Why did my dog get an infection at his dewclaw surgery site?


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Our question this week was:

Hi Dr. Debra - My puppy who is a Puggle and is about 6 and a half months old now had his neuter and dewclaw removal on his hind legs done about 10 days ago. We brought him back to the vet to get his stitches out from the dewclaw removal and they said there is an infection now in one of the sites. Now today they have to reoperate on it and stitch it back up and now he has to wear that stupid cone on his head that we went thru three of them now so far! How would that infection have started if he was taking his meds? Is it because it got wet from going to the bathroom outside and stuff or is this common and just happened? Is it something we did wrong?

Thank you

Sherry Cucca


Hi – thanks for your email Sherry. You write that your 6 ½ month old Puggle (I bet he is cute!) got an infection at the site of his dewclaws. You wonder why?

Well....things happen Sherry. I've seen this happen several times. It could be because your dog licked at the area, excessive activity, because it got wet and exposed to bacteria, as well as other possible causes.

Don't worry – I don't think it is anything you did. Every once in a while, they need to be re-sutured, put on a different antibiotic and they heal and do fine. The cone (the e-collar) is important to ensure that he doesn't lick at the area. I also recommend that you make sure the area stays clean and dry.

An article that might be helpful to you is Dewclaw Removal in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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About The Author

debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for PetPlace.com, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.