Nail Like Growth On Dog Tail & Foot Pads (Cutaneous Horns?)

Cornifying Epitheliomas (Nail Like Growth On Dog Foot Pads)

Undoubtedly, your dog’s fur primarily contributes to its beauty and welfare. Many people spend a lot to care for and groom their pet’s coat. If your dog’s fur is emaciated, it might be due to malnutrition or skin diseases. Therefore, proper care for a dog’s skin is encouraged. You might wonder: (i) What conditions often affect a dog’s skin? (ii) How do I improve my dog’s skin health? We will consider these questions in this article. However, our primary focus will be on the impairment, “cutaneous horns” (horn-like growth on the dog’s back, tail, or footpads). Without further ado, let’s consider what a cutaneous horn (Cornifying Epitheliomas) is.

What are Cutaneous Horns?

You might notice small hard substances that look like small animal horns, feel abnormal lumps on your dog’s fur, or feel a stick-like growth on your dog’s tail. These substances are called “Cornifying Epitheliomas,” a term coined from an English word and a medical term. Cornifying Epitheliomas is a horny skin tumor, which could be non-threatening or cancerous. It may impair a dog’s beauty but usually doesn’t damage its health. Horn-like growths develop on the skin surface and emit from a hair follicle. If you notice hard substances that look like small animal horns or feel abnormal lumps on your dog’s fur, you can take it to the vet for a diagnosis and possible treatment options.

RECOMMENDED: Dog Skin Allergy, Symptoms And Medications

What Parts of a Dog is Affected by Cutaneous Horns?

Usually, a dog’s tail is the first part to be affected by Cornifying Epitheliomas; next, it’s footpads and paws will be affected. It may further spread to other parts of the dog’s fur and deface the dog. Cornifying Epitheliomas usually start as a non-threatening impairment but may become cancerous if not adequately taken care of. Worst still, its owner may develop similar horn-like masses.

That is why pet care experts and vets recommend that owners regularly get their pets checked and take them for diagnosis to ascertain their health status promptly.

What Dog Breeds Are Usually Affected by Cutaneous Horns?

Recorded cases have revealed that certain breeds and middle-aged dogs are more at risk to contact Cornifying Epitheliomas. If your dog’s breed is among the number, you must be vigilant and quick to notice any strange growths, especially within the areas mentioned above.

Norwegian Elkhounds:

Norwegian Elkhound
Norwegian Elkhound

Surveys and comparisons of Cornifying Epitheliomas recorded cases have revealed that the Norwegian Elkhounds are susceptible to horn-like growth. Michigan Ave Animal Hospital says that horn-like developments on a dog arise through dog hair follicles’ overgrowth, and Norwegian Elkhounds are very furry dogs.

See also  Do Dogs Have Retractable Claws? (All You Should Know)

Belgian Sheepdogs:

Belgian Sheepdog
Belgian Sheepdog

Like the Norwegian Elkhound, Belgian Sheepdogs are medium-sized and very furry. This breed is also known to have a significant Cornifying Epitheliomas record among other dog breeds.

Lhasa Apsos:

Lhasa Apsos
Lhasa Apsos

The Lhasa Apsos breed has a long and dense coat, and are ranked among the breeds with several Cornifying Epitheliomas diagnosis. Lhasa Apsos are at risk of developing multiple growths and reaching the Cornifying Epitheliomas cancerous state.

NEW READ: Dogs Nail Bleeding After Cutting? (4 Instant Ways To Stop It)

Bearded Collies:

Bearded Collies
Bearded Collies

Like the other breeds mentioned above, Bearded Collies are very furry and are at a high risk of contracting Cornifying Epitheliomas.

Other dog breeds commonly affected by cutaneous horns are Keeshond, Old English sheepdog, German shepherd, Collie, Pekingese, and Yorkshire terrier.

What Are  The Symptoms of Cutaneous Horns On Dogs?

It’s no story that dogs are man’s best friends. These pets are amusing and delightful, and their spirited and loyal disposition could make them indispensable. They may fall sick or get injured since they are living organisms, while their inability to speak may pose a more significant challenge regarding their health and welfare difficulties. Nevertheless, their reaction and physical alterations can give you a glimpse of their welfare. Pet owners must be chary and quick to notice any strange reactions and physical changes from their pets.

There are not many symptoms of cutaneous horns, but the most evident is single or multiple keratin-filled bumps with noticeable pores on the skin surface. The horns’ size and color may differ, and the curve may become more pronounced as the horns grow. You might also notice some hair loss around the growth area.

What Causes Cornifying Epitheliomas (Cutaneous Horns) In Dogs?

The causes of cutaneous horn s are unknown, but breed susceptibilities have been the most evident. However, scientists feel that B-catenin can turn skin cells into hair follicles as a dog grows. The evidence in certain breeds is due to genetic susceptibility. The Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology states that male dogs are more at risk of developing cutaneous horns.

How Can Cutaneous Horns Be Prevented?

Since there are no leading causes of the impairment, there is no liable prevention. However, dog owners may engage in general disease-prevention practices.

Treatment of Cutaneous Horns

Depending on the severity and circumstances behind the impairment, your veterinarian may suggest surgical or retinoid (oral) treatment. Your dog may become irritated with the unusual growth and endeavor to rub, bite, or scratch from their skin. Whatever treatment will be administered to the dog must be done by the veterinarian in the dog’s best interest.

DON’T MISS: Cutting Black Dog Nails (Tips For Trimming Dark Dog Nails)

Most cases of cutaneous horns are non-threatening so that the impairment can be easily diagnosed and treated without special veterinary care. However, you must resort to surgical removal based on your veterinarian’s advice if your dog feels overwhelmed by the unusual growth, or the growth ruptures, releasing keratin and other cystic material onto the dog’s coat and skin. Nevertheless, you must always observe the size, texture, shape, and form of any cutaneous horn on your dog.

See also  Why Is My Dog's Nail Black? (Canine Nail Discoloration Review)

Surgical treatment seems to be the best for cutaneous horn removal. The Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology says, “prognosis after treatment with surgery is good, as 71% of dogs have a complete improvement when treated with surgery, and 29 percent improve with treatment by retinoid, but the tumors commonly return after treatment is ceased.”

What Diseases Often Affect a Dog’s Skin?

Albeit cutaneous horns, your dogs may experience other skin conditions. Your dog may always howl and scratch or lick its body. When you notice these strange behaviors, it may be due to an irritable skin condition, which may be caused by allergies, parasites, or underlying illnesses. Most of these diseases display similar symptoms, so you should get a definite diagnosis from the vet.

Here, we’ll discuss other skin conditions that your dog may encounter apart from cutaneous horns; some of the diseases may be similar to cutaneous horns at first peek.

  1. Allergic Dermatitis: Your dog may be affected by its food, grooming products, and environment, causing it to scratch relentlessly. You may also notice an ugly rash on the dog’s skin. If you observe these conditions, it might be an allergy. However, allergic dermatitis can be treated by identifying and avoiding the allergy-causing substances.
  2. Yeast Infection: When your dog continues to scratch and lick its toes, a yeast infection might be the culprit. You might notice discolored, itchy, or irritated skin on the paws or ears, conducive for the bacteria to thrive. Yeast infection may be treated by applying topical cream, oral drugs, or medicated baths under the vet’s prescription.
  3. Ringworm: The fungus-causing infection is a circular patch mostly found on a dog’s paws, head, forelegs, and ears. You may find hair loss, scaly patches, and inflammation around the patch. Puppies are the most vulnerable, and the infection is contagious. There are various anti-fungal treatments to treat ringworm.
  4. Folliculitis: Folliculitis is a bacterial infection that causes scabs, sores, and bumps on the skin. The certainty of folliculitis symptoms differs regarding the dog’s coat. The condition can be easily noticed in shorthaired dogs, but a dull coat and shedding with scaly skin is the most prominent symptom in longhaired dogs. Folliculitis is mostly diagnosed with other underlying skin conditions like mange. Oral antibiotics and antibacterial ointments or shampoos can treat the disease.
  5. Mange (Mites): Mites cause this infection; signs may include red skin, intense itching, hair loss, and sores on the dog’s ears, face, and legs. There are two types of mange infections, sarcoptic mange, and demodectic mange. Treatment is administered based on the type of mange.

FIND OUT NOW: Can I Paint My Dog’s Nails With Human Polish?

Cutaneous Horns Quick Facts

Cutaneous horns structure: Cutaneous horns look like small animal horns. They could also be stick-like growths, especially around the tail region.

Areas most affected by cutaneous horns: A dog’s chest, tail, back, and legs are the areas most affected by cutaneous horns’ growth. This nail-like condition may also develop on a dog’s footpads, looking like an extra nail growing in the wrong place.

See also  English Bulldog Paw Infection Signs, Symptoms & Remedies

Cutaneous horns may start like an unusual non-threatening growth but may become cancerous over time. It might first develop on the tail but may spread to other parts of the dog’s body if not taken care of.

There is no predisposed prevention for cutaneous horn-growth. Likewise, there are no detailed causes for cutaneous horn-growth. Nevertheless, the skin condition can be managed appropriately or removed, depending on a vet’s recommendation. Cutaneous horns can be surgically removed or be treated by a retinoid (oral) process.

Check this video out:

Dog breeds commonly affected by cutaneous horns are Norwegian Elkhounds, Belgian Sheepdogs, Lhasa Apsos, Bearded Collie, Keeshond, Old English sheepdog, German shepherd, Collie, Pekingese, and Yorkshire terrier.

NEW DISCOVERY: How To Deal With Dog Toenail That Splits In The Middle

What Does A Tumor Look like On Dog?

Cutaneous Horns are not to be related or should not be confused for a lipoma. Lipomas are usually the most common canine skintumors. They are very soft when you feel them, the lipoma lump are so fleshy and typically hemispherical or round in appearance.

Lipomas that are deeply attached to the part of the body it grows from may feel firmer and scarier, most percentage of lipomas are always benign.

Are Skin tags on Dog Cutanous Horns?

Skin tags tiny, elongated outcroppings of skin or benign skin growth that can appear anywhere on the body of a dog.

Difference between Cutaneous Horns and skin tags in Dogs
Clear Photo of dog’s Skin Tag

Most skin tags constitute blood vessels and collagen covered with skin. They appear as slightly raised, soft skin colored bumps.

Can I Treat Skin Tags in Dogs?

Skin Tags can be treated via removal surgery and one of such methods is cryosurgery. The use of Nitrous oxide or liquid nitrogen applied in destroying those unwanted tissue by freezing them which the cause the tissues to fall off or dissolve in few weeks.

Can I Use A Nail Clipper To Cut off A Skin Tag?

Sometimes when we check our dog’s body and we find these lumps, we get tempted to just cut them off the skin at once.

But hey, don’t be too fast to do this without getting in touch with your vet for approval or advise. It is right to allow professionals to handle this case to avoid unwanted results or secondary infection.


Cutaneous horns (Cornifying Epitheliomas) is a horny skin tumor, which could be non-threatening or cancerous. It may impair a dog’s beauty but usually doesn’t damage its health. The decision to visit the vet solely relies on the owner, considering the circumstances after a definite diagnosis. The impairment can be easily diagnosed and treated without special veterinary care.

However, you must resort to surgical removal based on your veterinarian’s advice if your dog feels overwhelmed by the unusual growth, or the growth ruptures, releasing keratin and other cystic material onto the dog’s coat and skin. Nevertheless, instructions or recommendations from the vet must be followed strictly to achieve the best results.

Leave a Comment