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Watch your dog's toes!
Just a reminder to those who have large, black-coated dogs:  All large and giant-breed dogs who happen to have black coats are suseptible to a toe cancer called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).  A study is ongoing at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, gathering statistics of dogs whose toes are affected.

My black Standard Poodle has just gone through his second surgery to remove a toe due to SCC.  He lost his first toe, on a back foot, in 2008, after we discovered a lesion next to his toenail which refused to heal.  Another symptom is cracked, brittle, or twisted toenails.  The lesions look crusty and sometimes ooze a colorless or bloody liquid.  Infection around the toenail is a very common 'heads up' that the toe should be checked.  The toe, if left untreated, becomes very swollen and hard.  The dog has difficulty walking and tends to lick at the toe beause it hurts.

The removel of a toe is a very simple procedure.  Signs of surgery are generally gone within two weeks, and the dog adjusts very easily to his 'disability'.  In fact, Simba, my guy, was running on the beach within 12 days of surgery.  Although surgery is not nice to think about, the cancer metastasizes quickly, so early surgical intervention will save the life of your friend.  For more information, go to http://home.cogeco.ca/~anessa-ava/definition.htm

Please examine your dog's toes regulary and keep his/her nails clipped and clean. Best wishes to all for a very Merry Christmas and a loving and peaceful New Year!  
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Thank you so much for this very helpful post. I hope you and Simba have a very Happy Christmas, and he has no more problem with his toes
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Thanks Ginger!  It would have been a lot less happy had we not noticed his yukky toe!  Now we can enjoy his antics for a few more years.  He loves Christmas!
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