What are Skin Inflammation on the Paws?
Skin inflammation on the paws in dogs, commonly known as pododermatitis, is quite common in canines. This inflammation on the paws of dogs can be caused by a variety of skin diseases and infections of the foot. Although the paws may be the only area where the infection is seen, there may be an underlying, internal disorder occurring that is causing the symptoms.
There are specific signs of pododermatitis, and since this disorder can be caused by a variety of conditions, the veterinarian will perform a variety of tests to determine the exact cause and type. There are also specific breeds that tend to become victim to skin inflammation on the paws. These breeds include English Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Mastiffs, Bull Terriers, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Boxers, and Great Danes. Any dog can come down with this condition of highly-inflamed paws, but these dogs are more susceptible to the condition.
Skin inflammation on the paws in dogs is known as pododermatitis and represents a variety of skin disorders and infections on the dog’s paws. This condition can vary in severity and has many different types and causes.
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Symptoms of Skin Inflammation on the Paws in Dogs
There is a variety of symptoms due to pododermatitis, and some are much more bothersome than others. Symptoms of skin inflammation on the dog’s paws include:
- Licking the feet
- Chewing the feet
- Itchy toes
- Hair loss in the feet
- Crusts developing on pads
- Difficulty walking
- Inflamed skin on the foot pads
There are different types of pododermatitis, all caused by different factors. The symptoms will vary as well, except for the fact that the dog’s paws will be negatively impacted by each type of inflammation. The types of pododermatitis are directly related to the causes. Types include:
- Infectious pododermatitis
- Allergic pododermatitis
Causes of Skin Inflammation on the Paws in Dogs
Pododermatitis has many causes. Some of the causes are more severe than others, and the treatment of the disorder is relative to the underlying cause. Causes of pododermatitis include:
- Bacterial infections
- Fungal infections
- Parasitic infections
- Allergic reactions
- Cushing’s Disease
- Skin cancers or tumors
- Uneven distribution of weight on the feet
Diagnosis of Skin Inflammation on the Paws in Dogs
If your dog has any irritating inflammation on the paws, and any of the symptoms above, make an appointment with the veterinarian. The veterinarian will do a thorough examination with various tests, such as blood work, urinalysis, and any other testing if he feels an underlying condition is the cause.
Much of the diagnosis will be focused on the skin irritation of the paws. The veterinarian will perform antibiotic sensitivity testing, bacterial and fungal cultures, a biopsy of a sample of skin from the paw, and any allergy testing if he feels it is necessary.
There are many causes and types of pododermatitis, so the veterinarian will need to rule out many of them in order to get to the real cause. The laboratory testing will be the determining factor for what is causing the inflammation on the paws.
Treatment of Skin Inflammation on the Paws in Dogs
Since pododermatitis can be caused by a number of conditions, treatment will vary, depending on your dog’s needs. Treatment may include:
For pododermatitis caused by bacterial infections, an antibiotic will be given. It will be important to take the antibiotic as directed and finish the entire bottle.
Steroids or Anti-Inflammatory Medications
In some cases of this disorder, such as an auto-immune condition, the veterinarian may prescribe steroids or anti-inflammatory drugs.
For severe cases, the skin may be removed from the paw during a procedure called Fusion Podoplasty. Once the diseased skin is removed and proper follow-up treatment, such as medication, is given, the dog will be able to put weight on his paws without pain.
Recovery of Skin Inflammation on the Paws in Dogs
After treatment, and with altering the dog’s lifestyle (depending on the cause), the prognosis is very good. If the pododermatitis is caused by an auto-immune disorder, there is not an absolute “cure” but the condition can be controlled.
It is imperative that you keep all scheduled appointments with your medical professional and give the dog any medications as directed. Your veterinarian will also give you precise instructions on home-care as your companion recovers. It is also important to watch for any other symptoms, and if you have any concerns or questions to please contact your trusted veterinarian.