Corns are hard areas on the pads, they only occur in Greyhounds and whippets. Its not known why corns form in these breeds, there are many theories, one being a lack of fatty tissue in the pads, another that they are the result of a virus. It is known that the development of corns runs in families
and as such is not to be taken lightly.
Corns are excruciatingly painful for the dog and can seriously impact on quality of life. They can develop in dogs under a year old and plague them all their life or a whippet may develop one later as it ages.
Signs and symptoms:
Lame on hard surfaces but fine on soft grass or carpet
Dog pulling over to soft ground when walking
Appearance of tiny black dot usually round or raised round skin on pad
Corns are not easy to diagnose as some vets may never have seen one, if the toe is gently squeezed on either side of the suspect area if a corn is present the dog will react to this pressure Even the smallest corn will be very painful
Treatment is a must, they will become bigger, more painful and harder to treat if left
There are various methods employed to treat corns but no cure so discussion with your vet on which method will keep your dog pain free is the only course to follow:
Treatments could include “hulling” this is removal of the corn by leverage, it must only be done by your vet. The corn may return in time but can be removed again
Surgery ,this will mean total removal of the corn and its root under anaesthetic, a vet experienced in corn removal would be preferable. The corn still may return in time
Various human corn softening treatments have been tried without much success
In extreme cases amputation will be the only option but this can increase the pressure on the remaining toes causing a corn on a different toe
If your whippet suffers with corns it is very unkind to make him walk on hard surfaces. You could carpet hard floors at home and keeps exercise to soft grassy places. But if he does have to endure hard surfaces then there are padded boots available that will help to reduce the pain a little. There is a link below.
The above link to a useful, informative social media group advising Greyhound owners on Corns and some methods of treatment
The above link to a new treatment being trialled by
Richard W. Doughty, M.Sc., MB ChB (Hons), BVSc, and Michael Guilliard, MA, VetMB, CertSAO, FRCVS