Cutaneous Horn

Nail Like Growth on Dogs Skin

If you have found a nail like growth thing sticking out of your dogs skin not on the paws it is likely something known as Cutaneous Horn (there are many other names given to these and there is some slight differences of opinion what is what and how serious they are).

As groomers we have only seen 2 or 3 of these nail like growths in our time so far. We thought we might make this page as it seems like something that someone might come across and be concerned about as they are pretty frightful to look at.

Cutaneous Horn

Cutaneous Horn

Pretty Gross, and they grow in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but mostly look something like this of similar size.

What causes them?

Well the name is pretty lose on what they are exactly but it seems the main idea of a Cutaneous Horn is an over production of Keratin in a localised area, often around a hair follicle. (Some say that the name Cutaneous Horn is an umbrella term for anything that is kind of like this, however others sites seem to have specific names for specific things that have specific causes). From what we know of these Cutaneous Horn it is just the over production of Keratin. Keratin is just a fibrous protein that basically hair and nails are made out of.

How to fix them?

We would always recommend going to the Vet for anything like this, however after a lot of research there is plenty of evidence to say they can crumble and fall off on their own and then heal (always keep it clean by bathing in warm water as it can leave and open wound), they might fall off but then re-grow back.

I have heard of people wiggling them and them coming off in their hand, however this might end a bloody mess and we would not suggest playing with them.

Vet, of course, we would suggest the Vet. i believe they will inject a numbing agend near the base of it and then just cut it off at the base. It might still grow back (annoying i know).

Why would you treat it if its not really an issue?

Although they are not often problematic, not becoming cancerous tumours and rare enough as it is, the reasons we can see to get them removed are mainly to help stop infections. If your dog knocks the Cutaneous Horn it will likely cause bleeding (open wound). If your dog can reach it with its mouth it will likely lick it and chew it making it bleed (open wound). Any open wound is an opportunity for infection of other kinds to get it.
If your dog can reach it with their mouth they might chew it off and it is a hard, sometimes sharp object and could cause digestive problems if swallowed.


If you find something like this on your dog, i would not panic and I would just call the vet and schedule a normal appointment. Get it checked out and see what the vet says. I would personally get them removed as it seems like something not worth leaving on, but maybe that is an aesthetic preference.



This is not just a dog thing, have a google for it if you want some real Nightmare Fuel..

Image result for cutaneous horn


Published : 07/07/18
Information from : many many vet and dog well being websites.