What are Pododermatitis?
Breeds that are most commonly affected by pododermatitis are English Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Irish Setters, Mastiffs, Great Danes, Bull Terriers, Dachshunds, Boxers, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Weimaraners, and German Shepherds. If your pet is excessively licking or chewing at his paws, it is important to take him to the veterinarian. Pododermatitis is painful and may become debilitating to your pet.
Pododermatitis (Interdigital Dermatitis) is the inflammation of the interdigital skin; the area of skin in between the toes and footpads. Pododermatitis is a very common canine skin condition that may also affect the nail.
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Symptoms of Pododermatitis in Dogs
Your pet may have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Paws are red and swollen
- Pus from the lesions
- Abscesses on the paws
- Paws have hair loss
- Dog excessively licks and/or bites at his paws
- Crusts (scabs)
- Ulcerations of the paws
- Thickening pads
Causes of Pododermatitis in Dogs
- Fungal - Ringworm, yeast, mycetoma, blastomycosis
- Bacterial infection - Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, Mycobacterium
- Parasitic - Fleas, ticks, mites, mange mites, hookworms, nematodes
- Allergies - Seasonal allergies, dietary, grass allergy
- Immune-mediated diseases
- Tumors or cysts
- Auto-immune diseases - Pemphigus and lupus
- Trauma - Foreign object, hard surface irritation, hot pavement
- Environmental - Humidity, rainy
- Obesity - Too much weight on the paws, may cause friction
- Hormonal diseases – Cushing’s Disease, Addison’s Disease, hypoestrogenism
- Idiopathic – No known cause
Diagnosis of Pododermatitis in Dogs
The veterinarian will take a thorough medical history of your pet. Let your veterinarian know what symptoms you have observed and when they started. The veterinarian will do a physical exam on your dog which may include checking the dog’s temperature, listening to his heart and lungs with a stethoscope and taking a closer look at your pet’s paws. Pododermatitis can be diagnosed from a physical examination.
Diagnostic tests will need to be done to find the cause of the pododermatitis. Bloodwork, serum biochemistry panel, and a urinalysis will help determine your pet’s overall health, and it may help determine if there is an infection. Other diagnostic tests that may be performed include bacterial culture, fungal cultures, skin scrape, skin cytology, hypoallergenic food trials, and biopsies. Biopsies will require that your pet is sedated. A DTM culture may be recommended to rule out ringworm or dermatophytosis. If your pet has a tumor on his paw, x-rays will be required. Your veterinarian may refer your pet to an animal dermatologist.
Treatment of Pododermatitis in Dogs
Treatment of pododermatitis will depend on the cause of the inflammation. It may include a combination of topical and systemic therapies.
In dogs with infections, they will need to be treated with systemic antibiotics and anti-fungal medications. Bacterial infections usually need to be treated for at least 6 weeks.
Malnourished canines will need to be placed on a balanced, high-fat and low carbohydrate diet. Vitamin supplements may be suggested.
To control food allergies your pet will need to have his diet changed. To help find which foods your dog is reacting to, your veterinarian may suggest an elimination diet. This is done by solely feeding your dog one or two food item, such as ground chicken and sweet potatoes. Once it is established that your dog doesn't show a reaction to those two food items, you can then try another two items, such as beef and peas.
Medications such as steroids, antihistamines, cyclosporine and fatty acids may be prescribed for allergies. Weekly allergy shots may be needed.
Special shampoos and weekly dips will help with parasitic mites. If your pet was diagnosed with parasites, his bedding, toys and area will have to be thoroughly cleaned.
For a cancerous tumor, your dog will need to have surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy. The veterinary oncologist will go over all the options available. If your pet was diagnosed with an underlying disease, the veterinarian team will discuss the proper treatment plan with you.
Recovery of Pododermatitis in Dogs
It is important to follow the treatment plan you are given for your pet. It may be necessary to get an Elizabethan collar (cone) so your pet does not lick off topical medication.
If your pet had surgery the veterinarian surgical team will give you specific postoperative instructions. Your pet may be prescribed pain medications and antibiotics. It will be very important to keep the bandages dry. Follow-up visits will be needed to check on your pet’s progress and to remove sutures. Exercise and walks will be restricted. A cone will help keep your pet from biting at the bandages.
Prognosis depends on what was diagnosed by the veterinarian team. In most cases dogs respond well to the treatment plan. Some conditions and or diseases will require a lifetime of treatments. Allergy related pododermatitis, can’t always be cured, but the symptoms, when treated properly, can be minimized.
Pododermatitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
I am from Nepal currently living in the US. I've a 5 years old German Shepard back home. He has been getting these small mole like thing filled with puss between his paws since he was 1 years old. After several examination it was discovered to be Pododermatitis. With a little bit of research we were able to find the medical history of his parents and realized it's in his genetics. We use solutions, anti fungal injections, powered and antibiotics which only helps for short term. VET back home are saying there's no medicine available back there. Is there any medicine or anything similar that would help his condition. Help will be greatly appreciated!
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My Great Dane (one year old) has one paw that is red and he is constantly licking it, it seems to have been bothering him for a week or so but doesn’t look like it’s getting worse or better. He has had skin issues in the past where he has gotten rashes seemingly from Shampoos (went to vet and had many things tested and the only thing that seemed likely was shampoo allergy, so we have used baby shampoo ever since and he hasn’t had the rash). There doesn’t seem to be anything alarmingly wrong with the paw otherwise, doesn’t limp on it and he let me clean the paw without crying, no visible cuts or anything.
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My golden retriever has this on all 4 paws. I have spent hundreds on the dermatologist,and she has been on 3 different antibiotics, daily bleach soaks, no improvement. Now she is limping because of the pain. I myself am I tears, watching her and how like like tied funds left now. She is 9 years old and has ever had this before. Please send us some help. Sincerely, in pain.
I repeatedly soaked my dogs paws in epsom salts (and would dry them after) but it only made his paws worse, becoming even more sensitive and raw. Multiple vets had informed me to soak them until a holistic vet advised me to keep them dry. And NOT soak, at least underneath the paw.
Very easy solution to your dogs painful paws. Epson salts. It removes all the bacteria and yeast between your dog's toes. Soak three to four times a day 5 to 10 minutes at a time, I gave my boxer treats while I was doing this. At first I had to hold his paw in but then he relaxed knowing he was getting treats. This will also dry out any moisture improving the infection and it'll cost you about $10. Good luck with your Furry friends
Bella's Mom- My English Bulldog has this condition as well. There are many options for foot soaks you could try- bleach I would think might make it worse because it's quite harsh and the tissue there is so tender. Try Betadine or Povidone iodine soaks (lots of recipes online but it needs to be the colour of iced tea. not very expensive). Antibiotics did not help us either but changing his diet, treating him for leaky gut syndrome and these paw soaks did. There is also a topical cream called Theraderm that has helped us control the swelling and itch. Ask your vet about that.
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I need an antibiotic medicine or tube name . which can help me out for this . Right now i am not able to pay the doctor fee. pls help.
Pododermatitis may not only be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection but other causes too including allergies, immune mediated disease, cancer, parasites or hormonal conditions. Cleaning the paw with chlorhexidine drying thoroughly and applying something similar to neosporin (make sure it doesn’t get licked) will help with any infectious cause or secondary infection, but due to the numerous other causes I would recommend seeing your Veterinarian when you can. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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