Skip to content
10% Off for Vets, Physios and Hydros. Email Us
10% Off for Vets, Physios and Hydros. Email Us
What are Greyhound Corns?

What are Greyhound Corns?

Corns on your dog's paw are circular blister-like spots of hardened skin. Corns are painful and uncomfortable, making your dog limp or unable to put weight on the particular paw, making even short walks difficult. Corns are very specific to greyhounds and are rarely found in other breeds, corns are the most common skin condition from which sighthounds suffer.

Greyhound Corn Boots here

What are the early signs of Greyhound Corns?

You might have noticed your greyhound limp. The most common greyhound corn signs are:

  • A hard circular corn forms on one or more paw digitals.
  • 80% of corns appear in the central digit on a paw.
  • The greyhound corn can be very hard and almost tough to touch.
  • Your greyhound will most likely limp and cannot go on long walks.
  • Your greyhound will most likely be in a lot of pain.
  • A corn can appear on the front or back paws.
  • You can get one corn or more appearing at once.
  • Corns can come and go naturally, but it is not always a given they will go naturally.

What should I do if I find a corn on my dog’s paw?

Your vet can confirm a diagnosis of corns. They will rule out abnormalities in the bone or grit in the paw, which can cause similar symptoms. Distinguishing between these and corns requires a quick X-ray. Once you know it is a corn on your dog’s paw, you and your vet can discuss a suitable approach.

"He has small corns on his back feet, which cause him to limp occasionally and lift his feet. Finally got the right size, and Bingo is enjoying them"

"He has small corns on his back feet, which cause him to limp occasionally and lift his feet. Finally got the right size, and Bingo is enjoying them"

Bingo uses Hunnyboots

What causes corns on dog paws?

Research shows greyhounds have less fatty tissue (fibrose-adipose) in their paws. Other breeds have far more. It’s believed that a corn forms because of this lack of fatty tissue.

Corns consist of a hard mass of keratin - the same protein humans find in their skin. This hard mass (keratoma) forms with a deep root. It then impinges on the underlying flexor tendon and its bony attachment.

There is debate in the veterinary community whether increased exercise worsens corns. Non-racing greyhounds still develop corns, implying it doesn’t. In a way, it doesn't matter. Walking on less padded paw pads puts pressure on them, which causes the skin to thicken. The corn then forms. Once the corn has developed, it concentrates the pressure of standing or walking.

It’s a vicious cycle and very painful. There used to be a theory that corns may result from a virus, but worldwide research has more or less disproved this idea.

Corns will exfoliate and disappear if pressure is removed from them. This supports evidence that pressure, rather than a virus, causes corns. 80% of corns are found in the central digit, adding further weight (no pun intended!) to the pressure theory.

Current research summarises that greyhounds, as a breed, have reduced fatty tissue in their pads compared to other dog breeds. With less fatty tissue and repeat exercise, the paw pad skin reacts by thickening and forming a corn, which causes a source of considerable lameness, especially when exercising on hard ground.

"He has been limping badly for a couple of months with great discomfort"

"He has been limping badly for a couple of months with great discomfort"

Best Boots for Corns Here

What happens next?

There are a variety of treatments that range from conservative management to surgery. You and your vet will decide upon a treatment plan. Reducing your greyhound’s pain and making them feel comfortable again is a priority.

Is there a treatment for your dog's corns?

There are lots of ways to treat corns. Some have a better long-term success rate than others. If the entire corn isn’t removed, the corn will reoccur.

1. Conservative Management

Your dog can wear protective boots for exercise or around the house. Boots can reduce a corn completely, we suggest looking at Hunnyboots.

2. Lotions and creams

These contain chemicals that dissolve, soften, or burn off the corn (keratolytic). They need regular applications. Other greyhound owners use human corn softener. Anecdotally, some people use Burt’s Bees balm or home remedies such as apple cider vinegar. 

3. Laser therapy or cryotherapy

4. Surgery

  • Hulling: this is a popular surgery. The corn is drilled out by a dental elevator or Demel drill.

  • Excision: is a procedure that removes the entire corn by removing a deep wedge of tissue. The paw pad is then sutured. This treatment takes place under a general anesthetic. Complete surgical excision has the best long-term results. Even so, there’s a 50% recurrence of corn within a year. This is because the underlying anatomical cause remains unaddressed. Often, the underlying cause won’t be apparent. It might be the result of a previous injury or degenerative changes. When that’s the case, the corns re-appear on the same digit.

  • Amputation of the last joint: but preserving the pad. This can produce a permanent resolution of the corn. However, this surgery is often unsuccessful. It's difficult to position the pad in an unnatural position over the stump of the toe.

  • Amputation of the entire digit: the ultimate treatment is amputating the whole digit with the corn. This is a permanent removal of the problem. There aren’t usually untoward consequences to this surgery.

  • Greyhound Corn Tendectomy / Flexor Tenotomy: read more below

What is Greyhound Corn Tendectomy / Flexor Tenotomy Surgery:

Some vets consider this the ‘gold standard’ treatment for corn on a dog’s foot. It’s given excellent results to date. The surgery removes dogs from pain and gives them an exceptional quality of life.

The benefit of this surgery is that it’s considered easy to perform, and recovery is quick. The surgery site heals on average in 10 days, and lameness improves.

The flexor tendon of the affected toe is cut just below the wrist (hock) in a greyhound. The rationale for this surgery is that cutting the tendon unloads the paw pad. This, in turn, reduces pressure, causing the lameness to resolve and the corn to grow out and disappear.

  • A study was conducted on 29 greyhounds with corns treated with tendonectomy surgery. It found that 26 of 29 greyhounds had an improvement.
  • 3 of the greyhounds didn't show an improvement. They had pre-existing conditions that affected their recovery.
  • At the 6-8 week period, only 21 dogs remained in the study. Of these, 17 showed NO lameness, and 4 dogs had slight lameness remaining.
  • All owners were satisfied with the outcome. The greyhounds were happier and willing to exercise normally.

Can I do anything to prevent corns from reoccuring?

Regular foot care can help prevent corns from developing or reoccurring.

This means:

  • Nail trimming - keeping the nails at the right length.
  • Moisturise your greyhound's paw pads.
  • Clean the paws regularly to remove any debris, which can increase the likelihood of corns.
  • Protective corn boots provide extra padding to the paw pads, helping prevent corn development.

Check the bottom of your greyhound’s paws. The earlier a corn is caught, the better. They’re much easier to deal with in their early stages.

Consider exercising your greyhound on softer surfaces such as grass rather than concrete.

Keep your greyhound at the right weight. Excess body weight increases pressure on the paw pads.

How to help around the house

Make sure your greyhound has soft bedding. Your greyhound is probably already wearing boots outside. These can be worn indoors too. But there are also greyhound anti-slip socks which are especially beneficial for slippery wooden floors. They have a large rubber sole for extra grip. 

We recommend looking at these Greyhound non-slip socks.

What age do greyhound corns start?

Sighthounds can get a corn at any age. Corn formation doesn't depend on your greyhound's level of activity. But a corn can impact your greyhound's mobility. 

To keep your greyhound active, we recommend boots specifically designed for greyhounds. They’ll protect the area and offer comfort. They can also soften the area of the corn. Some greyhound owners find that by using their boots, the corn is reduced and can even disappear.

Conclusion

Greyhounds are predisposed to corns because their paw pads lack cushioning. Corns are painful - so your greyhound may want to avoid walks and exercising.

There are various interventions for corns. Studies show that Flexor Tenotomy is a compelling long-term surgical treatment. It's the preferred method of many vets.

Basic care of your greyhound's paws can also make a difference. Wearing protective boots, keeping nails at the right length, and keeping the paws clean all help.

Jasmine, one front corn

Jasmine, one front corn

"My greyhound is very happy wearing her one Hunnyboot, which I bought to cushion a corn on one of her toe pads. She now walks without a limp, even on rougher ground. The boot is easy to get on and off (with Hunnyboot sock), and stays on well during walks."

Jasmine uses hunnyboots
Poppy, corn in front left paw

Poppy, corn in front left paw

"Poppy is 7 years old and suffered from corns in her left front paw for most of her life, we’ve had the corns hulled numerous times, at least once every 3 to 4 weeks so eventually we decided for her to have flexor tendon surgery which hasn’t worked, she still limps. Yours have been life-changing. Rather than having to coax/drag 🙄 her along on walks because she’ll not walk on surfaces like tarmac or loose stone"

poppy wears hunnyboots

Greyhound Corns - Causes, Prevention and How to Help

Zoomadog Customers: How to Help Your Greyhound

Read Further about Greyhounds Corns

Looking for help with your greyhound and corns?

Give us a call, email or chat to us online

Give us a Call on - 01730 622544