Claw and Nail Disorders Average Cost

From 375 quotes ranging from $200 - 1,000

Average Cost


First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What are Claw and Nail Disorders?

Of the different types of nail disorders, two are the most common. Paronychia is an infection of the nail bed that inflames that tissue around the nail and onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nail. Each of these issues can have serious and painful effects on the cat.

Nail disorders in cats come in a variety of forms and from several different causes. These disorders are typically caused by some form of infection in or around the nail bed. Many cats will take notice of their nail disorder and begin fussing with their claws incessantly. 

Symptoms of Claw and Nail Disorders in Cats

Nail disorders are often uncomfortable for cats, which leads them to fuss with their paws compulsively. If a cat displays any of the following symptoms, they may be suffering from a nail disorder:

  • Compulsive licking and biting at the claws
  • Difficulty walking
  • Pain in the paws
  • Swelling and inflammation of skin around the nails
  • Nail plate deformities
  • Abnormal nail color

Causes of Claw and Nail Disorders in Cats

Most claw disorders in cats are caused by some sort of infection, but that is not the case for all cats. Nail disorders can be caused by any of the following:

  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Cancerous tumors
  • Trauma to the nail
  • Immune system illnesses
  • Brittle nails
  • High levels of growth hormone
  • Birth disorders
  • Cutting the nails too close to the nail bed and thus leaving them open to infection
  • Neoplasia

Diagnosis of Claw and Nail Disorders in Cats

While claw disorders may seem relatively minor, they can be caused by serious infections or even major diseases like cancer. For this reason, it is vital that a cat be taken into a trusted veterinarian who can diagnose the underlying cause of the nail disorder.

The veterinarian will ask for a medical history of the cat to determine if the issue is congenital, or caused at birth. It is also important to tell the veterinarian if the cat's nails have recently been trimmed, as this is a common cause of infection when not done properly.

After the veterinarian has a complete medical history, they will begin a physical examination. They will examine the individual nails to determine how many nails have been affected. If more than one nail is causing trouble, it could mean that the cat has a serious medical condition.

If further tests are needed, a veterinarian may take a skin scraping from the skin near the cat's nail and send the sample to be analyzed at the lab. This will determine what is causing the nail disorder and, depending upon the results, a further bacterial or fungal culture may need to be taken to know exactly what the issue is.

Treatment of Claw and Nail Disorders in Cats

Treatment of the nail disorder will vary largely based upon the cause of the disorder. While most solutions are easy and non-invasive, more serious treatments may be required in special cases.

Bacterial or Fungal Infections

Infections can be treated with topical ointments that are applied directly to the nail. These treatments often last for a period of 2-4 weeks, after which time the cat should return to normal.

Skin Inflammation

If the skin under or around the nail has become inflamed, the cat will require surgical removal of the nail plate. This will allow the tissue to drain and return to normal. The surgery is relatively minor with little to no risk, and the cat should be back to normal within 2 weeks after surgery, depending on how quickly their nail regrows.


Recovery of Claw and Nail Disorders in Cats

In most cases, topical treatments and/or minor surgery will be enough to clear up any issues that the cat is facing. It is important to monitor the nail health of the cat, however, as recurring issues may be indicative of a more serious problem.

If the nail disorder returns in any form, it is vital that the cat sees a veterinarian as soon as possible. Another round of treatment may be called for, or the issue could be a symptom of cancer. Either way, these are not things that a pet owner is prepared to treat alone.

It is also important that the owner carefully examine how they cut the cat's nails. By cutting too close, they can nick the skin and leave small cuts. This makes it easy for a cat to become infected when doing everyday tasks like exploring and using the litter box.

Claw and Nail Disorders Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Bombay Cat
4 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Completely split nails

I trimmed my cats nails about a week ago and when looking at them tonight many of the nails were just split down the middle. This isn’t the first time I’ve cut his nails and nothing has ever happened like this before.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
502 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without seeing Blaine, I can't comment on what might be happening - he may have a bacterial or fungal infection and his nails may be weak, he could have a nutritional deficiency that needs to be addressed, or he may have been scratching more actively recently. Since it doesn't seem normal to you, it would be best to have him examined by your veterinarian, as they can look at Blaine, and his nails, and determine if there is a problem or if things look healthy with him. I hope that everything goes well for him!

Add a comment to Blaine's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Tuxedo cat
15 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

My cat is 15 yrs old and has developed a "thumb" nail that has extended, curled under, and hardened in place. This has happened recently as I trim his claws about every 2 wks and didnt notice it last time I trimmed. I cant find any information about this online. Can you explain what this is?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
502 Recommendations
Thank you for your question. Without examining Pookie and seeing the nail, I'm not sure what it might be, but cats do have dewclaws where a 'thumb' would be, and they are often missed during nail trims. They can become thickened, and curl around, sometimes into the pad. It could also be a mass of some kind that needs attention. It would be best to have your veterinarian look at the nail and determine if it is a problem or not. I hope that he does well!

Add a comment to Pookie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Tom cat
1 year
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms


My cat's nails are very brittle. I'm not sure why they are like that and I don't know how to fix it. She also has fleas and is constantly scratching to the point where she will bleed. I've tried all I could afford to help get rid of this problem but nothing has worked. I am very worried for her health and safety. I'm searching for any other way to help my baby get better and feel better.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2001 Recommendations
If Snow has a lot of fleas, you should use an effective topical spot on flea & tick medicine as well as making sure Snow also receives an anthelmintic. Also, brittle nails may be caused by a variety of issues from nutritional deficiencies to hormonal problems; try dietary supplementation with a fish oil from the pet shop to see if that helps but otherwise you should need to visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Snow's experience

Was this experience helpful?

9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

One of my cats nails has turned into a plate with black stuff in the middle. She doesn't seem to be in pain at all I only noticed it when I was holding her. We don't clip their nails often because our vet told us if you have a scratching post that they use daily, it should be okay.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2001 Recommendations
It is possible that the black part inside the nail may be due to some trauma and a bleed or due to an infection; if she isn’t in any pain I would keep an eye on it but if there is no change you should visit your Veterinarian just to give it a check to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Beau's experience

Was this experience helpful?