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What is Pododermatitis?

Podogermatitis affects the skin webs between the toes and between the foot pads.  It's a general terms for several different skin disorders.  It will result in redness, inflammation, swelling, and sometimes discharging sinuses.  Usually the underlying cause is unknown.  

What causes podogermatitis?

Sometimes the cause can be identified, but many times there is no known cause.  Here are some list of causes:

  • Most cases are idiopathic meaning unknown
  • Foreign object penetrates into the skin like grass, splinters of wood, thorns
  • Foreign material collected against the skin like gravel, sand, tar, walking in freshly laid grass, chemicals
  • Trauma like cuts, bruises, scrapes
  • Cancer
  • Clipper Rash
  • Infecrions like bacteria, fungi, parasites
  • Psychological disorders that a lot of German Shepherds, Poodles and Terriers can have and more affected by 
  • Sterile Pyogranulomas that English Bulldogs, Dachshubds, Great Danes, Boxers can get and the cause is unknown
  • Immune Disorders including autoimmune disease like penphigus, pemphigoid, systemic lupus Erythematosus 
  • Direct contact allergy 
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Drug reactions 
  • Zinc deficiency 
  • Canine distemper virus 

Bacterial infections can be a secondary infection to another primary cause. 

What Breeds are usually affected?

Bessett Hound, Boxer, English Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Dachshund, Dalmatian, German Shepherd Dogs, German Short Haired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Pekingese, and Weimaraner 

Signs you might see:

Excessive licking and biting at the feet and lameness.  You will see redness and sometimes local swelling and you may even seen ulcers or sinus formation.  

What are the complications?

Pododermatitis can develop into a chronic condition because of the animal keeps traumatizing the area.  Secondary infections can also cause open ulcers or sinuses. 

What is the Diagnosis?

History can help determine if exposure to one of the known environmental caused  Pododermatitis.  Skin scrapings for parasites, laboratory culture and sensitivity testing for micro-organisms and even biopsy of the lesion may be needed.  X-ray examination is needed in some cases to determine whether the underlying bone is involved and blood tests are required to eliminate hormonal disorders such as hypothroroidism as a cause. 

What is the treatment?

Treatment of the underlying cause if identified is essential.  Antibiotic therapy is needed if bacterial infection primary or secondary is present. Bathing regularly in salt water or antiseptic solution for 15 mins 2-3 times daily is recommended.  Excess hair should be clipped from between the toes and pads to prevent foreign material being collected and causing irritation.   Changing the dogs surface they're exercised on might help identify a contact problem.  For localized lesions surgical exploration may be needed to find foreign penetrating material and sometimes surgical removal.  When the paws are tender and sore, special boots are available to protect the pads.  

What is the Prognosis?

With some dogs this is an ungoing issue.  Sometimes open lesions will leave scars when they heal.

 


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