Footpad Injury Average Cost

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Average Cost


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What is Footpad Injury?

An injury to the footpad may result in damage to the outer protective layer if it is punctured, cut or burnt. The most obvious symptoms are bleeding and lameness, and the cat may lick excessively at the affected paw. This denotes trauma to the footpad such that the pad is painful or doesn't respond normally when the cat places weight on it.

Cats are silent stealthy hunters, thanks in part to cushioned footpads which allow them to pad silently after prey. The footpad itself is made up of an inner cushion of fat that is richly served with blood vessels, covered with and protected by a tough outer layer of keratin.

Symptoms of Footpad Injury in Cats

Footpad injuries are often easy to detect because the cat is liable to limp or pay exaggerated attention to the damaged pad. Signs that indicate the cat may have a problem with a pad include: 

  • Holding a paw up
  • Limping on a particular leg
  • Licking excessively
  • Bleeding from the paw or leaving a trail of bloody paw prints
  • An unpleasant smell originating from the pad. This may occur if a bite becomes infected and abscessates
  • Fever (may occur if a bite to the pad becomes infected)
  • Grumpiness as a result of pain when the paw is touched.

Causes of Footpad Injury in Cats

Footpad injuries are common and often the result of: 

  • Overgrown claws
  • Older cats that do not shed their claws effectively often develop ingrown claws which grow around and pierce the pad
  • Lacerations
  • Footpads can be cut on glass, metal, or stones.
  • Bite wounds
  • Cat fights can result in the paw used for 'boxing' being bitten by the antagonist.
  • Burns
  • Burns can affect a cat who jumps up onto a hot burner or other surface.

Diagnosis of Footpad Injury in Cats

Oftentimes a footpad injury is diagnosed by simple observation of the affected area. The vigilant owner who sees their cat licking excessively at a foot should take this as a cue to inspect the paw for problems. 

Puncture wounds, by their nature, can be small but deep which can make identification difficult. However, a punctured pad is painful and suspicions should be raised if a usually docile cat resents the exam. With this in mind, an owner should always be cautious when examining a cat in pain, and take steps to gently restrain the cat in a towel or have a friend hold the pet. 

Impacted nails are evident as the claw hooking around and digging into the pad. This is often associated with bleeding and infection. 

Footpad burns are very painful and the cat will be extremely lame. The outer part of the pad often blisters and will eventually peel away, leaving the damaged fat pad exposed and open to infection.

If a pad is lacerated, it may be necessary to explore the cut to see if a glass shard or sharp object is still embedded deep within the pad. This is done by a vet, and may require sedation.

Treatment of Footpad Injury in Cats

Treatment varies depending on the nature of the injury.

Overgrown Claws

The claws must be clipped and the impacted part of the nail gently extracted from the pad. This is painful and sedation may be necessary. The damaged pads are bathed with a weak solution of disinfectant such as chlorhexidine. If the wounds bleed, a light dressing may be required for 24 hours. A course of antibiotics is advisable in the majority of cases


Lacerations should first be cleaned with a weak solution of chlorhexidine or salt water. Fresh lacerations should be sutured to encourage the pad to seal over in around 10 - 14 days. The cat then has the paw dressed and needs to wear a buster collar or e-collar to prevent interference with the healing wound.

However, old lacerations rarely heal when treated surgically and may need to be left to scar over. This can take several weeks.

Puncture Wounds

Fight wounds are prone to infection, resulting in painful abscessation of the footpad. It may help to poultice the area in order to release any purulent discharge. A course of antibiotics is needed, by mouth or injection.  


Immediate first aid treatment is to hold the pad under cool running water for 10 - 20 minutes. The subsequent burn may need antibiotics to prevent secondary infections, and the cat require pain relieving medications. The pads often slough, leaving the tender inner fat pad exposed. The paws may need dressing regularly to promote healing. 

Recovery of Footpad Injury in Cats

Happily, most cats with a footpad injury go on to make a full recovery from what is undoubtedly a painful and unpleasant condition. Depending on the nature of the injury it can take between 10 days to three or four weeks for the pet to recover, during which time it may have mobility issues. 

Another factor to consider is litter tray use, since it is undesirable for cat litter to contaminate an open wound or burn. To this effect, dressing may be required to protect the feet, or shredded paper substituted for the typical litter. 

Simple preventative methods such as biweekly toenail clipping or the use of a burner cover can eliminate the risk of recurrence in these cases. 

Footpad Injury Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

short haired
2 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

blisters on paw

how do I treat my male cat he has blisters on 3 of his small pads on his paw and I cant afford vet treatment any help would be great and greatly appreciated thanks in advance

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1170 Recommendations
There are many different causes for paw pad blisters which may include autoimmune disease, irritation (possibly by standing in something), infections and other issues; you can try cleaning the paw regularly with a dilute antiseptic and ensuring that the area remains clean and free of debris. But without an examination I cannot suggest anything else (I cannot prescribe prescription medication here). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Semi long hair domestic
4 Days
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms


Cut/rip to bottom of front paw pad approx 10 days ago. Cleaned with salt water/pet antiseptic and kept in for a few days. Healing very slowly. No more limping and doesn't seem to be in too much pain. Concerned about healing time.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1170 Recommendations
Injuries which are very open can take a long time to heal since they need to heal from the bottom of the wound up whilst wounds which have opposing sides in contact will heal within a few days as they can ‘glue’ themselves together. If you are seeing progress keep an eye on it and clean regularly; if the wound is large that you would visit a Doctor if it happen to your child, visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Buzz Lightyear
6 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms


Medication Used


Hi, my cat has an open sore on his right back paw, it looks as if he had licked it to the point of the skin and fur coming off between the toes and pad, mostly between the toes. It looks sore, I’m going to buy a cone to stop the licking but what could it be and how do I treat? I cannot afford a vet visit right now. Thank you. P.s. the sore is red and bright pink, fleshy looking, no smell and limping yet. And he’s an indoor cat plus he had two small open sores on his back ear but have healed, looks like the same sore as in his foot.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1170 Recommendations
Getting a cone is a great first step, also regular cleaning of the wound and the paw in general with dilute chlorhexidine will help too especially after a visit to the litter box. If the wound is wide open I would recommend a visit to your Veterinarian regardless of cost but if the wound is relatively closed and not deep, good nursing care and a cone will help. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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1 Year
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms


My Cat has cut open one of his pads on his back paw, it lookes really sore and is completely split open,its still bleeding from lastnight and smells a little. I'm so worried incase it gets infected I've been told if I don't get him to manchester animal hospital today he'll probably gave be put down surely this cant be true

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1170 Recommendations
If there is a small cut on the paw, regular cleaning may be sufficient but if the wound is open, deep and the margins are not together I would strongly recommend visiting your Veterinarian immediate to see if stitches are required. Euthanasia is a bit extreme, but if the wound is open it should be seen as soon as possible. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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