goes, ‘k?

  36. Shirley Long says:

    It seems as though a lot of people are directed to give their dogs a total of 2000 mg of fish oil a day and 800 of the vitamin e, for a dog approx. 70 lbs. My little girl has dropped from 72 down to 62. Tiki is a Shepherd, 7 yrs. old. She was diagnosed about 2 months ago. She is on the niacinamide, and currently on her second round of cephalexin due to becoming infected again in the last couple of nails to come off. I have been directed to give just half the amount of vitamin e and fish oil that others are giving. Can Riley’s mom email me, I am not computer saavy and will have a hard time finding this site again?

    • Mom says:

      Hi Shirley,

      I’m sorry to hear about your little girl. I don’t know who directed you to give the half of what others here are giving their dog(s), you didn’t mention that you’d taken her to a vet but I’m assuming you did and your vet is the one who gave you the dosage. Since your girl is suffering from a second infection it seems to me that what you are giving her and perhaps how much is not working and is not enough. I am *not* a vet and I *cannot* give you or anyone else veterinary advice. I can only share what I know and make suggestions for which each person must do what’s right for them. What I would do is get her to another vet for a second opinion immediately. As I’ve said numerous times in these SLO threads is that a vet dermatologist is the best vet to consult with. Many regular vets are still not familiar with SLO.

      I just looked up what cephalexin is used for and again, not being a vet I cannot say for sure but it does seem to me that this is the wrong antibiotic to be giving her for SLO. According to the info I *very briefly* read cephalexin is for bacterial infections (think bladder and ear infections) and SLO is not bacterial, it’s an auto-immune disease. I don’t think the two are the same nor do I believe the same medications can be used successfully for both. To my knowledge most bacterial infections are curable, SLO is not. It just seems to me she’s on the wrong medication and not enough of the supplements, but remember I’m not a vet. Riley is on doxycycline as are many of the other dogs here and doxy is what’s recommended for SLO. Maybe your vet knows something we don’t know?

      The fact that your girl has lost significant weight would worry the heck out of me if she were my dog and I don’t think her weight loss is related to her SLO. Riley did not loose weight, I didn’t find weight loss as a symptom in my SLO research and no one that’s commented here has mentioned weight loss as a symptom or that their dog is losing weight. I think there may be something else possibly quite serious going on with your girl on top of the SLO. That kind of weight loss should not be ignored. A second vet opinion is where I’d go next and I’d be getting the very first appointment I could.

      I do suggest you read my Why and How to STOP OVER-Vaccinating Your Dog so that you can help protect your Tiki from future flare-ups.

      On a side note, I’m sorry, I cannot make personal phone calls and our policy doesn’t allow for private responses. This is a place for everyone to share and learn. I work two jobs and am not able to get here on a daily basis, I respond as quickly as I can but that’s the best I can do. It’s very easy to find us again, just save the link to our website and/or whatever articles you’re interested in to your browser favorites. We will then be just a click away when you want to visit.

      I hope everything will be ok with your Tiki and that you’ll come back and let us know what you found out from a second vet.


  37. Robin says:

    I so very much appreciate this information. My English Mastiff, Toph, was Dx w/ SLO in February of this year (before she was a year old). My vet mentioned fish oil, biotin, and vitamin E. I have read that gelatin is also good for SLO, is this accurate? I have also read that per 10lbs of the dog, there should be 1 fish oil/day. So my Toph weighs 130 pounds and that means she should get 13 fish oil pills a day. That seems like too much. Does Riley take fish oil like that? She is beginning another bout, which I knew from her licking but it was confirmed when we got home from our walk and I saw the broken nail and 3 more were lifted. Is the vitamin regimen a life long maintenance plan? I have had her on the fish oil, vit E, and biotin since I found this out about her but I am not seeing improvement. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Mom says:

      Hi Robin,

      Sounds like your vet may need to get more educated in SLO. Maybe I’m misunderstanding but mentioning potential treatment is not the same as telling you specifically what to get and how much of each to give your dog. If you look at some of the other posts in this blog thread you’ll see that your dog needs antibiotics as well and I don’t see any mention of antibiotics in your comments. Supplements alone are not enough to curb this nasty, painful disease. Some vets as you can see, are prescribing Pentoxifylline instead of an antibiotic. We’re not using Pentoxifylline here and don’t plan on it (read the end of the original article for why not in our case). You’ll also find a list of what supplements we’re using including Riley’s dosage and what other people are using. Riley runs 73-75lbs, your Toph weighs 130lbs may need more than that. I cannot say for sure if weight after a certain point is a determining factor in dosage. For example, what Riley gets is perhaps way more than a 10-20lb dog should safely have but the dosage may be the same for say all dogs over 50 pounds. This I do not know for sure. Your vet should be determining the dosage, that’s not something you should be figuring out.

      The medications and supplements work together as a team and in order for them to do this effectively, the doses have to be correct. The number of pills you give your dog is not what matters, it’s the total daily dosage that counts. All these supps can be purchased in different dosages. Riley’s salmon caps are 1,000mg each and he gets two of these per day (1 morn and 1 night) so a total of 2,000mg per day. If your fish oil supps are say 1,000mg each and you are giving 13 of these it sounds like you’d be way over-dosing her. Over-dosing on fish oil products can be very dangerous and lead to serious potentially life-threatening things like pancreatitis. Have your vet consult with a dermatology vet, they are the most knowledgeable on SLO.

      My vet specifically prescribed the non-flushing version of niacinamide not biotin for Riley and stressed that it be non-flushing niacinamide — no substitutions. Both are versions of a vitamin B supplement but may work differently for their intended causes. Please read the original article and all the follow-up comments for more on niacinamide. Your biotin may be fine, but I strongly suggest you research both and consult with your vet after he’s consulted with a dermatology vet to know for sure which you should be giving Toph.

      Treatment is lifelong, this disease never goes away. We do what we can to manage it and hopefully keep future flare-ups from happening. Once your Toph is over 18 months old and has had all her necessary puppy shots, I would seriously consider stopping all vaccinations, especially rabies which seems to be the biggest trigger for SLO. You can read more on this in my How and Why to Stop Vaccinating Your Dog article. Don’t forget to check on if your city government will accept a waiver from your vet that your dog cannot be vaccinated due to her illness so that you can still legally license her. I cannot and do not recommend you (or anyone else) break any laws, but since Riley was diagnosed with SLO and I’ve learned what I’ve learned about over-vaccinating, our dogs are all adults so all vaccinations have stopped at our house. I’ll be following up with titers to make sure our dogs are protected but since rabies vaccines are being found to be effective for at least 7 years I doubt any of our dogs will ever need a rabies shot again and they’ll still be protected and safe.

      It can take several weeks to see any improvement after treatment is started. However, it sounds like your dog may not be getting full treatment if there are no antibiotics (or Pentoxifylline) included in her treatment so I’d venture to say she’s not going to improve until such time as medications are part of the overall treatment. Supplements alone will not do the trick.

      Please get back with your vet and have him/her consult with a vet dermatologist to learn what medications and supplements and in what doses your dog should be getting. What he learns from this will not only help your dog, but this disease is spreading fast and furious and he can use what he finds out to help him treat all his patients that suffer from it.

      We are hoping for the best for your Toph! Let us know how it goes?

  38. Mom says:

    Hi everyone – just to let you know I added an update to the end of the original article after meeting with our vet on the use of Pentoxifylline for Riley’s symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy!

    If you’ve been here before and read the original article, please go back and read the additional information which I promised to post when I got it from our vet.

    Thanks for your attention and let’s keep talking about this nasty disease! Help get the word out to all dog owners about SLO!

  39. riccardo says:

    Hi Mom.
    Do they lick, in tour opinion, because they feel pain?

    • Mom says:

      Hi Riccardo,

      Yes, dogs usually lick all their wounds and irritations because they’re painful and irritated. This is the reason when a dog has surgery or some other problem that they don’t want to get worse or infected that the vet puts an Elizabethan collar on the dog. Those are those big plastic things that go around their necks that keep them from being able to reach their wounds to lick. They kind of remind me of a dunce cap in case you don’t know what I’m referring to.

  40. Susanne says:

    I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to you for writing this. My 7 year old Schnauzer was diagnosed with SLO today. I had already done some research on the computer about his sings and symptoms and pretty much already knew before I took him what it was. The vet confirmed my fear of the SLO diagnosis. I am thankful it can be treated. He seems to be handling it fairly well. I was given pretty much what other here was except the Pentoxifylline.
    I be darn if I did not get his annual shots while I was there. Before he was even diagnosed the shots were given. I did not find your post until now or I would have skipped those!!!! Again that you so much and I hope that Riley is feeling better. How is Riley’s nails doing?

    • Mom says:

      Hi Susanne,

      You’re so very welcome, I’m happy you found it helpful!

      I’m so sorry to hear about your little guy having SLO but good that he’s handling it ok. Our Riley didn’t get so lucky. You and the last few people that posted seem to have vets that are familiar with this which is wonderful! It seems word is getting out and around and more vets are learning about it. Maybe over the next few years knowledge will spread and that would be fantastic!

      That’s really a shame about the shots before the diagnosis. If he didn’t get his rabies that should help, rabies seems to be the biggest factor. Dogs shouldn’t have annual rabies shots anyway so hopefully he wasn’t due for that.

      Thank you so much for asking about Riley. He’s doing ok, we do believe his feet are sensitive to cold like snow, ice and cold wind. It seems so anyway. He’s not as active as he used to be but he’s also going on 8 years old now so we take that into consideration plus he had both hips done a few years ago so there is more than his SLO to think about when you look at the big picture. We just got back from a walk and he’s doing fine. I don’t believe his nails will ever be normal but he’s got nails back. They’re lighter in color than before his SLO and it does appear they may be a bit on the brittle side in comparison with normal nails. We’ve not had to clip them since his SLO but we didn’t have to clip them before that either except once or twice a year. His nails just never did grow like Nissa’s or now our Gracie’s. I always wonder if that was a sign of the SLO previous to it’s active stage. It’s just weird that they always were about the same length and never too long. We just figured our walks were enough to keep his in check. Nissa’s grow so fast it’s like she lives on jello, LOL! But she doesn’t even eat jello, it just seems like it. Her nails have always grown fast.

      Best of luck and hope your little guy gets better soon. I’m so glad you dropped in to chat with us and hope that you’ll keep us posted on your dog’s progress or any new findings you come across. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard from my vet yet on the Pentoxifylline. But in his defense, he’s absolutely the busiest vet in town and we have like four or five vets here.

      • Susanne says:

        I have been back and read your response and it is so appreciated. I am glad that Riley is doing alright. I must admit I have had a very hard time dealing with this but I am better now. That is why it has taken me so long to come back and actually post and not just read. This disease is sad and I hurt for my baby. He has lost all of his nail but 3. The nails that have came back are not like his “normal” ones. The nails are thin, deformed, curved BUT he does not seem to be in pain and he has not had any bleeding. Thank God. I even seen him scratching in the yard the other day, as he does after he barks at the neighborhood children that are walking by. I was really glad to see him still doing that. I am going to read you update on the Pentoxifylline and thanks in advance for posting that. Right now my boy is still on the Fish Oil supplement and Vitamin E. We are due a trip back to the vet.
        Hope you and yours a blessed day.

      • Susanne says:

        I would really appreciate your opinion on the use of steriods in my dogs treatment now. Like I said we are due a visit back to the vet and she metioned the possible use of steroids. What do you think? What is considered the long term treatment for this disease? Do the nails ever come back to “normal” again? Sorry for all the questions. I am frightened of steriods. I am frightened right now period. I just want the best for my boy. He is my best friend.

        Thank You

        • Mom says:

          Hi Susanne,

          Welcome back, I’m happy to help you through this. I’m going to combine your two latest posts into one response from me. I was a basket case during Riley’s active stage so I’m pretty sure I have an idea of where you’re coming from. I totally agree this disease is very sad and freaking nasty. I hate it. It sounds like the worst is over for your dog at least for now.

          It sounds like your dog’s nails came back the way Riley’s did. He lost most of his nails and what is there now are a lot like what you describe. Riley’s nails did thicken up over the last few months though so that thin shell-like stuff should get thicker more like your dog’s old nails (except for color) I would think. Although I do feel we’ll always need to take a bit of extra safety care, your dog’s nails probably won’t seem so fragile after they thicken up. Riley’s are back to being about the same thickness as a normal nail but they are discolored and kind of brittle looking.

          I would be surprised if Riley’s nails ever look totally normal again but that’s ok. As long as he’s not in pain or active flare-up I’m as happy as one can be about it since we’ll have to live with this awful disease as long as Riley lives. We don’t think Riley is in pain any more other we’re pretty sure his nails and toes are a bit more sensitive to cold like snow, ice and winter weather.

          Yes, please read the Pentoxifylline update before you go back to your vet so you’ll have at least a little bit of info on it in case it’s brought up as a possible medication for your dog. This way if your vet brings it up you can chat about it regarding your own dog.

          I consider steroids to be heavy duty stuff and I would want to know specifically what steroid your vet wants to put your dog on (if she wants to) and the dosage and then I would do my own research along with getting a second opinion. This is not a decision that has to be made on the spot; you can take a little time to research.

          What Riley’s on now (listed in one or more posts here) is the most common life-long daily treatment that I’m aware of and so far is working just fine for Riley. As I mentioned in my Pento update, we’re sticking with what’s working at this point. If it’s not broke don’t fix it is where I’m at with Riley’s meds and his meds are working so why mess with them especially since I now know that lifelong antibiotics is not at issue for this use.

          I’m nervous about summer coming because that’s prime-time for flare-ups but hopefully that won’t happen. I’m going to keep my eyes on his feeties! Hope you’ll come back and share what happens with your next vet visit.


  41. Rebecca says:

    Hi! You’re right about Pentoxifylline being an odd choice of main stay therapy. However antibiotics are best avoided if possible. DLE is an auto-immune disease, whereby the body attacks it’s own tissues as I’m sure you’re well aware. Because of this, therapy to reduce the immune response such as cyclosporine or corticosteroids work best at preventing this from occurring. Anti-biotics will of course help clear secondary infection and can be useful in chronic DLE, but not all cases require their use. Veterinary responsible use of antibiotics to avoid resistance is always a factor in treatment choice.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks so much for the info! I really appreciate it. I’ve not heard of DLE, would you please tell us more about what it is and what is suspected of triggering it?


    • Patrice says:

      When doxycyline, tetracycline, or other -cycline drugs are prescribed for SLO, it’s for their antinflammatory effect, not for their antibiotic effect. After 6.5 years, I have found that my SLO dog has to stay on these drugs, along with the niacinimide, vitamin e, and salmon oil to prevent a flare-up of the SLO. He’s been pain-free for quite awhile now.


  42. judy says:

    My GSD was diagnosed 2 years ago with SLO at age 8 years. We did competition agility and at a trial, she tore a nail off. The other nails eventually fell off over a month period. But w/in 2 days of the trial, she was her Vet and was diagnosed with SLO. The treatment was anti-biotic (not Doxi-since she is allergic to that), Pentoxifylline, a diet of grain-free dry food. She had blood work up and has never had a thyroid problem. After research, we put our GSD also on free-liquid salmon oil, B-Complex and E. Her nails came back normal color and shape. She has not lost her nails since then. She is a healthy dog at 10 now. Along with the grain-free dry dog food (an organic brand with a high protein ratio), Prozyme powder, the vitamins and salmon oil I think has worked. Because she is exposed to other dogs when walking at a local park, we maintain her vacines.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Judy,

      It’s great to hear your dog is doing exceptionally well! I’m impressed that her nails grew back normally, that hasn’t happened for our Riley so I am now thinking the Pentoxifylline may perhaps be the key to that. I will have to check into this further and thank you for sharing your story which helps us all learn from your experience!


    • Janine says:

      Hi Judy,
      My GSD was recently diagnosed with SLO as well… He is a young 10 yrs old and about 97 lbs…. I am starting the regimen of Omegas, vitamin E, b-complex, and biotin….
      I haven’t found anywhere where it tells me the dosage of the B-complex vitamin…. Do you know what mg you use?

      • Mom says:

        Hi Janine,

        I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s SLO. I’d like to hear more about the biotin you mentioned if you’d elaborate on that some more? As for the vitamin B, Riley takes one 500mg capsule of Niacinamide 2x a day. Here is a link to the Niacinamide I buy which is what the dermatology vet and other sources said I should use. I was told it had to be Niacinamide and so not to be confused with other closely named or sounding products. I even had a pharmacist tell me that something else on their shelf (I forget what it was) was the same thing. On further checking it was not the same thing and would have been the wrong thing to put him on so I urge you to stick with Niacinamide. This same pharmacist told me I’d never find Niacinamide on the shelf somewhere or online because it was the same as what he was showing me. Guess I proved him wrong!

        Whatever you purchase, make sure it is the non-flushing version. As I understand it, the flushing version will give your dog the equivalent of hot flashes in humans. Your poor dog is suffering enough without adding to his misery by giving him something that will do this.

        Riley runs 73-75 pounds and your dog is significantly bigger so I would make sure to check with your vet on the dosage for your dog. He may need a different dose than Riley does. Good luck! Stop back and let us know how it goes?

        • Janine says:

          Hi mom,

          Thanks for the reply…. My holistic vet gave me a very specific prescription…

          fish oil – 2000 mg 2x/day
          vit. E – 400 IU 2x/day
          Vit B complex/super complex – 1/day
          Biotin – 3000 mcg/day

          It sounds like you just use the B3 niacinamide not the whole b- complex?
          Just started this regimen so not sure if it works yet….. I’ll let you know….

          • Michelle says:

            Great blog, thank you. Breaks my heart any of our furkids are facing this. I have a 4yr old Australian Shepherd who has not been “formally diagnosed”; however, he has EVERY symptom. But he easily breaks nails at the base (has done just walking down stairs), very odd nail appearance, quick separates on some. I want to get as much of a head start as possible. Remi is about 65lbs. My vet is currently researching as well how to proceed. He is on Nula Salmon/Sweet Potato. His legs tremble when he sleeps sometimes and is very sensitive if you touch his feet. Any help greatly appreciated to bring him comfort and use the least amount of drugs as possible.

          • Mom says:

            Hi Michelle,

            Your poor Aussie boy! The quickest way for your vet to confirm and get treatment info would be to consult with a good dermatology vet. As I understand it, the derm vets are the ones most familiar with this because it’s considered (for some crazy reason that I can’t figure out!) to be a skin disease.

            There is other information about the treatments other people are using within this blog thread. As a refresher, my Riley is on the meds listed below. This will be a daily, lifelong adventure unless the Doc changes his dosage or something better comes along I would imagine. Do NOT just go by Riley’s dosage, check with your vet on each individual dog as some of this may be geared to your dog’s weight.

            Riley’s SLO Medications with His Dosage

            1) 100mg Doxycycline (an antibiotic) 2x per day
            1) Niacinamide (a vitamin B capsule type thing – it’s capsule shaped but the texture and look reminds me of aspirin) 2x per day
            1) E-400iu vitamin E 2x per day
            1) 1000mg capsule of Salmon oil 2x per day

            As I mentioned before the Doxy (where we live in WI) can be gotten fairly inexpensively with the Walgreens “W” card. Otherwise it would be $600 per month but we pay just $40.00 per month for it. If you don’t have a Walgreens, ask what other options you have for reducing the cost at your own pharmacy if you find it expensive where you live. The Niacinamide must be Niacinamide, no substitutions is my understanding and should be a non-flushing formula. I have links to where I purchase these supplements within this blog post so you can review and compare, shop, whatever.

            Summer is coming! Prime time for a flare-up so keep a close eye on your dog’s toenails!

            I hope you’ll keep us posted on your dog’s condition and anything else you learn from this experience with this nasty SLO, Michelle!

  43. Annette says:

    Hi there!
    My boxer/lab/shepherd mix, Sophie, was just diagnosed with SLO this morning. My vet prescribed Pentoxifylline for her, but I’m also going to try salmon oil and vitamin E. I just want to say thanks for sharing your story here!

    Very best wishes.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Annette,

      I’m so sorry to hear about Sophie’s SLO diagnosis.

      I’m curious to know why Pentoxifylline? I’m wondering if your vet consulted with a dermatology vet before prescribing it? From what I can tell looking up Pentoxifylline, it hopefully will help Sophie with inflammation which is great! But it’s not an antibiotic and as I understand it, SLO treatment needs an antibiotic to help stop it from spreading and then once its run its active course, the antibiotic helps ward off flare-ups in the future. I’ve not heard of Pentoxifylline as a form of treatment for SLO so I’d like to follow up to see if it’s something I should look into for Riley. Knowing why your vet chose this for Sophie’s treatment would be very helpful!

      What Riley takes is several parts which when combined make up the whole treatment. I just want to caution you about choosing what supps to give Sophie for this. If you are just going with salmon oil and vitamin E you’re missing the Niacinamide (NON-flushing version) and the antibiotics. Just the salmon oil and vit E may not be enough.

      So far Riley’s only had his original episode when he was diagnosed and hasn’t had any flare-ups but it’s only been about 8 months and summer’s coming which is supposed to be prime time for active recurrences. There are indications that Riley’s feet remain sensitive especially to cold temps and snow.

      How many nails has Sophie lost so far? Please let us know how she does with her treatment.

  44. Deb Hatt says:

    I am about to pick him up from the vet. Although now readin your note, while he was at the vet they said he was due for shots and I didn’t even think twice and said go ahead!! I feel so stupid. I have always vaccinated. That simple. They bandaged his foot. Rimadyl. And an antibiotic. They did basic bloodwork to check kidney and liver fx. Small fortune later. But at least now I know what it is and can treat him. Thank you. I was told he may have an autoimmune disorder about 4 years ago or he may be neurotic. But they did sedate and remove all the toenails he lost. Thank you again.

    • Mom says:

      The greater majority of dog owners have always vaccinated, we did, too until we learned (too late) what it did to Riley. Vaccinating our dogs has always been the norm for responsible dog owners. NOT vaccinating seems strange to say the least. I’m still kicking myself over not investigating vaccines before all this happened.

      But when you think about it, children get childhood vaccines and then they’re done. As adults we only get boosters and most of them are on an as-needed basis or like every 10 years. I’m actually thinking about not getting the flu vaccine next winter with all this autoimmune stuff I’m learning about. I could be doing *myself* more harm than good with all the dang flu shots!

      About the only good thing about this is that even though it’s too late for Riley we can prevent SLO in our other dogs which we began by banning vaccinations. I do plan to have vaccine titers done on all my dogs every couple of years and to discuss the results with a dermatology vet before proceeding should any of my dogs show that they’re not safe from the vaccine protected diseases. At their ages and with their lifestyle, I don’t think it’s going to be an issue, but I’m not going to assume anything either.

      Since many GP vets are not familiar with SLO, if yours hasn’t already, I’d like to suggest that your vet consult with a dermatology vet if they haven’t already, to ensure that he prescribes what your dog needs for his SLO. Dogs with SLO are usually on antibiotics and supplements twice a day for the rest of their live. Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy is not something that’s treated and goes away like the flu or an ear infection; it’s going to be with him the rest of his life. I’ve read that summer is a high on the list for active flare ups. I hope not, one active flare up with SLO was more than enough for us.

      I talked about the treatment for SLO in my article. The use of rimadyl is controversial. Some of its side effects are gastrointestinal issues and liver disease and from what I can tell, rimadyl is popular for arthritis.

      If you Google the phrase “treatment for symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy” the first six or so articles are what I came across in my research. Although the Grassmere Animal Hospital article mentions rimadyl for the pain, from what I read about the drug, I hope it’s meant just for short term use until the dog gets through the active stage of SLO. Riley was on a short-term pain killer, I can’t remember the name of it right now but it wasn’t rimadyl. Of course, it too had potential nasty side effects. I guess we can’t get away from that.

      Giving Riley probiotics once a day helps his tummy handle the heavy duty meds better and he still takes probies every morning because he’s on lifetime meds. We get them at our Walgreens pharmacy. They’re non-prescription but there are two kinds and the ones Riley takes are Florajen3 which is the type for maintaining gastrointestinal health and supporting the immune system.

      My thought is that since your dog did just receive a round of vaccines I would keep on top of his health like a hawk on a mouse. Dogs with one autoimmune disease are more prone to others so you may be in for a double whammy.

      Was any further testing, investigation or research done when your vet first mentioned he may have an autoimmune disease or possibly be neurotic? I’m curious to know the results of any follow-up on that.

  45. deb says:

    my shepherd has the same thing….thank you for the info! I wish I had known years ago. :(

    • Mom says:

      You’re very welcome, Debbie. It’s awful stuff for them, isn’t it? So painful! I’m glad you got something good from my article and appreciate you letting me know. I wish I’d have known more about what vaccinations can do to dogs, maybe I could have avoided this for him.

      Some also think there’s a connection to hypothyroidism and Riley’s thyroid levels have been on the high end the past two tests so for the past year or so. The vets have dropped his thyroid med dosage each time and I’m getting concerned and wondering if his SLO isn’t the problem or at least part of it. I sent his last blood draw to Hemopet (just this week on Monday) and waiting for the results right now. If your dog also has hypothyroidism you might want to check further into this. If he’s not been diagnosed with it, you may want to have his thyroid levels checked and keep an eye on them as well. Sheps are up there on the list of breeds prone to it.

      How long ago was your dog diagnosed with SLO and how’s he/she doing now?

  46. Vanessa says:

    Great read. My Shep x has also just been diagnoses. Curious to see if there’s an allergy link… possible allergen fed frequently ( didn’t know it was happening) right before this started. Have you found anything about the best diets? kibble? raw?

    • Mom says:

      Hi Vanessa,

      I’m sorry to hear your dog has been diagnosed with SLO. We don’t believe it’s allergy induced. Our dogs have been on a raw diet for 3-4 years now. If there were a link to an allergen I’m convinced it would come from commercial dog food since there are so many different things in it including chemicals that dogs are allergic to. We have no doubt that in Riley’s case and those of countless other dogs that SLO is triggered by having given a dog too many vaccinations. Research shows that there may an element of genetics involved as well. All three of our German Shepherds have hypothyroidism which is also an auto-immune disease and there may be a link between hypothyroidism and Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy, as well.

      Because we had so many problems with manufactured dog foods that totally disappeared since we went raw, there is no way actually for any reason whatsoever that I recommend commercial dog foods for any dog.

      I hope your dog recovers quickly and that you have a vet that understands the disease. It’s hard to see them in so much pain. Thank you so much for sharing your comments and I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

  47. Mike says:

    I got it from the U of I vet school and a refill from my local vet, but it is available without a prescription from several vendors on amazon for $10-$20 a gallon. It may also be at a feed and tack stores as it is used for horses. Just make sure to dilute it with water to a 0.2-0.25% solution before use. I use a gallon zip lock bag and place it over the paws then keep it in the kitchen sink, I get several soaks out of a batch this way.

  48. Mike says:

    Very informative, my GSD Cindy lost her first nail on the 21st of August this year a day after her seventh birthday (same age as your Riley) and was diagnosed at the U of I on Sept. 3. She’s been on the standard Doxycycline, Niacinamide, Salmon Oil, Vitamin E regimine with tramadol for pain as needed. One thing that has helped immensely was my local vet gave her a very light sedative and while removing a nail being shed trimmed the others VERY Short following which I soaked the paws in a 0.2% solution of chlorhexadine daily. The nail infections (discharge) cleared up within days and she was back to her favorite game of frisbee. We repeated the nail trim at the first of this month and may do so one more time as the treatment appears to be working but keeping the nails extremely short has kept the pain and discomfort down to a minor level.

    • Mom says:

      This is great info, thank you Mike! I’d not heard of the soaking ingredient. We used epsom salts which did help ease the pain. Is this a prescription soak medication? If not, where did you purchase it? I’m happy that your dog responded so well to treatment!

    • Wendy Hickman says:

      I am new here.
      Our sweet Rottie who is 9 is now dealing with this awful condition.
      our vet just started her on the doxycyclin
      can I ask what dosage your dog is on ?
      She is having diaherrra since being on it.

      • Mom says:

        Hi Wendy,

        I’m sorry to hear about your poor baby. Please find Riley’s doses on the page under the heading “Riley’s SLO Medications with His Dosage.” It’s also mentioned in a few other places in other posts. I would call the vet about the diarrhea. I would think there is something you could give her to counteract this reaction. I have given my dogs very small amounts of Pepto Bismol but I do not think you can use Immodium so please check with your vet.

        Our best for a speedy remission and no recurrence!


    • Yvonne says:

      This is great to know Mike. My 11 year old GSD is going in tomorrow morning to be sedated and his nails trimmed as short as possible. He’s already lost 3 nails, with several others ready to fall off. Her suggestion is that I try to keep then trimmed as short as possible with a nail dremmel (if he will let me). He’s started antibiotics yesterday and I’m hoping the nail trimming will help his comfort level. Just getting the one clipped last night seems to have helped him alot.

      • Mom says:

        Hi Yvonne,

        We hope your furbaby is doing well after the nail trim and starting treatment. I sure hope you don’t have to have him sedated every time he needs a nail clipping in the future. Let us know how he’s doing?

  49. Jill says:

    I am sorry to hear about Riley. I recently learned a lot about a medication called low dose naltrexone. There is a Yahoo group called LDN for pets, that you may want to check put. LDN is great for both chronic pain and autoimmune conditions. It is inexpensive and safe. It has helped many. I wish I had known about it last year, when my older dog had cancer pain.

  50. Catherine says:

    My Rhodesian has SLO — the timing is very similar to your guy..he seems like he is in a lot of pain..
    Dmyou have him on any pain medicine? Tramadol really helps.
    I have received a lot of help thru the SLO group on yahoo .. Definitely join it !! So much support and info there!

    It gets better … Hang in there

    • Mom says:

      Hi Catherine,

      Thanks for the helpful info and support :) I did try to join an SLO Yahoo group but was not able to get into my account probably because I haven’t used it in years. I might give it another try yet.


      • Debbie says:

        My six year old German sheperd has slo I have had to my vet so many times I’ve lost count just about every Medison that has been talked about on here nothing has helped she started loosing her nails seven months ago her name is Sasha this dog could stand strate up on her back legs to catch her balls today she can’t lift her legs two inches of the floor no one has said anything about this she can’t walk without foiling over her back less cross and she can’t walk it only took about two months for all of her nails to fall of I woke up this morning and my house had blood from one end to the next I put her foot in a bag of corn starch to stop the bleeding as of this morning she can no longer walk can someone tell me when a Nuff is a Nuff it’s just not fear I won’t to sceem .

        • Mom says:

          Hi Debbie,

          Wow, this sounds really bad, my heart goes out to you and your Sasha. Your poor baby must be in sooooo much pain!!!! What a great idea to stick her foot in a bag of corn starch! Sheer genius on your part!

          What I’d do if this were my dog is to first get a second opinion from a dermatology vet. It sounds like you’re seeing just one vet and trying anything and everything this vet says to try and in my mind it’s time for a second pair of eyes to jump in here.

          Secondly, your Sasha may be dealing with more than SLO. Has your vet checked her knees and hips, considered the possibility of allergies to food or medication being involved or looked at the possibility she’s got a secondary infection of some kind? Is she taking meds for another condition that might not be playing nice with what she’s being given for SLO? German Shepherds often suffer from knee issues and hip dysplasia. Whatever is going on even if it is just a really stubborn case of SLO with no other condition involved, someone needs to get to the bottom of it and find what works for Sasha. It could be your vet has zoned in on SLO and may not be thinking beyond that. From what I know even a really tough case of SLO should not take seven months of pain and suffering to get under control and into remission. Was she perhaps vaccinated somewhere along the line within this 7 months?

          Please don’t give up on Sasha, I know it’s soooo emotionally draining and expensive to deal with our dog’s painful ailments but she needs you to be strong and dig for the answer(s) so she can get better as soon as possible.

        • Debbie says:

          I wrote you on September 11,2014 about my German shepherd Sasha she has slo and every thing I read about this disease she had except she was loosing the ability to walk I took her to a different vet she was laying on the floor he told me he could help her with the slo and then Sasha stood up and he took one look at her back legs as they crossed and she fell over and said honey I’m so sorry your little lady doesn’t only have slo she also has myelopathy ,degenerative it affects pelvic limbs but not the front limbs this is a terrible disease with know cure she is in no pain because she can’t fill her back end she still goes outside and does her business with a lot of help from me I wrap a pair of husbands long underwear around her waste I will keep doing this for her but when she no longer can get up on her own I will not put this beautiful girl in diapers or a wheelchair i will have her put down so she can go to heaven I know there’s a lot of people that don’t agree with me but I have M,S and know how it fills to loos your dignity so thought I’d let you know here’s a norther disease that German shepherds ,Siberian husky can be born with but won’t show it’s ugly face when they are about six years old thanks for listening to me hope it will help someone .debbie

          • Mom says:

            Hi Debbie,

            This is very sad indeed, it hurts my heart. I’m not convinced that a wheelchair would be a loss of dignity for a dog. If you Google for dogs in wheelchairs and things like that I think you’ll find that there are more dogs out there than many people realize who live very happy lives with the help of a doggie cart. There are also harnesses you can get for your girl which would probably be much easier for you to help her get around with. Here is one of them, and I can tell you they are very nice and very helpful, they’re called Help’Em Up Dog Harness. And here is just one touching story about a dog with DM who got around in a cart from the Handicapped Pets website.

            The dog we met who had advanced DM was being allowed to just drag herself around by her front legs. This to me was not only an insult to her dignity but also had to have been painful for her front legs to drag around the entire backside of her body. Harnesses and carts are not all that expensive and I so wished these people would have done something to help her get around rather than just leave her to deal with it on her own. I’m pretty sure that for people who can’t afford a cart there are companies who make them that might donate one, organizations who may donate one or you could find a used one or perhaps you could hold a fundraiser for their dog.

            I think if you check out both of these and take it further you’ll find some comfort along with more knowledge on both topics. We wish the best for you and your Sasha, I know there is no cure for DM but you can help her to keep going in a dignified way with these helper tools if you choose to go this route.

        • jan says:

          hello, I was reading the SLO info given by so many dog owners whose dogs suffer from this condition. How very sad. My dog in England UK, is an English cocker spaniel. He was diagnosed with this horrid condition when about a year old. He is almost 9 now. I would not allow my vet to remove a toe to make a diagnosis as the painful, distorted, shedding nails condition could not be anything else. In view of this the vet suggested trying Viacutan an EFA supplement. It took one year but gradually most nails have recovered. one or two are a little distorted and very occasionally one sheds its top , but I would say a 90 per cent improvement. Hope this experience is of some help to you and offers a bit of hope

          • Mom says:

            Hi Jan,

            Thanks for dropping by and sharing your story and your treatment information. People, please keep in mind to always check with your vet before using and treatment. What’s right for one dog is not right for all dogs but Jan’s information may be helpful for some. Thank you, Jan!

    • Jack says:


      My heart goes out to you.

      Yesterday we had to put down our beloved German Shepard. She developed SLO and epelipsy almost at the same time. The seizures made it impossible to treat the SLO because when she’d have a seizure she’d cause severe damage to her nail beds. She declined rapidly within a two day period, had 4 seizures in 32hrs and we could see her pain was severe and the outcome for her was bleak at best. As heartbreaking as it was to put her to rest, I am happy to know she will no longer suffer.

      I hope the outcome for your dog is much more positive than our experience with SLO.

      Good luck

      • Mom says:

        Hi Jack,

        I’m so sorry, this is heartbreaking. How were you handling vaccinations with your dog? There are studies that show a possible link between hypothyroidism and SLO and so I’m wondering if the seizures weren’t also a result of your dog having received her vaccinations?

        Thank you for your kind wishes. Our outcome has been good at least for now. The medications stopped Riley from losing all his front nails, he kept I think it was 7 nails. He did lose all his back ones and his dew claws. Of course since SLO can flare up at any time, our hope is that with continuing his meds and some other steps we’re taking we will get lucky. Riley can now walk fine and run as well and does not seem to be in any more pain. Occasionally, he goes into “lick-mode” on his front nails and that makes me nervous. When this happens I give him a dose of Hypericum Perf 30X which is a homeopathic remedy for nerve pain and this seems to relieve his discomfort.

        I’ll be following up with another post on some other steps we’re taking to prevent any SLO flare-ups shortly. Again, our condolences on the loss of your furkid, we are so very sorry.

    • Susan Crawford says:

      My Airedale’s first nail broke over a year ago. After the second, we knew something was up. I was familiar with SLO because my sister’s GSD has it so we went to a dermatologist. Sam was started on doxycycline for a few weeks along with pentoxifylline and fish oil capsules and medrol, a steroid. The doxy was discontinued first and then the pentoxifylline after a few months. He has continued the fish oil and the steroid, which has been decreased between flare-ups and then increased every time a nail has fallen off. My understanding is that the pentoxifylline increases the blood circulation to the nails, and is an alternative to niacinamide. Throughout the course of the past year, Sam has lost every nail at least once and then I stopped counting. A few have kind of just shriveled up and fallen off, but too many have torn off in bloody messes, necessitating trips to the vet for sedation and cutting off the offending nail, bandaging in most cases and a course of antibiotics to avoid infection. Other nails have cracked and split, exposing the quick in bloody, oozing grossness until the nail finally falls off. ( I have photos of these if anybody wants to see them!) We may be at the point of quitting the steroid now since we are down to virtually nothing (it has to be decreased slowly) I am thinking about starting him on biotin and just giving him that and the fish oil, since his coat loses color and gets thin and dull whenever he takes the higher doses. It’s been a nasty roller coaster ride with the steroids. Nothing actually CURES this, and I think it’s all about controlling it in a way you can live with. The vet has a protocol that he likes, but there are other medications that people have done pretty well with and I’m trying to find out what they are, since my vet seems to have made his mind up and case closed. There just aren’t any other veterinary dermatologists I can go to locally for a second opinion.

      • Mom says:

        Hi Susan,

        I’m going to start at the end of your post because that really jumped out at me and then I’ll back up a bit. SLO is a very frustrating disease and I can see where any vet (and you!) could get frustrated when treatment(s) don’t work satisfactorily. But when you mentioned you felt your vet seems to have made up his mind and his “case closed” attitude I pretty much saw red. I have no use for a vet who insists on one thing or another – his way(s) – and if it doesn’t work you’re done trying? It doesn’t work that way for us, so that’s a big fat NO! at our house. We KEEP TRYING until we find what does work and to your credit it sounds like you are trying to do just that. You’re not ready to give up, thank you for your Sam’s sake!

        I hope I’m misunderstanding you because I do not like to think of vets this way, even though I’m sure they’re out there. If you’re right, this is quite an arrogant stand for a vet to take. Every vet has protocols they like, that doesn’t mean they’re going to work on every dog! They could have a 100 patients with the same illness and his usual treatment might work for 99 of those dogs, but not for the 100’th and if their way doesn’t work they give up? That’s not only crazy but just wrong in my opinion. Again, I hope I’m misunderstanding you.

        But … if I’m not … my answer to a vet with that kind of attitude is “If you don’t want to help my dog, then I will find a vet who will.” Which sounds like what you’re trying to do, hopefully I can help with that. I left one vet because she refused to waive vaccinating my dogs due to their auto-immune diseases and found one that totally understands the harm more vaccinations can cause my babies.

        Backing up a little more, you mentioned that you and/or your vet discontinued and/or decreased the doxy and the pentoxifylline. As I understand it the doxy and the supplements that Riley’s getting are for life, there is no discontinuing them or any decreasing doses. You’ll find this mentioned several times throughout this page. We’ve not discontinued or decreased the dose for any of Riley’s meds and he still has not had a recurrence since his initial diagnosis.

        Ok, back to finding a new vet. You have no derm vets locally. I don’t know what you consider to be local, 5-10 miles? 50 miles? I have no idea. This is what I would do, I’d start contacting derm vets wherever I could find one. Google can be your friend here. You have pics and a story to tell. You also have your local vet’s records to rely on. If your vet won’t give them to you personally, any other vet should be able to request and get them from your vet by fax or email or however they do things. To my knowledge vets cannot withhold records for any reason, although you may have to sign a release or something. Tell these derm vets everything and ask them if they’d be willing to consult with you by phone, fax and/or email. I would imagine there will be fees so expect that. The key here is that you don’t necessarily have to have someone local with all the information you have especially the pics! I myself would prefer to find someone that was at least close enough that if I had to take a day off work to make the round trip I could do that even if it mean several hours there and back. I have no doubt you will find some derm vet that is willing to work with you and might even be willing to contact your vet at your request to discuss things with him, however I’m not so sure your vet would be open to this considering his stand on things. With the information you have, especially the pics, since this isn’t life threatening because you’re treating it, I’m thinking a one-on-one visit(s) won’t be necessary.

        As for meds, you’ll find various meds and supplements mentioned on this page. I added my own take on pentoxifylline (I call it penty for short) in April of this year, it’s at the end of the original article.

        You’re absolutely right, as of right now nothing does cure SLO, unfortunately. It can be a huge battle for some people and their poor dogs and management is the only thing we can do.

        Good luck, Susan. Please let us know how it goes?



We're sorry but Riley's Place is Not Accepting Help Requests or Blog Comments at This Time. Help Can be Found by Reading Existing Posts and Comments.