A Message from the RIU Regarding Sharp Toenails

Good morning all,

Due to recent instances where we have had some injuries post-race suspected to be the result of sharper than normal toenails, trainers are advised to check their racing greyhounds prior to each meeting to ensure that these toenails are at an acceptable length. 
Should your Greyhound have toenails deemed to be at an unacceptable length, and pose a risk to other runners, your greyhound may be scratched on the advice of the on-course Veterinarian. 

What is deemed an acceptable length?

The ideal nail length is that the nails sit 1-2mm off the ground when the dog is standing on a firm flat surface. This can be easily checked by standing the dog on a concrete or lino floor and attempting to slide a sheet of paper between the end of the nail and the floor. If this cannot be done then the nail is too long and should be trimmed.

What is the best way to trim my greyhound's nails?

If the nails are very long, and especially if they are black, trimming should be conservative, because you cannot see where the quick ends so do them “little & often” otherwise, you may well hit the sensitive quick and draw blood. Regular filing of the end of the nail will cause the quick to steadily retract so the nail can be continually shortened until it reaches the desired length. A battery or electric operated sanding tool, eg Dremel is the method of choice as it reduces the risk of cutting the quick and you can shorten, shape and smooth the nails much better than a standard clipper. These can be obtained at Mitre 10, there are also cheaper versions of the Dremel on the market.

Reference: Written by Dr Malcolm L Jansen (BVSc) for Greyhounds as Pets Vet's Corner

Posted on 11 June 2020

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